[MUD-Dev] Building a 'Deeper' MMOG [was The Future of MMOGs... what's next?]

David B. Held dheld at codelogicconsulting.com
Sat Jun 15 01:21:28 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

From: "Ron Gabbard" <rgabbard at swbell.net>

> Thus, I postulate (while I elucidate) that the next
> 'revolutionary' step for MMOGs will be increasing the scope of
> possible player activities while adding consequences to the game
> world, i.e., make it 'deeper'.

This is great!  This is just how I think modern M*s should be.  I
think increasing the depth of simulation will lead to non-linear
interactions that will leverage combinatorial explosion to make the
game factorially more interesting. ;) But there has to be a
realistic ecology, where "realistic ecology" => "conservation laws".
Like you say, it is the openness of the standard game ecology that
prevents any meaningful economics to occur.  Each transaction has an
absolute value determined only by the intrinsic value of the items
involved.  By having a closed system where the availability can
vary, the market value of items (from natural resources to
manufactured goods) will vary according to the intrinsic value and
the supply/demand.  And, of course, when you have a bunch of
semi-rational, self-interested agents trying to maximize their
position, using prediction and all kinds of nth-order guessing, you
get the kind of chaos that represents the stock market. ;)

Of course, the major problem, we all know, is how to keep a closed
system from getting utterly destroyed by a few bad apples.  I assume
the lack of a good solution to this problem is the cause of the
"shallowness" in most games.  I also have to assume that there are
lots of people currently thinking about these issues, and testing
them in their own game designs.  So maybe it will just take a lot of
raw experimentation to figure out how to make it possible in the
real world, with griefers and the like.


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