[MUD-Dev] Storytelling vs simulation, AGAIN! was Re: Influent ial muds

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Sat Mar 13 01:24:24 CET 1999

On 12:38 AM 3/13/99 -0800, I personally witnessed Matthew Mihaly jumping up
to say:
>I wonder then, what IS the right term, or the right idea. Obviously there
>are some things (at least I suspect so. This is just conjecture.) that
>nearly everyone is going to find intolerably boring, but where is this
>threshold and what are the characteristics that define this threshold?

Exhaustibility. Pachinko was fascinating because every time you dropped the
ball, it did something entirely different, and you could watch this. You
had control to a point, and then you could watch what happened. There was
an evidently infinite range of possibilities, even though the starting
points and ending points were finite. In any game, there has to be some
small number of startpoints, and the number of endpoints is normally finite
as well (if there ARE endpoints). 

Look at chess; there are precisely twenty opening moves, and three possible
end results -- stalemate, white checkmate, or black checkmate. Othello
presents another example; there are exactly four opening moves, and
sixty-four possible end scores. Both games, while they offer very small
numbers of things you can do at any given juncture, are practically
infinite in the number of potential paths to the end result. 

This is really what people are after when they play the game. They want a
functionally infinite number of independent *midpoints* to the game.
Starting the game is only fun because of anticipation. Ending it is only
fun because now you can play again. For a game to stay interesting, the
number of potential EQUIVALENT paths from start to finish must be
apparently infinite.

Or at least that's how I see it.

| Caliban Tiresias Darklock            caliban at darklock.com 
| Darklock Communications          http://www.darklock.com/ 
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