An introduction to the analysis of communication in todays society

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An introduction to the analysis of communication in todays society

Note that the "feel" of a MUD is derived from the position on the interest graph of the MUD's players, from which a "centre of gravity" can be approximated. It is therefore sometimes possible to make two changes simultaneously which have "opposite" effects, altering how some individuals experience the MUD but not changing how the MUD feels overall.

In general, though, these strategems should not be used as a means to attract new players; strategems should only be selected from one set per axis. The effects of the presence or lack of it of other types of player are also very important, and can be used as a different way to control relative population sizes.

The easiest but, sadly, most tedious way to discuss the interactions which pertain between the various player types is to enumerate the possible combinations and consider them independently; this is the approach adopted by this paper.

An introduction to the analysis of communication in todays society

First, however, it is pertinent to discuss the ways that players generally categorise MUDs today. In terms of the preceding discussion, "social" means that the games are heavily weighted to the area below the x-axis, but whether "gamelike" means the games are weighted heavily above the x-axis, or merely balanced on it, is a moot point.

Players of social MUDs might suggest that "gamelike" means a definite bias on and above the x-axis, because from their perspective any explicit element of competitiveness is "too much".

Some but not most players of gamelike MUDs could disagree, pointing out that their MUDs enjoy rich social interactions between the players despite the fact that combat is allowed. So strongly is this distinction felt, particularly among social MUDders, that many of their newer participants don't regard themselves as playing "MUDs" at all, insisting that this term refers only to combat-oriented games, with which they don't wish to be associated.

Consequently, there are general Internet-related books with chapter titles like "Interactive Multiuser Realities: This attitude misses the point, however. Denial of history is not, in general, a wise thing to do. Besides, social MUDs do have their killers ie.

Simply because explicit combat is prohibited, there is nevertheless plenty of opportunity to cause distress in other ways. To list a few: Indeed, proper management of a MUD insists that contingency plans and procedures are already in place such that antisocial behaviour can be dealt with promptly when it occurs Bruckman, b.

Social MUDs do have their achievers, too: The fact that a MUD might not itself reward such behaviour should, of course, naturally foster a community of players who are primarily interested in talking and listening, but there nevertheless will still be killers and achievers around - in the same way that there will be socialisers and explorers in even the most bloodthirsty of MUDs.

Researchers have tended to use a more precise distinction than the players, in terms of a MUD's similarity to single-user adventure games. Amy Bruckman's observation that: All of the connected users are browsing and manipulating the same database and can encounter the new objects created by others.

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The multiple users on a MUD can communicate with each other in real time. This is perhaps too tight a definition, since the very first MUD was most definitely programmed to be a game I know, because I programmed it to be one! The second point, which states that MUDs must involve building, is also untrue of many MUDs; in particular, commercial MUDs often aim for a high level of narrative consistency which isn't conducive to letting players add things uncheckedand, if they have a graphical front-end, it is also inconvenient if new objects appear that generate no images.

This issue of "social or gamelike" will be returned to presently, with an explanation of exactly why players of certain MUDs which are dubbed "gamelike" might find a binary distinction counter-intuitive.

The effects of increasing and decreasing the various populations is also discussed, but this does not take into account physical limitations on the amount of players involved. Thus, for example, if the number of socialisers is stated to have "no effect" on the number of achievers, that disregards the fact that there may be an absolute maximum number of players that the MUD can comfortably hold, and the socialisers may be taking up slots which achievers could otherwise have filled.

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Also, the knock-on effects of other interactions are not discussed at this stage: This propogation of influences is, however, examined in detail afterwards, when the first-level dynamics have been laid bare.

Respect is given to those other achievers who obviously are extraordinarily good, but typically achievers will cite bad luck or lack of time as reasons for not being as far advanced in the game as their contemporaries. That said, achievers do often co-operate with one another, usually to perform some difficult collective goal, and from these shared experiences can grow deep, enduring friendships which may surpass in intensity those commonly found among individuals other groups.

This is perhaps analagous to the difference between the bond that soldiers under fire share and the bond that friends in a bar share.

Achievers do not need the presence of any other type of player in order to be encouraged to join a MUD: Because of this, a MUD can't have too many achievers, physical limitations excepted.

Exceptionally good explorers may be elevated to the level of eccentric, in much the same way that certain individuals come to be regarded as gurus by users of large computer installations:This pioneering course is specifically designed for aspiring legal practitioners and those wishing to enter professional roles.

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