[Design] Design challenge: Bed-time game

24 messages in this thread from mud-dev2 in 2008-06

  1.   Mike Rozak <Mike@mx...au> 06-12 15:06
  2.   Matt Chatterley <matt.chatterley@gm...com> 06-12 15:59
  3.   Zach Collins (Siege) <siegemail@gm...com> 06-16 04:16
  4.   Zach Collins (Siege) <siegemail@gm...com> 06-16 18:49
  5.   Mike Rozak <Mike@mx...au> 07-08 23:34
  6.   Acius <adamhelps@gm...com> 07-18 17:14
  7.   Soyweiser <soyweiser@gm...com> 08-01 22:02
  8.   Peter Harkins <ph@ma...org> 08-04 19:04
  9.   Soyweiser <soyweiser@gm...com> 08-07 15:05
  10.   Adam Martin <adam.m.s.martin@go...com> 08-13 16:39
  11.   missing
  12.   Sean Howard <squidi@sq...net> 08-15 19:12 Bad Terminology: MMO, MMORPG vs. MUD
  13.   missing
  14.   Aurel <aurel.gets.mail@gm...com> 08-18 16:27
  15.   Caliban Darklock <cdarklock@gm...com> 08-20 00:29
  16.   Mike Sellers <mike@on...com> 08-18 16:36
  17.   Michael Hartman <mlist@th...com> 08-20 00:51
  18.   Sean Howard <squidi@sq...net> 08-18 19:14
  19.   McDonald, Stephen <Steve.McDonald@tu...edu> 08-15 19:51 Bad Terminology: MMO, MMORPG vs. MUD
  20.   Jeffrey Kesselman <jeffpk@gm...com> 08-18 18:10 Bad Terminology: MMO, MMORPG vs. MUD
  21.   Jon Mayo <jon.mayo@gm...com> 08-19 21:23
  22.   Daniel James <d@dj...org> 08-07 21:04
  23.   Nick Koranda <nkk@em...cc> 08-13 15:52
  24.   Christopher Lloyd <llocr@bt...com> 08-08 07:52
  25.   Nabil Maynard <nabil@cr...com> 08-14 14:14
  26.   Zach Collins (Siege) <siegemail@gm...com> 08-16 03:58
I've been thinking lately: Before I go to sleep, I often lie in bed reading a good book. I want a computer game (IF, Adventure, CRPG, or MUD/MMORPG) that I can play on my (as yet un-purchased) UMPC/Eee in the same way: in bed and relaxing.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Matt Chatterley <matt.chatterley@gm...com>

2008-06-12 15:59:46
2008/5/26 Mike Rozak <Mike@mx...au>:

> I've been thinking lately: Before I go to sleep, I often lie in bed reading
> a good book. I want a computer game (IF, Adventure, CRPG, or MUD/MMORPG)
> that I can play on my (as yet un-purchased) UMPC/Eee in the same way: in bed
> and relaxing.
I have enough trouble putting the book down to go to sleep, let alone if it
were a game...

Must unearth old Choose Your Own Adventure collection...!

On a more serious note, at one point, I used to do this with Civ (think it
was Civ 3; might have been II) - because its turn based, it fitted in quite
well. It was detrimental to sleep patterns, though. Very.

Just.. One.. More.. Turn.. oh pants.. its morning.


--Matt
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Zach Collins (Siege) <siegemail@gm...com>

2008-06-16 04:16:46
On Mon, May 26, 2008 at 3:09 AM, Mike Rozak <Mike@mx...au> wrote:
> I've been thinking lately: Before I go to sleep, I often lie in bed reading a good book. I want a
> computer game (IF, Adventure, CRPG, or MUD/MMORPG) that I can play on my (as yet
> un-purchased) UMPC/Eee in the same way: in bed and relaxing.
Since nobody's spoken up on this, I will. Time to do some inference
and requirements-gathering.

First: I'm going to say it's an adventure game or CRPG. We'll discuss
multiplayer options later.

To start, let's talk combat. Somehow, I doubt that lots of combat
would be relaxing, even though I've spent many hours dully
slaughtering away in Diablo 1 and 2 when I'd nothing better to do.
Such combat feels to me rather like driving on a long, straight, empty
stretch of highway: sure, it can be hypnotic, but that's because it's
nearly mindless.

Excitation can be good, however. Let's leave in some combat. It should
be relatively easy, to fit the theme of relaxing before bed, but not
mind-numbing. Super Mario RPG actually comes to mind here, but I don't
think a separate screen for combat will be helpful.

Combat should probably not be the central theme. Let's try "variety"
for a theme. We'll have several different classes, and they'll
interact with the world in different ways.

So: What classes to include? How will they interact with the world?

Incantor/Incantrix: Uses magic. Their spells will be performed with
mouse gestures: Click and draw a circle or line, or click on the
target(s). Right and left click will be linked to different elements,
or different types of spell effects, like offensive/defensive.
(Elements? Let's use Chinese traditional elements for the initial
design.) Circles are area-effect or group-selecting. AOE will vary by
spell level, rather than circle size, but the area is centered on the
circle's center. Circles don't have to be completely round. Lines will
be walls. Target-selecting is obvious. Each gesture casts a different
type of spell, depending on the element selected: damage, shield,
heal, unlock, et cetera. New spells and elements are learned as
character level increases.

Warrior: Uses weapons. Click and hold mouse button to build attack
power, left and right select different attack/defense types. Also
double or triple click for variant/special attacks of base power. Each
weapon type has its own combat style based on this method, and some
can be combined like sword and shield. Weapons can have elemental
associations. Power level and special attacks are learned as character
level increases.

Shen: Unarmed. Select maneuver, click to activate. Location or object
clicked is the focus of the maneuver, and ranged or area attacks are
aimed in that direction relative to the PC. Maneuvers can have
elemental associations. One can build chains of maneuvers as character
level increases.

Three classes is good, though I'll bet I can come up with at least
five different ways to interact with the game world.

Party size. Party size is an issue. Do we want one character or
several? Do we want a fixed party size, forcing the player to choose
who joins and who stays behind? In multiplayer, do we want players to
join each others' parties? Will we want NPC party members in
multiplayer?

I'd say in single player we allow parties of up to N characters, where
N is some arbitrary limit based on how many characters an area can
hold without seriously lagging in multiplayer, perhaps divided by a
factor of two or three. A larger party means tougher enemies, though,
and some puzzles should be easier with a particular party size (some
larger, some smaller). We'll also have to write a useable AI with
easily-understood options, such as which spells to cast most often,
and/or triggers for particular behaviors (party member below 1/3 HP,
so heal them). Should the player be able to switch characters among
the party? I'd say no, for multiplayer considerations.

Getting crunchy enough for you? We wanted a simple play system, but
that doesn't mean things aren't complex underneath.

Next class:
Psion: Uses mana balls. Collects mana from defeated enemies, harvested
crystals, and special restore points, might also regen mana over time.
Spends collected mana to create mana balls with particular properties.
Can transform mana of one element into a different element over time
(sliders to set desired proportions). Mana balls degrade over time,
losing effectiveness until they vanish (represented by the brightness
of their glow, and displayed in numeric value on mouse hover). Mana
balls can be refreshed or empowered by spending more mana into them
(right-click and watch the glow/numbers increase), but once a mana
ball is used (left-click on ball to select/deselect, then select
target or AOE center), its properties take effect and it's gone.
Multiple mana balls can be used at once; just select them before use.
This character can only maintain a limited number of mana balls, which
circle the character's head on screen (and are displayed in an
inventory bar below). Max mana, total max ball power, individual max
ball power, number of balls, initial ball power, and speed of element
transformation and ball creation will all increase with character
level. Typical gameplay for this class will most likely be to create
certain mana balls shortly before an anticipated encounter. Note that
some mana balls (like a shield ball) could be continuously effective
on its creator without being used on a target (but things which
interact with it, like an attack while shielded, would reduce its
power faster).

There should probably be a slider for how often one desires a combat
encounter. Something that represents your confidence/attitude or how
obviously you're presenting yourself. Maybe the range can be [
secretive, quiet, confident, bold, outrageous ]. One should probably
also be able to resolve many or most encounters without combat,
depending on the enemy AI's own confidence slider. Or maybe some
creatures want something, and will give you a quest if you talk to
them instead of fight them. Displaying "outrageous" confidence should
actually give NPCs a slight confidence boost because you appear to be
overconfident, making them less likely to run from combat or treat you
as an equal when bargaining. Being "secretive" could also be perceived
as cowardice, leading to taunts instead of the NPC fighting or
bargaining.

Okay, lots of goodies so far, if a bit disorganized right now. I'll
continue this in another post.

-- 
Zach Collins (Siege)
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Zach Collins (Siege) <siegemail@gm...com>

2008-06-16 18:49:05
On Mon, Jun 16, 2008 at 12:16 AM, Zach Collins (Siege)
<siegemail@gm...com> wrote:
> To start, let's talk combat. Somehow, I doubt that lots of combat
> would be relaxing, even though I've spent many hours dully
> slaughtering away in Diablo 1 and 2 when I'd nothing better to do.
> Such combat feels to me rather like driving on a long, straight, empty
> stretch of highway: sure, it can be hypnotic, but that's because it's
> nearly mindless.
>
> Excitation can be good, however. Let's leave in some combat. It should
> be relatively easy, to fit the theme of relaxing before bed, but not
> mind-numbing. Super Mario RPG actually comes to mind here, but I don't
> think a separate screen for combat will be helpful.
While my last post covered a lot of things (and I'm tempted to
continue where it left off, shuffling class names and adding more
mechanics), it mostly focused on combat mechanics.

But combat is excitative, at least when it's not numbingly repetitive.
Let's backtrack all the way, and see if an entirely different mechanic
can be found. I want to create something much more meditative in
nature. But not quite like Tetris, which begins in comfortable
meditation, and eventually ramps up to frenzy.

So.

You are a protozoan. You and your team are a protozoan. You live in a
liquid medium with a very gentle downward pull (soft gravity). In this
medium are other protozoans, other individuals and teams. Also in this
liquid float bits of food and enemy (computer-controlled) protozoans.
Your task in this game is to locate the goal object in a level, and
occasionally deal with obstacles and small puzzles. Food heals you and
helps you grow. Enemies harm you, but become food when defeated. All
encounters are by physical contact, followed by attempts to absorb or
run away. When you reach your goal in a level, you may choose to
travel to a new level or remain in this one; the goal never
disappears, though it may move or change location.

Players may join any level once they have completed several solo
training levels; available levels and completed levels should be
marked for them, along with number of human players currently in each
(if using multiplayer). A player whose protozoan dies will have it
reset to a base minimum size, and will be placed back in the level
menu. Levels will not be password protected, though a thumbnail of the
layout should be available; players are allowed to try any challenge.
There should be enough levels available, or enough separate servers,
to keep player numbers to a reasonable amount in any given level;
perhaps some or all levels will have a limit on number of players for
this reason, which can vary by level.

Health is represented by a green bar, and max size by the black
outline of that bar.

You (and all your teammates) choose a direction to travel by clicking
your mouse in the area you'd like to travel toward. The further away
you click, the stronger the force. Holding the button down or clicking
repeatedly has no extra effect, but simply continues to urge toward
that direction. All vectors from teammates are summed. Movement should
be responsive but gentle.

There is also a prismatic color slider, which sets what color you
would like to be. When you change the slider's position on the color
bar, your color gradually shifts in that direction.
All colors from teammates are averaged. This secondary mechanic
becomes important when meeting other protozoans.

When you make contact with food (and as you stay in contact), your
health quickly heals until you reach max, then the health bar (and
your size on screen, to a certain limit) grows very slowly; the food
visibly reduces until it disappears.

When you make contact with protozoans of differing colors, you each
reduce the other's health until someone dies or runs away.

When you make contact with protozoans of similar color (within a
reasonable distance on the scale), however, you are given the option
to join with them (with a pop-up Y/N button which both players/teams
must say yes to), creating a larger team (and a larger protozoan,
since total max health and size are added together, within limits).
Computer-controlled protozoans will rarely want to match colors with
you, and could give up control if you join with them. (Design choice:
should they give up control, or should the AI continue to make its
desires known? Perhaps make it a random event; in any case, only one
AI per team should be allowed, to reduce CPU load, though that AI
could have the strength of the total number of mobs one has joined
with.) Human-controlled protozoans of course choose their color (by
team average), and human players do not give up their controls. If
similarly-colored protozoans do not both agree to join, then continued
physical contact has no further effect (aside from blocking each
others' movement in that direction) until they separate for a short
period.

If a player leaves the team, either by clicking a button marked
"leave" or "split", or by leaving the game, then the team's max size
is reduced by 1/x, where x is the total of players in the team. The
team's health does not reduce proportionally, but will reduce to match
max size if health was a higher value; the team's color shifts toward
its new average, just as if someone had changed their slider. However,
the individual who has split off will have a max size and health of
(1/x * current team health). The individual's color also shifts from
the averaged team color over to their personal choice. If one splits
away from an AI, it will resume mob status.

Team communication is left as an exercise for the reader; there are
several options, including having no means of direct communication
except vector and color, which leaves team behavior almost as an
exercise in Zen.

In-game obstacles may include cliffs/land surfaces, the surface of the
liquid, wave generators, spikes, bombs, and other things to be
imagined.

Overall, that sounds to me like something more relaxing than your
typical dungeon hack, though it will definitely have moments of
intensity and excitement, as well as occasional frustration.

-- 
Zach Collins (Siege)
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Zach Collins wrote:
> But combat is excitative, at least when it's not numbingly repetitive.
Good point. Too much adrenaline is bad for sleep.


> You are a protozoan. You and your team are a protozoan.
I've never had a dream that I was a protozoan... I suspect that being a 
protozoan being chased by an amoeba would make for an interesting stress 
dream; certainly differnt than being chased by orcs.  :-)

Humorous anecdote: When I worked at Microsoft, one of my coworkers had a 
stress dream that he was naked... but he wasn't naked and taking a math 
test, or anything cliche. He was running (naked) through the halls of 
Microsoft being chased by Bill Gates. The dream occurred because of an 
upcoming meeting with Bill Gates that he was preparing for.


I think you might be jumping the gun on game-design specifics. Some broader 
issues must be dealt with first:

- Mininotebook/UMPC screens are very small. How does this affect gameplay?

- Using a mouse (touchpad) on a mininotebook/UMPC isn't all that easy, 
particularly when it's resting on your lap/stomach.

- Same issues with keyboards that are really tiny and resting on your 
lap/stomach.

- Some UMPCs have touch screens and no keyboard; this changes the experience 
too.

- Is it good to play game-audio in bed at night and wake up others? Or does 
the player wear headphones (with a cord that gets tangled up)? Or no sound 
in the game at all?

- Does battery life and limited CPU affect the game design?

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Acius <adamhelps@gm...com>

2008-07-18 17:14:36
Mike Rozak wrote:
> Zach Collins wrote:
>> But combat is excitative, at least when it's not numbingly repetitive.
> 
> Good point. Too much adrenaline is bad for sleep.
Because it's a bed-time game, Any kind of twitch gameplay is bad for 
sleep. Any time you're forcing your brain to work faster, you're pushing 
yourself awake.

Combat need not be twitch gameplay, however. Tactical turn-based combat 
lets you carefully consider everything, and take as long as you want to 
choose where to go. That said, I've been kept up later by tactical 
turn-based games than by any other kinds :-P. So there are more things 
to keep you awake than adrenaline.

> I think you might be jumping the gun on game-design specifics. Some 
> broader issues must be dealt with first:
> 
> - Mininotebook/UMPC screens are very small. How does this affect gameplay?
I assume that the answer is mostly to keep the on-screen information 
minimal--lightweight heads-up display, and don't overcomplicate things.

> - Using a mouse (touchpad) on a mininotebook/UMPC isn't all that easy, 
> particularly when it's resting on your lap/stomach.
It doesn't matter if the game isn't twitchy, but it would be polite to 
make the click-targets large. We're assuming the player is tired.

> - Same issues with keyboards that are really tiny and resting on your 
> lap/stomach.
Don't require the player to type a novel. Single-key commands are preferred.

> - Some UMPCs have touch screens and no keyboard; this changes the 
> experience too.
Yup, you tend to end up with spatial games, like moving pieces around on 
a board, rather than games that use text or arrays of commands.

> - Is it good to play game-audio in bed at night and wake up others? Or 
> does the player wear headphones (with a cord that gets tangled up)? Or 
> no sound in the game at all?
For bed-time? Silence is golden. That, or the sounds need to be very 
relaxing. Lots of ocean waves, waterfall noises, rain drops...

> - Does battery life and limited CPU affect the game design?
Make sure you save game state often ^_^. Most of the screens on the 
small devices can't do high-motion graphics anyway, so you're probably 
going to be doing a 2-D game with a lot of still images or sprites.

Since part of the purpose of a bed-time game is to get the player 
relaxed and sleepy, it makes sense to target and reward mental tasks 
that make you tired. In my case, that would be memorization, mental 
arithmetic, and some kinds of puzzle solving. Problems involving quick 
movement, social interaction, and the little 'rush' I get from reaching 
stated goals are going to wake me up a bit. Since we're trying to be 
multiplayer, perhaps the social interaction can be delayed? (more email 
than IM)

One style of game that seems appropriate is the Ikariam/Travian style of 
web-based empire building. The games run in real time, but moves often 
take several hours to complete. A game that explicitly encourages 
logging in at bed-time, checking yesterday's results, making several 
moves, and then logging off seems appropriate for the design goals. An 
added benefit is that, by limiting the amount you can do at once, 
there's a cap on how late you can stay up playing it. I'm sure there are 
a lot of other directions you can go with the idea, however.

-- Adam Helps
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Soyweiser <soyweiser@gm...com>

2008-08-01 22:02:30
On Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 7:14 PM, Acius <adamhelps@gm...com> wrote:

>
>
> I assume that the answer is mostly to keep the on-screen information
> minimal--lightweight heads-up display, and don't overcomplicate things.
>  Don't require the player to type a novel. Single-key commands are
> preferred.
> Yup, you tend to end up with spatial games, like moving pieces around on a
> board, rather than games that use text or arrays of commands.
> For bed-time? Silence is golden. That, or the sounds need to be very
> relaxing. Lots of ocean waves, waterfall noises, rain drops...
> Make sure you save game state often ^_^. Most of the screens on the small
> devices can't do high-motion graphics anyway, so you're probably going to be
> doing a 2-D game with a lot of still images or sprites.
>
> Since part of the purpose of a bed-time game is to get the player relaxed
> and sleepy, it makes sense to target and reward mental tasks that make you
> tired. In my case, that would be memorization, mental arithmetic, and some
> kinds of puzzle solving. Problems involving quick movement, social
> interaction, and the little 'rush' I get from reaching stated goals are
> going to wake me up a bit. Since we're trying to be multiplayer, perhaps the
> social interaction can be delayed? (more email than IM)
>
> One style of game that seems appropriate is the Ikariam/Travian style of
> web-based empire building. The games run in real time, but moves often take
> several hours to complete. A game that explicitly encourages logging in at
> bed-time, checking yesterday's results, making several moves, and then
> logging off seems appropriate for the design goals. An added benefit is
> that, by limiting the amount you can do at once, there's a cap on how late
> you can stay up playing it. I'm sure there are a lot of other directions you
> can go with the idea, however.
Perhaps something like a coffeebreak roguelike. These are supposed to have
low graphic requirements, little sound, fairly low complexity (for a
roguelike, this can still be a bit to much). And they should not take up to
much time.

http://roguebasin.roguelikedevelopment.org/index.php?title=Coffeebreak_roguelike

--
Soyweiser
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On Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 11:14:36AM -0600, Acius wrote:
> One style of game that seems appropriate is the Ikariam/Travian style of  
> web-based empire building.
On a tangent, does anyone know of a nice name for this class of games?
Think of games like:

* Earth 2025
* Ikariam
* Jennifer Government
* Planetarion
* Simcountry
* Trade Wars
* Travian
* Utopia

The common features seem to be:

* Turn-based, usually turns granted every X hours
* But events happen in real-time, like an army taking 2h to march
* Almost exclusively PVP
* Players are usually countries/companies/planets rather than individuals
* Multiplayer, dozens to tens of thousands per server
* Often several games running at different timescales
* Often very stat-heavy, few or no graphics on top of them
* Rarely commercial, but when they are, commercialization is:
  - Subscription to reach pay-only server
  - Unlock late-game content
  - Virtual currency to buy items/bonuses

I admit completely they're not muds, but they share a lot of features.
I'm continously surprised by how large some of the crude games get. They
feel to me a lot like muds of the early 90s: hobbyists running world
games with a slowly rising trend of commercial products. I've got a few
browser game designs I've been considering building, I just don't even
know what to call the genre. Thoughts?

--
Peter Harkins  -  http://push.cx  -  http://NearbyGamers.com


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Soyweiser <soyweiser@gm...com>

2008-08-07 15:05:42
On Mon, Aug 4, 2008 at 9:04 PM, Peter Harkins <ph@ma...org> wrote:

> On Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 11:14:36AM -0600, Acius wrote:
> > One style of game that seems appropriate is the Ikariam/Travian style of
> > web-based empire building.
>
> On a tangent, does anyone know of a nice name for this class of games?
> Think of games like:
>
> I admit completely they're not muds, but they share a lot of features.
> I'm continously surprised by how large some of the crude games get. They
> feel to me a lot like muds of the early 90s: hobbyists running world
> games with a slowly rising trend of commercial products. I've got a few
> browser game designs I've been considering building, I just don't even
> know what to call the genre. Thoughts?
>
> --
> Peter Harkins  -  http://push.cx  -  http://NearbyGamers.com
On the utopia wikipedia page it was called a 'massive multiplayer
internet-based strategy game', however I think that the term should include
web-based instead of internet-based, as they are played using a web browser.
So something like "massive multiplayer web-based strategy game", a MMWSG. If
you leave out the strategy game it would become something like a multiplayer
browser game. (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Multiplayer_browser-based_games ).

Is this something you are looking for?

--
Soyweiser
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Adam Martin <adam.m.s.martin@go...com>

2008-08-13 16:39:58
> On Mon, Aug 4, 2008 at 9:04 PM, Peter Harkins <ph@ma...org> wrote:
>
>> On Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 11:14:36AM -0600, Acius wrote:
>> > One style of game that seems appropriate is the Ikariam/Travian style of
>> > web-based empire building.
>>
>> On a tangent, does anyone know of a nice name for this class of games?
>> ...
>> I've got a few
>> browser game designs I've been considering building, I just don't even
>> know what to call the genre. Thoughts?
"MMO".

Or, if you're afraid of the MMORPG stigma, try:"Casual MMO" or even go
all the way and just say "Online Games".

But, personally, recalling the Endless War over
MUD/MOO/MUSH/MMO/G(raphical)MUD/M*/MM*/MMOG/3D-MUD/VisualMUD/etc/etc/etc/etc...
I'd suggest: pick the simplest term that the largest number of people
use, worry less about terminology, and just get on with life :).

IME right now the following terms right now are "big" (i.e. used and
recognized by millions of people):
 - MMO (or MMOG/MMORPG but most people seem too lazy and to have
devolved to the TLA)
 - VW (for "anything which is not primarily a game")
 - Social Network (for "anything which is user-oriented and primarily
consists of user-generated content")
 - Online Games (for "any multiplayer game that is none of the above")
 - Casual Games (for "any game which supports drop-in / drop-out
gameplay of as little as 5 minutes per session, at the PLAYER's
choice, not the game's")

So, I'd pick the closest and run with it, or a combination of terms
*if* the thing you're doing genuinely uses the bulk of both those
genres. Then, if you find you want to explain in more detail, then go
ahead - explain in more detail! - rather than trying to make a new
term.
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Sean Howard <squidi@sq...net>

2008-08-15 19:12:31
"Michael Hartman" <mlist@th...com> wrote:
> I really wish there was a way to get back to the very simple term: MUD.
>
> Multi User Dimension.
>
> This explains the general concept behind the genre so much better than
> the crappy MMO/MMORPG acronyms.
>
> *sigh*
I thought it stood for "Multi User Dungeon" ... Or was that "Domain"? :)

Personally, I'm in favor of making a distinction between text-based MUDs
and graphics-based MMORPGs. It's like Interactive Fiction versus adventure
games. Though functionally similar (or even identical), the interface
differences make a significant difference in how they are played,
perceived, and even created.

Also, I'm okay with MMORPGs - I would've liked a better term (perhaps
something you can pronounce as an acronym), but it is standard now and it
doesn't seem worth the effort to change it. I know some people get
flustered with the RPG part, but for my money, if it has persistent
characters in a (semi-)persistent world, it's RPG plenty. Take away the
persistence and you are simply left with an online game - scale doesn't
seem to be worth mentioning since a thousand players or thirty players,
it's going to seem the same to the player since he will NEVER interact
meaningfully with more than a couple at a time.

-- 
Sean Howard

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Aurel <aurel.gets.mail@gm...com>

2008-08-18 16:27:39
On Sat, Aug 16, 2008 at 12:30 PM, Michael Hartman <mlist@th...com>wrote:

>
> Someone influential needs to coin a better term and spare us from this
> garbage MMORPG term. The term itself is unpronounceable, and the words it
> stands for are a gobbled mess as well.
Sure it's pronounceable: more-pug or morp-ug. Take your pick! If you're
really technical you can hold the 'm' for a few seconds and pronounce rpg as
a single sound, but the resulting noise might lead observers to think you're
about to throw up.
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Caliban Darklock <cdarklock@gm...com>

2008-08-20 00:29:57
-----Original Message-----
From: mud-dev2-bounces@li...com
[mailto:mud-dev2-bounces@li...com] On Behalf Of Aurel
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 9:28 AM
To: mud-dev2@li...com
Subject: Re: [MUD-Dev2] Bad Terminology: MMO, MMORPG vs. MUD

> Sure it's pronounceable: more-pug or morp-ug. Take your pick! 

I prefer to say "morpage", which implies "the action of morping" ("Wanna go
morp after work?") and bears similarity to both "morph" ("it's many things
to many people!") and "garbage" ("that's as may be, they're all worthless").


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Mike Sellers <mike@on...com>

2008-08-18 16:36:13
Michael Hartman wrote: 
> The extremely cumbersome nature of MMORPG is what bugs me. I 
> have no idea how that horrid term came to be, and whoever 
> invented it needs to be throw in the same pit as the doofus 
> that invented bind on pickup crafted items (stupid).
I'm one of those doofuses.  The MMOFRPG acronym came out in all its glory
during some meetings I was in at 3DO in 1996; I don't recall who exactly
suggested this and can't pin the blame on anyone specifically.  We were
looking for what to call this new kind of game.  Other suggestions included
"graphical MUD" and even "large-n" game (referring to the number of
players).  

None of the alternatives were or are good ones.  The reason we still have
the old bad ones is because no one has come up with a better one that
sticks.

Forget MUD and its derivatives, btw.  MUD retains its connotative ties to
text games, and besides, no one in the commercial world wants to name a
genre after *mud*.  Even an unpronounceable acronym is better than that.  

> Someone influential needs to coin a better term and spare us 
> from this garbage MMORPG term. The term itself is 
> unpronounceable, and the words it stands for are a gobbled 
> mess as well.
Yep, I agree.  But it's been more than ten years, so don't hold your breath.
Others that have been tried include "PSWs" (persistent state worlds), online
games (too general) and virtual worlds (taken over by "non-game" social
worlds).  MMOG is the de facto term of use -- at least until someone comes
up with something a whole lot better.  

> People have been shortening it to MMO lately so it is easier 
> to say, but think about how ridiculous that is when you 
> actually extrapolate MMO:
> 
> "Our company is working on an MMO."
> 
> "Our company is working on a Massively Multiplayer Online."
> 
> That's just terrible.
Shrug.  I usualy see this with the 'G' attached.  And anyway, this is no
worse than the big signs I see saying things like "ATM Machine" or
references in government documents to your "PIN Number."  If you're looking
for logic, reason, consistency, and terms that always make sense, well,
you're in the wrong species.


Mike Sellers

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Michael Hartman <mlist@th...com>

2008-08-20 00:51:10
Mike Sellers wrote:
> Forget MUD and its derivatives, btw.  MUD retains its connotative ties to
> text games, and besides, no one in the commercial world wants to name a
> genre after *mud*.  Even an unpronounceable acronym is better than that.  
I think you are right, but this is a shame. MUD works so much better 
than everything else that has come after it.

> Yep, I agree.  But it's been more than ten years, so don't hold your breath.
*face turning purple*

Don't what?

> Others that have been tried include "PSWs" (persistent state worlds), online
> games (too general) and virtual worlds (taken over by "non-game" social
> worlds).  MMOG is the de facto term of use -- at least until someone comes
> up with something a whole lot better.  
I hope that someone will. I think what is likely to happen is there will 
be a lot of bad attempts (like PSW) until someone comes up with 
something perfect that catches fire. Then we'll all wonder why we 
weren't the one who coined the new term.




-- 
Michael Hartman, J.D. (http://www.frogdice.com)
President & CEO, Frogdice, Inc.
University of Georgia School of Law, 1995-1998
Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, 1990-1994
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Sean Howard <squidi@sq...net>

2008-08-18 19:14:42
"Michael Hartman" <mlist@th...com> wrote:
> The extremely cumbersome nature of MMORPG is what bugs me. I have no
> idea how that horrid term came to be, and whoever invented it needs to
> be throw in the same pit as the doofus that invented bind on pickup
> crafted items (stupid).
I think it was originally used with Ultima Online (at least that's what my
hazy memory remembers) as a marketing term. Trying to sell the scale of
it, I guess.

Tried to look up Habitat / Club Caribe (really the first "MMORPG") and
found some sweet promotional videos on it - first time I've seen Habitat
in motion in twenty years.

http://www.vwtimeline.org/artifacts/video/habitat-caribe-80s/index.html

- they just describe it as a parallel world for the most part. Still, the
first video is really interesting for how they try to sell the concept of
a virtual world when there wasn't really anything like it at the time.

> Someone influential needs to coin a better term and spare us from this
> garbage MMORPG term. The term itself is unpronounceable, and the words
> it stands for are a gobbled mess as well.
I agree. I hate it when people say "ma-mor-pa-ger" (most people I know
just call it "morp"). And the "massive" part is really a misnomer anyway.
Outside of UO and SWG, most MMORPGs just have random strangers you never
interact with in a world that never changes. The only way the massive part
applies is through the auction house. WoW could be single player for all
it really matters.

I'm in favor of bring "virtual worlds" back, but "virtual" has a sort of
80s ring to it and has fallen out of style thanks to the spectacular
failure of virtual reality. Persistent worlds is better maybe, but like I
said, not entirely accurate.

How about "Simulated Community, Unreal But Awesome"? The acronym sounds a
bit familiar though...

-- 
Sean Howard

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McDonald, Stephen <Steve.McDonald@tu...edu>

2008-08-15 19:51:01
Michael Harman sighed:
> I really wish there was a way to get back to the very simple term:
MUD.
> Multi User Dimension.
> 
> This explains the general concept behind the genre so much 
> better than the crappy MMO/MMORPG acronyms.
Except that MUD does not mean that for most people.  The original
meaning is usually given as Multi User Dungeon, possibly derived from
the single-player game 'dungeon' which was modeled on 'adventure', back
when dinosaurs ruled the earth and computers were huge mainframes.  Ten
or fifteen years later, dungeon became the basis for Zork.  I remember
playing dungeon on the old MULTICS computer.

I don't think "Dungeon" is a positive description of most of the on-line
games you are talking about.

					Steve McDonald
					steve.mcdonald@tu...edu
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Jeffrey Kesselman <jeffpk@gm...com>

2008-08-18 18:10:10
Replies: Jon Mayo
On Thu, Aug 14, 2008 at 3:57 PM, Michael Hartman <mlist@th...com> wrote:

> I really wish there was a way to get back to the very simple term: MUD.
Don't you mean the simple term MUD... or MUCK... or MUSH... or MOO....


Don't blame the acronym confusion on the MMO space.  We MUDders
invented it long before anyone had heard of an "MMO".
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Jon Mayo <jon.mayo@gm...com>

2008-08-19 21:23:38
On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 11:10 AM, Jeffrey Kesselman <jeffpk@gm...com> wrote:
> On Thu, Aug 14, 2008 at 3:57 PM, Michael Hartman <mlist@th...com> wrote:
>
>> I really wish there was a way to get back to the very simple term: MUD.
>
> Don't you mean the simple term MUD... or MUCK... or MUSH... or MOO....
>
>
> Don't blame the acronym confusion on the MMO space.  We MUDders
> invented it long before anyone had heard of an "MMO".
The annoying bit about the term "MMO" is that every online game is
considered an "MMO" by someone theses days, even if you can only play
with 8 other people at a time. What is so "Massive" about that?

I think I will draw the line for "massive" at around 1000 people in a
single area.

(don't get me started on how anything with elves and/or swords in it
is a Role Playing Game)
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Daniel James <d@dj...org>

2008-08-07 21:04:34
On Mon, 4 Aug 2008, Peter Harkins wrote:

> On Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 11:14:36AM -0600, Acius wrote:
> > One style of game that seems appropriate is the Ikariam/Travian style of  
> > web-based empire building.
> 
> On a tangent, does anyone know of a nice name for this class of games?
I think the folks making them call them 'Browser MMOs' or 'Browser-based 
MMOs'. I am not sure that this really covers it, particularly the 
asynchronous and graphics-light aspects which are the defining 
properties in my mind. 

'Asynchronous Stat-based Browser MMO Strategy Games' is ahem pithy.

> I'm continously surprised by how large some of the crude games get. They
> feel to me a lot like muds of the early 90s: hobbyists running world
> games with a slowly rising trend of commercial products.
Many of these games are very successful, especially in Europe (often 
spreading east and south), and incredibly lucrative. GameForge and 
BigPoint are both making tens of millions of Euro annually from their 
stables of games, often re-skins of the same basic engine. A lot of the 
revenue is apparently generated by selling 'protection' for your empire 
whilst you're logged off.

Fascinating and definitely a prime avenue of exploration for an indie 
developer, as the barrier to entry to seems very low.

- Daniel
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Nick Koranda <nkk@em...cc>

2008-08-13 15:52:48
Daniel James wrote:

<snip>
> Many of these games are very successful, especially in Europe (often 
> spreading east and south), and incredibly lucrative. GameForge and 
> BigPoint are both making tens of millions of Euro annually from their 
> stables of games, often re-skins of the same basic engine. A lot of the 
> revenue is apparently generated by selling 'protection' for your empire 
> whilst you're logged off.
>
> Fascinating and definitely a prime avenue of exploration for an indie 
> developer, as the barrier to entry to seems very low.
Do you have any examples of this type of game?  Sounds very interesting.


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Christopher Lloyd <llocr@bt...com>

2008-08-08 07:52:34
--- Peter Harkins <ph@ma...org> wrote:
> On a tangent, does anyone know of a nice name for this class of
> games?
> Think of games like:
> 
> * Earth 2025
> * Ikariam
> * Jennifer Government
> * Planetarion
> * Simcountry
> * Trade Wars
> * Travian
> * Utopia
I had a root around , and while I don't have an answer, phrases like,
"Massively Multiplayer", "Turn-Based Strategy" and "Online World
Simulation" seem to come up. If these games existed in the 90s (without
the heavy dependance on internet play), they're probably be labelled
"turn-based strategy games". 


> The common features seem to be:
> 
> * Turn-based, usually turns granted every X hours
> * But events happen in real-time, like an army taking 2h to march
> * Almost exclusively PVP
> * Players are usually countries/companies/planets rather than
> individuals
> * Multiplayer, dozens to tens of thousands per server
> * Often several games running at different timescales
> * Often very stat-heavy, few or no graphics on top of them
> * Rarely commercial, but when they are, commercialization is:
>   - Subscription to reach pay-only server
>   - Unlock late-game content
>   - Virtual currency to buy items/bonuses
I don't know if anyone is familar with Cities. This is another game
that meets the listed criteria, but is most definately a MUD. There's
actually a wiki dedicated to it, created and maintained by the players.

In a way, these games are adding to/replacing Usenet forums. Usenet and
similar forums are the kind of thing you might log into once in the
morning or evening, check all the threads you've posted on, and post a
few replies. I'm assuming you're not one of those freaky users who
seems to be online 24/7, refreshing the page every minute as you wait
for a reply to a post you made, so that you can immediately follow
their post with "LOL. U n00b!!!!!!111one".

These games also seem to be natural developments of titles such as
Master of Orion, GalCiv and (maybe) the Battle Isle series. Again,
these are all turn-based games that you can spend an hour with in the
evening, just to get another turn or two done.

This brings me to a question: Are all these games, "laptop games"? The
older offline titles were frequently installed onto laptops, as the
kind of game you could take with you on a buisness trip, and play
quietly at the airport, on the plane or in a hotel - Not something you
could easily do with Doom II unless you packed a stereo headset, spare
mouse and extra-large battery or power supply. These bed-time games
seem to fill that niche. Okay, you can't play them on the plane, but
you can put in a few turns from the hotel or airport lounge, even with
a narrow bandwidth connection.

Chris Lloyd



-- 

Christopher Lloyd

Email: crl199@al...uk
Tel:   +47 90 98 90 37 (Norway)
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Nabil Maynard <nabil@cr...com>

2008-08-14 14:14:24
On Aug 8, 2008, at 12:52 AM, Christopher Lloyd wrote:

> --- Peter Harkins <ph@ma...org> wrote:
>> On a tangent, does anyone know of a nice name for this class of
>> games?
>> Think of games like:
>>
>> * Earth 2025
>> * Ikariam
>> * Jennifer Government
>> * Planetarion
>> * Simcountry
>> * Trade Wars
>> * Travian
>> * Utopia
>
> I had a root around , and while I don't have an answer, phrases like,
> "Massively Multiplayer", "Turn-Based Strategy" and "Online World
> Simulation" seem to come up. If these games existed in the 90s (without the
> heavy dependance on internet play), they're probably be labelled
> "turn-based strategy games". 
The terminology for this type of game that I'm most familiar with is
PBBG: Persistent Browser-Based Game.  That's more of an encompassing
term, however, as it covers games like AdventureQuest, which has no or  
next to no large scale multiplayer element.  I'm rather fond of
CyberNations as a good example of a strategic massively multiplayer
PBBG.

Though the PBBG Project (http://www.pbbg.org/) is certainly trying to
gain acceptance of the term, but I'd hardly call it a standard yet.

Nabil
http://www.criticalgames.com

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Zach Collins (Siege) <siegemail@gm...com>

2008-08-16 03:58:41
On Tue, Jul 8, 2008 at 7:34 PM, Mike Rozak <Mike@mx...au> wrote:
> Zach Collins wrote:
>> You are a protozoan. You and your team are a protozoan.

> I think you might be jumping the gun on game-design specifics. Some broader
> issues must be dealt with first:
Actually, I was thinking of creating the protozoan thing as a simple
Flash game, which would run on most machines, even a EeePC, with
little trouble. Kind of like the games at http://www.orisinal.com/
(many of which might be the sort of bedtime games you were looking for
in the first place).


-- 
Zach Collins (Siege)
"If code can be speech, then software can be art."
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24 messages in this thread from mud-dev2 in 2008-06