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Question Considering a genre/theme change

08 Aug 2018 17:09 #8176 by Sascha
I've been considering a change at After the Breaking for the past two months, and I'd like to get practical feedback and your thoughts.

After the Breaking is a Wheel of Time themed MUD. In the beginning when it was concepted out there were four founding staff members, all WoT geeks. Over the past two years the time has become fragmented and honestly, I'm the only one left able to put in consistent time, energy and effort. That's fine. The thing is - I've done Wheel of Time to death. I did it for 20 years. I'm somewhat not feeling it as much as I did in 2016. I'm an extremely creative person, though, and I feel as if now that the series is finished it's more regurgitation than creation and I'm struggling some days with what I'm doing. For example, I'm a heavy AD&D gamer (we're talking from the late 1970s blue-box D&D roots) and I find myself writing zones and adventures that are more AD&D appropriate than anything, so I go back and edit to make it WoT. Part of me screams "But it would be so cool if I could just tweak the canon this way, I mean, it could make sense..." and then I just rip it out and rework it to fit the theme. I've been reflecting that if I were starting right now, today, would I base the game on the Wheel of Time? Or would I go with, say, the Deryni Chronicles, or Chronicles of Amber, or any other book series I love? Which then comes full circle of where are the roots, and where does it all come back to in the Fantasy genre overall...?

I'm considering reworking everything to an AD&D theme. Specifically, I have a world that my gaming group started in high school (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) that is now being played by the next generation every other week or so, and it would be so easy to bring that over to the MUD environment.

Pros: I can do almost anything I want. No one is going to criticize about undead running around and point out that ghosts don't exist, for example. AD&D has a larger following that transfers to a broader audience. Possible ability to recruit more talented help without the whole "I never read the books" issue.

Cons: 25 zones (2500 rooms!) including mobs, spells, etc. that would need to be edited/reworked. Roughly two years of work hits the work ethic pretty hard, I guess. Possible reaction of "another AD&D based game?!?". Possible over-saturation of the market.

Has anyone here ever gone back to the drawing board and converted existing to another theme or genre? Does anyone have other thoughts regarding my pros and cons? Am I crazy to even consider this?

Will you stand against the coming Storm? After the Breaking: STORMRIDERS MUD - atbmud.dune.net port 4000

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11 Aug 2018 07:52 #8180 by Papaya Pete
Yeah, I've been there. Sometimes it can be that inner critic, nitpicking at story ideas. It's what causes me to stop and take a break for a while. Well, that and having to take a step back because I start spending too much time and mental energy on it, hehe!

I've bounced around a no-magic setting for a while; it's actually what I have been working on. It's different; in my mind it's more like a very very low tech sci-fi setting as opposed to a fantasy one (though there are elves, dwarves, etc.). For a time, I was working on a Redwall setting. The problem: I read only 2 of the books, and immensely enjoyed them. I didn't have the maps for the world, I really didn't know very many of the characters. I created my own parody of it, and while it worked there was an insane amount of scripting involved (lots of scenes, level-less, using DG for training skills with each NPC only training a couple of them). So, I went back to my original no-magic seems-fantasy-but-is-really-more-like-science-fiction setting.

Are you crazy for considering it? I don't think so. If you're burned out on a setting/idea, what are the odds you'll keep working on it? Then again, you have to make sure that you're happy with whatever choice you make, otherwise it's wasting time and effort. Going back and redoing everything is a pain, but if it means being able to have creative freedom then it I think it would be worth it.

On a side note... "Another AD&D mud??" I think the same could technically be said about WoT, Star Wars, and *insert any popular book, anime, series, etc* mud. I wouldn't worry about that too much. There might be a lot of AD&D muds, but how many of them would you say are good? No matter what theme you choose, if the content is good and entertaining your mud will draw people, I am sure.That was some advice a friend gave me; find a way to make your mud unique and it'll stick out in people's minds. There's one I used to play years ago that I sometimes wish I could play again, since it used some features I don't really see used anywhere.

Not sure if this helps; pretty late here, so I feel like my thoughts are rather ramble-y. No matter the choice you make, I hope it works out!

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11 Aug 2018 07:55 #8181 by WhiskyTest
First, zip up your world files using your favorite zip application, download it or upload it to some safe storage.
Do the same for your src folder in case you start making thematic code changes too.
Now whatever you decide to do, you can always revert back to where you got to now - which is a considerable amount of content by the way!

There's no reason not to spin up another MUD project with a new theme and start creating content - even if it starts out locally on your PC.
If you feel you've burnt out on WoT then taking a break from it is the way to go. I jump between several themes throughout the year depending on what I feel like.
For example I have a zombie survival theme, and a Warhammer 40K that I flutter between. Sipping the creative nectar from each like a tipsy little butterfly. Keep in mind I'm only doing it for personal enjoyment and learning, I don't have any player base to speak of.

Or you could apply for a builder position on an existing MUD. Having other active people around is a huge help to keep the motivation levels up. And you now have a rather impressive port-folio!

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11 Aug 2018 15:48 #8182 by Sascha
Oh, no worries, I have backups of my backups. ;)

Ever since actually committing to paper... er, screen... my thoughts, my mind has run amok with good stuff. Once you say something out loud, if it rings true, it's the right thing to do. I was away this past week with my family on vacay, but now that we're back I've already taken down the ATBmud maps from my office wall and replaced them with my old-school maps from my AD&D world. I'm not going to mothball ATB but I am going to start the conversion of the world map on Monday, taking it one zone at a time from the central one, so the game will still be open and playable. It will just be changing - and I think it will change for the better.

After 20 years as admin and then head admin for another MUD, I'm beyond done with putting my time and energy into something that isn't 100% mine. I was willing to share with the other ATB founders because they are decades-old friends who are pretty much family. When we started this it was old-school gamers who wanted to have a place where you could drop in for 30 minutes or 8 hours and still have a good experience that you could jump in and out of. That philosophy remains the same. It's important as I move forward that I deliver that to my players but also to myself - if it feels like drudge work then something is wrong, right?

Sooooo... deep breath, and come tomorrow, the deep editing begins, probably with the outlying areas because they will require the least amount of changes and that will be the least jarring for players logging in. Wish me luck. And coffee. Lots and lots and lots of coffee.

Will you stand against the coming Storm? After the Breaking: STORMRIDERS MUD - atbmud.dune.net port 4000

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12 Aug 2018 06:25 #8183 by Rumble
I am a huge Wheel of Time fan as well. I am due to re-read the series again sometime soon. My first MUD was Time Warp, and I always enjoyed that theme because you could create whatever you wanted. TBA also has no building/theme restrictions which I get asked a lot. The more modern equivalent would be the multi-verse or many Worlds. Let it take you where it will. I have always found creativity more important and less common than rules.

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25 Nov 2018 23:52 #8244 by Sascha
I'm happy to report that I may have been crazy, and it's been a lot of work, but slowly and surely I'm making this genre/theme change happen. I've been making the changes on a test copy over the past few months and I reached the point this weekend where I took a deep breath and started porting the changes over to the active open world.

I suspect I'll have it all done by the end of the year, at which point I'll be doing some heavy promotional advertising to get the playerbase attracted.

Thanks everyone for the words of wisdom. Making the change got my enthusiasm and interest going, which makes the magic happen.

Will you stand against the coming Storm? After the Breaking: STORMRIDERS MUD - atbmud.dune.net port 4000
The following user(s) said Thank You: lacrc

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