Outside the Box MU* Design/Theory



  • So. Keying off of the little bit of stuff that @Thenomain and I were bandying about in the MU*s That Are Desired thread, I figured I'd go ahead and split into this.

    So, there's a lot of talk in a lot of threads about design and theory and outside the box thinking. But regarding MUs, what does that really mean or entail? I freely admit that my background for MU*s comes from a lot of different games and genres than the WORA/MSB crowd seems to be. And it seems like, a lot of times, when the topic of 'new MUs' comes up, there's always a push for 'how do you do this thing'.

    So here's a question. What ARE some of the things that MUers here on MSB seem to see as difficulties in designing for a particular type of game. Anything, ranging from social mechanics to sclae to world building to grid management and design, post them here. I'd love to see what people have thoughts and concerns on. Maybe we, as a commmmunity, can help each other overcome the ideas and concerns that we have in game design.


  • Coder

    I'd like to see simpler RPG systems.


  • Coder

    @thenomain I thought Novum was pretty simple, though I never finished it. I could probably stand to finish writing it.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzE7Cib4RXkeTHpQeGpnS1VraWs/view?usp=sharing


  • Coder

    @Alzie,

    It doesn't matter what the system is as long as it's playable. I'd love for every game to come up with their own simple, even broken system. Some can code a more complex system for all I care, but outside the box means stopping the idea that every Mush has to be based upon an established RPG line.



  • @Thenomain said:

    I'd love for every game to come up with their own simple, even broken system. Some can code a more complex system for all I care, but outside the box means stopping the idea that every Mush has to be based upon an established RPG line.

    Being based on an existing RPG line seems to be limited, though, to games that are basing themselves around that. Outside of a couple of outlier D&D games, most everything in my MU* history has had no RPG game system basis to speak of, either having:

    A. A basic, coded combat with no 'RPG-alike' roll system, as all of that was covered by just RP
    B. A simple +roll system with number comparisons or
    C. A combination of the two, with coded combat becoming ever-more-complex as games are built.
    D. No system whatsoever/entirely freeform.

    I think a lot of times 'outside the box' falls by the wayside because it's not what is going to be a draw to people. People come to games based on properties because of the thing they're familiar with, with the property. In games based on TTRPGs, that is often the TTRPG system that they're familiar with. In games based on a property, it's usually the fiction of the property. And the few times tht those things have been used in tandem, I've seen, have been a bit more lackluster.

    On most TF games it's a semi-complex combat code. This also followed to the Megaman MU*s, with additions of weakness/resistance.
    On the Pokemon game there was simple attribute roll-offs.
    Hell, on one game we built a version of Smash Bros. fighting because it fit the theme.

    I think people are afraid of pushing away people by doing 'outside the box' stuff, in many instances.


  • Coder

    @Bobotron,

    This makes it even more "outside the box". The idea of basing a Mu* on an existing RPG property was extremely new when we made the first WoD game. I don't think anyone else had attempted to do it to that level. This is how I know it's doable, and fun.

    The game I think was the most fun to play on that was not WoD was AetherMUX, which had a very simple system designed for it, and it was a blast as long as people didn't mind that the RPG system was not meant to be precise. Once people started pushing for precision, the game-runners stopped being interested in that and the game died.

    If I'm going to think outside the box, I'm going to stop going for popularity based on known facts and go there based on trying other ideas and engage in other interests, otherwise it's going to be WoD games all the way down.



  • I'd like games that focus on "the interesting bits. I like social RP, and just expressing my characters, but it leads to a lot of fairly generic RP. I'd like a way of playing, or a game system, that focusses on things happening and changing.

    I'd like a lot of choice and options, like a flow chart of where things can go.

    I'd like it to be clear what the focal point of play is meant to be on the particular game.

    I'd like there to be mechanical change and benefits to these focussed changes, so the changes have oomph.

    I'd like players to think of their creativity and interaction as the one big there they are all there for. Winning, being qualified to solve a problem, having enough Xp etc are all distractions from the sort of play I'd like to encourage.

    I'd like players to be good citizens in regards to one another. Players are THE resource for fun in an online game, staff cannot be there for every moment for everyone. This is why you don't want zero OOC communication, or pure simulation, or all or nothing conflicts. So make it memorable, make it intense, make it good for everyone. If your goals can't be expressed in a way that doesn't control other players, eliminate characters, or depend on a lot of enforcement, rethink them, and how you play.


  • Pitcrew

    For a lot of people mu* is online TT with a few extras, and that's all they want out of it. I'd like a game to break out of that box.


  • Coder

    @Ide said:

    For a lot of people mu* is online TT with a few extras, and that's all they want out of it. I'd like a game to break out of that box.

    Examples of what's outside that box?


  • Pitcrew

    Obviously this is personal preference but a game where each player effectively is a GM. It won't work for everyone.


  • Pitcrew

    @Ide said:

    Obviously this is personal preference but a game where each player effectively is a GM. It won't work for everyone.

    How is this different from all players being allowed to run PrPs? Or is it?


  • Pitcrew

    It's different because when you go completely GM-full other common mechanics, like XP progression, private information, and fiction ownership often need to be changed or replaced to have the same narrative effects.


  • Pitcrew

    I don't understand what you mean.

    Sounds like you are saying open +sheet game (which I personally love, but think that many people have difficulty with for various reasons), with instant XP awards perhaps (via vote/scene completion/some auto system rather than staff review); what do you mean by fiction ownership? No staff control over how things go as far as MUSH timeline/metaplot/what is or isn't allowed (blowing up stuff, killing off any important NPCs, ect)? I think that would be the hardest of them all, not because staff needs to control everything, but just how would you keep players from doing the same thing at once with very different results, or if people don't read updates. To be fair, sometimes staff don't do that either!


  • Pitcrew

    @mietze said:

    or if people don't read updates. To be fair, sometimes staff don't do that either!

    No question this is a hard issue to solve in a game like I'm talking about. If anyone has good solutions I'd like to know.


  • Pitcrew

    I think you have to have a very clear expectation/goal in mind first, and then you can play with policy to get you the closest you can to it, while still keeping in mind what's realistic for the players on the game to achieve.

    So: what do you mean by "fiction ownership", specifically?


  • Coder

    How about a Wiki?


  • Pitcrew

    @mietze said:

    So: what do you mean by "fiction ownership", specifically?

    Sorry, you answered it earlier -- in GMed games you have people who you have to ask about blowing up the corner bar. This is easier to do when you limit the number of GMs.

    But like you said, it's not just about asking permission, it's dealing with the results. @Thenomain, a wiki is all well and good, but the problem of how a player receives that information is partly independent of where it comes from. (edited for clarity)


  • Coder

    Right, @ide, but a wiki is a system that is set up to note who added what information with high levels of inter-article linking.



  • I rather like the idea of open sheets and original systems for mu*s. On the games I've tried I've found it is easier to understand original RPG/stat systems compared to, say WoD. Maybe because people document them better and don't have the expectation that if you're on the game you will know the system in and out.



  • @icanbeyourmuse Well, also... you can document it all when you're writing it. The copyright woes alone can be a nightmare if you have a quote that's a little too long in some cases. :/

    One thing I love about an OT project is the ability to build a wiki-side sheet, and literally have every element of the sheet clickable with a link to the exact page or section that describes the stat/power/whatever else. It is a giant pain in the ass to set up, but it is absolutely possible.


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