Re: bpl12 Suggestions

From: Daniel Koepke (dkoepke@CALIFORNIA.COM)
Date: 08/19/97

On Wed, 20 Aug 1997, Geek U.S.A. wrote:

-+ Sounds like you've got the wrong kind of builders. The most important
-+ think to look for in a builder is writing ability and imagination -
-+ game balance is irrelevant if the game isn't enjoyable. Descriptions
-+ are the single most important thing in a MUD (kind of). Anyone can
-+ make a mob using OLC, or even a text editor or piece of paper if
-+ they've got the patience, but good writing is what makes a MUD great.
-+ After all, it's a text-based game, and if the text sucks, the game
-+ sucks. OLC is fine if you've got the right people using it.

I think, in general, that what tools the builders use matters less than
who the builder is.  And both matter less than what guide lines and
help you offer your builders.  You have to recall that not everyone is
well learned in English, whether it's their first language or not.  Even
worse, though, is that often times you have some idea of how the game
could be balanced; but never pass that information on to the builders.

In other words, part of the problem with building, is that you know what
you want, just never have the time or inclination to tell the builders.
Either that or you just don't realize they really don't know.  Whatever
the reason, "templates" or a form of point assigning (see Sammy, I
believe he brought it up) to mobiles/objects wil aid in balance.  As
far as room, mobile, and object descriptions you need to decide upon
what makes them good for you.  Often brought up is, "good spelling,
grammar, punctuation, and capitalization."  Of course, this assumes that
all of your builders know how to properly spell, phrase, and punctuate
every sentence.

If you have builder guide lines, make the "suggestions" or "hints" towards
getting an area approved clear and thorough.  For instance, instead of
saying, "use good grammar," explain some basic rules of grammar.  If you,
yourself, do not know good grammar from bad grammar, you should
probably investigate the manner, or locate someone that can handle the
situation for you.  This way, a builder that takes the time to read the
manual you provide, will be more productive and useful.

Of final importance, you shouldn't give in.  If an area is ingenious,
but poorly put together, you should persist in getting the builder to fix
it.  Don't force him to fix it, just make it clear that under no
circumstances will you add an area that is poorly put together simply
because it has a good idea behind it (or the reverse).  For instance, I
have seen many Muds which feature an Underground/Hell/Hades type area.
More often than not, the idea of the area is one hundred times cooler
than the implementation, but the zone is accessable because people think
it's a cool idea, nevermind the fact that the demons are too weak or
too strong; that room descriptions don't set an enviroment or mood, rather
they list objects and exits (as you see more often).

Oh, and I would definetly suggest checking and confirming the builder's
progress at a variety or points.  First, discuss the idea of the area
with the builder, making sure that at least one of you is keeping notes
(in case any nifty ideas come up).  Make sure he understands that if
the area is not well-designed, and executed, it will not become a
playable part of the mud until it is brought up to the standards.  After
that allow him to build to his heart's content, but occassionally check
to see how the work is coming along.  Perhaps write down any problems
and good points you see with the area at it's current state and tell him
these things.

Of course, if you plan on having more than two or three builders working
on areas at one time, and want to save yourself the trouble of checking
on them, you should probably look for people to do this type of thing
for you (builders not working on their own zone).

Above all else, make sure you "suggest" the changes to the builder, and
guide him into creating a better area.  Attempting to force it or changing
the area by yourself makes the builder feel as if you are taking over his
area, and you're more likely to loose builders this way than not.

Daniel Koepke -:- -:-  [Shadowlord/Nether]

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