Re: Olympia: region resources

russell wallace (
Sat, 27 Jun 1992 00:12:28 GMT

If this type of region resources is implemented for everything, will
there be any point in doing anything? I mean, in theory, you could find
a place where there are few horse-breeders and catch horses etc. but in
practice the overhead in this sort of thing generally outweighs the
possible income (this is the reason why people kicked up such a fuss
about entertainment being limited - in theory there was room for a few
entertainers and the rest of the players could do something else or find
somewhere else, but in practice by the time you've done all that you're
costs will outweigh your income); I suspect that in such a game all
one's efforts would have to be spent on finding enough income to stay
alive, and what's the fun in that?

More generally, to better put the point I was making earlier, about the
adding of more complexity:

In general, any information system with many users is going to encounter
this problem: Each individual user will propose the modifications that
he thinks desirable. Now, if all of those are indiscriminately
implemented, the system will become unmaintainable, and will collapse
under its own weight. I have seen more than one software project
abandoned for this reason. The solution to this is to have one person in
charge of the project, who decides the direction in which the project is
going to go, and who rejects all modifications that do not fit in with
this plan. It seems to me that Rich is making the mistake of
implementing proposed modifications indiscriminately, thereby causing
the complexity of the Olympia game to increase without limit, and
eventually causing the system to collapse under the weight of its own
complexity. (Note that I am NOT proposing extra complexity in the area
in which I am most interested, i.e. combat; if anything, I think the
combat system is too complex as it is). Now, I think that Olympia is an
excellent game, and that Rich has done a great job in designing and
implementing it - however, I think that too many cooks are rapidly in
the process of spoiling the broth. I don't imagine that people will
agree with me on this point, and therefore I will not make it again, but
I think that it had to be made. Unfortunately, since it is in each
person's interest to propose his own suggested modification, even if
this will have a slight effect on system complexity, I strongly suspect
that the process will continue until the game becomes largely unplayable
- or at least until the rules are largely apocryphal or at least wildly
inaccurate (as is happening at the moment - the rules for the combat and
magic systems, for example, do not tell you more than a fraction of what
you need to know) and therefore that only those people who acquire much
trial-and-error experience with the rules will have a chance of getting
anywhere (note that I am NOT arguing in my own self interest here, as I
have been with the game since the first turn).

"To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem"
Russell Wallace, Trinity College, Dublin