[MUD-Dev] A footnote to Procedural Storytelling

Lee Sheldon linearno at gte.net
Tue May 23 14:24:06 CEST 2000

> -----Original Message-----
> From: mud-dev-admin at kanga.nu
> [mailto:mud-dev-admin at kanga.nu]On Behalf Of
> Erik Jarvi
> Sent: Sunday, May 21, 2000 1:34 PM
> To: mud-dev at kanga.nu
> Subject: Re: [MUD-Dev] A footnote to Procedural Storytelling

> [I replied to Lee directly by accident. It's the new Mutt's fault. :)]
> I'm not flaming you!

Lee searches suspiciously for a flame, but finds none.


> On Sat, May 20, 2000 at 10:14:42AM -0400, Lee Sheldon wrote:
> > who can.  The idea is not to leave the writing to the
> programmers when they
> > have the free time, or to some kid down the street who took
> a creative
> > writing course in college once, but to apply the same
> standards you would in
> > hiring artists and programmers to hiring writers.  You need
> at least one
> > writer who has a working knowledge on how persistent worlds
> are constructed
> > (or at least non-linear in general) to help the others
> along.  But my
> > experience is that writers are usually fairly intelligent,
> and can be
> > trained to drop their linear thinking fairly quickly.
> Do you see the gaming industry going this way? From the outside,
> I'd say no. I bet there would be some companies to hire professional
> writers, but not enough.  IIRC, UO or is it UO2 has 1 pro.
> writer, else
> where you said 3 would be needed.

No time soon.  I've been working like this for six years in games, now doing
it in persistent worlds for nearly two.  But mostly I find myself debating
people's theories about how things can't be done, and I'm already routinely
doing them.  Very frustrating.  I HAVE noticed a far greater willingness
among startups to trying new (old!) approaches.  Most established companies
continue to copy the past.  So much safer that way.

> Will this lead to more of:
> "leave the writing to the programmers when they have the free time" ?

As long as hardware and code are mistaken for content, I expect to see lots
of non-writers continuing to produce non-professional results.  However, if
the programmers (artists, management, even audio guys!) have the talent, and
are willing to learn some craft, I have no problem whatsoever with them
writing.  But to find out if they really have what it takes, it's time for
them to start competing with the adults.  You're a lean and mean coder, AND
you write like David Mamet?  I'll pay you the extra bucks to do both!  I
should point out, too, that I actually know living programmers who are good
writers!  My argument is not against cream rising to the top, but the bias
that allows all that curdling goo at the bottom to churn out content.

> Not to knock on this guy in the interview, but it's along the
> same lines.
> When I first read this I laughed.  (I'm an audio geek.)
> from
> http://www.gamespot.com/features/diablo2diary_dd/122198/index.html
> GameSpot: Are you doing anything differently this time around when
> creating music as opposed to how you did things for Diablo I?
> Matt: Absolutely. ... I've learned a great deal about
> recording techniques in
> the past couple years...

LOL, yup.


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