Tuesday, November 6, 2012

On MUD Design

Been too long since I posted a blog. Wanted to do one but never got around to it. So I said, "up yours, procrastination!" And here we are...

On MUD Design
Alright, I'm going to come right out and say it. I don't like playing MUDs.


Alright, now that that's settled in, let's talk about why.

First thing's first, it's not that I don't like MUDs. I don't like playing MUDs. The idea has so much potential for creativity, it could be amazing. But most MUDs today (and maybe before, but I wouldn't know, I've only recently gotten into the genre - 10 years to late) are either:

Too combat oriented or too elitist.
Too generic or too unusual.
Too spammy or...yeah only too spammy. Information overdrive!

This is a problem. MUDs can do better. They can be amazing experiences that put the "social" back in "social games" and the "RP" back in "MMORPG."

But let's backtrack a little. How did I get into MUDs? Well, it started with IF, or interactive fiction. Or text adventure. Think Zork. This is a genre I couldn't really get started on until I played the wonderful game Vespers. You should go find it and play it. It's great. Seriously.

But anyway, I loved Vespers and started playing all the IF I could find. IF was great. I like reading, I like thinking, I like playing games. We were in love right away.

But something was a little off. They sometimes felt forced. The storyline was something you were locked into. Re-playing a game made it very obvious that there wasn't much room for deviance.

There was another problem. The worlds were empty and tiny. I always wanted to go beyond the monastery gates in Vespers and into Rovato. But I never could. That frustrated me. Exploration is a huge pleasure for me.

So, I left IF for a few months. I didn't play it at all. And then something happened...I recalled a game genre I had heard of before. MUDs. I started to look into it. A multiplayer text adventure? Amazing! I was fascinated!

So I went looking for MUDs to play. I realized that the genre was far beyond it's prime and the greatest games would no longer exist. But I went looking anyway. And I found a few fairly active games. But I just couldn't get into them. They weren't inviting enough, friendly enough, for the reasons I've mentioned before. It's like Shamus Young said; it's easy enough to play a game in a genre you've been playing for a decade, but new players will need a gentle start.

That's what I want to make. Something to ease players into the world. But this does not mean it will be easy. I'm going to make PvP very brutal. Decide to sleep in the wilderness? You'll find yourself dead.

So the game will be hard. But it will be accessible. It won't spam new players with very long chat messages that make no sense. It won't have very long character creation, if any at all.

That's the plan. We'll see where it takes us.

Part 2

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