History of Online Games Part III
Letters to the editor
- Jessica Mulligan
I Like to Talk
- D.A. "Flux" Nissenfeld
Four Steps to Cooler @Descriptions
- Abby Goutal
An addiction to be proud of
- Selina Kelley
The Mud Administrator
- Joshua "dataw0lf" Simpson
Planting the Idea
- Lord Ashon
Promoting Your Mud Part II
- Johan J Ingles-le Nobel
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I Like to Talk
by D.A. "Flux" Nissenfeld
I try to make it sound as matter-of-fact as I can in its text form. I do like to
talk, to everyone, about everything. However, this is about muds, not my motor
mouth. To tie these two things together, I offer up this very muddy anecdote.
Last summer, I received a copy of code and some instructions to continue its
development and eventually put it on the net. I worked on it, and eventually
got it up on a free server thanks to some friendly connections. All in all,
it was a stable set of code. Unfortunately, the stability was tested with only
one builder building and one implementor, me, walking around looking at room descriptions.
Not quite a mouth, but what a motor...
Naturally, I had already advertised for us on the MC, so players started coming
in. When they came in, I started talking, and the mud started crashing. With my
natural tendency to be talkative in control I immediately transported to everyone
that logged in, followed them around and told them what was to be going in, what
had gone in and what was in but wasn't working. I discussed my gaming theories
with people, talked about area distribution and other such muddy things. Low and
behold almost everyone stuck around. It's like they couldn't leave, despite the
constant crashes, inept quests (mainly due to the crashes), lack of areas (going
all original in the beginning is tough!), and the almost total lack of
skills/spells right in the beginning, (that was fixed quickly). For more than
a month we had a steady playerbase, until I began to fall ill, and with me
The point of my account is to open up the forum to discuss the importance
of talking to your players. This goes for administrators at every level.
Builders shouldn't build, coders shouldn't code and imps should certainly
not implement unless they talk to their players. To me, it just makes sense.
Originally, I wasn't even going to write this article, I thought it was one
of those "duh" things, but apparently, it isn't.
Everyone seems to wonder what the key to establishing a playerbase is. How
do you keep those, "quit after typing the who command" players who don't
want to play a mud that has less than 10 people logged in on a 24-hour
basis? Talking is the key.
Now this isn't to say that I suggest the head imp stay logged in and yapping
for days on end. There is no way any of us could accomplish that; I'm assuming
most of us work for a living. I'm also not suggesting you develop an intricate
bot to simulate your attendance, although I'm still working on that social AI
program so I can leave such matters up to the computer while I code more. As
long as you dedicate any online time to also talking, this will work. It is
possible; I've done it. Every time I logged in to code or build, since I
coded online, I also logged into the mud. When someone entered, thanks to
Zmud, I went on to see who it was, say hello, and possibly start yapping,
depending on how stagnant s(he) was.
That's all it takes, and it would seem to me that this is the solution to
many problems mud imps experience in the infancies of their games. I didn't
have enough areas, and I still kept those "too high to level" characters
logged in because I sat down and talked with them. There were no skill lists,
at one point, so I talked to people about what they would get once I got
those skill lists functional. They still leveled, despite the lack of a
"goal" or advancement of skills.
It's almost like what a politician does. You tell everyone what hasn't been
done and what you intend to do about it. Of course, unlike most politicians,
you should actually try to accomplish those goals.
April 2000 Imaginary Realities, the magazine of your mind.
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