Author Topic: Limitations (or not!) on player construction  (Read 991 times)

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Many Faces Offline

Limitations (or not!) on player construction
« on: April 20, 2017, 02:22:36 AM »
Generally, world-building is performed by staff.  Player construction is becoming less of a rare feature and it begs a few questions.

  • If people create public or noteworthy places, should they be included in documentation and/or on maps?
  • Who should maintain this documentation?
  • Should players be able to originate entire towns?
  • Can players create the dominant culture of these areas?  Should they?

How these are answered may lead to more questions, of course...

Clarity Offline

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Re: Limitations (or not!) on player construction
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2017, 02:27:49 AM »
I think, if the structure or location created by the player is public, or well known ICly then it should be included in documentation and any maps created.

If the game keeps an index of character sheets on the website via a wiki or similar, then having a similar index for popular locations both player made and staff made seems like would be a good idea. The creator of the location could then add and update it as needed.

Maps are a bit trickier, though if the game auto generates it like Haven's, then it's not so much an issue. But otherwise, probably best tackled by staff or an experienced player.

As to whether players should be able to create entire towns, it depends a bit on the setting and the style of play. It might be more feasible for a noble to lay claim to a new village and set up over time, or a pioneer/colony game. But other settings it might not be so viable.
“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” Winston S. Churchill

Re: Limitations (or not!) on player construction
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2017, 01:32:51 PM »
I think given time and effort that players should be allowed to change the world. Just going out one day and chopping down a bunch of trees and killing all the wildlife in the area wouldn't suffice. Doing things like actually occupying the area, making camp and showing presence and interest in the task all come to play, especially if its going to require staff assistance to do. But how much time is appropriate?

Whether or not the areas they build become well known would be dependent on certain things. If its widely travelled, sure, it should be documented on maps or in histories. If its secret, probably not. Those are things that IC happenings should influence. I'm not a big fan of maps for everything though, just the well established places and even then, there should be secrets. Maps should only reveal the well frequented areas like cities and maybe main roads. Let players discover the secrets! :D

Can players create the dominant culture of areas? Sure, why not? Again achieved with presence. It can play out virtually also and not just be determined by the PCs. Its usually assumed that the worlds in RPI's are populated, despite the lack of players,  by a virtual cast. Hmm...kind of makes me wonder who keeps track of virtual populations now.

The funny thing about not having documented lore is how stories get mixed up or retold wrong, but sometimes thats not necessarily a bad thing.

Many Faces Offline

Re: Limitations (or not!) on player construction
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2017, 02:06:10 PM »
Well yes, but when do you decide to put player contributions in the docs and who do you let write them?  Say you allow your players to build their own town.  It becomes a huge draw for other players because so much stuff is happening.  The town's virtual pop is small, but the neighboring larger town feels empty by comparison.  If a new player reads the docs and is led to believe the neighboring town is where everyone is, they're going to be confused and probably annoyed when they finally discover everybody is in a little town they've never heard of.

Re: Limitations (or not!) on player construction
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2017, 02:35:30 PM »
Players would get to write up their own docs, but it would be always subject to admin approval. As for new players, I've seen games funnel them into the most populated areas so that they get a better impression.

Things can always happen in these neighboring places, but I think thats more incentive to do more. Small villages could be subject to raids, food shortages, etc. Making a new settlement viable should be hard, steering the less dedicated players to the more populated towns I think. More a question of how creative can staff get with presenting challenges!

Many Faces Offline

Re: Limitations (or not!) on player construction
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2017, 05:33:30 PM »
Players would get to write up their own docs, but it would be always subject to admin approval.
At what point do you think a player encampment/town would merit being added to the public docs, though?

Re: Limitations (or not!) on player construction
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2017, 07:51:56 PM »
Well, thinking about it... If this is a colony of some well established kingdom, I don't see any problem with adding the documentation after it becomes stable enough to survive. Things change, habitations get destroyed. Is there really a big issue with changing docs as time progresses in the game's story?

Reiloth Offline

Re: Limitations (or not!) on player construction
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2017, 09:52:48 PM »
Player Colonies/Buildings should absolutely be included in documentation. One would hope they'd be open minded enough to include Staff in the conversation of how it fit into the game setting (not building a colony of igloos in the middle of a forest or desert, for example).

Staff should (in my opinion) only ever be the arbiters of the game setting, making sure that things are lining up with the documentation and the world's environment, and reacting appropriately.

It isn't difficult to write up a blurb about 'New Hamlet Six' and add it to the known locations in the world, or hell, turn it into a starting location.

The real issue is the 'time sink ratio' that most non-creative types run into often, because they don't understand how to overcome it (by letting go entirely). People (Players and Staff alike) need to stop writing 30 pages of documentation about something they could simply write a page about, and feeling like that investment of time means more than the quality of the time spent.
"You will have useful work: the destruction of evil men. What work could be more useful? This is Beyond; you will find that your work is never done—so therefore you may never know life of peace." ~ Jack Vance

Orin Offline

Re: Limitations (or not!) on player construction
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2017, 11:59:01 AM »
Anything player created should be included on a map or in documentation where relevant, imo.  It certainly gives the players a feeling of accomplishment if say, they appear in the history of the game or on a map somewhere.

House so and so, CE 12, destroyed House blah blah completely (see help house so and so)
House so and so, CE 13, setup a vineyard in the western territories (see help western map)

Maybe a bad example, but it always appealed to me to have that documented activity in the game's history and stuff you could pull up on the website or in a helpfile.
That which I am is not which I was; I am what I am

Reiloth Offline

Re: Limitations (or not!) on player construction
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2017, 11:02:01 AM »
Anything player created should be included on a map or in documentation where relevant, imo.  It certainly gives the players a feeling of accomplishment if say, they appear in the history of the game or on a map somewhere.

House so and so, CE 12, destroyed House blah blah completely (see help house so and so)
House so and so, CE 13, setup a vineyard in the western territories (see help western map)

Maybe a bad example, but it always appealed to me to have that documented activity in the game's history and stuff you could pull up on the website or in a helpfile.

I agree. Honestly it depends on Staff to decide whether what they do is less, equally, or more important than what players do. I personally think it should be 'Equally leaning towards more'. I say leaning towards more because Staff are the ones who will ultimately be doing the work (building, making sure it fits the setting, building NPCs, and whatever other resources). Due to that fact, I think they should have a little more sway with putting in the things they want. However -- This shouldn't mean they only put in the things they want, and almost nothing that players want (which is the model for ArmageddonMUD, for instance).
"You will have useful work: the destruction of evil men. What work could be more useful? This is Beyond; you will find that your work is never done—so therefore you may never know life of peace." ~ Jack Vance

Many Faces Offline

Re: Limitations (or not!) on player construction
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2017, 09:32:03 PM »
Well, we've had a lot of good discussion of the first question.  I would like to get some feedback on the other 3.5, though.
  • Who should maintain this documentation?
  • Should players be able to originate entire towns?
  • Can players create the dominant culture of these areas?  Should they?
Now, the "Who should maintain this documentation?" question is more a matter of "Who takes the time to tell when it needs changing and then changes it?" than "Who adds it to the site?"

For all the questions, keep in mind that each answer carries a weight to it.  If you say players should be able to create entire towns, remember to include the costs and the benefits that led you to say yes.  Do the same if you say no.  I've thought a lot on these questions and really want to get some outside opinions without influencing the direction of the discussion by sharing my opinions too early.

Dunski Offline

Re: Limitations (or not!) on player construction
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2017, 09:25:51 AM »
Quote
If people create public or noteworthy places, should they be included in documentation and/or on maps?

HavenRPG has a pretty good system for mapping the gameworld. Granted, it's an unusually tiny gameworld, but it seems to work great. I don't think these things need to be documented unless somebody builds a literal city or something, which is outside the scope of what I think a MUD can really support.

Quote
Should players be able to originate entire towns?

As mentioned, I can't see how it would really work. What game even has enough players to sustain this? One of the most common problems in RPIs has always been underpopulation. More than three centers of play and you'd need more players than these games ever get. Player dilution is the death of roleplay, but since everyone always wants to make their own thing and have the biggest, bestest thing in order to impress all the girls, you'd probably end up with fifteen towns where nothing happens because each one's home to two or three players who now sit outside the reach of most other players.

Quote
Can players create the dominant culture of these areas?  Should they?

I don't think they can unless you somehow got the game to maintain 200+ players online at a time. It's much better to create the setting with cultures already in place. People are pretty bad roleplayers on average, so unless you happened to get a concentration of the game's better players in the same place and they happen to adhere to the same general vision, the culture that players create would probably be stupid and jarring.

Leech Offline

Re: Limitations (or not!) on player construction
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2017, 12:16:18 PM »
I haven't read every post in here, so my succinct answers are probably going to be repeats of what somebody else said:

All these questions depend vastly on the type of MUD you're making. In the case of MUDs like Accursed Lands or Lament, where players can literally colonize wild frontier lands without any staff interaction, I think the code provides a way for them to both build settlements and keep documents on them in the form of books. It's a very organic, beautiful system. I would add any large settlements to a map maybe, or a short helpfiles but generally I think things are more meaningful when they are only a part of the game world, and not given life in OOC documentation. They're almost secrets.

However, in the vast majority of games, I've seen players absolutely decimate documentation and areas. There's no continuity, there's no quality control, and there's no standard. To quote John Malaney, they're like dogs without horses. It's horrible.

Cartheon Offline

Re: Limitations (or not!) on player construction
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2017, 08:54:38 PM »
I agree that is depends on the setting and theme of the server.  If you're making Minecraft MU*, being able to make stuff is critical.  If you're Murder Mystery MU*, it would serve little purpose.

Many Faces Offline

Re: Limitations (or not!) on player construction
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2017, 03:38:50 PM »
If I could redirect, let me point out these questions aren't hypotheticals about attracting players.  I am far more concerned with getting your thoughts on the maintenance aspect of the questions, particularly where it concerns new players being able to actually tell what the game is like after let's say 3 years of oldbie contributions.