[MUD-Dev] [DGN] The psychology of random numbers

Chanur Silvarian chanur at guildsite.com
Fri Jan 9 15:02:37 CET 2004

From: Sean Kelly <sean at ffwd.cx>

> What you're talking about is a shift in the entire focus of the
> game.  One displays numeric attributes and statistcs to the player
> at various stages of the game (be they static attributes, combat
> rolls, etc).  The other hides all of these mechanics behind
> descriptive terms than communicate generalities rather than
> specifics: "Bubba hit Buffy very hard!"  If the game is
> combat-oriented I will assume two possible outcomes.  Either
> players learn to interpolate the vague terms in a statistically
> meaningful way or they become frustrated because they aren't given
> sufficient indication about whether they are losing a battle.

But do you need to even display the generality?  Do you need to
display the "Bubba hit Buffy very hard!"?  I don't think so.  The
most direct combat oriented games out there, the first person
shooters, don't display this.  They neither display the numeric
attributes nor the general descriptions.

I would contend that simply having a health bar for each of your
combatants would be sufficient.  The bar displays health as a
percentage of the whole, but your combatants never know what that
"whole" is.  All Bubba would know is that he took 21% of Buffy's
health/life.  Since he has no way of knowing if she had 70,000,000
life or 7 life the number is meaningless in knowing whether or not
he should have won.

- Chanur Silvarian -
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