[MUD-Dev] A Founding Father Forgotten

Michael Chui blizzard36_2002 at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 25 23:27:22 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

--- Matt Mihaly <the_logos at achaea.com> wrote:
> On Thu, 20 Mar 2003, Michael Tresca wrote:
>> On Wednesday 12 March 2003 11:29, Scott Miller wrote:
>>> Today I wrote a story for the website I used to run. After
>>> attending the MUD-Dev dinner, I felt that this was a story that
>>> needed to be told. I am sure that some of you know who Dave
>>> Arneson is, yet there are far to many who do not.
>>> You can find the story here:
>>>   http://www.unknownplayer.com/archive/03/03/12/1453.php
>> I was quite surprised myself, Scott, when I discovered just how
>> many game developers don't have pen-and-paper RPG experience. Or
>> worse, consider it beneath them.

> Why? Pen and Paper are a completely different medium. Certainly
> there are artifacts of design (classes, for instance) taken from
> P&P games, but I see almost no cross-over unless the designer
> chooses to go that route. I would tend to argue, in fact, that
> they are so different that it's harmful to try and apply P&P
> fundamentals to virtual worlds. Certainly all the designs I do
> have almost nothing to do with the standard hack n' slash
> Everquest-type mechanic found in D&D or whatnot. It's not beneath
> me; it's just irrelevant to me.
>From what I know of the D&D system, the design was made so that it
was abstracted to the point at which you don't really have to know
what's going on, physically, in order to play. A single attack roll
represented several exchanges, not a single swipe. Hit points are a
generalized approximation of health.

You can do that in a CRPG, but it's as if your only goal is to make
a copy, not something good. You can do so much MORE with a computer
at your disposal. You can calculate things, like the effects of
swinging the sword sideways instead of horizontally, that your
average gamer couldn't even conceive of, because they don't process
at the speed of the computer.

I'm not belittling pen and paper. I think those games are great. But
if you want a game built on a computer, you shouldn't use pen and
paper mechanics. Pen and paper was designed so that every nuance
could be calculated quickly by consulting a chart or an arbitrary
decision of the GM. The computer lets you calculate formulas and
equations that are just too complex.

~Michael Chui
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