[MUD-Dev] DESIGN: The game with a thousand faces

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Sat Apr 2 01:59:32 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005


Mike Rozak writes:
> Jhn Buehler wrote:

>> Said another way, the people who are designing virtual worlds are
>> people who like the idea of sitting at a computer for 8 hours at
>> a stretch, typing on a keyboard, using a mouse, watching a
>> monitor and listening to speakers as a form of entertainment.  It
>> suffices for them.  Such people apparently like
>> achievement-oriented games.

snip...

>> In short, change the givens and you change the outcomes.  With
>> the givens that we have, a certain type of individual is drawn to
>> be in and around the medium of the game.  And a tiny subset of
>> those people will have the will, creativity and drive to actually
>> create an experience in that medium.

> Interesting idea... to use an analogy starting over a thousand
> years ago: When the "fictional book" was first invented, the only
> people that could read were clergy and nobles, so the genres of
> fiction were religious, historic, and heroic. (Aka: Le Morte de
> Arthur) As more people could read, more genres were added,
> including romance (middle-class England in the 1700's), mystery
> (1800's), horror (1900's), and science fiction (1900's).

> If this is the case, what new genres might be created as the VW
> audience expands/changes?

Anything and everything under the sun.  I figure that most people
don't want a fantasy reality.  They want a reality that is lightly
salted with fantasy.

Consider virtual worlds that are rather more mundane.  Adventure
worlds, where you can go dinosaur hunting, four wheeling in a 3"
long vehicle, hang gliding with ducks and such.  Or hobby worlds,
where you can build your own nuclear reactor, skyscraper, ocean
liner or custom home.  Or just build a wooden table in the virtual.
Virtual theme parks like Epcot Center, where as you walk into each
section of the park, you are recostumed as an individual appropriate
to the setting.  Sit and enjoy a telling of Beowulf in a Nordic
great hall.  Witness a medieval jousting tournament and possibly
even take a lash at jousting yourself (reservations required).
Design, build and race cars with others.  Or women's clothes.
Online Dating World.

The list is boundless once the technology makes the experience
interesting.  A tiny minority of people want to sit at a computer
and see their character in a virtual room that looks like a Nordic
great hall while the text of Beowulf scrolls by.  Offer the
possibilty of getting that view in first person, full field of
vision 3D with surround sound, everything done in high fidelity, and
you might very well have a hit.

The results of all this may well not be worlds per se but rather
vignettes; focused renditions of the interesting parts of a
fictional world.  Enough room to experience whatever it is that
people are after.  Just the garage, parts rooms and track for
building and racing those virtual cars.

Consider too that we may have virtual environments that are an
adjunct to the real world.  Why not have town meetings online so
that we don't have to physically visit the convention center
auditorium that can only seat half the people who want to hear what
the speakers have to say?  How about Convention World?  MUD-Dev
could hold its annual conferences there instead of on the west
coast.  It would put a damper on dinner together, but it would
permit everyone to go dinosaur hunting afterwards.

JB
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