[MUD-Dev] DESIGN: Role playing and Voice Chat

Lachek Butalek lachek at gmail.com
Wed Oct 26 10:45:50 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005


On 10/18/05, Lydia Leong <lwl at black-knight.org> wrote:

> Roleplay MUSHes that have coded combat systems (as opposed to just
> basic resolution systems) do, in fact, implement a
> non-time-sensitive, turn-based combat system.

I'm (all too! :) familiar with the concept of MUSH "TimeStops" and
similar implementations. I cut my teeth on MUSHs a decade or so ago,
and (since I have the opportunity) I must thank you wholeheartedly
for your MUSH Manual (http://www.godlike.com/mushman/) which
contributed to so many hundred hours of now long-lost buildings,
characters, code, and worlds. :)

I'd be hard pressed to call the MUSH implementation a computer
moderated combat system, though - at least the implementations I'm
familiar with are very human-moderated, partly due to a degree of
mistrust from the direction of the user towards having a
user-manipulatable object being capable of reducing their
character's hitpoints (or whatever). The way I remember it, the
formula used to go something like this:

  1) Pose attacking

  2) Roll your dice, having the dice system emote your success or
  failure

  3) Pose a follow-up depending on your roll

  4) Have your opponent pose a reaction

  5) Have your opponent manually detract points from their own
  stats, if necessary

  6) Switch sides, rinse, repeat

While this was fantastic for roleplaying and immersion, it took a
lot of time and contained very few "game" qualities. I would like to
see a modern-day innovative MMO implement a true, turn-based,
system-moderated strategic combat system, along the lines of
turn-based CRPGs, while still allowing for some posing within this
framework. On a broader scale, it would be interesting to see
innovation in all areas of time shifting - nobody looks forward to
the killing-rats-with-sticks grind, nor the four-hour (realtime)
trek on foot across the barren wasteland to eventually get to the
mysterious temple ruins.

On a related note, being an ex-MUSHer, I often think about how many
cool systems and solutions the MUSH community came up with while
using the barest minimum of code and computer moderation. It
sometimes makes me really disgusted to see the multi-million dollar
MMO productions so sorely lacking in features implemented in 6-month
old MUSHes with no budget and a codebase that could fit on a couple
of floppies. Definitely worth thinking about, for anyone
implementing an indie game today.

Respectfully,
Lachek
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