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Old 05-14-2009, 08:59 PM   #1
gruevy
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Muds only appeal to certain types of people.

One thing I've been thinking about lately is why more people don't play muds. I think that there's a large market penetration issue (bad word choice intended) but that mostly, the problem is that it takes a certain type of person to enjoy a mud.

I really hate math. I hate it. I can do it, if I have to, but the way that I get my brain to do it is some inelegant, brute force computing that I'm really not comfortable with at any length. However, words, literature, and philosophical and political concepts are cake to me. I grasp them instantly. I can compose a graduate level paper and hand in the first draft and take one hour per five pages. I get words and concepts. I can understand visual art, because I've learned enough about it to know what they are getting at, but most art doesn't move me in the way that it does others. Some does, but not most.

I had a discussion with my friend that sort of blew my mind. He's a math person and machine language programmer, and he said that he can sort of visualize, or comprehend in some way, what all the variables in an equation are doing, or the functions of a program, etc. He can't write a paper to save his life. He doesn't get the point.

So I got to thinking lately about mudding. In order to mud, you have to easily take read textual data and transform it into meaningful congnitive data, and experience that data almost visually. I can learn the pathway between two town pretty quickly, and learn what's where, and what it does, and because I am most able to process written data over other types of experience, I don't think it's boring or hard. I experience the mud much like my friend experiences microprocessors, I'd imagine.

So the point is, can someone who is not an english major learn to mud? Would they want to? With this in mind, where should we be looking for a target audience? Any thoughts?
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:20 PM   #2
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Re: Muds only appeal to certain types of people.

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Originally Posted by gruevy View Post
One thing I've been thinking about lately is why more people don't play muds. I think that there's a large market penetration issue (bad word choice intended) but that mostly, the problem is that it takes a certain type of person to enjoy a mud.

I really hate math. I hate it. I can do it, if I have to, but the way that I get my brain to do it is some inelegant, brute force computing that I'm really not comfortable with at any length. However, words, literature, and philosophical and political concepts are cake to me. I grasp them instantly. I can compose a graduate level paper and hand in the first draft and take one hour per five pages. I get words and concepts. I can understand visual art, because I've learned enough about it to know what they are getting at, but most art doesn't move me in the way that it does others. Some does, but not most.

I had a discussion with my friend that sort of blew my mind. He's a math person and machine language programmer, and he said that he can sort of visualize, or comprehend in some way, what all the variables in an equation are doing, or the functions of a program, etc. He can't write a paper to save his life. He doesn't get the point.

So I got to thinking lately about mudding. In order to mud, you have to easily take read textual data and transform it into meaningful congnitive data, and experience that data almost visually. I can learn the pathway between two town pretty quickly, and learn what's where, and what it does, and because I am most able to process written data over other types of experience, I don't think it's boring or hard. I experience the mud much like my friend experiences microprocessors, I'd imagine.

So the point is, can someone who is not an english major learn to mud? Would they want to? With this in mind, where should we be looking for a target audience? Any thoughts?
I'm a firm believer that anybody can train their mind to do what they want it to do. If you grow up in a house of math you'll be good at it whether that side of the brain is good or not. I happen to be the same as you, but I grew up in a household of words. My father is an author and everybody in my house read books religiously when growing up.

Just curious, look at the upbringing of people. If your math friend grew up in a very technical household I wouldn't be surprised. And if you grew up much the same I did, that could easily explain why certain people gravitate towards history/english and others gravitate towards science/math. I think we're a product of our environment. There is certain unusual things though like people doing exactly the opposite of their family or whatever. I don't know how we can explain it really, but I know I've always been much like you, and writing papers or understanding words comes naturally to me. That is most likely why I got attached to MUDs and not programming. However now I can do both, because I've studied math and programming so like I mentioned before, with time I think anyone can get better at something and enjoy it.

It's like the right-handed tennis player being taught to play left handed.
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:29 PM   #3
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Re: Muds only appeal to certain types of people.

Well, yes, I probably could, but you're only correct to a point. For example, the language acquisition device that allows kids to learn languages naturally vanishes at puberty. After that age, you cannot learn another mother tongue like you can at age 3. If during the formative years between 10-13 when your higher cognitive processes begin to cement, you don't do math, you're stuck. I could do it, like I said, and learn it just fine, but it will always be a second language, if you will. Also, genetics play a large roll in what type of thinking you do best.
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Old 05-15-2009, 09:03 AM   #4
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Re: Muds only appeal to certain types of people.

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Originally Posted by gruevy View Post
So the point is, can someone who is not an english major learn to mud? Would they want to? With this in mind, where should we be looking for a target audience? Any thoughts?
I would say that yes, someone who is not an English major and not necessarily even that into reading can learn to mud. You saw this a lot in the old days of muds when people who could barely type would play because they wanted to be playing this sort of game. Those people have moved on to graphical MMOs now that they've become commonplace, but before the time of MMOs, they played MUDs as well simply because MUDs were the only option for the type of gameplay they wanted.

I know that Threshold had ton of non-English speaking people for a long time. We have a lot of people from Southeast Asia and several from Israel. (Well, a lot of our Israelis are still playing.) They're not English majors at all, and several were bettering their English as they were playing.

So, yes, currently, muds appeal more to people who like read and write, but that wasn't always the case. I always thought the best places to market would be table top gaming stores and magazines, universities, and libraries. I also tend to talk all the people I meet on MMOs into trying out muds in general when they express boredom with the games.

There's also a lot of nostalgia out there, so sometimes I try to hit the older gaming crowd who still speak of Zork fondly and paid out oodles of money to Simu.
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Old 05-15-2009, 11:36 AM   #5
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Re: Muds only appeal to certain types of people.

I agree that muds appeal to certain types of people and want to add that if you find a person who listens trespassers william, portishead or bjork he/she has a tendency to keep mudding (introduce this genre to her/him). don't know why but believe me this is true
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Old 05-15-2009, 11:50 AM   #6
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Re: Muds only appeal to certain types of people.

This is a very good thread. I believe that most MUDers are very imaginative people. It taks great imagination to delve into a MUD textual world. If any of you remember the great games of yesteryear that were forerunners to the multiplaying online games of today, you will probably remember the need for good imagination in these games like Ultima I, Wizardry, Wasteland, and Star Command.

Star Command is a great example as it was a virtual world in space created out of mostly text and ascii and had great story lines. It was basically a SUD as was Wasteland.

Wasteland was an indepth story driven post apocolyptic hugely difficult game that required alot of imagination as the graphics were very limited. But again, one of the most fun games I've ever played. Far and beyond such one dimensional shooters like Halo and the like.

Very simple games like Wizardry and Ultima I were low level graphic games that relied on story and imagination, yet I found them far better than the massively graphical oriented Ultima Online and WoW.

Perhaps it is just me, but these games forced you to be creative in your own mind rather than mind dumb with animation overload.
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Old 05-16-2009, 01:24 AM   #7
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Re: Muds only appeal to certain types of people.

Every type of entertainment only appeals to certain types of people.

The good thing for MUDs is that one of the main features MUDs offer is something most people enjoy: interacting with other people.

Communication is one of the main things that MUDs do as well (if not better) than graphical MMOs. You don't have to click a window or press a special button to go into "chat" mode.

Last edited by Threshold : 05-16-2009 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 05-16-2009, 09:16 AM   #8
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Re: Muds only appeal to certain types of people.

I like Threshold's point. Socializing has probably been my priority with gaming as far back as I remember...checkers, Monopoly, D&D, Atari 2600, MUDs, MMOs...

Boardgames were a staple for my family and it seemed like it was for everyone else, growing up in a small northern Indiana town. I never considered myself very competitive and, in games with actual "winners," I could care less if I lost, as long as the event was fun. If a game was cooperative, I was even more thrilled. And then came Street Fighter and the endless wave of prehistoric competitive "pwning," *sigh*

I have seen atypical mudders much like I have seen atypical tabletop rpgers, though. One of my best friends growing up was a total athlete and might be considered "lean" in the creativity department. He was, however, *very* competitive and would be damned if anyone would tell him that such RPGs were a waste of time for him. In the long run, he not only developed into a fine roleplayer but he eventually assisted me with a number of self-published RPG projects and learned enough to become a desktop publisher with his own business.

I also had a brother of a friend who proudly declared his tested IQ at 85 (drywall installer by day). Although he might be deemed as lacking creative thought, what he experienced in group tabletop gaming completely fascinated him and spurred his mind. He ended up being one of the most legimately traditional paladins I have ever seen.

In both of these examples, I think it was the social interaction that both kindled and validated the subjects' reason for involvement; the socializing was the true key to the doorway of imagination.
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Old 05-17-2009, 01:58 PM   #9
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Re: Muds only appeal to certain types of people.

I don't disagree with Voidrider, that anyone could eventually become addicted to and be good at playing a MUD whether Roleplay or Otherwise, but I maintain that MUD's do appeal to a certain style a player that will gravitate and acclimate to MUD's faster than other types of players.

In a world that has become Text happy (people drive down the road texting on their favorite cell phone), I see more of these types of people trying out and becoming addicted to MUDs (hopefully not while driving down the road like I did on my blackberry).
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Old 09-19-2009, 12:20 AM   #10
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Re: Muds only appeal to certain types of people.

I do agree that it takes someone who -enjoys- reading and writing to MUD. If someone enjoys games but not reading and writing, there are thousands of graphics-based games that he would probably enjoy better.

I live in a Southeast Asian country; one that is famed for having an average of 2 books read (not including those that you have to read for school/work) per EDUCATED person per year. And in all my life, I have never come across anyone in my country who enjoys MUDding. I did know a countryman who enjoyed MUDding back in his teens (the early 90s), but that was more due to necessity, because he loves games and graphical MMORPGs weren't even invented back then.

Pretty much the only advantage MUDs have over their graphic-based counterparts, IMHO, is the ability to weave your own story, to create a character with the rich history and life and characteristics that YOU want. No graphic-based 'RPGs' afford that sort of flexibility and richness of detail.

To even enjoy that advantage, however, you absolutely have to be the kind of person who would love a good read, especially of the fantasy fiction genre.
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Old 09-19-2009, 12:45 AM   #11
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Re: Muds only appeal to certain types of people.

That is really interesting for your part of the world. Perhaps there is some way to make text MUDs more known to your country.

In this same line of thinking you might be interested in the following thread that talks about graphics and text: http://www.topmudsites.com/forums/ro...ook-movie.html
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Old 09-19-2009, 01:25 AM   #12
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Re: Muds only appeal to certain types of people.

Not all MUDs are English-based so it's better to ask if MUDs only apply to people who speak the language that they use. Obviously English is the predominant language used by MUDs and some degree of English proficiency is needed even if that's merely a limited vocabulary consisting of the basic command words used to play the game ("kill", "get", "open", etc). Given that many if not most MUDs' command structures do not employ proper English ("get all corpse") the ability to use the language properly is not essential. I once played an Italian-language MUD by simply learning the words I thought would probably apply (like "hit" and "kill"). Of course, it was difficult because I wasn't always sure what word they'd use to denote a particular action (like the difference between using "hit" or "kill") but for the most part I was slowly able to muddle my way through.

It's far more difficult to work on a MUD if your understanding of the language upon which the game is based is not up to par. Basic vocabulary may suffice in learning to play but descriptions comprised of "corpse get loot" or "room door open west" make for a horrible visual experience.

Take care,

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Old 09-19-2009, 02:09 AM   #13
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Re: Muds only appeal to certain types of people.

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Not all MUDs are English-based so it's better to ask if MUDs only apply to people who speak the language that they use. Obviously English is the predominant language used by MUDs and some degree of English proficiency is...
I don't think the language in that part of the world has anything to do with it. NWA has players from all over the globe. I think it is more likely that MUDs in general are pretty much unknown everywhere. when only a few thousand people play MUDs out of millions. That is a tiny percentage no matter where you live or what language you speak.
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Old 09-19-2009, 02:35 AM   #14
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Re: Muds only appeal to certain types of people.

Newworlds, that's true, penetration is also an issue. MUDding is, IMO, an 'almost' dead genre. I am not saying this to belittle MUDs -- I just spent the last 6 hours in one, in fact. But from the perspective of someone who avidly plays other online games as well, MUDs really are a 'cultivated taste' of sorts. Tell anyone 'MMORPG', 'FPS' or 'RTS', and most people with even basic knowledge of games will know what it is. Tell someone 'MUD', and they're like, huh?

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Not all MUDs are English-based so it's better to ask if MUDs only apply to people who speak the language that they use. Obviously English is the predominant language used by MUDs and some degree of English proficiency is needed even if that's merely a limited vocabulary consisting of the basic command words used to play the game ("kill", "get", "open", etc). Given that many if not most MUDs' command structures do not employ proper English ("get all corpse") the ability to use the language properly is not essential. I once played an Italian-language MUD by simply learning the words I thought would probably apply (like "hit" and "kill"). Of course, it was difficult because I wasn't always sure what word they'd use to denote a particular action (like the difference between using "hit" or "kill") but for the most part I was slowly able to muddle my way through.
How did you write your character's desc?
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Old 09-19-2009, 03:07 AM   #15
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Re: Muds only appeal to certain types of people.

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I don't think the language in that part of the world has anything to do with it. NWA has players from all over the globe. I think it is more likely that MUDs in general are pretty much unknown everywhere. when only a few thousand people play MUDs out of millions. That is a tiny percentage no matter where you live or what language you speak.
It doesn't matter where in the world you are since MUDs are accessible online, not geographically. What matters is what vocabulary you have in the language that the MUD uses. Language has everything to do with MUDs. If you don't know the word for an action, how can you type it? Even if you have some knowledge of English vocabulary it may not be the right words for the commands. Furthermore, one of the few places to find an inventory of various MUDs are sites like this one. While English proficiency continues to spread throughout the world there still exists those who do not have the vocabulary to functionally participate in English-based MUDs.

In response to your original musing about why people don't play, I can suggest two things. First, MUDs are not , on the whole, graphical and shiny and mainly commercialized. MUDS are not produced by major software companies and don't have huge marketing budgets. They're also not visible in stores where people can see them nor are they reviewed by mainstream media very often. People tend to gravitate toward shiny, new and sensory experiences. MUDs seem plain, old and are not purely sensory (since they require more than merely the senses to interpret and play) nor can they find out about them via many other ways than reading.

The second reason that a lot of people don't know about MUDs because the community is very disorganized and over the years has squandered any chance they had to establish themselves mainstream. For some, it's a good thing while for others it's not. Some MUDs appeal to a small niche market while others seek a broader appeal. Unfortunately, it's been my observation that the innovations primarily come from the niche markets, not the more commercially-feasible games (unlike graphicals where innovation tends to drive the market) resulting in games with the greatest capability to advertise also being amongst the least impressive. The one thing that many MUDs have in their favor is the ability to play for free but those games inevitably don't have the financial capability to overshadow the commercial ones. When graphical games were still far more limited and crude, MUDs had a greater chance of establishing a presence in gaming (though admittedly I doubt they could ever compete with graphicals in the long run for the reasons I stated in the previous paragraph). Now, the gap in awareness is probably too big to overcome given the differences in graphical versus text-based experiences.

Quote:
How did you write your character's desc?
It was a H&S and back then there was greater distinction between RP and H&S; many of the latter had no pretensions about role-play. There was no requirement or even need for a character description. What good did a description do the character if the only goal was to kill things and level?
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Old 09-20-2009, 10:52 PM   #16
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Re: Muds only appeal to certain types of people.

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Newworlds, that's true, penetration is also an issue. MUDding is, IMO, an 'almost' dead genre. I am not saying this to belittle MUDs -- I just spent the last 6 hours in one, in fact. But from the perspective of someone who avidly plays other online games as well, MUDs really are a 'cultivated taste' of sorts. Tell anyone 'MMORPG', 'FPS' or 'RTS', and most people with even basic knowledge of games will know what it is. Tell someone 'MUD', and they're like, huh?
This is all so true. I remember finding out MUD's on a programmer's chat room while I was working on a graphic based multiplayer online RPG. I had never heard of MUD's and I abounded in online games, hacking, and chatrooms. It is very true that the term MUD is not widely known.
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Old 05-20-2010, 01:41 PM   #17
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Re: Muds only appeal to certain types of people.

I find most mudders are either early adopters of the Internet (or even ARPAnet) remembering the days before www

or like myself are fairly computer geeky and are just as happy in the world of CLI as a gui

basically its those who allready know what telnet is and how to use it who are most likly to mud..

recently this has been proving less true with the advent of java clients on many muds websites (i wish that these clients were a little better than raw telnet, even just an input line IM style would be a vast improvement)
and i have found when helping these people that they dont actually know what a mud client is! or how to use one,
quite a few times when i have introduced them too one they comment on it being much easier to use
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