[MUD-Dev] Re: State of the art?

Martin Keegan martin at camelot.cyburbia.net.au
Thu Feb 18 13:17:11 CET 1999

On Tue, 16 Feb 1999 diablo at best.com wrote:

> I don't think everyone makes MUDs in order to gain as many users as

No - but this is certainly the most commonly used judgement criterion,
unfortunately. If it's good, more people will want to play it, right? I've
always said that this is wrong - people crave badness. In partciular, the
average mudder in the late 1990s (in contrast even to the early 1990s)
wants a very specific form of innovation.

You're only allowed to be different in certain ways, and certainly not
allowed to challenge players' views or intellects. If you do, you get the
{"this sucks!"; quit} reaction.

We don't have a sane model explaining why various sorts of people play
muds beyond the Bartle paper. I think most of the answers are going to
come from the "cybercommunity" research people rather than from anyone who
was brought up in mudding. 

You have to look at what makes muds different from other similar
experiences (IRC, Quake, talkers, Zork). What I think it is is that you're
interacting both with a persistant virtual world and with representations
of other *human* players, and would go on to say that mudding is the
"hosted in a persistant virtual world" case of a general "online
interaction with humans" scenario, and that it's the human-human
interaction which is critical, and anything the mud does which gets in the
way of that (non intuitive, annoying commandline; lack of verisimilitude;
unfamiliarity; etc) is a bug.

We have a well established system of giving people what they want: stock
muds. Those of us who are interested in muds for their own sake (either as
coding/thought/scientific/sociological experiment, or as a medium of
artistic expression far richer than hypertext), rather than for their
players' sake, however, may find it more difficult to "compete" for the
login time of players looking for other players, since our muds will be
offbeat and oddball, and will take time to catch on.

It's only if you judge your mud by the criteria of others that you really
have a problem.


 "Firewalls begin in the mind"

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

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