How to Change MUing


  • Pitcrew

    The other factor, with me, is that I rarely know exactly what my day's schedule is going to look like. If I don't log in to a game unless I know for sure I have time to devote to a scene, I will probably fill my working hours with other things. Sometimes those things will be actual work, but sometimes I'll read a book or watch Game of Thrones or lie down on my couch and take a nap. Even if I do find myself with an afternoon free and log in, there's no guarantee other people will be available.

    On the other hand, if I log in, I might find I have time for a scene after all. I'm certainly more likely to make the time for a scene if I've already mentally committed enough to log in. I might not be able to predict when people to play with become available, so it may not happen right away -- but if I keep the option open to jump right in when the opportunity arises, I can front-load my other obligations for the day to try and make sure I have time if the opportunity does arise.

    Or, to put it another way: you miss 100% of the RP you aren't logged in for.



  • @Gilette said in How to Change MUing:

    @AlexRaymond -- I actually think it is that, that there are still a lot of people who might log in a bit every week but don't really play. And, in my mind, they don't qualify as active MUers.

    Maybe this isn't what you're trying to say, but the implicit attitude of YOU MUST BE ACTIVE AT ALL TIMES AND RP EVERY NIGHT FOR 6 HOUR SCENES is part of what drives more casual players out of the hobby. I don't think somebody who RPs a couple times a week is inactive at all. I think it's a reasonable level of activity and the hobby overall would be healthier if it was encouraged as a desirable median.



  • I log in from work even when not available for more RP than, like, messengers. I like the social aspect of the community and only play with people I enjoy. This also means I am around so that I can be scheduled with, or so that I can schedule RP with others for a time when I am actually available! Also, sometimes I'll get a quiet stretch at work and can actually RP something random.

    But why is this casual approach to being logged in a problem for anyone?


  • Admin

    Let's speak in riddles here for a minute.

    If a theoretical game offered automated stuff to do - NPC missions, resource management, perhaps loot hunting through automatically generated mobs based on the PCs' power level (which a ST would still need to be present for, the combat and plot itself wouldn't be automated)... stuff like that.

    What is the line between what you would consider acceptable for a roleplaying game and the environment becoming a MUD? What would be acceptable to you and what wouldn't?

    How much of such game-provided content would constitute a positive step into changing MUing as the thread's title puts it?



  • This has actually been a subject of a fair amount of thought, back when building a D&D-based game. The code involved in random encounter triggers, timestops, automated combat choicing and so on... it is a FAIR amount of work. I think it is doable, more simply, via player-DMable scenes.

    Template the monsters, give the DM a transparent randomizer for actions for monsters to take, and let them trigger decision rolls, combat rolls/choices, etc... and it absolves them of being the DM from a decision-making standpoint. Thus, they can participate and have fun, without a huge ton of the paperwork.

    There is a few steps a game can go TOWARD MUD-like operation without becoming what is commonly considered a MUD (despite the recent emergence of RP MUDs) which is mob-driven solo play without much other-player interaction. The game I envision would be group-oriented.



  • But, to whit, that is not specifically what I was considering as a change in direction for MUing. I was thinking more along the lines of changing the culture of MUSHes, changing the status quo of the /how/ things are done, and the /why/.



  • @Arkandel To be honest, the MOOs I started on were much like this. Cybersphere is, Ghostwheel was.

    They were fun, and the 'busywork' things got you small gains and filled downtime like the old text non-RP games probably once did between running into other people, and random encounter pick-up scenes would typically ensue.

    Sometimes, I really sort of miss that. It gave people reason to be out and about and wandering, which did give people more reason to randomly run into each other.



  • @Arkandel said in How to Change MUing:

    How much of such game-provided content would constitute a positive step into changing MUing as the thread's title puts it?

    I think Firan proved that there's a market for such a thing. For me personally though it holds negative interest. If I want farming and mobs and random mission generation, I'll go play a MMO. I play MUs for the collaborative storytelling. Code, in general, hinders storytelling more than it helps.



  • To further the thrust of what @Arkandel started and sort of what I was getting at, and others have said after, the distinction of the game and what type of MU* it is informs me what I would expect.

    MUSH to me is less code focused, more RP driven. Just when I go onto a Mu* these days, it is folks in OOC room not doing much. And I can watch, come a posted, scheduled event, the OOC rooms clears and stuff happens. To me it feels like its getting away from the idea of it being a MUSH.

    Feels more oriented towards a MUX maybe, or a MOO. Even a MUCK in a way, somewhere between MUD hardcode, lots of NPC quests and mobs and farming and building to do that doesn't rely on other players (yes, RPI/RPE MUDs have RP between PCs, but generally a player could play solo), and a MUSH environment.

    On the spectrum, I think (and I don't know if I'm qualified to actually say there is such a Mu* spectrum), MUSH is environment provided, some meta guided, but more open for players to take initiative and do things on their own (or page/talk with staff for some guidance if they like), a MUD is more staff intensive with code set up and more control of the game and its focus; everything else is somewhere in between.

    I just think along the way (late 90s), the drive of Mu*, outside of MUDs, sort of drove admin to reclaim more control. Some players learned the code and knowing where it was copied from could manipulate objects in the master code room and such. Others made puppets that snuck around dark and listened as spying devices. Some made objects that they hid in side, and let players pull them around. People got sneaky with the code and abused it, which sort of splintered the concept of the multi-user experience.

    We started with far more trust in the shared environments (heh MUSE), but the trust was lost. Fewer player bases, and while lots of creative folks have left or ran out of time, seems some of the ones not to trust still linger. But instead of code breaking things, its more creep factor these days.



  • My observation, based on a limited subset of games and players...

    For a variety of reasons -- aging playerbase with more commitments, people getting burned out/fed up, MU*s not lasting as long as they used to, etc. etc. - people are more driven to "maximize" the efficiency of their playtime.

    People don't just want to RP, they want to tell their story - whether that's their character's climb up the social ladder, search for a significant other, quest for battlefield heroics, or whatever. 'Bar RP' and random 'meet&greet RP' is seen as a means to an end or a time-wasting filler when nothing better is available.

    The natural consequence of this shift is people hanging out in OOC-land waiting for the players/events that further their story. You get appointment RP instead of people randomly wandering the grid striking up scenes with strangers.

    I personally don't see a problem with this. I see it as a natural evolution of the genre/playerbase, and one that I have no trouble embracing.



  • @Three-Eyed-Crow said in How to Change MUing:

    @Gilette said in How to Change MUing:

    @AlexRaymond -- I actually think it is that, that there are still a lot of people who might log in a bit every week but don't really play. And, in my mind, they don't qualify as active MUers.

    Maybe this isn't what you're trying to say, but the implicit attitude of YOU MUST BE ACTIVE AT ALL TIMES AND RP EVERY NIGHT FOR 6 HOUR SCENES is part of what drives more casual players out of the hobby. I don't think somebody who RPs a couple times a week is inactive at all. I think it's a reasonable level of activity and the hobby overall would be healthier if it was encouraged as a desirable median.

    IMO there's no quicker way to make people quit than by saying, 'your fun relaxation is now an obligation'. F no, people are out of there.



  • @faraday I am just interjecting to say that I upvoted you VERY GRUDGINGLY. Because you are totally right, but I have been trying to pass you on reputation for weeks now.



  • @Arkandel said in How to Change MUing:

    What is the line between what you would consider acceptable for a roleplaying game and the environment becoming a MUD?

    Why can't you consider a MUD a role-playing game? Can't it be both?

    I'd like some more automation. I'd like some more stuff to do with my downtime, whether it be communicating IC through a letter system or hitting code for little resource rewards (appropriately capped).

    Carrots encourage people to come around. Better chance to get RP that way.



  • I like the 'idle time fillers' a lot -- provided they aren't creating such a huge benefit that people feel they have to engage in them to keep up.

    Little stuff to get people out and moving around and bumping into each other on grid is a plus for the people who enjoy it. It just shouldn't be a necessary thing, because then it turns into a grindy obligation.



  • @Arkandel said in How to Change MUing:

    Let's speak in riddles here for a minute.

    If a theoretical game offered automated stuff to do - NPC missions, resource management, perhaps loot hunting through automatically generated mobs based on the PCs' power level (which a ST would still need to be present for, the combat and plot itself wouldn't be automated)... stuff like that.

    What is the line between what you would consider acceptable for a roleplaying game and the environment becoming a MUD? What would be acceptable to you and what wouldn't?

    How much of such game-provided content would constitute a positive step into changing MUing as the thread's title puts it?

    This was the key to Firan's success, because the downtime busywork keeps people logged in and invested when RP isn't happening, which keeps people around for RP to happen. So to the degree you can do it (which is a very high bar, given the next-level coding), you probably should! Proven success formula.

    I think the only lines people really have for that stuff is they don't like the code subverting RP. So they don't like social code (insert 6 page derail about roleplay vs rollplay and social skills vs combat here, phew, glad we got through that) and they get ancy around things where say, you might be able to just take away their land/titles/whatever through a couple commands. The latter category some people would absolutely still want, but it's divisive. I think just about any amount of beating up NPC others would be enjoyed/positive.



  • Well, for what it is worth, all of my coding notes for this MUD-like combat support system are entirely centered around, and limited to, enabling players to handle the mechanics of the monsters/baddies in a way that absolves them of choice-making or decision-making, so that any one of them can 'run' the scene with full transparency.

    Nowhere in my code notes for this system is anything subverting anything that is remotely considered Roleplaying. It is just the combat code, the equipment/crafting/sale code, that sort of thing.



  • Semi automated is still a lot more than nothing. Arguably @faraday's stuff achieves a lot of what is mentioned at least on the combat end despite her saying it doesn't interest her, in that it allows players to handle combats of pretty much any scale or seriousness without ST aid.



  • @bored said in How to Change MUing:

    despite her saying it doesn't interest her

    It doesn't interest me. Whenever possible I don't use it. But I haven't found any other way to do a 12-person combat scene in less than a day, so I view it as a necessary evil on a war-centric game. I have not seen any other code for which that's true. Economy code? I'll just RP buying a drink at the bar, thanks. Crafting/creation code? Just RP it. Space travel code? Shoot me now if I can't use +meetme.

    That's just a preference though. Lots of people had fun with those systems on Firan. It's just not for me.



  • It is the singular one thing that I'm asked about when I list the systems that I've coded. Allowing people to auto-roll successes and create objects that can then be sold, given away, and +equipped as +sheet-altering modifications (think magical sword adding to-hit bonuses, magical armor doing it's expected adjustments).

    Again, it isn't meant to supplant RP but to enhance it. RP the scene making the order, discussing and haggling... then make a roll and give the resulting object in exchange for the requisite coin, and keep on RPing.

    That sort of idea ballooned into an economy system request/interest where non-combat characters could use non-combat skills to set up interests for their character that they utilize off-screen to generate income. Tailors tailored and gained income, miners mined and gained income - or simply gained minerals that they could sell into the planned economy. Players could have a mini game for a stock-market sort of economy, shipping minerals from port to port, buying finished goods and so on... all for the backstory of their profit, their fame, whatever.

    The idea was that shipping lanes affected by war at sea would affect costs, could effect economy, and non-combat ways of taking out your enemies was "born". All just facets to a game. Optional, absolutely, but there if a select group of people wanted to play with it.


  • Pitcrew

    @faraday said in How to Change MUing:

    I think Firan proved that there's a market for such a thing. For me personally though it holds negative interest. If I want farming and mobs and random mission generation, I'll go play a MMO. I play MUs for the collaborative storytelling. Code, in general, hinders storytelling more than it helps.

    I think the little side missions and things to do can actually add to a game if their designed in a way that they push players towards each other. I couldn't care less about having the prettiest coded dress or making sure I get all my prayers/praises/disses in each week.

    @surreality said in How to Change MUing:

    I like the 'idle time fillers' a lot -- provided they aren't creating such a huge benefit that people feel they have to engage in them to keep up.

    This is why I left Arx in a nutshell. Lots to love about that game, but there were just so many little things to do and it felt if you weren't doing them you weren't really involved, and I never had the willingness/ability to check all of the boxes every week/day.

    Little stuff to get people out and moving around and bumping into each other on grid is a plus for the people who enjoy it. It just shouldn't be a necessary thing, because then it turns into a grindy obligation.

    Also yes. A little something to get people on the grid bumping into each other could be really beneficial, I think.


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