[MUD-Dev] DESIGN: Mini-VW contenst (Was DESIGN: The game with a thousand faces)

Mike Rozak Mike at mxac.com.au
Mon Apr 4 11:26:16 New Zealand Standard Time 2005

Michael Sellers wrote:

> Not entirely, but there is some truth to that.  I've seen (and
> we've been pitching) original ideas that don't conform to the
> first-gen "race1 and race2 and factions1-3 and guilds and housing
> and kill-monster-get-gold" gameplay" and it's an uphill battle to
> say the least.  Publishers and investors don't like risk; anything
> new represents risk.

> And of course, there's a huge amount of design derivation going
> on: people want to make what they've played -- but just a little
> bit better.

> Finally, it seems like we're all in a significant rut with MMOG
> design, building games on the same assumptions rather than
> re-thinking gameplay that goes back to the mid 1970s.  OTOH, new =
> risk, and in a commercial sense, that's rarely rewarded.

This, along with what John Buehler wrote, got me thinking...

Over on rec.arts.int-fiction they have an annual adventure game
contest. The clever thing about the contest is that all the games
are essentially "movie shorts", and must be capable of being
finished by players in less than 2 hours. This means the authors can
produce their mini-adventure in less than a month. (It also lets the
judges play all/most of the entries.) Because authors can
experiment, they often produce interactive fiction that isn't a
traditional "adventure game".

Someone with copius time and good organizational skills might want
to organize a similar contest for virtual worlds, perhaps requiring
a world with less than 6 hours of content. (By the way, I don't have
either copious amounts of time or good organizational skills.)

For the contest to work, there would need to be several VW authoring
systems available. Interactive fiction has Tads, Inform, and a few
amateur graphical systems. VWs have many text-based platforms (such
as LPmud), but I haven't seen any graphical authoring systems with
powerful scripting languages. I am working on a still-image
graphical system, but it won't be available for a long while.

Mike Rozak
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