[MUD-Dev] \"An essay on d00dism and the MMORPG\"

Vincent Archer archer at nevrax.com
Thu Nov 30 10:08:18 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

According to John Buehler:
>   Why bother?  Because now when you want to remember "Captain Cornholio" as
> being a jerk, you just label him or her as "Corn Jerk".  In short, you
> decide how you see the names of other characters, not the players of those
> characters.  Your good friend Devrill shows up as Dev because that's the
> nickname that you prefer to see that character by.  People that you don't
> care to remember, you don't rely on your character to remember.  YOU might
> remember, but your character does not.
>   Obviously, this really requires some means of interacting with characters
> apart from their name - meaning a graphical game for the most part.

Not just that.

Names, notably in a MUD environment, fill two different purposes.

The first is recognition. Even a graphical mud still lacks the details that
our eye-brain complex use to provide instant recognition of people. Notably
(in graphical environments) when they are a little distance away, and all
the painstakingly malleable face details your FBI-style model can render
have blurred in a batch of 8x12 pixels :)

For recognition, a local (i.e. my own private) namespace works as well as a
global namespace, subject to the same restriction: i.e. names must be unique
within your namespace.

The second is interaction. And there, use of local namespaces has a
serious and deleterious effects.

Main is the "worldview filter" effect. If I'm seeing that PC as "Jack",
and my friend is seeing that PC as "Hank", how do we discuss the PC. The
software has to provide translation, and be sure that, whenever I type Jack,
it's the "Jack PC" I'm refererring to, and not having a discussion about
the latest book by Jack Chalker. It quickly becomes too complicated to track,
so I'm talking about Jack, and my friend has to keep in memory that I'm
referring to the guy he knows as Hank. Ok, still following me?

The other is a lack of "handles" for OOC effects. Most muds provide a way
of OOC checking of friends, and direct contact. Without a uniform handle,
it's hideously complex to have someone telling you "Did you know that
our friend John has started a new character, XO", or even the simplest
"I can't help you now, but contact Joe, he might be able to help".

Fragmented namespaces might look good, but they're full of traps.
Vincent Archer                                         Email: archer at nevrax.com

Nevrax France.                              Off on the yellow brick road we go!
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