[MUD-Dev] Congratulations Horizons...

Chris Duesing cwac5 at hotmail.com
Wed Jan 28 14:49:10 New Zealand Daylight Time 2004


From: Marian Griffith [gryphon at iaehv.nl]
> From: Brad McQuaid [bmcquaid at cox.net]

>> Call me a nutty idealist, but I also refuse to retreat in this
>> case too -- even given the proliferation of 'quest guides' or
>> spoiler sites or whatever, I think we MUD/MMOG designers just
>> have to accept that as an 'evil' we cannot avoid and work around
>> it.  This calls for innovation such that we can recapture the
>> 'unknown' many of us experienced either early in an MMOG before
>> such proliferation or way back in MUDs with smaller populations
>> and before 'spoilers' could be so easily disseminated.

> I would not call you either nutty nor idealist.  To me it is vital
> that this problem is somehow solved if games are to be appealing
> in the long run. However, I can only point at what I see as a
> problem, and must leave it to you to actually do something about
> it :)

I agree that this is an issue. Today we have several questing
extremes which include typical NPC driven fed-ex and on the other
side GM(human) created content. With each comes the solution to the
other's problems. Generated fed-ex can be used by anyone, but is
repetative and can be described in a quest guide. GM created content
is dynamic and original, but it is expensive and limited in the
number of players who can participate. I think the incremental
solution (before computing power and algorithms are able to
synthesize GM quest originality and complexity ;) is a combination
of approaches, with some minor modifications and new ideas.

First fed-ex quests. These are useful for massive availability and
reusability. In order to avoid the quest guide issue you make them
more abstract at the code level. For example instead of deliver
package1 from point A to point B, you have deliver RandomPackage
from point A to RandomNPC at RandomPointB. This simply makes things
a little harder to divulge on a web page. This is also not a new
idea, SWG relies almost exclusively on this formula. The real goal
here is to give players something simple and solo to do with their
down time.

Which brings us to point 2. GM created content. I think a human
beings brain is still neccessary to pull off a large scale quest
involving multiple NPCs and meant to engage multiple players. Make
sure this is the focus of your GMs time, instead of trying to do
lots of little quests for as many people as possible, which is
doomed to fail. Another poster, sorry I forget who, mentioned a
scheme of having GMs have a strategy game like interface where they
can controll many activities in many places at once.

Finally, the point most people in this thread have been addressing
is that of creativity. Stick with more generated quests, but vary
the type and purpose, and where available involve more than one
player with competing goals. This will help create a unique
experience. As a simplistic example, imagine giving playerA the goal
of serving a summons to playerB, and telling playerB if PlayerA
finds them then they are going to PlayerJail... sit back and watch
the fun ensue.

Chris
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