swapping skins

A while back there was an interesting thread over at MudLab, about changing equipment in multi-dimensional movement.

One idea in the discussion was that players playing the same game could see different themes — fantasy, sci-fi, period historical — and still interact. I think this is a very cool idea.

It hit me that a social warfare mud could be the perfect fit for customizable skins. Skins are kind of like planes in a multi-planar or multi-dimensional mud, but allow for increased interaction chances because two characters don’t have to be in the same plane. Skins also would be a great fit for a mud-IF hybrid, because the mud could host as many genres of story that fit the number of skins.

Apart from the extra work in describing objects multiple times, customizable theme skins present the interesting conundrum of how players using different skins would interact. One possible solution is to rely less on elements of the theme, like castles, dragons, and starships, and more on the characters themselves — their relationships and thoughts. The latter seems to me more universal and to share more in common across time and space than say, a scimitar and a photon atomizer, and this is where a social warfare mud has an advantage.

Yet the basic interaction problem still remains — if I’m using a far future skin and you’re using a prehistoric skin, does that work? Something to explore.

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