Archive for the ‘Play-by-Chat’ Category

the social space of muds

is an oxymoron, right? Maybe I should call this the social space of text games, but…I don’t know.

I’m bringing this up after reading a Matthew Stadler essay at the new Rosa B. (thanks to if:book for the link), a French/English magazine whose layout seems at first quite psychotic — no, perhaps psychedelic, but I grew to like it.

Later in the night after reading the Stadler I read Ursula K. LeGuin’s recent piece in Harper’s. Both this interview of Stadler and LeGuin’s essay rest in part on the social space of art — reading, and discussion.

Looking at muds, here you have a somewhat unique phenomena — people reading collectively, synchronously. And talking about it, maybe not directly, but around it, through it. The pre-existing text is not a novel or a single story, it is a series of points on this graph of experience. Why call it a narrative? For that matter why call it an experience? Is this a fundamental difference between text muds and graphical muds — the social space of reading occurs simultaneously with the text itself. How is this different from the social space of play occurring simultaneously with play in WoW? Is someone who plays WoW out there?

Digressing a bit, I am constantly amazed to discover these new continents of text gaming — does Jove, Digichat, or SEAchat ring a bell for anyone? They didn’t for me until a day ago. And the constant refrain in the mudding community — are text games dead? How can you tell if you never knew who were the living?.

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web-IF-mux-PBP-PBC-PBBG thing

I’m getting more into the idea of some Noah’s Ark of text gaming. It would work something like this.

You run a mush server as a back-end for the persistent world. Players connect with a Flash or equivalent client on the web site, where you have forums, help files, player wiki and player character pages. So people are playing on the web site in something that looks like a mush — room descriptions, poses, and so on. If the player wants to they can connect to the game with their normal client. I guess it would be somewhat trivial to mirror help files and bboard between the web and the mush server — but this would be for advanced players who are coming in with their own clients and some mushing history. The Flash client lets you log, quote in, and configure the display.

In the forums you have PbP games running — it would be possible for these games to affect the mush world, but a little more difficult I think. On the site you have a library of IF the player can play solo with a Flash client as well — these could affect the mush game. Meanwhile there’s some strategy-based persistent browser-based game also running. This affects properties in the mush game in which people are RPing.

playtext

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Anyway, I’d like to see a site that covers all the playable text and text-based games — IF, muds, browser-based games, playable text, text-art, something that has commercial advertising and forums. Like GTxA on a 48 hour coke-fueled rampage through the streets of some anonymous city.

BUT ONLY IF in the blood-hair bow is the key to finding Dabih…

So it is simply fantastic, I’ve started a game of Polaris via IRC. We have our characters up on this Google doc. Only three players, as one had to drop out, unfortunately, but three in fact works superbly, as speeding up play is of the essence in IRC. Polaris also is well suited to the text chat medium.

A sample from the log — I hope to get the whole thing cleaned up soon —

Heart: Yad draws back, a deep frown forming on his face. “Girl…where do you hail from? Tallstar?” He pushes his winter cloak back over his right shoulder.

Mistaken: “I don’t know.” the girl mockingly spits out. she starts to get up from her game, staring at Yad judgementally. “Where were you when your daughter dissapeared? Huh?”

Moon: The girl looks more and more like Yad’s wife, when she was little.

Heart: Yad’s face twists in a mask of agony. “I…I was in the Library, girl. She left without a word. No one said they saw her go. Have you seen her, child!”

Mistaken: The girl’s face twist into a bittersweet smirk, and she seems to have an odd kind of pity for Yad “That’s what I thought. You always had to get away. You couldn’t stand it either. Now I had to find a place to be by myself, and now you have to be lonely.”[…]

Mistaken: The girl fiddles with her bow, removing it, but its revealed that it is not made out of any natural red material, but black hair, dyed red with blood “Maybe we could play together sometime?”

Mistaken: She hands the blood-hair bow to Yad as a present

Heart: Taking the blood-hair bow in his hands, Yad’s eyes widen in horror. “Witch!” he snarls, and in one fell motion, his starlight sword sweeps through the night air and cleaves the girl’s head from her shoulders, spraying black blood over the snow.

Mistaken: BUT ONLY if only when the girl’s black blood spew out did Yad know for sure that she was a Mistaken.

Heart: BUT ONLY IF in the blood-hair bow is the key to finding Dabih…

Mistaken: AND THAT WAS HOW IT HAPPENED