[MUD-Dev] Usability and interface ...

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Sat Oct 18 21:57:32 CEST 1997

On Mon 06 Oct, 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:

 >> 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.

[example of comeliness stat snipped for brevity]

> If you have a stat for it, why? Skill space is usually limited. Even if
> it isn't, you only have so much memory and so much disk, so why store
> skills that have no real game use?

Here is the big question of course. You say that a comeliness stat or
a music skill has no real game use.  Others may not agree with you on
this point.

> The comeliness attribute struck me as
> highly stupid. The proper way to handle this is to use a description,
> not a statistic. Just like in any game, if there's no statistic to
> handle it you just fill it in.

It might matter if comeliness affects the way other people respond
to you. E.g if the shopkeepers habitually charge you twice as much
because the assume that a character that ugly must be stupid also.
And they might refuse to deal with certain characters  that do not
their idea of beauty.  There are plenty of reasons to have a come-
liness stat.  I do agree that  if the players are mature enough to
handle a free form roleplaying game such things are superfluous.

> Fishing? No problem. You wanna be a
> fisherman, you're a fisherman. How good or how bad is up to you. Music?
> Same thing. Golf? Likewise. (I mean, talk about a useless skill.) 

The same could be said for combat... (not the useless skill but the
fact that it is up to the player to decide how good or how bad)

> 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?

It all depends on the game, the goal of the game and on the players.

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

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