[mud-dev] RE: [MUD-Dev] Thought Experiment: Permanent MonsterDeath

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Sat Jan 10 16:33:29 CET 2004

Scion Altera writes:
> Thursday, January 8, 2004, 7:01:09 AM, John Buehler wrote:

>> This can include the operation of a town.  Imagine a GM breaking
>> out the Caesar III town-management interface and directing
>> movement of goods from one warehouse to another.  That will
>> mobilize some number of NPCs to new activities.  Perhaps the GM
>> declares a festival for the town.  Again, the NPCs know what to
>> do.  The better the AI for the NPCs, the more leverage the GMs
>> have for entertaining the players.

> Normally I don't agree with anything you say (although I do value
> your points of view since they are so often opposite to my own)
> but in this you have hit upon something exceedingly cool.

So much for my streak...

> Giving the RTS city or region level client to the GMs of a massive
> game would allow the fine grained control needed to operate a city
> efficiently and intelligently. The AI needed to make the NPCs do
> what they're supposed to do wouldn't be any less trivial than much
> of what they already do in most games. The benefit to the players
> would be that the cities each seemed more alive. The benefit to
> the company is that each GM is worth more because everything they
> do affects more players more profoundly.

Yes, we do agree on this.  I mentioned Caesar III.  The towns that
the game permits me to build are very active, and that is conveyed
by all the NPCs walking the streets doing their thing, with carts
going this way and that, tax collectors making their rounds, even
police and building inspectors checking out the neighborhoods.  I've
always wanted to walk the streets of my own cities and witness all
that activity.  Not to mention dropping by some of the villas to see
what the rich folks do with all their time.

It sure seems to give an interesting answer to the problem of static
towns in MMORPGs.

> Of course, it's a relatively simple step from here to giving an
> RTS client to a player who is the mayor of a town... I know Achaea
> lives on players running their own cities already, but the
> graphical games still seem to be lagging behind in this regard.

Our agreement was short-lived because now we're back to a
fundamental point of entertainment that we disagree on - player-run
worlds.  I've certainly considered doing what you describe.  Having
a game operate on an entirely different level than the first person
adventure would seem to add a lot of mileage to a game's
entertainment.  But I prefer to back off of that and leave it to the
operators to ensure that a town's NPCs continue to act in a way that
adds to the entertainment of those impacted by the town's

> All I know is I'd love to see a new generation of multi-faceted
> games that combine RTS elements with first person elements.

I'd just be happy if town NPCs did something that made sense.

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