distinguising feature (looking for adjectives)

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William R Sherman

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Feb 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/4/98
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Hi all,

I've been meaning to post this question for a week or so, and the
topic of the raif charter has finally pushed me enough to do so.

Up until Andrew's very recent post describing what is included
in the topics discussed here, I had been considering MUDs to be
a separate medium from I-F -- though with many similarities.
Andrew's inclusion of MUDs as prime topic fodder makes me rethink
this, but I'd need some convincing.

It seems to me that there is at least one significant difference
between I-F and MUDs, and that is that the world of I-F is more
deliberately authored than a MUD experience. Sure, the MUD
would is constructed using some tools, and that could be considered
authoring of the world, but it's less deliberately designed, even
allowing other's to add to the world. Which adds up to much less
control over a participant's experience by the "author" than with I-F.

So, while doing some writing recently, I tried to come up with a
single adjective to differentiate the two media. And my original
question to the group is (would have been): what's a good distinquishing
word? I had come up with "fixed text-based interactive worlds" vs.
"authored text-based interactive worlds" -- where "text-based interactive
worlds" describes both I-F and MUDs, so the words "fixed" and "authored"
are meant to single out I-F. For now, I've settled on "authored,"
but I'm not entirely happy with it.

Of course, at the moment, most MUDs are played over the net, with
multiple participants, and current I-F has not been implemented with
these features, but I think it may be possible to write a multiple
player I-F that is not like a MUD. Then again, I could be way off
base, just asking to be picked off.

Bill

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Brock Kevin Nambo

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Feb 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/4/98
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William R Sherman wrote in message <6b8sqv$9mf$1...@vixen.cso.uiuc.edu>...

>Sure, the MUD
>would is constructed using some tools, and that could be considered
>authoring of the world, but it's less deliberately designed, even
>allowing other's to add to the world. Which adds up to much less
>control over a participant's experience by the "author" than with I-F.

Just a couple of things!

1) Some MUDs have a lot of effort put into their atmosphere and design... so
"less deliberately designed" doesn't necessarily apply.

2) Not all MUDs allow players to build.

But there is one small difference between MUDs and IF--due to the
multiplayerness of MUDs, they are in realtime, while IF generally is not so.

No, wait, make that two: MUDs manage occasionally to be MUCH BIGGER than
most IF games.

<gump>And that's all I have to say about that.</gump>

>>BKNambo
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Patrick Kellum

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Feb 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/4/98
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In article <#DOlpcWM...@upnetnews02.moswest.msn.net>, Brock Kevin Nambo was talking about:

>1) Some MUDs have a lot of effort put into their atmosphere and design... so
>"less deliberately designed" doesn't necessarily apply.

True, there are some very well designed ones. I just wish I had the free
time to visit them :-(

>2) Not all MUDs allow players to build.

But the best ones do. I love building, it makes the MUD a comunnity
artform.

>But there is one small difference between MUDs and IF--due to the
>multiplayerness of MUDs, they are in realtime, while IF generally is not so.

And they become a comunity, something IF can't come close to achiving.

>No, wait, make that two: MUDs manage occasionally to be MUCH BIGGER than
>most IF games.

Ooooo yeah. Ever been on FurryMuck? I checked it out long ago, it was
huge then.

Patrick
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Carl Klutzke

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Feb 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/4/98
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Am I the only person who likes IF, and even thinks there ought to be
multiplayer IF, but thinks MUDs are really dull?

I like adventure games. I like wandering around and looking at things.
Most importantly I like the feeling that I am in important character in an
interesting story. That last bit seems completely lacking whenever I play
a MUD. In a MUD I'm just another player (and I really don't want to
invest the time to become anything more than that).

MUDs are environment-focused. IF is story-focused. Not that a good work
of IF tells a story, but it provides a scenario in which the player (or
players) create a story. MUDs remind me more of a playground. They have
no beginning or end as such, they are just there. And because they have
no beginning or end, nothing much ever really seems to happen.

So I would really like to make a work of multiplayer IF, where multiple
people can participate in a story with a beginning and ending and play
important characters, just a few people at a time, not a hundred strangers
running around. I may need to use MUD technology to make it work, but I
have no interest in creating a MUD.

Carl

PS: Am I just being egotistical? "If I can't be the hero I don't wanna
play!" :)

Mark J Musante

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Feb 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/4/98
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Carl Klutzke (cklu...@iquest.net) wrote:
> So I would really like to make a work of multiplayer IF, where multiple
> people can participate in a story with a beginning and ending and play
> important characters, just a few people at a time, not a hundred strangers
> running around. I may need to use MUD technology to make it work, but I
> have no interest in creating a MUD.

Well, Liza, Spatch, et al, have done a great job hacking up the PerlMUD.
I think getting the basic code for that (it's a single file, which
makes distribution easier) is a great place to start.

I'd like to encourage this project -- it sounds like it could end
up being quite enjoyable.

> PS: Am I just being egotistical? "If I can't be the hero I don't wanna
> play!" :)

The reason I frequent ifMUD (http://fovea.retina.net:4000/ for those of
you who haven't tried it yet) is not for the heroic nature my character
or avatar can attain. It's for the social interaction. Where else
can you hear at 2am on a Tuesday about how Mus single-handedly upset
his school's student body election? :-)


-=- Mark -=-

Andrew Plotkin

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Feb 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/4/98
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William R Sherman (wshe...@ncsa.uiuc.edu) wrote:

> It seems to me that there is at least one significant difference
> between I-F and MUDs, and that is that the world of I-F is more

> deliberately authored than a MUD experience. Sure, the MUD


> would is constructed using some tools, and that could be considered
> authoring of the world, but it's less deliberately designed, even
> allowing other's to add to the world. Which adds up to much less
> control over a participant's experience by the "author" than with I-F.

I agree, but for slightly different reasons.

Some MUDs *do* restrict building to a fixed set of authors. However, on
the MUDs of my experience, the *activity* is always player-generated.
Even if there's a authored story sequence, people don't spend a majority
of their time on it; they spend most of their time hanging out with each
other.

This is nothing inherent to the nature of MUDs. It's a convention of the
ones I've been on. There are probably MUDs out there where the focus is
multi-player IF, created and managed by a single game-master (or a small
set.)

So I'd call Inform games "author-derived", and IFMUD "player-derived".

> Of course, at the moment, most MUDs are played over the net, with
> multiple participants, and current I-F has not been implemented with
> these features, but I think it may be possible to write a multiple
> player I-F that is not like a MUD.

Certainly, in the sense I mean; you could even do it *on* a MUD. Create a
story/puzzle sequence of MUD rooms which requires two or more people to
get through. That area of the MUD would be an author-derived sequence. If
you then tore down the rest of IFMUD, the whole thing would then be
author-derived and not player-derived. :)

--Z


--

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borogoves..."

Brock Kevin Nambo

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Feb 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/4/98
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Carl Klutzke wrote in message <6ba5h1$mft$1...@news.iquest.net>...

>Am I the only person who likes IF, and even thinks there ought to be
>multiplayer IF, but thinks MUDs are really dull?


Some MUDs are *really* dull. Some MUDs are so-so. Some MUDs are K00L.
Now, if anyone would like to point me to any of the third category... ;)

>I like adventure games. I like wandering around and looking at things.
>Most importantly I like the feeling that I am in important character in an
>interesting story. That last bit seems completely lacking whenever I play
>a MUD. In a MUD I'm just another player (and I really don't want to
>invest the time to become anything more than that).


Right-- MUDs start you out as a horrible disgusting newbie. You don't get
to be anyone *important* for ages upon ages. In IF, you are *it.*

>MUDs are environment-focused. IF is story-focused. Not that a good work
>of IF tells a story, but it provides a scenario in which the player (or
>players) create a story. MUDs remind me more of a playground. They have
>no beginning or end as such, they are just there. And because they have
>no beginning or end, nothing much ever really seems to happen.


And nothing really special actually *can* happen. Because other people are
going to be playing, and wanting the same experience, MUDs can't have any
earth-shattering experiences; any fundamental changes in the world would
only confuse people. (Or something.)

>So I would really like to make a work of multiplayer IF, where multiple
>people can participate in a story with a beginning and ending and play
>important characters, just a few people at a time, not a hundred strangers
>running around. I may need to use MUD technology to make it work, but I
>have no interest in creating a MUD.


Can't be multiplayer locally?

[It is now player three's turn. Player two, step away from the computer...]

[are you gone?]

[are you sure?]

[good.]

Uh, nevermind..

Joanna Marie Delaune

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Feb 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/4/98
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Carl Klutzke (cklu...@iquest.net) wrote: : Am I the only person who

likes IF, and even thinks there ought to be : multiplayer IF, but thinks
MUDs are really dull?

: I like adventure games. I like wandering around and looking at things.


: Most importantly I like the feeling that I am in important character in an
: interesting story. That last bit seems completely lacking whenever I play
: a MUD. In a MUD I'm just another player (and I really don't want to
: invest the time to become anything more than that).

[snip]
: MUDs remind me more of a playground. They have


: no beginning or end as such, they are just there. And because they have
: no beginning or end, nothing much ever really seems to happen.

It really depends on the MUD, IMO. I find *most* MUDs extremely dull for
precisely the reasons you describe. (I am referring to combat/game type
MUDs here, not social MUDs, since the focus and purpose of a social MUD is
obviously quite different.) However, on a MUD which actively encourages
and/or requires roleplaying, things are different. True, they have no
beginning or end, but well-played characters have goals and motivations
and problems and struggles; and things happen. Sex, death, and everything
in between. :) Power struggles, wars, love, religion... almost all the
important and interesting things which happen in life can happen on such a
MUD.

I am only aware of one such MUD (although evidence suggests that there are
certainly others in existence). Its address is:

threshold.counseltech.com 23

I'd invite anyone who is interested to check it out.

Joanna

Adam J. Thornton

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Feb 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/7/98
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In article <ufpAdGb...@upnetnews02.moswest.msn.net>,

Brock Kevin Nambo <newsm...@earthling.net> wrote:
>Carl Klutzke wrote in message <6ba5h1$mft$1...@news.iquest.net>...
>>Am I the only person who likes IF, and even thinks there ought to be
>>multiplayer IF, but thinks MUDs are really dull?

>>I like adventure games. I like wandering around and looking at things.
>>Most importantly I like the feeling that I am in important character in an
>>interesting story. That last bit seems completely lacking whenever I play
>>a MUD. In a MUD I'm just another player (and I really don't want to
>>invest the time to become anything more than that).

>Right-- MUDs start you out as a horrible disgusting newbie. You don't get
>to be anyone *important* for ages upon ages. In IF, you are *it.*

>>MUDs are environment-focused. IF is story-focused. Not that a good work
>>of IF tells a story, but it provides a scenario in which the player (or
>>players) create a story.

Actually, the author has created a story and you, the player, discover it
and make it unfold.

I too, think there ought to be multiplayer IF, in the sense of a
story-driven multiple-actor game.

I'm working on something that y'all will find very interesting. In a few
months I ought to be able to tell whether or not I'm going to be able to
make even a toy version of it fly. Watch this space.

Adam
--
ad...@princeton.edu Cynical and drunk and boring someone in some dark cafe

Jeff Hatch

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Feb 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/9/98
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Carl Klutzke wrote:
>
> Am I the only person who likes IF, and even thinks there ought to be
> multiplayer IF, but thinks MUDs are really dull?
[snip]

> So I would really like to make a work of multiplayer IF, where multiple
> people can participate in a story with a beginning and ending and play
> important characters, just a few people at a time, not a hundred strangers
> running around. I may need to use MUD technology to make it work, but I
> have no interest in creating a MUD.

I haven't tried any MUDs, but I would love to play a multiplayer IF!
There are a lot of technical problems you'd have to overcome, though.

-Rúmil

Carl Klutzke

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Feb 10, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/10/98
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In article <34DFB3...@hatch.net>, Jeff Hatch <je...@hatch.net> wrote:
>I haven't tried any MUDs, but I would love to play a multiplayer IF!
>There are a lot of technical problems you'd have to overcome, though.

That depends on how it's done. Someone pointed out that it could be a
"hotseat" game, like some of the first multiplayer computer games. It's
sort of annoying, but it would work with TADS or Inform as they stand now.
I'm seriously considering it. I like making IF, but I don't want to make
or substantially overhaul an IF development system.

Carl


p a t c h.net

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Feb 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/17/98
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Patrick Kellum said "To hell with carpal tunnel!" and wrote:
> In article <#DOlpcWM...@upnetnews02.moswest.msn.net>, Brock Kevin Nambo was talking about:
>
> >2) Not all MUDs allow players to build.
>
> But the best ones do. I love building, it makes the MUD a comunnity
> artform.

Community building (and, actually, community interaction) is far better
suited to a MUSH/MUSE/MUCK/MOO rather than a standard MUD, the usual
objectives of which are roleplay and combat. OLC (online
creation) building on a MUD is a wonderful little creation, but is still
not heavy on the object programming as, say MOO is -- AFAIK, OLC building
still doesn't provide objects that MUSH/MUCK/MOO objects can, or even
provide a proprietary language for the objects (please do correct me if
I'm mistaken on this one; it's been a while since I experienced OLC
firsthand. And ifMUD doesn't count, since it's more a derivative of MUSH
than MUD, at least, after tweaking.)

--
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