Re: Graphical Bar Code?

From: Daniel A. Koepke (
Date: 07/31/02

On Mon, 29 Jul 2002, Leonardo Herrera wrote:

> > The problem with this is that they're harder to read when there's lots of
> > bars displayed on the screen at the same time.  The principal advantage of
> [...]
> Sorry, I meant a single bar, not many.

The bar would reappear every time your prompt is drawn.  Since your old
prompts won't disappear until they scroll off the screen, you could have
half-a-dozen bars displayed at once.

> I have seen some MUDs that don't use numbers at all, or at least not
> visibly. They don't say "you have 10 hps of 30", but "You are hurt",
> same for mana, same for movement. In these cases, this kind of things
> -ie, any kind of indicator- seems out of place, at least for me.

I doubt obfuscation makes for RPG.  The belief that numberless systems (or
systems that hide the numbers) are more or less RPG than other types of
games is an ignorance that is too often taken on face value.  I accepted
it at one time or another, but a little critical review proves it false.
Most pen-and-paper systems don't nitpick over whether you're very hurt or
have 12/50 hitpoints (or whatever).

At best, number hiding in an RPG indicates you're designing for the wrong
audience.  Don't confuse simulation with RP.  Role-players don't need that
type of encouragement.  After all, traditional RPGs are played every day
around the world in dorm rooms which, while dark and dank, are hardly
medieval dungeons (let alone castles and lush, rolling landscapes).  If
people can RP well knowing their HP in that situation, why should muds
(which already provide a better IC environment than the standard dorm
room) need to "encourage RP" by hiding numbers?

At worst, number hiding can be to RP's detriment.  I have a better sense
of how healthy I am than I do of how others are.  So why, then, should the
character I'm playing be described in the same vague terms that some other
character is?  You could describe, in better detail, my character's
health, but this type of description takes more time to read, generally
isn't of the quality you'd find in a decent fantasy book, and eventually
grows stale (no matter how good it is).  So packing all of the information
into text has little reward compared to the amount of time/effort spent on
reading, especially given the short shelf-life of the text.

Has anyone seen number hiding put in use or, better, used it (as either a
player or implementor)?  Did it work towards enhancing role immersion?


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