[MUD-Dev] Enforcing roleplay on small muds

Arnau RossellX CastellX arocas at alumni.uv.es
Tue Jan 7 13:57:27 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:

> The computer wants you to roleplay. Failure to roleplay is
> treason.

Yep, that's the idea.

> Where can I get updates on progress? I strongly doubt you'll be
> able to capture it, since I've seen so many failed attempts, but
> I'd *love* to see someone make a serious stab at it. And besides,
> you just might get it right.

The thing is in
design-phase-but-i-talked-enough-people-into-it-that-pulling-back-is-not-an-option,
and a workable design should be done before march--so i can bring in
people just liberated from exams, before anybody else takes
them--right now what i have is a few pages with ideas and designs,
all of which i'm now polishing and rendering coherent. If anybody
else on the list is interested i'll put it up in a page for
review(if not, i can update you by mail, caliban).

> It will never work.

:) Well, there's that little voice on the back of my head that
agrees with you, however...

[snipped examples, funny one, the bible humper; must remember]

> Long story short? If I want to say "mud" and you don't let me,
> I'll figure out how to say it. I'm motivated. My motivation is the
> most basic and primal of all motivations: "I WANT". Your
> motivation is something else entirely, more along the lines of "it
> is better for all concerned". That doesn't motivate squat, and
> when you try to explain to someone why they can't say "my shoes
> are covered with mud", they are not going to be sympathetic. They
> have "I want", you offer "it is better for all concerned", and the
> end result is that you won't let them have what they want even
> though it's perfectly reasonable. (Whatever is motivated by "I
> want" is perfectly reasonable, no matter how tortured the
> reasoning is.)

I have to distinguish here between 2 types of censored talk: First
there is the in-game talk, about in-game things. This i want the
players to try and sidestep it. I plan to give bounties to players
that report new words and phrases, and i think is in the spirit of
the game, trying to say things without saying them.  Second, there's
talk about the game outside of it(MSN,yelling across the
room,etc...).I realize that if players are determined there's
nothing i can do to prevent it, but i also realize that this kind of
communication shatters the paranoia environment, and gives players
an unfair advantage over others, and i really can't think a way to
bend paranoia around that, and keep it's unique style.In paranoia,
having friends breaks the game; In a PNP game the game master can
usually catch on this and nail the players doing it, but even in a
small mud you don't have that level of control over players.

The best i have thought against this is trying to put some hurdles
in the way of the "cheaters" and fostering a roleplaying culture in
the community, but, again, 2 people can collaborate and if they
aren't conspicuous on it they can "cheat" the system for too much
time.  Rethinking it, maybe it's best if instead of logging OOC
channels and concerning myself over who is talking to whom, I should
watch for simple andcomplex(as complex as feasible) collaboration
patterns(2 characters that never accuse each other, never fire at
each other, etc...), in an automated(and very paranoid) way, with an
human checking the dubious cases; Then i give some in-game
clue(i.e. some time in a reeducation center) that collaboration is
not appreciated, and/or intentionally pitting these players against
each other(putting them in mission groups with conflicting
objectives); It doesn't even matter if its intentional or not(this
is paranoia, remember? :P) However, I'd like to reward people that
set their alliances using in-games mediums, and overcoming it's
hurdles, rather than treating them like the ones who simply say
aloud "let's gang on those losers on the chemistry computer lab!".

> You can't censor this sort of thing. When you install software to
> prevent behavior, people change the behavior. The more you try to
> stop people from talking about certain subjects, the more they
> will try to talk about them, and your userbase is collectively
> both smarter and more determined than your admin team. They have
> more time. And a lot of people have nothing better to do with
> their lives than to start a censorship crusade.

i'd *like* that players started inventing code words and phrases,
that would give other players the oportunity to hear it and then
report it to the Computer, and be rewarded }:> . What i don't want
is players using external means to it. But can't find a way to bar
that, or make it a hassle to do, or whatever that does away with the
problem.

> The only way I know to start up a roleplay-founded MUD is to start
> with a small core of people who roleplay there. Add additional
> people slowly until you have a core playerbase of a few dozen, and
> then let those players invite people. Once you have enough to
> populate the MUD with a reasonable number of existing players most
> of the time, peer pressure tends to enforce roleplay.

That is the way i intend(hope?) it to start.

> Unfortunately, this method doesn't scale. When you're going to
> have maybe two thousand players total, it's workable. When you're
> going to have two thousand currently playing on each server at any
> given time of day, it never works. You can't police that many
> people, so just don't worry about it.

uh-uh... I think i'll start worrying about scale the day i hit 100
players online simultaneously. Of course, by then it'll be a BIG
headache, but one i'd like to have :)

> Bluntly speaking, there are only so many roleplayers in the world
> anyway. If you intend to make a commercially viable game, roleplay
> can't really be a *forced* part of it.

Now, I already do boring videogames for a living, so when I come
home and sit at my computer after all day sitting at my(work)
computer, the only excuse i can give when people asks me is that
what i do at home fills me, so i must not break that excuse :)
Seriously, this isn't intended to bring in any money, the people
i've managed to recruit are in from reasons like
curriculum,fun,improving skills,being god,and doing things with
friends. We figure that if we go trough all the work implementing a
graphical client and a server instead of using telnet and some mud
server, and it's somewhat succesful, we can keep working on it and
release something commercial, but as it is, we can't(artists for
some reason don't seem to enjoy working on games for free) or want
do it commercially.

Arnau.


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