[MUD-Dev] User centered?

Adam Wiggins adam at angel.com
Fri Apr 9 11:42:31 CEST 1999

On Thu, 8 Apr 1999, Ola Fosheim [iso-8859-1] Gr=F8stad wrote:
> For instance, in a recent thread there was a discussion about implementin=
> in-game languages by translating the messages into something which couldn=
> be interpreted by players without the language skill.  When focusing on t=
> MUD as a coherent fantasy world this sounds nifty. But wait!  The receive=
> won't know what the sender said, so what he receives does not matter at a=
> Presenting some random strings would have the same effect for less
> implementation cost, and indeed why present anything at all?

I think we discussed this before...can't remember now.

Anyhow, I know that *I* only implement things that I, as a player, would
like to see.  Most of the time they're things I saw on other MUDs, and when
I saw them, thought to myself "this is cool, they should take it further".
And that's what I try to do, myself.

As for language, I know that when I encountered it for the first time (not
long after I started MUDing, the first mud I played just happened to have i=
it both drew me into the world that much more, and provided lots of gamepla=
and social interaction.

Let's see, examples off the top of my head:

Gameplay: A god on the mud - who still reads this list I believe :) - ran
a quest with a custom-made area.  In one place there was a smallish maze
that was filled with hiding, sneaking, backstabbing creatures.  The area
had a spell over it which made it impossible to make sound, which meant tha=
spells requiring spoken invocation could not be cast, but also that no
verbal communication was possible.  Well, about half the party (which was
large) knew sign language and tried to organize that way, while the other h=
just saw us wiggling our fingers.  Needless to say, it was quite an excitin=
(and chaotic!) section of the quest, but without the special language it
would have been impossible, and the god couldn't have made the area that wa=

Social: A friend of mine and myself had a bunch of spare cash, so we spent
it all learning every language that we could from the lore master.  Besides
the fun we had chatting in the common square switching languages every sent=
(and thoroughly confusing all of those who were listening), it also found u=
a friend in the form of a gnome.  Gnomes were quite rare there, and when we
ran into him and starting chatting to him in his native language (which he
never heard, since there were no gnomes and no one ever bothered to learn
gnomish except for my friend and I), he was thrilled and we made an instant

And yes, features *do* count, and for more than just their neatness factor.
A world without details like this is no more than a fancy form of IRC.
Granted, a mud with ten rooms, no languages, no fatigue for movement, and n=
money is much better for being able to chat with people.  But it hardly see=
like a world.  The thing that drew me into mudding in the first place was t=
depth of it.  That I logged on, typed "who" and saw a hundred users connect=
but only ten of whom were in the same town to me.  I knew they were out
somewhere in the huge mud-world, seeing fantastic and far-away places, plac=
that might take me weeks or months to find, or that I might *never* see.
There were people chatting in a language I didn't know in the common square=
and things for sale in the shop that cost more than I could ever imagine
aquiring.  The sense of wonder that I felt upon seeing all this has faded
with time, and especially with seeing the insides (code and areas) of vario=
MUDs (taking away the magic, so to speak) - but I remember what that felt l=
and I want to deliver that experience to others that entire MY mud.

And yes, sometimes those features (distance, language, money) do bring up
barriers between people being able to interact.  But from what I've seen,
that makes the interaction that much better, once they overcome them.
To quote Mr. Baron, "Conflict accelerates bonds between people."
Even a conflict as simple as a language barrier can work this way.

MUD-Dev maillist  -  MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

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