[MUD-Dev] MMORPG, buildings, is it bad to be just props?

Lee Sheldon lsheldo2 at tampabay.rr.com
Thu Feb 20 15:46:16 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: J C Lawrence
> On Wed, 19 Feb 2003 15:32:17 -0500 
> Lee Sheldon <lsheldo2 at tampabay.rr.com> wrote:
>> I also remember a Star Trek adventure game ( I forget the title
>> though!) that allowed you to "jump cut" your character (or party)
>> to a distant visible location.  It was a nice steal of a common
>> film technique to dump reality in favor of drama.
> The problem is implementing that in a MUD.
> Single player RTS games have traditionally done that in either of
> two ways:
>   1) The jump either succeeds or is interrupted by a series of
>   events which require player reaction before the jump either
>   succeeds entire or is aborted.
>   2) The jump takes RL time (so its essentially a set of marching
>   orders), but frees the player to manipulate/track other game
>   tokens while it is progressing.
> The problem for MUDs is that the player is controlling a only
> single token at any time (his character) making #2 inapplicable,
> and attempting to use the interruption model of #1 fails as the
> most common source of interruptions is other player activity
> (which requires that RL time et al).
> Walking to the corner store to buy eggs each day is (likely)
> boring, but that same chore also presents the opportunity for
> other more interesting things to happen in that time.  The problem
> is creating sufficient density of interesting events in walking
> down to buy eggs without making the trip a foray in its own right.

Um er, I didn't mean to suggest that jump cuts worked splendidly in
MUDs.  Is that how it sounded?  That was the first Reality vs. Drama
example that popped into my head.  (Lee, look at the name of this
list, you dolt.)

Let's try a more pertinent example: Repetition of interaction with
NPCs.  We routinely have flags to trip so we know when a player has
completed a step in a quest so an NPC doesn't trot out the entire
story each time the player returns. Yet each time I approach a
crafting merchant in DAOC, it's as if he's never seen me before.  It
would be a simple matter to filter lists of ingredients based on my
choice of craft, and previous purchases.  If we then give the NPC
dialogue to reflect the changed state along the lines of a bartender
asking, "The usual, Mr. Lush?" the interchange becomes more
immersive/dramatically valid, we've "cut to the chase," and wasted,
non-active time (paging through useless lists) is gone.  Of course
if the player responds: "I'm looking for something new today.  I'm
not sure what." (Hits the ALL GOODS button, whatever), we get the
full menu.

Your example of buying eggs sounds more a way of lathering on
additional, I'd suspect unrelated, activities.  Whatever balance you
are striving for (walking to get eggs/major foray), you are adding
to the length of time involved, and if the player really wants those
eggs, you risk annoying her.


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