MOO-cows Mailing List Archive


Re: Talker-ization of MOOs

My thoughts on the IRC-ing of MOOs.

Problem: No matter how amazing and evocative the description of a room
is, it's still static.  Doesn't change.  Most people only read books
once, really good ones twice, maybe three times.  After that, they get
bored, and choose the most dynamic thing there -- talking.

Suggestion: Make things change.  It's easy to write rooms that have
integrating scenery that varies its description and ordering.  Perhaps
a little harder to make the descriptions sound less like a laundry
list and more like a true description of a room.  (It's a tough
problem -- you have to make details interact with each other and make
them aware of their positions in order for them to mesh well.)  Easier
than that, just go around and change the descriptions manually.

Problem: Interactive objects are boring.

Suggestion: Objects that exist for their own sake are absolutely
uninteresting, and are basically just text producers.  I really don't
care about a virtual washer/dryer -- they're boring in real life, and
they're boring on the MOO.  Make things that have no parallel in RL --
things that just aren't possible normally.  Make objects unreadable,
and code in a robust interface -- nothing ruins the magic of a
carefully crafted object more than the 'examine' command, or worse,
'@display'.  Just make sure those objects are intuitive to use then.

Problem: People teleport to where they want to go, and never explore.

Solution: Disable teleporting ($room.free_entry = 0) and install
walking code.  The JHM walking code is fairly easy to port, or you
could just install JHcore.  But even auto-walking is just fancy
teleportation, so if you don't mind using up a lot of space, you can
make some rooms allow players to auto-walk there only if they've
manually walked there before.

Problem: People just hang out in one room and chat.

Is this really a problem?  One of the tightest-knit communities I've
ever seen on the net never uses MOO -- they talk over IRC.  They even
have their own IRC net.  Heavy handed measures to keep people from
gathering will just dissolve that community and won't encourage them
to wander elsewhere, at least not on your MOO.  Give them something to
do, and they'll eat it up.  This is why non-combat RPG MOOs hold a lot
of interest to many people.  But go handing down edicts, and you'll
just be a petty little dictator, not a social architect.

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