How does a Mu* become successful?



  • A thread that cropped up in Random Bitching got me thinking about game design, game culture, and over all what makes Mu*'s successful. With the talk of all the games that are potentially coming down the pipe, what can they do to be successful? What is success in Mu*'s? Below is a comment that made me really start thinking on this topic and I'm curious what the rest of the community thinks/believes.

    @Arkandel said in Random Bitching:

    @ThatOneDude said in Random Bitching:

    @Arkandel said in Random Bitching:

    @ThatOneDude BITN is a very good sandbox game. As such it's the kind of MU* that can feel extremely active if you're in the right group and not so much if you're on the outside looking in.

    Oooooooh, I see... So you have to be in the "in crowd"?

    I don't think that's it if you mean a cliquish atmosphere - no one will exclude you, at least more than in most games. From my own (disclaimer: limited) experience but also chats with others it's more that BITN is very event-oriented.

    That means when there are things happening, assuming you can into those things, it can be a blast. Monster killing, creepy encounters, it excels in those because of the golden combination: talented STs, liberal staff and absence of thematic restrictions (your wolfman doesn't need to play under the same rules as the other guy's).

    The issue is what happens when there's nothing happening. There are no politics, things to get, territory to defend from other PCs, goals to attend to, special powers to work towards... so if you try to get on the grid then you're kinda limited in what there is to do.

    It sounds like your experience falls into the latter case.

    It sounds like the monster of the week "wait until event, don't really do much else in the downtime" isn't a bad thing.

    For me I think I enjoy where plots are immersive enough that before/after/between there is MEAT to RP about. Which then leads to more events that allow for a rinse and repeat, full circle, or whatever of RP.


  • Admin

    Success is having a goal and achieving it.

    Not everyone wants the same thing - this took me a while to understand and longer to accept; why didn't everyone want to run/play the kind of game I did? Maybe if I only explained it clearly enough they'd agree? So I took a long time repeating myself in slightly different words until it dawned on me (I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer) that different folks legitimately like different things.

    So for example it's entirely fine to want a tiny very niche game that caters to your exact itch; maybe it's a book series you just read that's sorta kinda popular but not really, so you'll never get many players. How do you define success in that? Probably in getting the mechanics to work for its theme and getting the (probably few) players you get to buy in.

    Other folks, like me, like big games - those are meant to attract the largest number of players, and a core idea behind it is to build RP momentum - if you have a large enough playlist, the idea is, you maximize the chances someone will want to play at the same time you do, and there'll always be things happening somewhere on the grid. What's success? Maybe getting all those people to not hate each other and keeping theme somewhat consistent since many of them will (surprise!) have a different idea of what the MU* is about.

    Some people just like an extra polished game with a tight theme ran on a very specific vision - Eldritch is a good example of that. @Coin (<something about his mother>) ran it and it either worked for people or it didn't; it wasn't supposed to be everything for everyone. Others just want a sandbox and we've seen several of those - the game runs, it's there, +jobs eventually get done... and you can go do whatever you like. What's success there? Probably that it continues to run while there are players left with stories to tell. And some MU* are meant to be vanity projects ('I run this because I can'), often devolving into dictatorships or deserted glorified chat channels. How would you define success there? I wouldn't know.

    My point is... each game that opens has different goals. It's very difficult sometimes to reconcile what the players and what the runners want because the former want something the latter never put on the table.

    When picking a game actually figure out what it's offering as soon as you can then ask yourself if it's what you're after. Don't try to change it to be what you want unless invited to do exactly that or it will become an exercise in frustration for everyone involved pretty quickly.



  • I don't look at a MU's success by number of players.

    Also, I want to distinguish, game vs MU*. Game to me only uses code or roll of some kind for determination and conflict resolution, a MUs is an RP environment that may use rules and code. RP is success to me in a MU regardless of size. People having fun, whether all in on immersive meta or minor social interactions between their own PRPs or even sandboxed adventures.

    People involved and having fun was briefly touched on in Meta vs PrP vs Planning vs Impromptu.

    Its exactly what you say, enough meta with enough to spice the downtime between meta.

    Though success for me is drawing in enough players who enjoy the theme and are comfortable enough with running their own PrPs. The more staff needed to arbitrate, dispute resolute, or physical have to run everything for players, the less successful it is. I want folks to be inspired enough to go out and do things they want to make changes. Meta is a mix of running a few things here and there and leaving it up to IC info distribution and letting players react.

    If I run a scene or two, then post some IC info later, then folks talk and I start getting pages asking what players can do because they're interested, that's more successful then scheduling plot events time and again.

    Realms had decent numbers, 60 or so unique players came by, even when I was done there were 40 players logging on weekly. I do not see this as a success. Players had fun, but there wasn't much getting along. There was meta going on, folks were interested in it (Dorset, a few minor plots on the side that I thought were even better), but the jobs numbered about 1500 in three months and every day of the 10 new ones, about 1/2 was complaints.

    Coral Springs (Island), the one I'm doing now, is small, supers themed, niche. There are about 15 individual players a week, about 25 or so who have chars that check on every week or 2 at least. No complaints, everyone is out doing their own plots, meta is slow and out there, minor changes to the world (the PCs world, not the entire cosmos), and overall folks are having fun. It was barely adverstised, on a few comic places mostly, and is more word of mouth. It just seems to be more enjoyable for me to log in. This is my concept of success, I can staff and still have fun, its not a chore to log in.



  • @Arkandel

    Indeed.

    I mean, if you want to look at the epitome of objective, conventional success for a MU*, look at IRE (Iron Realms Entertainment: Achaea, Aetolia, Imperian, Lusternia, Midkemia Online). Those MUDs make a lot, a lot of money, and have a large playerbase. But I would never strive to make a MU* that is successful in that regard, any more than I would strive to publish a book that is successful in the way that Twilight is.

    To play devil's advocate though, and I suppose rather than waffling on, 'what is success, really' which is probably not what @ThatOneDude was looking for, making an objectively successful MU* is basically about manipulating people. IRE promises 'free to play', gets people hooked, and reveals itself as 'pay to win' once people are invested in their characters and have the need to feel important in the scope of the game-world. 'Live vicariously through your character' is genuinely a sales pitch. I'm pretty sure drug dealers operate under similar principles.

    So you need to understand psychology. Best get your armchair warm.

    A while ago I decided that I wanted to make my own commercially-successful MUD, one which I told myself was going to appeal to the widest possible range of gamer mindsets and specifically draw in audiences that had never considered MUDing or even gaming before. I felt that, if MUDing (I specify MUDs because this is less relevant to MUSHes) is a dying genre, it's because MUDs try too hard to compete with higher categories of gaming against which they don't stand a chance: i.e., MMORPGs. People who want to grind monsters are never going to be satisfied with what MUDs offer; at best, it's a sub-par compromise for people who game from work, have poor connections (which is why I think there are so many active-duty military MU* ers), etc. MU* s are a niche market and need to focus on reaching out to audiences who will love them for exactly what they are, limited capabilities and all: readers, writers, people who just genuinely love text and love stories. MUSHes are a step in the right direction, but few of them are professional/commercial and they don't advertise. This is the only field in which MMOs can never compete with MU* s against.

    In the other, more game-related direction, I'm very fond of the Richard Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology, the author of which is the co-creator of the first MUD and I believe some kind of associate of Matt Mihaly, the founder of IRE. I've borrowed from the theory extensively whenever I've been in charge of any kind of MUD-related building project and tried to see how anything I'm designing can have something in it which appeals to each category of gamer. If I was designing a MU*, even a MUSH, I would definitely lean heavily on this. Not to the exclusion of writing/story-minded members of the community, but as part and parcel with the stories they're involved in and the means by which they become involved.


  • Pitcrew

    I like big games and I cannot lie.

    There was a comment in another thread which said the player was happy when they had the power to OOCly choose who to play with, and others could do the same, and that way everyone could find their own fun on the game. I can't disagree with that preference but I have to admit that for me a large draw of mu*'s is precisely that you're not playing TT with your friends but collaborating with anyone and everyone. Of course if their RP sucks and they have no other redeeming qualities they can piss off.


  • Pitcrew

    For me the answer is both simple yet amorphous, a game is a success if it gains a player base and the players on it have fun. I would also tend to add that it maintains those two conditions for a time frame of at least six months but that opens the can of worms over which is more important quality or longevity.



  • @Kestrel said in How does a Mu* become successful?:

    In the other, more game-related direction, I'm very fond of the Richard Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology, the author of which is the co-creator of the first MUD and I believe some kind of associate of Matt Mihaly, the founder of IRE.

    How I know I'm old: I remember seeing this referenced back when it was a paper on a personal website. Wow. I am really glad to see it referenced and linked in its current form, though; I've also found it very helpful in game design. It's easier, IMHO, to hit all the bases for something like this with a MOO or MUD than a MUX, but that's based on my limited code ability and what was available back when I was still attempting it.

    The code of MUX focuses strongly on the Socializer player type.

    Grids have become much smaller over time, which limits the Explorer; I've looked at some ways around this for a super bizarre project I wanted to try and found some ways around it but there's no way around a somewhat larger-than-people-find-ideal-these-days grid. (That, or I am just used to people shrieking like harpies at any over all grid of more than 20-25 rooms; I'm accustomed to that being a minor side area grid from a main area that may have two or three of those springing from it from the days of MOO, by contrast.)

    Ironically, I think this is where MUX could draw more people in, or provide more options than it currently does, it's just utterly counter to the current game design mindset in a number of ways and it's time intensive on the build side before the doors open -- many staffcorps are racing to open and there's simply no time for this level of detail. To me, personally, I consider this a drastic loss. We used to see more of it. It is/was a fantastic means of imbedding plot elements or story seeds in the setting that players can uncover and then explore or pursue, solo or with STs/GMs or other staff assistance.


  • Coder

    @surreality said in How does a Mu* become successful?:

    The code of MUX focuses strongly on the Socializer player type.

    Yeah, with a bare-bones grid and a lack of immersive code and PK-ing, In many cases it's an almost exclusive focus.

    I agree with @Arkandel though. Success is in the eye of the beholder.

    My most successful game was Battlestar Pacifica, which even at its peak never had more than 20 players logged in. I count it as a success because people still talk about it (mostly) fondly 10 years later. Hey... actually it was almost exactly 10 years later. Heh. Didn't realize that May was the 10-year anniversary. ANYWAY...

    We told a good story. We established some paradigms that have been carried forward in several BSG games since. We built a community that (mostly) got along, and many of us still keep in touch now.

    Those are not the same things that will define success for many other people.



  • @surreality I thought a good bit about Bartle-types when doing design, which probably makes me super old too, and I thought explorers were a tricky one to please since I think it's really hard to make enough content that they wouldn't immediately use up.

    I wasn't really thinking how the larger guild of Arx would appeal to explorers bartle-types, even when I wrote in a bunch of easter eggs- I just found it fun to do from a design standpoint. I kind of figured explorer types would need something meatier, so we focused on a dynamic generated/explorable outside world as an extra little mini-game.

    I think most mushes could do this with softcode but it would probably be more difficult, someone would probably have to make a dozen different random types of rooms with then a few dozen random types of events happening as you find the rooms, generated automatically when a character discovers them and is then able to leave their mark in some way based off the encounters.



  • @surreality said in How does a Mu* become successful?:

    Grids have become much smaller over time, which limits the Explorer; I've looked at some ways around this for a super bizarre project I wanted to try and found some ways around it but there's no way around a somewhat larger-than-people-find-ideal-these-days grid. (That, or I am just used to people shrieking like harpies at any over all grid of more than 20-25 rooms; I'm accustomed to that being a minor side area grid from a main area that may have two or three of those springing from it from the days of MOO, by contrast.)

    Ironically, I think this is where MUX could draw more people in, or provide more options than it currently does, it's just utterly counter to the current game design mindset in a number of ways and it's time intensive on the build side before the doors open -- many staffcorps are racing to open and there's simply no time for this level of detail. To me, personally, I consider this a drastic loss. We used to see more of it. It is/was a fantastic means of imbedding plot elements or story seeds in the setting that players can uncover and then explore or pursue, solo or with STs/GMs or other staff assistance.

    This makes me curious, if beefing up grids would help. You could probably extend social to other MU*s for the most part, or outside of a MUD the balance would be lost. Especially in killing; sure a lot of players like PvP of some level, but with friends and the amount of social scenes or social coordination to get to the killing without it being free for all PvP, its probably skewed more towards social.

    As for grids, the argument seems to be, too big and folks don't know where to go to find each other, or its too spread out. Then again, how often is one bored to go to the same old venue to hang out:?

    But meta, folks can +where/who/etc to mostly find each other. I imagine a larger grid would gives folks enough variety to mix up restaurant play and, while a MUX tends to use code for secrets and such, good descriptions could be inspiring enough.

    I'm toying with altering common room descs just to see if folks bite with interest, curious why it changed.

    As for secrets and such, I've seen it emulated on MUSHes too. I mentioned Nightmare LP Mud as my favorite, because it seemed to be one at the time that hid objects and descriptions. One had to read the entire desc and look at each object to see if there was more too it. A few Mu*s outside of MUDs have done this and hidden it enough so there were no visible local views or +views, but most players outside of MUDs don't tend to think to 'look' at every thing in the desc just to see if there is more too it.

    Edit: @Apos commented on this above while I was writing this.

    Also @Thenomain mentioned considering changing from pages to grid wandering. A lot of places have removed access to unfindable, or when you see it on WoD, you just think they're avoiding certain players mostly when its on. But I'm curious if MUSH could benefit from some of these concepts, dark grid, unfindable, interactive descriptions. Just that it would take some educating or adapting on these being things, when players, at least on a MUSH, tend to think anything possible is visible in a room/location.


  • Admin

    @ThatGuyThere said in How does a Mu* become successful?:

    For me the answer is both simple yet amorphous, a game is a success if it gains a player base and the players on it have fun.

    Well, yes, but that's more true than it's useful. Of course when everyone is having fun things are great, but I think the more useful question is - how do we make that happen? Or... when it fails, why does it?

    A large factor towards a game's success - and where many fail - is actually knowing what it intends to be; a MU* can't be all things at all times for all of its players. And once you know what you want you can then plan for both how to get it and what the consequences are; there is just about always a catch.

    For instance let's say (for the sake of argument) you want to make a big popular game. While there's no recipe to make sure that happens having many players will mean you need procedures in place to handle the workload; the coders must automate as much as possible - so you need more coders - and you need staff to answer questions especially early on - so you need more staff. Now you suddenly have everything else on your plate you'd normally do (make a wiki, build a grid, etc) but also management woes, since you can no longer count on yourself and a couple of trusted long-time friends to carry that load, you actually need to hire out, keep an eye on your folks, be prepared to be unpleasant if they screw up, replace inactives... it's extra work. But to be 'successful' you need to do that well.

    I can't overemphasize how much MU* often fail this simple test of looking at themselves in the mirror at the design phase and not seeing what's there. "Having fun" is a goal, not a method.



  • @surreality said in How does a Mu* become successful?:

    @Kestrel said in How does a Mu* become successful?:

    In the other, more game-related direction, I'm very fond of the Richard Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology, the author of which is the co-creator of the first MUD and I believe some kind of associate of Matt Mihaly, the founder of IRE.

    How I know I'm old: I remember seeing this referenced back when it was a paper on a personal website. Wow. I am really glad to see it referenced and linked in its current form, though; I've also found it very helpful in game design. It's easier, IMHO, to hit all the bases for something like this with a MOO or MUD than a MUX, but that's based on my limited code ability and what was available back when I was still attempting it.

    The code of MUX focuses strongly on the Socializer player type.

    Grids have become much smaller over time, which limits the Explorer; I've looked at some ways around this for a super bizarre project I wanted to try and found some ways around it but there's no way around a somewhat larger-than-people-find-ideal-these-days grid. (That, or I am just used to people shrieking like harpies at any over all grid of more than 20-25 rooms; I'm accustomed to that being a minor side area grid from a main area that may have two or three of those springing from it from the days of MOO, by contrast.)

    Ironically, I think this is where MUX could draw more people in, or provide more options than it currently does, it's just utterly counter to the current game design mindset in a number of ways and it's time intensive on the build side before the doors open -- many staffcorps are racing to open and there's simply no time for this level of detail. To me, personally, I consider this a drastic loss. We used to see more of it. It is/was a fantastic means of imbedding plot elements or story seeds in the setting that players can uncover and then explore or pursue, solo or with STs/GMs or other staff assistance.

    A friend of mine is currently working on an MU* project where he's looking to really amp up the 'explorer' factor in what I think is a rather novel way — rather than having a traditional grid designed by builders, he wants to create a self-creating, dynamic player-driven grid wherein anything you can imagine wanting would be automatically generated (and then be explorable) the moment you enter a command like, 'goto bar'. If no bar exists, the system would then simply create a bar with a randomised name/description, and other players would have a chance of finding it next time someone uses 'goto bar' as opposed to looking for that bar specifically by its new name/ID. And similarly this could be used for generating and linking generic backstory town-where-I-grew-up, where you may discover that you actually grew up in the same town as another player, allowing for the opportunity to coordinate.

    The idea for this came from his hatred of traditional MU* grid-style walking around and the hassle involved in building. He also said he simply didn't want to build a MUD, but something new.

    Which I think brings me to another relevant point: maybe the question in the title is just inherently bad. How does a MU* become successful? MU*s aren't successful. To become successful, they would need to become something else entirely. Were I designing my own, I'd probably combine MUD & MUSH elements with play-by-post and instead design a user-friendly website with a dynamic map/chatroom application, auto-logging features accessible in a navbar, player/character profiles, etc.



  • @Kestrel said in How does a Mu* become successful?:

    [...] he wants to create a self-creating, dynamic player-driven grid wherein anything you can imagine wanting would be automatically generated (and then be explorable) the moment you enter a command like, 'goto bar'. If no bar exists, the system would then simply create a bar with a randomised name/description, and other players would have a chance of finding it next time someone uses 'goto bar' as opposed to looking for that bar specifically by its new name/ID.

    This sounds interesting. I'd like to hear more details. It sounds mostly like a convenience thing not too far from existing MUSH/MUX +travel systems that allow player builds. It would definitely offer flexibility, but I'm not all that sure it would appeal to explorer types.

    I don't think it's particularly viable for MUSH/MUX tabletop-translated systems to do grid exploration. Exploration is really where MUDs (and maybe MOOs?) excel due to the ability to script mobs, special events and other special things. In my experience, yeah, you can map out a whole MUSH grid and know where everything is and maybe notice easter eggs, but there aren't going to be puzzles or pitfalls or random grid danger unless there's an ST, which just isn't the same. One of the most old school MUDs I played, Realms of Despair, specialized in exploration and had all sorts of interesting stuff implemented codewise: shifting mazes, death traps, boss mobs, switches hidden in the room description, etc. Of course over time there's less to explore because you've done everything already, so the only way to keep it fresh is to add new content.



  • @Kestrel said in How does a Mu* become successful?:

    Which I think brings me to another relevant point: maybe the question in the title is just inherently bad. How does a MU* become successful? MU*s aren't successful. To become successful, they would need to become something else entirely. Were I designing my own, I'd probably combine MUD & MUSH elements with play-by-post and instead design a user-friendly website with a dynamic map/chatroom application, auto-logging features accessible in a navbar, player/character profiles, etc.

    Well, I dunno about saying 'MUs aren't successful', since I think anyone running a game they and their players enjoy are successful on their own merits, but I would just rephrase it as, 'In order for a MU* to have strong appeal to role-players outside the MU* community'. And in that I largely agree, though I think it takes a really long time to get there. The, 'yeah we need to replace archaic type terminal windows with something with a more modern and accessible feel off the web' is definitely a big deal and a compelling long term goal, but I think the game can have a pretty strong appeal if it focuses on the other areas you mentioned first, like having stuff that appeals to play-by-post players who has a distinctly different style than MUs.



  • @Apos said in How does a Mu* become successful?:

    I wasn't really thinking how the larger guild of Arx would appeal to explorers bartle-types, even when I wrote in a bunch of easter eggs- I just found it fun to do from a design standpoint. I kind of figured explorer types would need something meatier, so we focused on a dynamic generated/explorable outside world as an extra little mini-game.

    I think most mushes could do this with softcode but it would probably be more difficult, someone would probably have to make a dozen different random types of rooms with then a few dozen random types of events happening as you find the rooms, generated automatically when a character discovers them and is then able to leave their mark in some way based off the encounters.

    This is kinda how it can be done -- or, it could be done that way, I'm sure. Some of the kinds of things I was looking at for the old project concept involved doors that only opened at certain times (sometimes portals), lots of other emits on timers that would go off on specific days and times -- whether players were there or not, really. (Especially effective to emulate things like residual hauntings, which the game's concept focused on a lot; the place was unstuck in time and hints about how to get out would be revealed in these glimpses of its 'history' that people could then later explore/etc. or track down, sometimes on their own and sometimes with staff help/+jobs/etc. It was a super esoteric and abstract theme, which was why it got dropped eventually; the overhead/dev work for it all would have taken forever and that's with the knowledge that a fair 80% of it might not ever get discovered.)


  • Pitcrew

    @Apos
    Now this opinion might make me an asshole, but we also need to decide how much of what is currently MUSH are we willing to sacrifice to appeal to other types of RPers.
    Changing the interface sure I can deal with that, changing the basic command structure less so.
    Cultural things are the same way, there are things I think we should be willing to part with but other things I think we should keep.
    For example most play by post stuff is written in the past tense, that would be one of those unacceptable changes at least for me.



  • @Kestrel said in How does a Mu* become successful?:

    A friend of mine is currently working on an MU* project where he's looking to really amp up the 'explorer' factor in what I think is a rather novel way — rather than having a traditional grid designed by builders, he wants to create a self-creating, dynamic player-driven grid wherein anything you can imagine wanting would be automatically generated (and then be explorable) the moment you enter a command like, 'goto bar'. If no bar exists, the system would then simply create a bar with a randomised name/description, and other players would have a chance of finding it next time someone uses 'goto bar' as opposed to looking for that bar specifically by its new name/ID. And similarly this could be used for generating and linking generic backstory town-where-I-grew-up, where you may discover that you actually grew up in the same town as another player, allowing for the opportunity to coordinate.

    What's old is new.

    A lot of the original Mu's were basically if you want it, make it. Having the 'system build it sounds novel, but also a lot of work. But, way back when, part of the vetting process of learning was learning to code. Some MUDs have MUDs schools, old Mu's had Schools for new chars too, but it taught them to code. My first one was Star Trek: The Original Series MUSE. I liked Romulans and choose to be one, the first thing I did was spend two weeks in 'Romulan Academy' learning to code. I made puzzle box with six sides that would randomly determine the order (1-2-3-4-5-6 scrambled) and users would have to dial it in right to 'beat' the puzzle.

    In the early 90s, lots of places enabled @quota on players and they were expected to contribute to the shared environment. Build a bar, make a ship, make cars that moved, make puppets that interacted with players and otherwise build the shared world together. At some point, people decided this created too much clutter or used up too much space, and the quota was slowly reduced until, like most places today, its either turned off or set to like 1 which is reserved for one private room, which must be @dug by staff.

    Edit: CLean up italics with my use of asterisk



  • @Lotherio Mud School! Oh that brought back a memory. I started out on 4Dimensions and had a builder bit there. I joined the Builders Academy and learned to script and code with the help of Rumble and others, eventually building an intricate and detailed puzzle zone for 4D. (Victorian Zone, if anyone's been on there.) Seems an age ago now. I loved loved loved making scripts and triggers then watching the players trying to figure them out :)



  • I'm hoping for the best with a sort of... 'Choose your own adventure' mindset. Grid modification/exploration, plot easter eggs (some blatant, some more subtle) hidden in grid descriptions, NPC's that hamd out plothooks, random scenes (not necessarily plots) with npcs (gives staff a chance to learn a person's pc better and stay in touch with grid space better), adventures that range from combat to mystery to crafting.

    No idea if it will be particularly successful, but the intent is to cast a broad net, give players more control in direction (without sacrificing theme), and offer the chance to use skills that might not get much use on other games (computers, survival, animal ken, socialize, etc).


  • Coder

    Random Comments!

    Talking about Bartle: Balancing an MMO Ecosystem - Getting a Mix of Player Types - Extra Credits

    Yeah, watch this.


    @ThatOneDude, you come across to me as a lot more of an Achiever than a Socializer, with a hint of Killer. (Okay, maybe just toward me, but anyway.) I can understand why you might have troubles settling into some Mushes as there is not enough for you to do, the PvE elements not hitting you the right way. I don't have an answer, per se, but I see part of your question as partially "why aren't I having fun". It's a question I ask myself all the time.

    I may be wrong in my guesswork, but that's not the important part. I continue.

    But why doesn't a small game have more achievement? It has less socializing, which itself turns to less socializing (watch the video), which leads to more people sitting waiting to do something. I think BitN does a pretty good job of creating an atmosphere where anyone who wants to run events without the drawback of having to jump through hoops. In that way, BitN is extremely successful, and I think the staff was counting on this creating the popularity that would create an upward feedback spiral.

    Perhaps they need more proactive explorers (e.g., writers)? An interesting thought. Anyhow.


    @Lotherio said in How does a Mu* become successful?:

    As for secrets and such, I've seen it emulated on MUSHes too. I mentioned Nightmare LP Mud as my favorite, because it seemed to be one at the time that hid objects and descriptions. One had to read the entire desc and look at each object to see if there was more too it. A few Mu*s outside of MUDs have done this and hidden it enough so there were no visible local views or +views, but most players outside of MUDs don't tend to think to 'look' at every thing in the desc just to see if there is more too it.

    Mushes used to do this all the time. TinyTIM (probably the first Mush) expanded on Mud's scant in-game building tools into more code-like features to make it easier to do. It's why I started Mush Coding. How to create puzzles. How to create interactive objects. How to have room-based commands. How to create mobs and mob spawners. (Trufax: User-created commands used to be locked exits with a coded fail, @afail. My earliest interactive loops were @trigger, @set, and @if. Who winced? You have no idea how proud I was that it worked.)

    What happened was, probably, World of Darkness. The first WoD game, Vampire, came when all us casual coder kids and online gamer brats were in college. Here was this cool, edgy game where you could be the bad guy and sulk in the darkness and listen to Rage Against the Machine all night and never die and oh come on, it was the nineties, what do you expect.

    Anyhow, having a simple platform where you can quickly prototype ideas meant that you could build, code, and socialize all within the same space. It just so happened the first WoD game was a Mush and not a Moo (which probably would have changed everything).

    @Kestrel, I'm drawing your attention here in case you're skimming (god knows I do): Moo used an in-game editor but a more realistic, flexible language. One of the single worst things about using Mush for coding is that it can be ten times harder to do something cool in Mush than almost any other language.

    It's not that Mushes can't have mobs and things, a gigantic game called Firan proved that wrong, it's that it's not worth it. I mean, we're busy implementing a codified RPG. God, the language code we used to have was pretty damn complex too. At one point, if you knew French you could pick up smaller snippets of other Romance Languages depending on how similar or dissimilar they were from French, all the way down to "I don't know what they're saying, but I know that it's kinda Greek-like" for 'Ancient Greek'.

    You want secrets? Damn did we have them. It's possible. It takes time, but the most important thing as a game is will someone use it because if not, why bother? And people started complaining about it. And we killed the general WoD secrets culture. And it faded into obscurity.


    I also remember Mud School. Mush and especially Penn had the same thing. Most of it's online. Most of it's helpful. If you remember the "Free Code Room", I stole that from TinyTIM's "MushRoom" (puns and puns). Maybe it is time to stop constricting build quota.


    @Lotherio said in How does a Mu* become successful?:

    Also @Thenomain mentioned considering changing from pages to grid wandering.

    I am an Explorer. Above all else, I like finding new places, new things, new people, new ideas, new events, new new new. If I can't find it, I make it. (Coder, duh.) If I can't find it or make it, I get belligerent and sulk and sometimes I lash out. It's a problem and therefore it must be solved, and if I can't solve it then why am I there?

    But I'm curious if MUSH could benefit from some of these concepts, dark grid, unfindable, interactive descriptions.

    See Above: Been there done that. Right now the culture in WoD Mushes (specifically WoD Mushes even if they're running Chronicles) is to kill the OOC Drama. That doesn't mean you can't try, but I don't think that will be the tipping point to gain or lose players. I think the game's culture does that, the goal, the interactivity, the staff.


    TL;DR: Mushes have become RPG Game System Simulators where Theme is King. They can be anything, but this is what they ended up being. Most people here are WoD Mushers which also skews what we talk about to a kind of insular community, and sadly sometimes an echo-chamber. This number is changing, and at a nice pace, and I welcome the new more open world of talking about game implementation in general.


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