[MUD-Dev] Blog about GDC implies changes to MMORPG population

Amanda Walker amanda at alfar.com
Sat Jun 25 03:46:20 New Zealand Standard Time 2005

On Jun 22, 2005, at 5:25 PM, Michael Hartman wrote:

> It sounds to me like you are deliberately pursuing this narrow
> definition of crafting in order to exclude every other game that
> doesn't do crafting like Second Life and its ilk.

If "crafting" is a resource management mechanism within a game,
that's fine.  I don't mind it being called that.

What I do mind is the idea that this should be viewed as some kind
of creative activity, which it is not in most MMO systems right now.

SL is closest to the "classic MUD" crafting model, which involves
being able to create interactive, scriptable objects (this goes back
at least to LambdaMOO, possibly further back), new game areas, etc.
That's why I mentioned it, not because of any preference for SL--in
fact, I harangue Linden Labs from time to time for not letting me do
the kind of crafting I'd like to do even there.

> Crafting is not just creating totally new items. Think about
> modern society. The overwhelming majority of "crafting" is the
> creation of copies of something that already exists.

I'd call that "manufacturing".  I'll describe some bias here: I'm an
artist in a variety of media, from medieval manuscript illumination
to wood carving to sewing to CAD systems and rapid prototyping.  I
have high standards when someone says an in-game crafting system
makes crafting creative and fun.  I've yet to find a "traditional"
crafting system that's more fun than a soda machine.

> How many cars are unique?  Pretty much none. How many houses are
> totally unique? Only the most expensive.

I dunno.  I have a middle of the range car and house, and each is
unique--the car is only slightly customized from a stock model, but
as far as i know my house was built from scratch.  Sure, there are
(all too many) cookie-cutter condos and townhouses, but the housing
industry is far from being just a matter of stamping out copies.

> I could agree with you if you said a crafting system that allows
> new items as well as copies of existing templates is better. But
> to say crafting from templates is not crafting is just being
> deliberately unfair in an effort to diminish other games on the
> market.

Not so--and, in fact, I spend most of my in-game time in games which
have simple manufacturing systems that don't pretend to be creative
outlets (WoW, SWG).

I just think things like crafting and combat should be creative
activities that depend on player skill.

Amanda Walker
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