Re: Reality Check (was: Not really a problem, but...)

From: Daniel Koepke (
Date: 01/30/97

On Thu, 30 Jan 1997, Robert Levy aka Csc the Cyber space cadet wrote:

> just want to take the time to ask WHY it is that people PLAY on our MUDs.
> Builders, coders, and players usualy have different opinions on just about
> EVERYTHING in a MUD. This is because of THEIR individual PURPOSE in
> coding/building/playing on the MUD. I would like to remind you that it is
> the PLAYERS who MAKE or BREAK a MUD. Without PLAYERS, there would be NO MUD.
> For this reason, we must design our MUD considering the PLAYER'S opinions
> MOST important.

Did someone suggest that we run MUDs with out players?  I didn't see
that message.  BTW, what is with the random emphasis on words?  You don't
need to make bold a ton of things, it's just plain annoying.  You don't
speak like that, do you?!

> 	As CODERS/BUILDERS we naturualy WANT to make our MUDs as realistic as
> possible. But, if we would take the time to ask PLAYERS WHY they use MUDs,
> we would discover that 90% of the time it is to ESCAPE REALITY. Sure, it's
> great to have some bit's of REALISM in a MUD, but if a MUD was completely
> like REAL LIFE, what would be a PLAYER'S PURPOSE in PLAYING when they could
> do the same stuff by just walking out their front door. There are times on
> MUDs when it is NECCESARY to be REALISTIC and there are other times when it

No, no, no.  It's not make it as realistic as possible, and not everyone
has that goal.  Some choose to incorperate a measure of *realism*.  There
is no intention to completely mimic reality.  Reality is a realm, as is
fantasy.  In reality, we can imagine things (and thus incorperate some
fantasy into reality).  The same goes for fantasy.

Having some realism in a MUD adds depth and excitement.  What if death
was permenant?  The people that would give your MUD a chance could see one
thing.  If they are involved in the game, then when their character is
threatened, they feel threatened.  They may die, and what lies beyond is
unknown.  So they fight for survival, they get that andreline pumping and
that crazed look as they bash the keys on their keyboard in the hopes of
typing "flee" and escaping.  Relaism is a method of improving upon your
MUD.  It aids in making the fantasy world (as examined from here) real to
those within in it (eg., a player's character is truly within the world we
have created, although that person is not).  If you can back up your
fantasy with some realism, then your fantasy world will seem all the more
real, can be all the more terrifying.  I'm not sure if it's ever been
said, but the most mundane of things can be the most frightening in the
right context.

Not to imply that our sole goal is to frighten players.  Not at all.  I
think what we that strive to implement some realism in our MUD are trying
to do is bring the world closer to the person.  To make the person think
that it's not completely outrageous.  If the person and the world are
closer together, then there's a good chance you can invoke emotion!  Think
of it.  That is a phenominal power.  Emotions rule reason, so if you can
control someone's emotions, even to a small extent, then you can take
control of them.  That's what writers strive to do and that's what many
MUD coders strive to do.

> 	For example, if we were to create a REALISTIC MUD then we would have to get
> rid of the TELL command. (Being able to communicate with somebody on the
> other side of the universe is NOT REALISTIC) If we got rid of the TELL
> command, PLAYERS would not be able to communicate without being in the same
> room. If PLAYERS aren't able to EASILY communicate, they WON'T WANT to
> EXPLORE areas and KILL mobiles because they would ALL have to be TOGETHER
> simply to TALK. If PLAYERS don't PLAY, then we are wasting our time. PLAYERS
> will resort to PLAYING the good old Infocom games and IRC. BUILDERS and
> CODERS will resort to ___(place boring activity here)___.

To make something clear (and for the ten billionth time), realism does
not equate to reality.  Realism is a slice of reality, something taken
from the real world.  It is not true that because you implement a shred
of realism, that the "slice of reality" you use must be used in the
same context as in reality.  Guns are a part of reality.  Does that mean
that we can't have high-powered lasers, phasers?  Swords are a part of
reality.  Does that mean that we can't have swords glowing with magic?
If we implement rivers with currents, does that mean we have to code
fresh water fish that travel with the stream?  No!  We can take what we
want from reality and use it in whatever way we please.  We selectively
implement things.

Now, the weight of swords may seem trivial towards a greater goal of
bringing out emotions, but really, the idea of realism is to create an
enviroment that is real enough to make the world _a_ reality to the
characters within it.

Furthermore, eliminating the "tell" command wouldn't make people go
play Zork.  There's still more multi-user interaction other availible
on a MUD, with or without "tell" and global comunication.  There's the
"say" command, a non-global "shout", you can group with players, etc.,
etc.  Removing "tell" doesn't mean everyone will stop playing your MUD.
It means people that want the "tell" command in a MUD and cannot bare to
play a MUD without it, won't play your MUD.  Nothing more.

No-one, btw, is suggesting that all MUDs implement some realism into
their game.  No-one is saying that all MUDs should change the weight of
their swords to match that of how things once were.   Even if someone
suggested it, and the suggestion was taken by Jeremy and Alex, would
that mean that everyone would instantly follow suit?  Perhaps many would.
Many people are followers.  I prefer to be a leader, so, I lead towards
realism and puzzle-solving and questing and fun in my MUD.  To setup an
enviroment that players can relate to, even though it has magic and
giants and floating castles and Gods that run amok.  

> <big .sig snipped>

Cut out the damn .signature!  Or at least make it smaller!

Daniel Koepke
Forgive me father, for I am sin.

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