[MUD-Dev] Striving for originality

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Fri Jun 7 09:44:47 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

Matt Mihaly writes:
> On Thu, 6 Jun 2002, John Buehler wrote:

>> If you want to do damage, get a sword.

> Ugh. This illustrates what is, to me, the singlest ugliest trend
> in MUDs (whether graphical or text), which is the idea that thing
> <X> -should- work like Y. To me, saying that something like magic,
> which doesn't exist in the physical world, should have properties
> Z and effects A, B, and C screams box-thinking. Surely magic can
> be whatever a designer designs it to be. There's nothing
> inherently good nor bad about magic doing damage, or not doing
> damage. It's all dependent on your specific design. We have enough
> people who can't or won't think beyond D&D as it is. Let's not
> create new boxes.

There are implications to the introduction of any capability,
whether 'magic' or based in some activity that uses a traditional
prop, such as a sword.  Or a chair, a tree, a bucket or anything
else you can name.  As software designers, we can make any player
action through the keyboard do anything that we want.  This is a
given.  Should objects that appear to be swords be used by
characters for actions that swords were traditionally used for?  I
assume that they should.  How can magic go into such an environment?
Should magic be permitted to supplant any of these items while they
are still in the game environment?  I assume that they should not.
Therefore, I assume that magic is best relegated to actions
orthogonal to whatever I already have props for.

If magic can be implemented such that it is no more effective at
doing what the prominent props of the world are capable of doing,
with appropriate checks and balances, then I could see magic
providing the same functionality as those props.  For example, if a
warrior walks up to me with a sword, intent on lopping my head off
(I know magic), then when he gets close enough, I can reach out and
touch him, casting a spell that knocks him back twenty feet.  And I
must have some corresponding alteration to discourage my excessive
use of the ability - lest I supplant some other conventional social
convention or prop ability.

I always get a kick out of how I can write paragraph after
paragraph, attempting to be eloquent about a topic, and seemingly
have it all get ignored.  But as soon as I drop in a one-liner that
says anything the least bit controversial, I can get traffic on it.


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