[MUD-Dev] Evolutionary Design

Dave Rickey daver at mythicentertainment.com
Wed Jun 12 13:17:49 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

From: "J C Lawrence" <claw at kanga.nu>

>   http://www.gamedev.net/reference/design/features/evolution/
> --<cut>--
>       Evolutionary Design

I'm going to snip the article, in the interest of addressing an
issue the author didn't: Treating the game design process itself as
an adaptive landscape has merit, but it fails to note that it is a
landscape of an unknown number of dimensions.  There's something big
about the Sims I've never seen anyone comment on, a dog that isn't
barking: Where are the clones?

Think about it: Here is the biggest game of all time, and nobody has
copied it.  As far as I can tell, nobody even has a Sims clone
planned.  The Sims has adapted in a direction the rest of the
industry appears unable to even perceive, never mind imitate.  We
know the Sims is a big hit, we have lots of guesses as to why, but
*nobody* can even convince themselves they know how it does it well
enough to think they could do it better?  WTF?

Why haven't more MMOG's come out?  It's been 5 years since UO proved
there was real money in it, 3 since EQ and AC proved it wasn't a
fluke.  Sure, there's some true second generation products planned
for release in the next year, but where *is* everybody?  Several
times I've watched the evolution, some exec looks at the revenue
stream of existing games, starts to salivate, puts things in
motion...and then nothing.  People talk, wave their hands, and then
realize that they actually don't have any idea where to even start.

The Sims, and MMOG's, are outside of the traditional game design
conceptual framework, not just in distance or direction, but in
*dimension*.  It's like trying to wrap your head around a tesseract
or a klein bottle.  If you can "see" in that dimension, it's as
obvious as good new ideas always are, and if you can't, it doesn't
exist for you.


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