If you’ve play any MUD or graphical online RPG for any length of time, you’ve almost certainly at some point read the Mud Wimping Guidebook. If you’ve managed a mud or graphical online RPG for any length of time, you’ve almost certainly had someone point out the article to you a few times. Or more likely a few dozen times. Having now been in charge (at least in the development sense) of the World of Dreams for quite a while now, I’ve been accused more than a few times of following the path described. While I admit that the article does have some truth in it, I really don’t think that it does a very good of describing how and why these sort of changes happen. Also, although the path may be accurately described for shards that handle the process of change badly, I think that there are ways to make changes without such terrible side-effects.
With the recent decision by the US Nineth Circuit Court that the Pledge of Allegiance violates the seperation of church and state clause of the Bill of Rights, I think its time to reflect on what I think is the root cause of this, and so many other, problem(s): what I’ll call ‘feel good politics.’ Far too often, Congress (and other political bodies) create short-sighted policies that are, in the end, unenforcable and often unconstitutional. The goal of these policies are usually good, but instead of investing the time and effort to really fix the problems, whatever they may be, they merely try to patch them with vague, worthless words.
If there’s one key feature that computer games often fail on, its ease of use. Game interfaces should be simple an intuitive, but very often they’re not. As games try to pack in more and more features, those features tend to get buried under menus and sub-menus, or get assigned to difficult-to-remember key presses. Developers, and often the fans of the games, try to justify this by the depth of options available in the game, but I find that a poor excuse in most cases. The problem usually isn’t directly with the wealth of options available, but with the interface that those options are presented in.