[MUD-Dev] trade skill idea

Matthew Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Sun Oct 8 19:53:45 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

On Sat, 7 Oct 2000, Batir wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Koster, Raph" <rkoster at verant.com>
> To: <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
> Sent: Friday, October 06, 2000 12:43 AM
> Subject: RE: [MUD-Dev] trade skill idea 
> > I would never in a million years be able to convince my aunt JoAnne in
> Ohio
> > to try to save the world from amonster invasion on a computer. In fact, I
> > don't think I could convince any of my relatives to. But I am pretty sure
> I
> > can convince them to build rollercoasters and houses and yes, to bake
> bread.
> >
> > -Raph
> Err, maybe I missed something in these games, but how many of the mud's out
> there actually let someone "save the world"?  Has there ever been a dynamic
> event in any of them in which one of the possible outcomes was shutting down
> the server, game over?

I'm pretty sure that Raph meant 'saving the world' metaphorically. In the
(crappy) movie Independence Day, they "save the world" from aliens. Would
the aliens actually have completely destroyed the world? Didn't look like

> In UO, I have two chars, who, between them, can make every single item
> available for crafting, and make them at the highest possible level.  Is
> this realistic?  No.  Is it fun?  Yes.  Does the fun balance out the
> surrealism?  I think not, which is why I hardly play anymore, despite my
> friends begging (and by the way, I went to the trade skills after getting
> bored with combat).

EBAY 'em!
> You want more depth to the trade skills, add more.  Add interrelated skills,
> just as you do for combat.  Let my "Frying" skill add a little to my
> "Baking" skill.  Let outside influences interfere.  Give a little more
> control.  Oven too hot?  Gee, no wonder I burned the food.  No wood in the
> stove?  Gee, this is taking long to cook...

This just requires you to do more pre-determined things. It doesn't change
the trade skill "problem" at all. Look, cooking, for instance, is a rote
exercise. You do the exact same thing, you end up with the exact same
result (providing your ingredients are identical, etc). What makes a great
chef irl is innovative recipes that taste good. Pretty tough to replicate
that in a game (although I should mentioned that I once designed a
vineyard system for a mud that generated random tasting notes for the wine
when finished, based on grape type, and quality of the wine (which was ,
in turn, based on a slew of factors such as temperature, soil type, how
much rain they got, how long the grapes were allowed to stay on the vine,
how long the wine was aged for and in what type of cask, etc etc)).

The point, really, is that skill in real trade skills is _very_ difficult
to replicate in a game, because they tend to involve creativity and
subjective sensual (as in using the senses) judgements. For instance, it'd
be quite difficult to replicate the experience of Alice Waters jaunting on
down to the Berkeley farmer's market to buy the freshest veggies for that
day's cooking at Chez Panisse. It's not like there are signs on the wall
saying "THESE VEGGIES FRESHEST!" (or maybe there are, but such signs are
to be ignored as nothing more than hype). She's gotta smell them, and
touch them, etc. 

When it comes time to actual cooking, there are recipes that one follows.
You know what temperature you need the oven set to in order to make bread.
You know how long to cook it, and so on. The parts of cooking that involve
skill on the parts of a chef are not parts that can be replicated
virtually very well at this point.

> If you want to stop money farms, stop them.  Why do NPC's buy thousands of
> weapons that they don't use, don't resell, and basically just get deleted?
> Why code that into your game?

Because players want it. As was explained at, I think, the GDC lecture on
"The In-game economics of UO" at last march's GDC, UO didn't always do
this, and it pissed off the players. The players would produce swords, try
to sell them to an NPC, and get quite pissed that the NPCs didn't want
them. The expectation was that "We do work, and now we want money for it."
Players don't care much about macro issues like whether there are "too
many" longswords in the land. They just want to sell the sword they made
and get money for it.


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