Imaginary Realities 2000 December Edition

Summary of December 2000 issue of Imaginary Realities. Imaginary Realities was an ezine dedicated to MUDs.

Summary of "Another Day, Another Lawsuit" by Kerry Jane

"Kerry Jane has nothing what so ever to do with Online Game Development."

Volunteers should not deal with customer issues. Customer service is a job handled by employees at every retail store, except those on the Internet. "Companies should facilitate and encourage (but not administrate!) peer support, and let paid employees of the company deal with customer service." The so called Volunteer Model of Customer Service denies customers of real, trained customer support when they need it.

This kind of volunteer customer service has already got AOL and UO into lawsuits. The lawsuits will likely result in better, paid customer service at a lot of online companies.

Summary of "The First Prince" by Scatter ///\oo/\\\

Scatter was the author of Dawn Whispers MUD, that this story was based off of.

The main character, Falen, is a lord trying to get the local city council to prepare for an impending attack by the Magar. The council refuses to acknowledge any threat. Falen commits treason by devolving the council, and preparing for the coming battle. Falen barely succeeds at saving the town, after which the towns people make him first prince of the what later becomes the Western Realm.

Summary of "Naming NPC's" by Lord Ashon

Lord Ashon worked on WheelMUD as a main developer.

Some MUD creators, believe that NPCs are of little interest to game play. The author believes that the best MUDs require immersive game play and well thought out NPCs. Having good names is an important part of well thought out NPCs.

The following steps are used by the author when constructing names.

Step 1: Give each race its own name template. "Dwarves for example have something like [First Name], [Descriptive Action] + [Relevant Item]. So we can get a dwarf named Karish from the clan BattleHand. An elf on the other hand would have a template [Human Name] + [Silly sounding string of vowels], [Silly sounding vowels] + [odd sounding vowels] + [awkward pronunciation] to produce a name like: Helenilal Siloajaihove."

Step 2: Come up with quick reference of a list of stock names for each part of the name template. This allows for new names to be generated on the fly, when a new NPC is encountered.

The author also references "Language in MUDs" by David Bennett. The author suggests that David Bennett's method translates into code for a MUD nicely.

Summary of "Player-Driven Class Alliance System" by Jenna

Jenna was creator of Shattered World MUD.

A Player-Driver Class Alliance System (PDCAS) was made as an improvement on multi-classing. Classes are actually guilds that give special skills and powers. It results increased time online, while players negotiate guild alliances. The alliances are easier to make, when the guild is smaller (under powered), so the relative class power self balances. The Class Leader (essentially, a guild president) role, provides a goal for new players to strive toward. There is also no reason to start over, if the players can change guilds to try new classes.

The PDCAS gets dissolved and reformed every three months. Alliances cost money based off the size of the class guild forming the alliance. Larger guilds get charged much more than smaller guilds to form alliances. This prevents large guilds from gaining too much power.

Also, a compatibility survey is sent to each player in a class's guild. If the players from two guilds are shown to be incompatible, the guilds can still form an alliance, but the cost is greater.

Ultimately, the forming of alliances is done by the Class Leaders. However, if they run out of money, all alliances are dissolved for their guild.

A talented Class Leader could build up the coffers of the guild so much that they can form alliances despite cost. An untalented Class Leader could bankrupt a class guild and prevent any success with alliances. Zero-sum economic models in your MUD, help keep the balance, though.

This alliance system is then used to allow players to multi-class based on the alliances with their own base class's guild.

Class Leaders get a wage from their guild's coffers.

This is the system used in the author's MUD, Shattered World.

Summary of "QuitMud, It's Time" by Selina Kelley

Selina Kelley was an admin for ProphecyMUD and editor for Imaginary Realities.

The author contemplates the pull of real world friends, family, work, and life over online life in the MUD. The author notices that taking breaks happens more and more, especially at Christmas time. And, the thought of leaving the MUD scene permanently becomes more of a temptation each year.

"When it's all said and done though, it comes down to one simple fact. I don't have the courage to leave. It's been such a large part of my life in the past that there's no way I can abandon it. The true QuitMud never lasts. If I ever, honestly, let go, there will be no article for me to write about it, and no real goodbyes to say."