[MUD-Dev] The audience is the medium. For now.

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Sun May 26 22:30:14 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


On Sat 25 May, Ted L. Chen wrote:
> Michael Tresca Says:

>> Forgot acting stages.  Imagine a world where TV is made by
>> virtual cameras that just splice footage together from a virtual
>> world.  No more actors -- everyone's an actor, you're just
>> reporting news footage in a virtual universe where dragons and
>> knights are an everyday occurrence.  I imagine traditional acting
>> would come back into vogue (like it is now).

> Touching up on the topic - Acting stages provide something ever hard
> to accomplish in online games... time compression of story.  That
> is, on a stage, you can easily whisk away ten years if you'd like
> and it won't affect the surrounding virtual world in which it is
> placed.

I have to disagree with this. Often on a mush, and I imagine this is
equally possible  for the more popular  graphical muds as well,  the
plot will fast-forward, skipping boring and tedious activities. E.g.
the group  will be teleported  to a new location,  rather than being
forced  to walk through all the intermediate rooms.  Time will often
be compressed as well. Of course all this is only possible by agree-
ment of the players, but it *is* possible.

The one real limitation to this techniques has nothing to do with if
it is actually possible, but if it would fit in a game. If you allow
the players to skip traveltime by teleporting to hotspots, you would
most certainly upset the advancement game,  even if you would gain a
teleplay that is more appealing. The problem, of course, is that the
two activities have entirely different goals. One is a game that has
to be as fair (and challenging) as possible to the players while the
other is entertainment that must tell an engaging story.

> Right now, there seems to be a developing fringe group of people
> that are taking AO's world and extending it using virtual cameras
> (and other means).

> Comic using modified in-game screenshots:
> Movies using in-game videos and some offline rendered movies:

> Having experience going off the deep end with the virtual camera
> side of things, I personally would welcome the ability to create
> most of this in-game on an acting stage.  Several reasons abound.

>   1) The stage requires only a script and good actors.

> People tend to expect a more visually immersive experience from
> non-theatre mediums.  As such, a lot of time is spent in creating
> props and other supporting things (including sounds).  It took
> almost a month to create all that was needed for The Helpers movie.
> Time, which I lament, could have been better spent polishing the
> script.  I also used a lot of professional tools which might not be
> available to your average player.

Well,  most theatre productions have a considerable crew besides the
cast of actors. Many of them have specialised roles that have little
to do with the actual performance of the play. Stage design, choreo-
graphy, music and sound effects, lighting design, costumes and make-
up.

If you feel that the production job cut into the time needed to write
the script that means that your crew was too small and that you need-
ed more help, or perhaps more expert help.

>   5) The audience want to see things in-game.

> There's a reason why they're logging in.  Here's the user-generated
> content that might keep them coming back.  And it doesn't affect GoP
> balance which is a thorny issue with user created items.  Not to
> mention the free labor...  oh, how many people write their own game
> related fictions?  If the cost of entry is lowered, to the point
> that they need only hire a few actors or friends, rent an in-game
> stage house, and slap up some simple props (billboards might just do
> - no messy 3D geometry required), just imagine.

True, this would be a very powerful draw for some players. The chance
to see their own fiction story acted out, even captured in a movie. I
think there is room, eventually, for production teams that can help a
would be director to set up stages and actors as required.

> The bad things?  It's not tied that strongly to the primary game
> content.  It might be related to it.  It might not.  And that lack
> of control and user freedom makes it really hard to control from the
> dev's standpoint (EULA for virtual playwrights?).

I fail to see how a play would have any relation with the development
team of a game. It is, in essence, no different from a group of play-
ers who decide to only say the word 'ni'  or who only eat some rather
expensive foods in the game.

I think there is another form of 'acting' that we will see develop in
muds sooner than full theatre plays.  Groups of players will start to
organise  "events"  in games. With or without staff approval and sup-
port. In a sense we already see this with clan invasions of cities as
happen(ed ?) on ultima online.  Because it gives such a strong social
bonding,  we can expect that a staff will start to use it more often.
As it requires so much preparation and manpower to run an invasion on
a large scale mud, they need to 'hire' others to actually pull it off
succesfully.


Marian
--
Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

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