Thursday, 4 September 2008 reading list 5

Looking back at the last summary post I made, it feels a little like I was "phoning it in" to a degree. I'll try and give a little more detail in this section. I am also wondering if I should be adding a little more detail, for instance the number of posts in each thread.

1999-12-23: Promoting mudding in general

A proposal for a community effort to promote mudding. Discussion about the perceived value of a free-to-play MUD. The appeal of graphics again. Comparison to Ultima Online. Suggestion of some approaches after which the thread peters into waffling about the support different MUDs have for colour.
2000-02-20: Dungeon runners is getting even easier
No content of note. Just thought it was interesting to see that there was once a MUD with the Dungeon Runners years before the MMO came about.
2000-02-29: After how much coding can you release your own dist
Addresses taking an existing code-base and changing it a subjective amount, then deciding it has been changed so much it no longer resembles the work it was derived from.

Unfortunately, where the poster says "have altered it so that pretty much all that remains original is the area format", in my experience people who ask this question tend to have a detached view from reality of the scope the changes they made. If it were up to me, I would say never.
2000-03-05: I am a builder
The thread starts off with someone asking for a building position on a MUD. The peanut gallery chimes in with pithy commentary. Then the thread gets into a discussion about the proper way to write room descriptions. Should "you" feature in a room description? Some consensus that it is bad in a static room description.

This gels with what I remember from reading something on Discworld MUD long ago, what if someone is being scryed and a third party sees a description of the room they are in. Then it is going to be confusing, with any use of "you" referring to the target (first party with regard to the description) being scryed.
2000-03-01: Gay Programmers Wanted
This thread isn't worth reading in and of itself, but there are some interesting posts made within it. The best quote I include below. Only the first dozen or so posts stay on topic, after which the thread drifts.

George Reese [post]: "Although, one wonders about the need for a mud targetted at gays since, face it, aren't all muds these days just a bunch of teenage guys pretending to be women and having mud sex with each other?"

Right on George, right on.
At around this point, the "Shade" problem became evident in this newsgroup. I will avoid covering with this and note that this was a pedophile who ruined a lot of good threads both by his presence, mention of his predilections and reflection on both of these things by others. It was hard to find a thread which wasn't tainted. Or at least, that was how it seemed to me at the time.

2000-07-04: Need interesting threads (shade-free)
A thread I started after a long shade-free drought in the newsgroup. Exhibits the Google Groups problem, where a response appears before my post in the archive.

Initial post suggests a range of topics of interest to me. The superiority of layered 2D to actual 3D implementation of a game world. Whether the compass directions were a design flaw or a band-aid for problems with the text-based media itself.
2000-08-29: Declaring the Rights of Players
A topic brought to the newsgroup from the MUD-Dev mailing list by Raph Koster. This is not a topic whose discussion I found interesting, so is not summarised, but is included for the sake of completeness.
2000-10-03: Realistic travel times in muds (shade-free thread)
Covers methods of creating the feel of realistic travel taking time, including varying definitions of what realistic means in this context. Dynamic room descriptions. The scale of movement time to in-game world time. Justification for different travel time in different locales (crowds in the city = slower, uncrowded countryside = faster). What players would do during the long travel times (be logged off?). Scripting of character behaviour while its player is logged off. What would players do if magic were arcane and rare? Action and fun while online, your character does the grind while you are offline. Definitions of playability and the repercussions.
2000-11-26: A Discussion of what makes a good RP MUD
Starts with a subjective list posted by the thread starter. Whether RP has to involve good versus evil. Roleplaying professions. The potential of soap operas as inspiration.
2001-12-18: What is a good Description?
Use of 'you'. Forcing emotion on the player. Assuming things about the player.
2002-03-07: Advances to MUD's
A blind query about what should be done differently. Make as much as possible configurable online. Use of database backends. Mapping of an object model into SQL. Use of web UI to make character creation or building easier/better.
2002-05-02: Original MUD Association?
A suggestion that people creating original MUDs band together to share resources, promote their games and more. Subjectiveness of originality. Measuring achievement as a membership qualification. Diverges into value of writing a codebase from "scratch".
2002-09-09: Text vs Visual - Are UO, EQ, and DAoC killing text-based muds?
A short thread about the possible death of MUDs. Allusions to other subjects which are supposedly strangling their competition. References to MUD listing numbers over time at relevant websites.
2002-10-23: Goodbye RGMA
Mock announcement of the official death of this newsgroup given the lack of traffic. Discussion about where the discussion went. Surprisingly, there are no mentionable posts made after this point.
Current position: September 3rd, 2008 / done.

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