never ending game

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crazydwarf

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Aug 15, 2003, 2:16:40 PM8/15/03
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OK I was wondering, has anyone ever made a never ending game before,
not one that you can't beat and not just a realy long game but one
that never ends, sort of like how the HM games never end. Just
wondering thought it might make for a neat game.

Jeff Nyman

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Aug 15, 2003, 2:36:13 PM8/15/03
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"crazydwarf" <crazyd...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
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I would be curious how interesting this would be since if the world model
became static after a certain point, what would be the point of further
exploration? What would entice someone to keep playing? If the world model
*does* keep changing, then that suggests an interesting system that keeps
offering up random elements or something. (I think some RPGs do that. You
finish the main quests and then you are free to roam around doing whatever
you want - even though there is really no point.)

Personally, I only like games that have a well-defined ending. In fact, I
think the ending is one of those things that often lacks in many of the
Interactive Fiction examples I have seen. Currently I have a plot for a game
I have started writing but I am totally unsure how to end it and that is
because I would like the end to be a meaningful summing up of what had come
before.

I would be curious to hear about examples of games that do not end and if
such exist, what is the draw to keep playing them. Also, how do you make it
clear to the player that there is no defined end at all. Do you just tell
them? I would have to assume so, otherwise they might just feel they have
not done the right actions yet to reach an end-game state.


Rob Steggles

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Aug 15, 2003, 3:11:14 PM8/15/03
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"Jeff Nyman" <cryptonom...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:xK9%a.22213$2x....@rwcrnsc52.ops.asp.att.net...

> "crazydwarf" <crazyd...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> news:aa6898e5.0308...@posting.google.com...
> > OK I was wondering, has anyone ever made a never ending game before,
> > not one that you can't beat and not just a realy long game but one
> > that never ends, sort of like how the HM games never end. Just
> > wondering thought it might make for a neat game.
>
> I would be curious to hear about examples of games that do not end and if
> such exist, what is the draw to keep playing them. Also, how do you make
it
> clear to the player that there is no defined end at all. Do you just tell
> them? I would have to assume so, otherwise they might just feel they have
> not done the right actions yet to reach an end-game state.


It couldbe like a soap opera - the overall stroy goes aon and on and on but
within that envelope there are many smaller stories, some of which overlap,
some of which resolve fairly quickly and some take years to resolve.

It would take a mammoth effort to do tthis I should think because of the
characterisation involved.

Rob Stegg;es


Jeff Nyman

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Aug 15, 2003, 3:41:39 PM8/15/03
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"Rob Steggles" <robert.insert...@talk21.com> wrote in message
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> It would take a mammoth effort to do tthis I should think because of the
> characterisation involved.

Yes, that is what I meant about a dynamic and a static world model. At some
point, you would have to set up some sort of randomizer or something, I
would guess, that could seed things in to the game that were not even
envisioned by the author - otherwise you, again, get into a static game and
then I cannot see the point. For example, does the world model have
boundaries? If so, eventually your player will have encountered all of them.
Then what happens? Even if there are NPCs, how do you randomize their
actions and sayings in such a way that their actions are still consistent
and their sayings still make sense? Eventually you run into a finite barrier
of some sort. If you keep spawning off stories you still have that problem
because a story implies a situation being developed, conflicts arising that
halt the protagonist from reaching some goal or solution to the situation,
and then an eventual resolution. So how would a story system spawn off
storyline after storyline like this along with the aforementioned
consistency? (Those RPGs I mentioned, from what I gather, do not actually
spawn off any more storylines. Basically you can go around and investigate
some of the story branches you did not look at during the main quest or you
can wander around killing things. But that is about it.)

Beyond that, would anyone *want* to play the never-ending game? That is
always the question I would ask before I go on a long development spree. To
me it is sort of like postulating the never-ending book. I am not sure why I
would want to embark on such a reading effort. I am wondering, I guess, what
the appeal of a never-ending game would be?


Rob Steggles

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Aug 15, 2003, 4:55:26 PM8/15/03
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"Jeff Nyman" <cryptonom...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:SHa%a.151138$Ho3.17635@sccrnsc03...

> "Rob Steggles" <robert.insert...@talk21.com> wrote in message
> news:3f3d305c$0$311$79c1...@nan-newsreader-02.noos.net...
>
>
> Beyond that, would anyone *want* to play the never-ending game? That is
> always the question I would ask before I go on a long development spree.
To
> me it is sort of like postulating the never-ending book. I am not sure why
I
> would want to embark on such a reading effort. I am wondering, I guess,
what
> the appeal of a never-ending game would be?
>
Theoretically, the same appeal as a soap I guess. And theoretically a
similar audience, though very difficult to figure out how you could sell it
to them. operationally, I suppose it would take teams of writers (lots of
them) adhering to tightly defined style guides and characterisations, but I
suppose it could be done. It certainly would take more effort than a single
writer (unless they were *extremely* prolific.. As you say, though, even
though soaps are hugely popular I can't quite envisage a real IF soap...yet.
But maybe it's worth thinking about.

Rob Steggles


Jeff Nyman

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Aug 15, 2003, 5:29:22 PM8/15/03
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"Rob Steggles" <robert.insert...@talk21.com> wrote in message
news:3f3d48c7$0$311$79c1...@nan-newsreader-02.noos.net...

> operationally, I suppose it would take teams of writers (lots of
> them) adhering to tightly defined style guides and characterisations, but
I
> suppose it could be done.

Ah, so you are suggesting a game that is not programmed once to evolve on
its own but rather that is continually updated by writers. I was not looking
at a never-ending game in that fashion so I see what you are talking about.
I was thinking what was being discussed was just a game that was programmed
in such a fashion that it was totally open-ended and never actually reached
a conclusion of any sort.

In this second scenario, the idea is (apparently) that the game world is
continually being evolved. The problem there is that you have no idea of the
different speeds of your players in terms of how quickly they get through
certain parts. I guess it does not matter, perhaps, but it is probably an
issue for someone. Then again, perhaps that introduces another distinction:
a real-time game (like the on-line game that is updated real-time) and a
game that is static but updated. But if that latter is the case, then how is
that really different from just releasing a bunch of sequels? I suppose the
Space Quest series (from Sierra) could be considered a soap opera. (Granted,
the game series ended but there is no reason it had to in principle.) So if
someone wanted to make a "Zork-like" series of games, they could just
release sequel after sequel after sequel and call that their soap opera. But
then that is not a "never-ending game" - that is a series of games that end
individually, but collectively could go on forever - at least potentially.

Interesting, I guess, but I am not sure how long something like that would
go on before author(s) and player(s) alike got tired of the whole venture.
After a while any game universe gets a little stale. (Then again, soap
operas have gone strong for thirty years in some cases. Then again I would
argue the audience for Interactive Fiction and the audience for soap operas
is a little different.)

Interesting ideas: one is a continually evolving game that is updated
on-the-fly or at certain intervals. (Electronic Arts' "Majestic", although
not a text adventure, sort of did something along these lines.) The other is
a game that is programmed to either evolve on its own or simply allow the
player to explore the world model even after the main quest has been solved
(a la the various RPGs that allow this).


crazydwarf

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Aug 15, 2003, 6:23:41 PM8/15/03
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> I would be curious to hear about examples of games that do not end and if
> such exist, what is the draw to keep playing them. Also, how do you make it
> clear to the player that there is no defined end at all. Do you just tell
> them? I would have to assume so, otherwise they might just feel they have
> not done the right actions yet to reach an end-game state.

Well it could deffinetly not be a normal game of IF it would be easier
to do if the game had more to do with interacting with other people,
or obtaining more and more money, or having tons of little events that
happen. You could have it so you get graded every once in a while and
you could get the best ending but of course you could still keep
playing.

Joe Mason

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Aug 15, 2003, 7:35:04 PM8/15/03
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In The End. (Well, it can end if you die, but there's no other way to
end it.)

Joe

Gene Wirchenko

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Aug 15, 2003, 8:14:46 PM8/15/03
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"Jeff Nyman" <cryptonom...@hotmail.com> wrote:

[snip]

>Beyond that, would anyone *want* to play the never-ending game? That is
>always the question I would ask before I go on a long development spree. To
>me it is sort of like postulating the never-ending book. I am not sure why I
>would want to embark on such a reading effort. I am wondering, I guess, what
>the appeal of a never-ending game would be?

What about the popularity of Sims?

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko

Computerese Irregular Verb Conjugation:
I have preferences.
You have biases.
He/She has prejudices.

Jeff Nyman

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Aug 15, 2003, 9:14:16 PM8/15/03
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"Gene Wirchenko" <ge...@mail.ocis.net> wrote in message
news:3f3d5336...@news.ocis.net...

> "Jeff Nyman" <cryptonom...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> What about the popularity of Sims?
>

True, but, for me, it would be a stretch to call that Interactive Fiction.


Jeff Nyman

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Aug 15, 2003, 9:20:08 PM8/15/03
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"crazydwarf" <crazyd...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
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> Well it could deffinetly not be a normal game of IF it would be easier
> to do if the game had more to do with interacting with other people,
> or obtaining more and more money, or having tons of little events that
> happen. You could have it so you get graded every once in a while and
> you could get the best ending but of course you could still keep
> playing.

Yes, I agree that this does not sound like Interactive Fiction. I realize
that term gets broadened out as people experiment with the genre but for the
kind of thing you are talking about, that sounds more like the RPG concept
or The Sims that Gene mentioned in his post. As far as playing out the "best
ending", if the game never ends, you could not really call it an "ending".
And that is more what I meant because, for me, part of the joy of
Interactive Fiction is in the sense of moving along a path towards
completion and then the actual completion itself (hopefully with a
satisfying ending). I realize I cannot just transpose my views as being some
sort of norm but that certainly seems to be one of the central leit motif's
of most successful Interactive Fiction that I have seen.

Some of the Civilization-like games could be what you are describing
(maybe?). It just sounds like you would want to incorporate the
limitless-RPG-world-model into a sort of Civilization-type game with the
addition of much more character interaction (perhaps a la the on-line gaming
worlds like Ultima Online or Everquest or something).

It is interesting to consider this kind of concept in terms of Interactive
Fiction. I am just not sure what form that concept would actually take.


Gene Wirchenko

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Aug 16, 2003, 1:11:22 AM8/16/03
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"Jeff Nyman" <cryptonom...@hotmail.com> wrote:

I did not call it that. It is an answer though to:

>Beyond that, would anyone *want* to play the never-ending game? That is
>always the question I would ask before I go on a long development spree. To
>me it is sort of like postulating the never-ending book. I am not sure why I
>would want to embark on such a reading effort. I am wondering, I guess, what
>the appeal of a never-ending game would be?

Sincerely,

Jeff Nyman

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Aug 16, 2003, 7:15:42 AM8/16/03
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"Gene Wirchenko" <ge...@mail.ocis.net> wrote in message
news:3f3d9ec9...@news.ocis.net...

> I did not call it that. It is an answer though to:
>
> >Beyond that, would anyone *want* to play the never-ending game? That is
> >always the question I would ask before I go on a long development spree.
To
> >me it is sort of like postulating the never-ending book. I am not sure
why I
> >would want to embark on such a reading effort. I am wondering, I guess,
what
> >the appeal of a never-ending game would be?
>

Yes, I guess I should have made it clear that I was asking why someone would
want to play a never-ending *Interactive Fiction game* - not just any game
at all. (I already mentioned the RPGs that let you play "forever" so I knew
some people like this and might play those kinds of games.) Fiction is often
predicated upon beginning, middle, end and, as such, I was curious who would
want to play a work of fiction that never has a defined ending at all.


Bjarni Juliusson

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Aug 16, 2003, 12:18:59 PM8/16/03
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> Well it could deffinetly not be a normal game of IF it would be easier
> to do if the game had more to do with interacting with other people,
> or obtaining more and more money, or having tons of little events that
> happen. You could have it so you get graded every once in a while and
> you could get the best ending but of course you could still keep
> playing.

How about an evil tyrant in a black castle who has the poeple in an iron
grip, and you, the Hero, has to free them, and so on? You get to keep
playing until you succeed, but there is no way to fail the game. You
could even make it so you can't die, either because you're immortal or
because the guards always just throw you out and tell you to stay out.
The game itself could be just like an ordinary IF piece, but with random
events taking place. Making a good randomizer, so the game stays
playable, would be difficult, but probably not impossible. It would
probably be a good idea to make the game really difficult. Then the
question is why you would want to play the game. Well, the goal is
always there: to dethrone the evil tyrant; but if the game is dynamic
enough, you're not solving the same stale problems over and over. This
is where the difficulty in writing a good randomizer comes in - it has
to produce random puzzles without the solutions being too obvious for
someone who's been playing a while.

Bjarni

crazydwarf

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Aug 16, 2003, 1:14:28 PM8/16/03
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So I am guessing the answer to my original question of has it ever
been done before is no. And I was thinking more of a game that had an
ending, but you could keep playing after the ending and their might be
more stuff to do, and you could in theory keep playing but it would
get boring after a while...

Gene Wirchenko

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Aug 16, 2003, 4:20:42 PM8/16/03
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"Jeff Nyman" <cryptonom...@hotmail.com> wrote:

[snip]

>Yes, I guess I should have made it clear that I was asking why someone would


>want to play a never-ending *Interactive Fiction game* - not just any game
>at all. (I already mentioned the RPGs that let you play "forever" so I knew

Yes. I took the question literally, because it is a valid point
to consider. How other games do it might help in exploring the issue
with IF.

>some people like this and might play those kinds of games.) Fiction is often
>predicated upon beginning, middle, end and, as such, I was curious who would
>want to play a work of fiction that never has a defined ending at all.

I do not see an answer. I think that IF is fairly simple and
thus would repeat too soon.

Joe Mason

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Aug 16, 2003, 5:38:41 PM8/16/03
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Actually, that was pretty common in the early days - when you get to the
end, it says, "You won! Now feel free to explore the caves without
having to worry about monsters eating you." I'm pretty sure Adventure
(the very first adventure game) did this, and the original Dungeon might
have as well, though they removed the feature when they split it up into
Zork I, II and III.

Joe

Andrew Plotkin

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Aug 16, 2003, 6:31:47 PM8/16/03
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Here, Joe Mason <j...@notcharles.ca> wrote:
> In article <aa6898e5.03081...@posting.google.com>, crazydwarf wrote:
> > So I am guessing the answer to my original question of has it ever
> > been done before is no. And I was thinking more of a game that had an
> > ending, but you could keep playing after the ending and their might be
> > more stuff to do, and you could in theory keep playing but it would
> > get boring after a while...
>
> Actually, that was pretty common in the early days - when you get to the
> end, it says, "You won! Now feel free to explore the caves without
> having to worry about monsters eating you." I'm pretty sure Adventure
> (the very first adventure game) did this, and the original Dungeon might
> have as well.

Neither, actually.

_Adventure_ would start printing the "Cave is closing in 20 turns," or
some such message, once you had all the treasures. Then you'd be
thrown into the endgame.

_Dungeon_ gave you the key to the endgame ("Master Game"), although
you could wander around as long as you wanted before using it. (This
structure was kept in _Zork 1_, although it wasn't a key to the
endgame, it was the map to the first room of _Zork 2_.)

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
* Make your vote count. Get your vote counted.

Jim Aikin

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Aug 17, 2003, 1:50:21 AM8/17/03
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Interesting topic. I'm not sure any of the popular IF development systems
would facilitate a game whose scenario was periodically updated. The reason
being, if you save a file in version 1, you can't load it into version 2 so
as to continue from the point where you left off.

One might want to allow code modules to be plugged into an existing binary.
The download would be faster, for one thing. But I'm certainly not enough of
a programmer to imagine how it could be done, if it's possible at all.
Perhaps some sort of versatile, flexible plug-in format could be devised.

On a literary level, I'm wondering what would happen if version 3 didn't
merely _add_ to the world of version 2 but _changed_ it -- for example,
causing a given exit from a room to point to a different destination. You
could script this type of change so as to explain it to the player (at least
in a fantasy/magic game it would be easy enough to explain), but your script
would have to take into account the fact that a given player might have used
that exit previously, or might not have.

Plus, you have to worry about the combinatorial explosion. The larger your
game gets, the more objects you're going to introduce in new rooms, which
will mean recoding the old rooms so that the stuff in that part of the
castle will respond appropriately when you use the new objects. Beyond a
certain point, the development process could become massively untenable.

A plug-in format could address this issue by allowing the programmer to
modify existing classes (and indeed individual objects). Plug-ins could even
be provided as optional purchases, assuming anyone were actually paying
money for IF.

I'm inclined to think the soap opera provides a viable literary model for
this sort of concept. In soap operas, a character who is a good guy one
season can turn into a bad guy the next season. And people do get hooked.
(Right now I'm a massive "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fan, but please don't
tell my friends, okay?)

--JA


Adrien Beau

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Aug 18, 2003, 3:55:17 PM8/18/03
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Myst matches your description : it has an ending, there is more
stuff to do¹, and it gets boring after a while.

¹ It's not "new stuff to do" however, since you can do the stuff
before reaching the ending. There are great viewpoints in Myst,
some of which are tricky to reach; as a fan, I made a point in
seeing all of them, and spent a significant amount of time after
the ending of the game doing just that. Btw, significant means
several hours, not several days.

--
spam....@free.fr
You have my name and my hostname: you can mail me.
(Put a period between my first and last names).

Rexx Magnus

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Aug 20, 2003, 5:35:22 AM8/20/03
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On Sat, 16 Aug 2003 11:15:42 GMT, Jeff Nyman scrawled:

>
> Yes, I guess I should have made it clear that I was asking why someone
> would want to play a never-ending *Interactive Fiction game* - not just
> any game at all. (I already mentioned the RPGs that let you play
> "forever" so I knew some people like this and might play those kinds of
> games.) Fiction is often predicated upon beginning, middle, end and, as
> such, I was curious who would want to play a work of fiction that never
> has a defined ending at all.
>

MMORPGs are closest to the neverending type of game - though granted, most
of them are 3d, or have flashy graphics. The next step down is the MUD -
though that almost borders on a chat client set within an IF type world.
I've not actually played many MUDs though, so that could simply be my
experience of the ones I played on.

I messed about with local MUD servers though, and was intrigued by the
idea of being able to build the world from the 'inside' - with LambdaMOO,
this was.

--
UO & AC Herbal - http://www.rexx.co.uk/herbal

To email me, visit the site.

Harry

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Aug 20, 2003, 6:07:57 AM8/20/03
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On 20 Aug 2003 09:35:22 GMT, Rexx Magnus <tras...@uk2.net> made the
world a better place by saying:

There are countless 'gameplay-muds' out there. The orginal MUD was
heavily based on DUNGEON (which is why it was called a Multi User
Dungeon in the first place) and didn't have much to do with
socializing.

MMORPGs are basically graphical versions of these games. The MOO's
like Lambda are a very different breed indeed...


-------------------------------------
"Nostalgia isn't what it used to be."

http://www.haha.demon.nl
(To send e-mail, remove SPAMBLOCK from address)

Irfon-Kim Ahmad

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Aug 20, 2003, 10:52:22 AM8/20/03
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In article <Xns93DD6BBEE48...@130.133.1.4>, Rexx Magnus wrote:

> MMORPGs are closest to the neverending type of game - though granted, most
> of them are 3d, or have flashy graphics. The next step down is the MUD -
> though that almost borders on a chat client set within an IF type world.
> I've not actually played many MUDs though, so that could simply be my
> experience of the ones I played on.

I've always been intrigued by the idea of MMORPGs that aren't simply a never-
ending series of level changes and equipment upgrades. It doesn't seem to me
that there is any reason that they need to be that way. The problem appears
to be that right now there is this idea of spontaneous story genesis. The
thought is that if you take enough people and make a world for them, a story
or many stories will spontaneously come about. This may be true. However, I
suspect that the experience does not take that form for most players. It
would be interesting if significantly more plot would be injected by those
running the game.

Although it's not massively-multiplayer, one multiplayer online role-playing
game which does this is Neverwinter Nights. (Or which CAN do it, since NWN
itself is just a framework within which you run modules.) I'm playing that
at the moment with two friends. The three of us adventure as a party in a
world otherwise inhabited by the computer. We play through the same plot
lines as you would if you were playing a single player computer role playing
game, except that instead of finding allies or hiring allies to beef up your
party, you have several of you each playing just one character.

Expanding that to a massively-multiplayer universe would be... challenging,
of course. You need to have enough things to do to keep that many players
interested, and enough non-player characters to drive a plot large enough
to involve them all.

Perhaps if "massively" were limited to a hundred or a thousand, one could
imagine something akin to the "V" miniseries -- an alien presence takes
over the world, and a large number of humans organized into small bands
scattered disparately around the world must form a resistance against it.

I think that this is true of MUDs as well; The assumption is that if you
build a world and throw a bunch of people in it, that's all you need.
However, I think that it would be possibly to have massively multiplayer
IF. However, you would need a sufficiently broad plot to involve everyone
and a huge number of objects, non-player characters, etc. I think that
finding a way to segregate the characters into small groups would help,
too, in that it would get over the problem of people coming on and
offline.

I'm probably digressing wildly from the original conversational topic by
now, though.

Rexx Magnus

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Aug 20, 2003, 11:05:59 AM8/20/03
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On Wed, 20 Aug 2003 14:52:22 GMT, Irfon-Kim Ahmad scrawled:

> Expanding that to a massively-multiplayer universe would be...
> challenging, of course. You need to have enough things to do to keep
> that many players interested, and enough non-player characters to drive
> a plot large enough to involve them all.

Asheron's Call (the original, not the sequel - which I don't play due to
lack of content) has a constantly expanding story that is added to every
month, usually involving new quests. The trouble is, a lot of the older
stuff gets made redundant and has to be revamped to keep up with current
content, and key quests need to be changed to fit with the current
storyline as well. It does work quite well.

I went back to Ultima Online for a short time after starting AC and found
it lacking because there was no formal questing arrangement or involvement
of plot - but they've recently started to add things like that, which
helps.

You're right about NWN though - with its scripting ability, it's possible
to create some quite complex interactions that are in the vein of IF.

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