[MUD-Dev] MMORPG/MMOG P2P design

Amanda Walker amanda at alfar.com
Tue Mar 4 19:45:01 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


On Monday, March 3, 2003, at 04:35  AM, Crosbie Fitch wrote:

> The term 'high-level character' is full of MUD like overtones and
> the way MUDs are designed.

> Maybe I should leave the MUD-Dev list, but there's no other list I
> know of where this kind of thing could be discussed. Unless anyone
> here knows different?

Well, at least a few of us have been exploring non-RPG stuff.  I
know that Jon and Tamzen (anyone remember MeetingSpace?) are still
around, as are at least one of the There.com developers, and a bunch
of us experimenters.

> Yep. I'm not really trying to convert MUDders, e.g. to say that
> there's a better platform for MUDs. I'm saying there's a more
> scalable platform for MMOGs.

I agree with that, although I think there is a middle ground between
"one big central administrative domain" and "every machine for
itself".

I think that looking at things like the WWW can offer some insight.
For example, despite efforts by some very large vendors, there's no
central authorization framework.  You authorize to particular parts
of the WWW in order to use or change content, but the authorizations
I hold for my bank, my own web/mail server, and the New York Times
web site are all separate.  There's no central store of attributes
about me at all.

I don't see any reason that a MMOVR environment couldn't be built on
the same principles, as I think we've discussed in past threads.
It's the "G" part that poses a problem, not the MMO part.  This
argument goes all the way back to the age-old disagreement about
whether MUD itself means "multi user dungeon" or "multi user
dimension".

Right now, online games fall into two categories: skill-based (FPS,
online blackjack & poker, whatever) and past-achievement-based (most
'loot & level' RPGs).  The latter, by its nature, relies on securely
storing a record of past achievement (level, inventory, etc.), while
skill-based ones do not.  They *can*, as ranking services do, but
it's not integral to the game.  I can enjoy chess without knowing or
caring what my rating is, for example.  I can't enjoy EQ without
knowing or caring what my level, stats, equipment, guild, etc. are.

Personally, I think that skill-based is the way to go.  FPSs don't
scale, but integrating an FPS hosting service (like Recon or some
such) with an MMO game would be a natural way to implement sports
arenas and such in an MMO context.  Not all skill based games are
based on ping times and fine motor coordination, either.  I've seen
acquaintances spend hours playing little Flash-based word games,
Tetris, etc. without a rocket launcher in sight.

Current MMORPGs are great at providing a way to play D&D whenever
you want.  I don't think that's all there is to the MMO space,
though.

Amanda Walker


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