[MUD-Dev] Usability and interface ...

Broly gunther at online1.magnus1.com
Thu Oct 9 05:23:25 CEST 1997

On Mon, 6 Oct 1997, Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:

> On Sun, 5 Oct 1997 03:37:39 PST8PDT, Marian Griffith <gryphon at iaehv.nl>
> wrote:
> >On Wed 24 Sep, Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:
> >
> >> On Wednesday, September 24, 1997 4:29 AM, clawrenc at cup.hp.com 
> >> [SMTP:clawrenc at cup.hp.com] wrote:
> >
> >> > Reese reports that being a fisherman, and thus spending ones play time
> >> > sittting about fishing and telling stories is popular with a certain
> >> > set of players.  One could easily imagine a similar scenario for
> >> > musicians sitting about strumming and swapping songs.
> >
> >> Note that you would not actually need a fishing skill or musical instrument 
> >> skill for either of the above. I agree, musicians are a nice thing, they 
> >> contribute vastly to the enjoyment of the world; but why do we actually 
> >> need game mechanics to handle it?
> >
> >Basically this is the same question as:
> >Why bother with descriptions on rooms and monsters in a (traditional)
> >mud at all?  It does not add anything to the game, which is all about
> >killing monsters.
> Actually, that's not the same question at all. I'm saying that
> atmosphere is a wonderful thing and we need it in our games, but there
> are a lot of things that aren't specifically *game* components and don't
> need a skill or attribute allotted to them.
> A description is not a statistic to which game mechanics are applied.
> Fishing and music and golf, likewise. In fact, ANY artistic talent
> should probably be looked at with a skeptical eye before assigning a
> skill to it. 'Painting'? Okay, with a high painting skill, I could do
> portraits. But what about more abstract works? Designs? Scrollwork? Can
> you really assign a percentage to that? Can you realistically put a
> number in the place of a description?

There is a fish swimming in a lake.  You are hungry, so you whip out your
Castmaster 2000 and attempt to catch the fish.  Do you remain hungry? Or
do you catch the fish?  If you leave it up to the character, that fish
doesn't stand a chance.  Simular arguments for scrollwork (can your
character write a scroll, or will the magic in the words activate and
crisp your character?)

If an action affects the characters, then there needs to be a game
construct to controll that action.  If the action affects the players, no
such construct is needed, except to enhance the ability of the player to
the desired level of character ability.

So back to the 'singing' example...Say a character breaks out into song in
the middle of a battle.  If the words inspire the singers allies (they get
bonuses on key dicerolls while the song is sung.) and strike fear into the
hearts of the enemy(thus causing them to rout), then there should be some
game construct controlling the quality of the music.
However, if the song merely adds flavor to the battle, uplifting the
players (not their characters), then there is no reason for the game to
get involved, except maybe to pick some inspiring verses for the character
to sing...Or if you want to go all out include .wav files for such


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