[MUD-Dev] MMORPG/MMOG P2P design

Steven J. Owens puffmail at darksleep.com
Sat Mar 1 04:19:42 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

On Wed, Feb 26, 2003 at 12:24:50PM -0700, Travis Nixon wrote:

> Human's haven't "solved" it.  People get screwed by people they
> trusted all the time.

This is an important fact; reminds me of when my brother was working
on visual recognition code for a DARPA project, and they got hung up
on the issue of estimating size based on comparison to nearby
objects.  What if the man standing next to the object you're
estimating is a perfectly-proportioned midget?  How do you solve
that?  Well, what do humans do in that case?  They get confused!

This doesn't mean you have to accept the situation; you have to
remember that humans and computers have different strengths and
weaknesses, but you also have to remember to question your

> a system that bases the final decision on what basically amounts
> to a popularity and/or seniority contest seems just a little bit
> ludicrous to me.

Also cogent, but bear in mind that at the top of it, the human
system (refer to an authority, the gov't, etc) is still a popularity
contest - perhaps with a deeper meaning of the term "popularity",
but still a case of majority rules.  Ultimately, any government
rules with the consent of the governed; at some point it becomes
preferable to go up against overwhelming odds - or even to passively
resist and die - rather than accept and submit to bad government.
Governmentmental authority trumps individual autonomy in specific,
isolated cases, but only because the rest of the individuals cede
that authority to the government.

Mapping this back to the idea at hand; while you couldn't rely on
trust, etc, for resolving individual peer-to-peer disagreements, you
could build your system to enable meta-trust structures.  What if a
given peer, or subset of peers, has authority to arbitrate?  Where
would that authority come from?  Perhaps it would come from the rest
of the peers, who choose to recognize that authority and to
determine what peers are members of their society - what peers they
will interact with - based on decisions from that authority.  Each
authority becomes a "trust hub", and authorities could collaborate
to create meta-trust-hubs.

These are just some general thoughts.  I don't think you can do a
traditional MMOG with a truly peer-to-peer model, but I do think
that you can come up with alternative models that will "work", if by
"work" you mean, will provide the users with sufficient
game-oriented return-on-investment that the model achieves critical
mass and becomes self-sustaining.  You're not going to have any sort
of conventional/traditional model which is based, as Nixon pointed
out, on a central authority handing out experience points or levels.

Steven J. Owens
puff at darksleep.com

"I'm going to make broad, sweeping generalizations and strong,
declarative statements, because otherwise I'll be here all night and
this document will be four times longer and much less fun to read.
Take it all with a grain of salt." - Me at http://darksleep.com

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