[MUD-Dev] Text MUDs; in need of an (r)evolution?

Sean Howard squidi at squidi.net
Fri Nov 18 04:20:24 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005

"John Mauney" <montyculligan at gmail.com> wrote:

> This topic is for the discussion of the current state of text
> MUDs, and I am posing the question, do text MUDs need some kind of
> (r)evolution?

Eh, evolution is boring. Anybody can bring about evolution. Just
take what's they are throw stuff at it and see what
sticks. Revolution... well, there's a cause I can get behind! :)

Do txtMUDs need a revolution? Nah. Heck, most probably wouldn't even
notice if one happened. Still, thinking outside the box is is like
brain exercise, and anything you can revolutionize about txtMUDs can
be applied to the fancy smancy stuff as well.

>   - Text MUDs must no longer be limited to Telnet based. For one
>   thing, the Telnet protocol has not evolved.

Disagree. While I agree that you can do more, it's just evolution
and a minor one at that. There's still a lot we can do with just
text (look at BBS "doors" - is that what they were called? It's been
way too long).

>   - Text MUDs should no longer require any kind of previous
>   knowledge with the genre.

An admirable goal, for sure, but it's more of a design consideration
than either evolution or revolution. I've played many different
excellent newbie areas, and I was introduced to MUCK programming by
a newbie helper, so that kind of stuff is already out there.

>   - Text MUD creators should consider implementing gameplay
>   concepts he/she has seen in non text based games.

Obviously :)

>   This does not mean that combat systems, quest journals, mapping
>   systems, etc. must be purely text based. Of course, mileage will
>   very per the creator's preference, but I think there is a lot of
>   unexplored territory in the realm of melding classic textual
>   presentation with modern graphical UIs and tertiary systems.

I think you're barking up the wrong tree there. I've always been of
the opinion that "features" are the crutch of a bad designer. A good
designer can create a brilliant game with one button; a bad designer
couldn't create a decent game with ten. Text is extremely powerful
communication, or else my local Borders wouldn't have about 30,000
books there (some of them don't even have pictures!)

I like to challenge myself with minimalist designs. Take away
everything you expect, but still try to appeal to a certain
genre. Can you make a combat MMORPG without experience points?
Without personal achievement? Without cross-session inventory or
characters? I mean, haven't you noticed that most MMORPGs are built
towards a sort of capitalist mentality? What if you made a communist
MMORPG? Or a fascist one? Can you make a social MMORPG without
direct communication or even names? When you start asking stupid
questions like that, you see that there's still a lot outside the
box that hasn't been touched yet.

- Sean
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