[MUD-Dev] Congratulations Horizons...

Christopher Kohnert chris at achaea.com
Sun Jan 11 00:02:33 CET 2004

On Jan 9, 2004, at 9:35 AM, Lee Sheldon wrote:
> From Brad McQuaid:
>> From Lee Sheldon:

>> I don't believe I ever meant to imply that a quest flag had to be
>> an ITEM; rather an item is a type of flag.

> Again, this sweeps the definition of FedEx into the realm of
> postmodern reductionism for me.  We could reduce all activity
> players engage in to "A certain sequence yields a rewarding
> outcome." We could reduce all aspiration in life to this
> phrase. It's like saying there is only one type of puzzle in
> adventure games: lock and key. Or there is only one type of story:
> Boy meets girl (or some other flagged item), Boy loses flagged
> item, Boy gets flagged item. There's never any defense against
> that, other than it leeches out all meaning and context; gets us
> nowhere in finding new ways of doing things; and makes it look
> like there are none.

While, it's sort of just arguing about the definition of FedEx
(which I'll probably have to agree with Brad's definition more than
yours, Lee), it's also not reductionism at play. Or rather, it's not
inappropriate reductionism. There are other models that could be
used, which are not so functional (i.e. not in the form "do X, with
Y contraints, get Z"). I'd call any of these predictable
item-lugging/mob-killing/flag-swizzling types of quests FedEx, as
they're really just the same underneath. You can make them look
good, disguise them altogether, or hell, even make them fun :), but
you're still swizzling bits for direct reward. Of course, if you
don't, that's cool, just a difference in definition.

As to the other models, I'd suggest things that are not functional
(ie, no 1-to-1 or 1-to-N mappings). Introduce a hardcore N-to-M
mapping in your quest (ambiguities and all) and things get
interesting. Of course, they may also get impossible to implement or
make any practical sense of them. ;) Buf if one of a handful of
events can trigger one of another handful of outcomes, it gets
complex and deep really quickly. Bartle's ideas on intelligent
quest-dispensors up on Skotos' site are a really interesting
read. It deals with satisfying requirements in a more abstract or
flexible manner, rather than a hardcoded if-then-else manner. I'd
definitely not call those FedEx.

Christopher Kohnert
Iron Realms Entertainment -- www.ironrealms.com
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