Monday, February 26, 2007

Because The Pot Just Needed Stirring

So, here I am, reading MUD forums in the wee hours of the morning, which I realise is unadvisable in and of itself, when my tired mind decided that it would be controversial. In case you don't follow the major forums, the hot topics of the day (hot because they're full of flames) are things like how to mitigate the loss of players to graphical games, how to set up new MUDs and persuading the skilled ones among us to contribute more code to the community and not be put off by things like licensing.

Great, right? All noble goals.

Except (and here is where my head decided to be contrary just for the sake of it), could it be that the assumed equation (more available code = more MUDs = more players) is flawed?

One of the other constant issues in the community is that of wholly unsuitable Admins (yeah, yeah, very funny) starting up games using basic stock code and essentially pulling down the reputation of MUDs in general by powertripping, cheating, whatever you want to say. They get some players just out of sheer luck or connections, and these players either stay with the game or get totally put off and leave with a bad impression of the genre. Either way, they act as a kind of sink-hole to remove players from the "useful community" that is already feeling the pinch.

So, my somewhat shaky and reactionary thesis would be something like: wouldn't it be better if less code was freely available, so that would-be game owners would actually need to be capable and/or have capable people in order to develop their game and just get on the playing field. Natural selection, in a way. Where "stock" just totally can't cut the mustard, and gets ignored off the bat, someplace that no-one would ever want to play and is just embarrassing to attach your name to as an owner. Games would need competent staff just to exist, which in turn would mean that there were fewer games in existence (since someone couldn't just stick up a stock codebase and have themselves a MUD), which in turn would lead to the current pool of MUD players being less spread out and therefore the existing good MUDs would have more players.

As it is now, let's face it - good games are few and far between, and in the middle is a deluge of games that just aren't worth anyone's time. Of course, it's hard to tell which is which until you've spent some time playing them, which not everyone has or is willing to invest. Interestingly, this all leads to the conclusion that a less friendly community might make MUDs more successful, as fewer people would start new ones up, and ones that couldn't support themselves in terms of expertise would fail, resulting in the (fewer) slices of the pie being larger.

This is all rather hard for me to comprehend, being such a nice and friendly person and all. And to be honest, it may well just be outright wrong. But it's an interesting thought, at any rate - what we really want is for the good MUDs to have all the players, and the bad ones to not exist. Otherwise, we end up with a whole range of good, bad and ugly MUDs, each with about 10 players, which is just neither here nor there.

So, here's my public service announcement for the day: you know that Karinth is a good MUD. Heck, you're reading a freakin' blog written by some random person with an armadillo complex just because he plays the game. So take heart, spread the word, tell your friends and let's get our share of players. If the MUD world is going to be facing a crunch - and signs indicate that it will - we're determined to be one of those left standing. Armadillos can withstand a lot, you know, but they're always happier with friends.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Results are in!

Somewhat surprisingly (although this is a good thing), there was a lot of common ground between responses. People mentioned freedom a great deal, the ability to do what you really want to do, the openness of having a vast world that doesn't judge you, the unlimited possibilities.

If I had to condense all of the answers into one word, I would have to say epic. A huge world filled with opportunities, where you have the chance to make a difference. Where there are just so many dimensions that anyone can find their place and be where they want to be. A place where the story is constantly evolving, and written by those within it, an ongoing masterpiece rather than a simple short story forced to go where the creator wants it to. A land where heroes can forge their names, and where legends are born.

So, along the lines of breaking open the world and forging names, land costs for homes and society halls have been greatly reduced. Actual building prices remain the same, but now it is much easier to have that family homestead (or would that be gnomestead?) over in Rejkehad, or a grand castle to keep back the ogres way down south. Whether a legend in your own time or in your own mind, everyone can now have a place of their own.

Friday, February 09, 2007

What Is Karinth?

So, here I am, vaguely studying for a Marketing midterm tomorrow, not overly concerned due to me being overly confident about graduating. I felt the need to apply some concepts though, and I'd like to know what all of you think:

How would you define Karinth in 3 words or less?

Essentially, what captures the Karinthian essence and makes us special? What does the Karinth "brand" mean to you, more than anything else? What separates us from all the other games out there?

And to sweeten the deal a little, anyone who sends me an in-game note with their little phrase will get a prize, just for answering. Both new and old players are equally welcome to get their thoughts in. There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but this comes pretty close!

Anonymous results will be collated and posted here after a while. Let's see what you think!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Some game aspects get designed, get developed, and get implemented smooth as glass, gliding into place with the grace of an Olympic-ranked ice skater in a triple lutz. Every twist and turn is seamless and beautifully executed; each aspect of the performance is a joy to behold. The costumes are perfect; the music is absolutely right. The crowd goes wild, the applause is deafening, and the medals stack up galore.

What the crowd doesn't see are the years of 6:00 AM rink sessions and after-school practices that stretch out into the evening dark. They don't hear the harsh yelps of the $150/hour coach dragging his Olympic hopefuls through repetition after repetition of routines, alternately begging and scolding, pleading and cajoling until his preteen victims collapse in tears of frustration and hapless tantrums. They don't bear witness to the wrenched ankles, bruised behinds and taped knees.

Routines are never perfect the first time they are executed. Even a seasoned pro has to spend quite a bit of time working on a new dance.

An immense amount of redesign has gone into styles, from the inside out, the bottom up, the core to the surface. Virtually nothing of the first attempt will remain when this new approach gets into place. Tarn, with his incredibly detailed design and plan - and Falknor, with his incredibly detailed code and implementations - are taking this aspect of combat to an entirely new level.

I'm willing to bet that this new dance will be an amazing joy to behold.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

On the Wings of a Review

With her sharp eyes and ... receptive leaves, Fern spotted a nice word that someone had for the game:

"Perhaps THE MOST robust character creation and combat systems that I've ever stumbled across resides in a custom built MUD called Legends of Karinth -- With everything from combat stances and styles to the ability to make your own spells, this game rules. It is an entirely skill based game. No classes. You can train in any skill you desire. You can establish organizations and trade routes. Check out the site for info. Of course, people used to playing games with graphics will probably not be convinced to try it. But I highly recommend it."

I have no idea who posted this, but it is definitely one of the things that keeps us going. Unsolicited reviews and word-of-mouth not only get the news out there and attract new players, but also help to keep us motivated with that little sense of pride. We're people too, you know. Just as complaining about things we do gets us down, these little proclaimations of enjoyment are like gems for our treasure chests of accomplishment. We like to see people happy and enjoying what we've made. So, to whoever you are - thank you, and have an armadillo day.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Truffles do have Tridges

They're expensive, hard to find, apparently delicious... and now they also boost your personal experience gains. No longer is the elusive experience boost solely a once-a-month occasion! Quite exciting, really.

As well, we have to give a big hand to Greyanhk, our newest member of the staff. And he's a builder, too! Hopefully this will help speed up the projects we have going on. High level areas especially are very much in the pipeline. Watch this space, and leave some comments!