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Old 05-16-2015, 08:50 PM   #21
Jazuela
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

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Originally Posted by Malifax View Post
Quick addendum:

I think willingness to pay for quality text games would only increase the willingness for developers to put time and money into building quality text games, and that could only be good for the genre and those of us who love it.
Therein lies the rub, Mal. Quality is subjective. I don't think anything Simutronics puts out is a "quality" text game. Inferno was quality. Armageddon is quality. LoFP was quality. To me, GS is like - the Burger King of text games. It sucks, but it's a convenience for cheap, because you don't really have to invest much of yourself into it. So you can "win" the game by buying and selling items and characters for real money, and if you learn to script efficiently and multiplay, you can even come out ahead a few bucks at the end of the month. It's a trading card game. There's nothing quality about it.

If paying for a game is all you need to qualify as "quality" then I'm glad to be playing an inferior game, and hope that inferior games never go out of style.
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Old 05-16-2015, 09:48 PM   #22
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

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Originally Posted by Malifax View Post
I think willingness to pay for quality text games would only increase the willingness for developers to put time and money into building quality text games, and that could only be good for the genre and those of us who love it.
I agree with the general sentiment, but can't help to point out that it's a chicken-and-egg situation, and both the chicken and the egg have moved on. As in, it's a tad bit late in history to expect excited crowds to gather around a text-based game, even if it's awesome, professionally run, and totally free.

I'm of the opinion that if popular MUD codebases in the late 90's had more permissive licenses, with clear provisions for commercial use, the community would have been able to retain more members longer. The two well-known commercial operations remain in a fairly good shape, while the thousands of free MUDs have been more than decimated, with only a handful having anything near a healthy playerbase.

With very few exceptions, the admins and devs of free MUDs have neither the resources, nor the desire, to go after new players.

I'm absolutely convinced that there are people out there who have never heard of a MUD or played one, but who would pay a good amount of money to experience depth they have not imagined before. The question is, how do you reach those people and get them to stick around long enough to realize this is possible?

Last edited by plamzi : 05-16-2015 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 05-17-2015, 09:34 AM   #23
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

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Originally Posted by Jazuela View Post
Therein lies the rub, Mal. Quality is subjective. I don't think anything Simutronics puts out is a "quality" text game. Inferno was quality. Armageddon is quality. LoFP was quality. To me, GS is like - the Burger King of text games. It sucks, but it's a convenience for cheap, because you don't really have to invest much of yourself into it. So you can "win" the game by buying and selling items and characters for real money, and if you learn to script efficiently and multiplay, you can even come out ahead a few bucks at the end of the month. It's a trading card game. There's nothing quality about it.

If paying for a game is all you need to qualify as "quality" then I'm glad to be playing an inferior game, and hope that inferior games never go out of style.
I haven't played a Simutronics game in a REALLY long time, so I can't comment there. I wasn't talking about them or anyone else specifically anyway. You and I obviously look at the "goodness" of a game very differently. I love good RP, but as a designer/programmer/developer, I see beauty in great gameplay and clean mechanics as well. LoFP and Inferno both had role-play in spades, but mechanically, both were rather bland. I don't think Gemstone has never been mistaken for a hot bed of RP, but at least in it's pre-AOL days, its mechanics were clean and the gameplay was pretty darn exceptional (in large part because it was based on RM).

(I think if Jon had paid more attention to Legends, it could have been as big or bigger than GS. Oh well.)

My point isn't that paying for a game makes it better, though from a resource, knowledge and sheer manpower standpoint, I do think a software shop is more capable of producing great mechanics than a part-time hobbyist, and professionals are more likely to get interested if there's money involved. I don't think anyone will debate that professional designers and coders will produce better software than kids in their dorm rooms. My point was and is, I don't understand peoples' reluctance to support a text game monetarily, even if they love it. That's all.

@plamzi:

Nobody is going to pay for text anymore. This I know. Its time has unfortunately come and gone. I just think that if all the people who have loved MUDs over the decades had been willing to show it with their wallets, we may not be having this discussion.

Quote:
I'm absolutely convinced that there are people out there who have never heard of a MUD or played one, but who would pay a good amount of money to experience depth they have not imagined before. The question is, how do you reach those people and get them to stick around long enough to realize this is possible?
Without a doubt. I think the biggest issue is retention. The problem there is that we've become a society based on instant gratification; if we have to do much more than point and click, we're moving on. I bet there is a sizable segment of the gamer population that can't even tell you what "RPG" stands for, and a heck of a lot more of them who have no idea what it really means. From my experience, it's easy to get these folks to come take a look. It's nigh impossible to get them to stay. I think it comes down to involving them instantly in stories, showing them what role-play is and demonstrating the difference between what can be done with a typed four-word command and the barrage of mouse clicks they're so used to. Unfortunately, that's a lot easier said than done.

IMHO, the real downfall of MUDs began with instant messaging. Our games used to be places where people could congregate in their free time and socialize with friends around the world. These days, socialization happens among people anywhere and everywhere in about 100 different ways, instantly, 24/7.
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Old 05-17-2015, 05:55 PM   #24
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

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Paying money to do social activities with real, tangible friends is a much better investment than giving money to a faceless Internet denizen in order to play a text game. When my friends are around, the computer goes off, unless we're playing D&D together in which case I won't MUD.
Um, have you considered simultaneous MUDding with your friends - I've not done it but I understand that some MUDs are amiable to LAN parties and it sure as hell beats having a background Skype or other back channel to coordinate your actions - though typically you do have to play on the same side. One of the perks of text based things such as MUDs is that the bandwidth is not excessive and can usually be shared between players without problems - just be sure to check in advance what the arrangements are when multiple players appear to be coming from the same IP address, otherwise some MUDs will do nasty things to characters that appear to be multi-playing...!

Of course this also has the potential as a way to introduce others that you know to the joy of your particular MUD!
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Old 05-19-2015, 04:44 AM   #25
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

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Um, have you considered simultaneous MUDding with your friends - I've not done it but I understand that some MUDs are amiable to LAN parties and it sure as hell beats having a background Skype or other back channel to coordinate your actions - though typically you do have to play on the same side. One of the perks of text based things such as MUDs is that the bandwidth is not excessive and can usually be shared between players without problems - just be sure to check in advance what the arrangements are when multiple players appear to be coming from the same IP address, otherwise some MUDs will do nasty things to characters that appear to be multi-playing...!

Of course this also has the potential as a way to introduce others that you know to the joy of your particular MUD!
Now thats an interesting idea! I know that on my MUD, some players have shown FluxWorld to their friends while visiting, but I never even considered LAN parties. Nice!
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Old 05-19-2015, 10:08 PM   #26
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

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Originally Posted by Malifax View Post
My point was and is, I don't understand peoples' reluctance to support a text game monetarily, even if they love it. That's all.

@plamzi:

Nobody is going to pay for text anymore. This I know. Its time has unfortunately come and gone. I just think that if all the people who have loved MUDs over the decades had been willing to show it with their wallets, we may not be having this discussion.
You've answered your own question in part already: its time has come and gone, for people to pay for text.

But a HUGE part of it - is that MOST of the MUDs out there use code made by others and the licensing requires the game to not gain any revenue. DIKU and LPMud and CircleMUD all require that the game owner NOT charge players.

So the reason they can't pay, is because they're not allowed to pay. Beyond the server costs (which they can recoup by charging for fan-products like game logo coffee mugs or mousepads, for example), the coders and staff are not *allowed* to get paid from game revenue. Now, if the head admin is wealthy and wants to pay his head coder out of pocket, that's fine. As long as the players don't have to foot the bill.

This is true for -most- text games out there, because -most- text games out there are some variation of Diku, Circle, or LPMud. There are other main game codes out there that are required to be strictly hobbyist use only (meaning - you can't charge your players, and the staff can't be paid from any game revenue). But those are the big three, and they're pretty big.
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Old 05-20-2015, 01:33 PM   #27
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malifax View Post
Quick addendum:

I think willingness to pay for quality text games would only increase the willingness for developers to put time and money into building quality text games, and that could only be good for the genre and those of us who love it.
I actually agree here, but I don't agree that it's impossible to create a focused professional text-based RPG nowadays. Challenging, yes. You have to basically build your own engine out of something without the restrictive licenses of the big, creaky engines. In some ways, this is a good thing: starting from scratch allows you to take your experiences as a developer and improve on the way text-based RPGs are played.

There are, and always have been, quality free-to-play MUDs. There are, and always have been, lower quality professional MUDs. If you are capable of marketing intelligently (finding a way to not only reach your target player-base in the current community but beyond the current community), executing professional level design and programming, developing a rich and interactive world that redefines the MUDing experience, spend your time actively engaging players in immersive story and plot that exceeds what free games can offer due to their voluntary basis (which is the major factor behind the burn-out of proactive administration), keep your paid staff at a supportable number, find a means to make use of volunteers on a short-term and fair basis to fill in some of your administrative needs, and create a fair and viable monetization system for your project, I absolutely believe that you can create a professional MUD.

It's just a lot to consider, and (like all professional projects) is going to require some start-up capital and the right team of people. It wouldn't be easy, but it is possible.
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Old 05-20-2015, 02:37 PM   #28
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

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Originally Posted by DonathinFrye View Post
I actually agree here, but I don't agree that it's impossible to create a focused professional text-based RPG nowadays. Challenging, yes. You have to basically build your own engine out of something without the restrictive licenses of the big, creaky engines. In some ways, this is a good thing: starting from scratch allows you to take your experiences as a developer and improve on the way text-based RPGs are played.

There are, and always have been, quality free-to-play MUDs. There are, and always have been, lower quality professional MUDs. If you are capable of marketing intelligently (finding a way to not only reach your target player-base in the current community but beyond the current community), executing professional level design and programming, developing a rich and interactive world that redefines the MUDing experience, spend your time actively engaging players in immersive story and plot that exceeds what free games can offer due to their voluntary basis (which is the major factor behind the burn-out of proactive administration), keep your paid staff at a supportable number, find a means to make use of volunteers on a short-term and fair basis to fill in some of your administrative needs, and create a fair and viable monetization system for your project, I absolutely believe that you can create a professional MUD.

It's just a lot to consider, and (like all professional projects) is going to require some start-up capital and the right team of people. It wouldn't be easy, but it is possible.

I agree with almost every word of your post and wouldn't mind at all trying to prove just how right you are.

I'm a designer and coder, and I have time and capital to invest. I would love to find a few like-minded people interested in and motivated to build a professional text RPG, though I'm not interested in making money from it.
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Old 05-20-2015, 04:26 PM   #29
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

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Originally Posted by Malifax View Post
I agree with almost every word of your post and wouldn't mind at all trying to prove just how right you are.

I'm a designer and coder, and I have time and capital to invest. I would love to find a few like-minded people interested in and motivated to build a professional text RPG, though I'm not interested in making money from it.
In case you guys are not just shooting the breeze, here's one of my projects in progress:

http://www.aaralon.com/text
http://www.aaralon.com/
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Old 05-21-2015, 03:12 PM   #30
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

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Originally Posted by plamzi View Post
In case you guys are not just shooting the breeze, here's one of my projects in progress:

Play / Chat
Play / Chat
I like the look of the GUI. Seems like you're making some progress!

I'm currently working on a professional "RPI" that we're building from scratch with the Evennia engine. You can read more about it in my article on Optional Realities (Designing Immersive Combat Systems), and on the Article Discussion / Project Redshift sub-forums on our Optional Realities site. That's mostly why I chimed in here; I absolutely think that it's possible to create a viable professional text-based RPG. Step One, though, is moving away from the old standard engines and being willing to invest in creating it all from scratch.

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