[MUD-Dev] Containing automation?

Jon A. Lambert jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com
Tue Aug 10 23:07:46 CEST 1999

From: Caliban Tiresias Darklock <caliban at darklock.com>

>On 09:33 PM 8/8/99 +0100, I personally witnessed Ling jumping up to say:
>>On Mon, 26 Jul 1999, Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:
>>I wasn't thinking of software as in scripting.  Just as another game item
>>to be bought, sold and bartered.
>So was I. Scripting only entered the picture as an example of why I don't
>want to get into defining the SW/HW boundary right now -- because when you
>label something "software", people will expect to be able to write it.

Why not introduce the concept early, but mark such software as: 
"Property of HAL, Inc.  Urbana, Illinois Terra Sol 
    all rights reserved copyright 2737.322 
 Warning tampering will cause irreparable damage, blah blah"

>Consider for a moment that players can currently choose from over 500
>devices. This is a tremendous area of difficulty for most new players, and
>I would like to make things easier on them. If I add the further complexity
>of some number of software devices which are installed in a different place
>and have different effects and are necessary to the proper operation of
>these 500 devices in various ways, that doesn't make things any easier. It
>makes them harder. A *lot* harder. 

Have you thought about using "upgrade paths", "prerequisites" and 
"corequisites" similar to WarCraft, Civilization or Age of Empires.  
In those games, a player is may not be immediately aware of all the 
possibilities or the intricate dependencies.  (Unless of course
they pore over the charts that may be included with the game).
They are presented with a grokable subset of initial choices.

Instead of -
     MK I Impulse - 60000 
     Remington Impulse - 75000 
     Binford Plasma 2000 Warp drive - 150000  
     ACME IX Dual Exhaust Ion Warp Drive - 200000

They see -
     MK I Impulse - 60000

After buying that their selection becomes:
     Remington Impulse - 15000 
     Binford Plasma 2000 Warp Drive - 90000

Naturally these are replacements not upgrades, but the cost
and possibilities are calculated from the current configuration.

>But it doesn't matter what software means in the game context. Software is
>a set of instructions for the computer. When I buy software and put it in
>the computer, I'm providing it a set of instructions. I *should* by all
>rights be able to give it new instructions, no matter what the mechanism --
>whether it's a scripting language, a "custom build" application process
>through a GM, or a "Computer Programming" skill coupled with some sort of
>game system. 

No not at all.  In the year 2737, software vendors have perfected security 
mechanisms.   The Galactic Empire under Darth Gates has a monopoly
on software creation.  The art of computer programming is a long lost
Jedi Knight skill.  In game terms "computer skills" only relate to loading
the software, rebooting and running meaningless diagnostics.   
Occasionally bad things happen, like the dreaded blue screen of 
death that happens occasionally when a Binford Warp drive running 
under Win2727 enters a wormhole.   And there are many stories about
captains who were late with their license fees stranded out in jump 
space with nothing but "Your license has expired" on their consoles.  
But there are rumors about Rebel Jedi Knights in the GNU system
creating something called freeware.  ;)

J. Lambert

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

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