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October 23 2002

A Buffy-universe immersive online game. Could it make money? Would it be successful? Weblogger Tom Coates asked the question, Dan Hon replied and others joined in.

I'd be happy with a Buffy MUD.
There are Buffy MUSH's out there, but the ones I tried to join awhile back.. well I've lost some of the URLs and the others just don't work anymore. The one above is just an example I googled. It could very well be good. I don't know.

When I did try to join a couple Buffy MUSHs, it was kinda restrictive. One's creativity had to mesh perfectly with those already in the game, or you were politely asked to reconsider your character choices. Having only cursory ideas what was already happening among the group, it was like a blind person trying to fit into a clique of deaf people.

It also depended too much on people actually being online. Unless someone can just look at the rooms and be entertained, it's rather limiting. And I couldn't find a Buffy MUSH at the time that had more than a couple people online at any time. If only all the people interested in this could come together online in ONE place, well either it'd be the greatest thing ever conjured, or one hell of a virtual Mosh Pit with minds banging into each other. Either way, it'd be pretty cool.

Online roleplay is difficult to master, and takes a lot of time and effort. It's something that requires dedication. I've done some Play By Email RPGs in my time, for different genres. Someday it'd be nice to see someone successfully turn Buffy Fudge into a working online system. I tried doing it myself, but I just don't have the time to devote to it. I don't even know if I could play now. Real life gets in the way of time consuming things that don't pay my bills. =) It'd be fun though.

However, I very much disagree with the approach these guys are doing. If you wanna turn a Buffy fan fiction game thing into something that actually made money, you'd risk stepping into copyright infringement, unless you could get permission from Joss Whedon, and his hands may be tied by the networks. It took them a year just to get out the Once More With Feeling soundtrack. A lot of that had to do with the number of hands that had been in that particular pie.

Even IF you could put together a fiction-based Buffy immersive online game, you'd have to keep it nonprofit, and they are right. You can't do it without putting a lot of money into it, to keep it interesting and to encourage new blood to join. Maybe there's times when a computer network can't compete with a table of friends, a few dice and a hell of a lot of imagination.
The only online Buffy game I can seeing happening in the near future is if they do a sequel to the BtVS XBox game which could use the XBox broadband service for multiplayer games.

In theory it would mean that players could take on the role of Buffy, Xander, Angel, Spike etc in a multiplayer game (with a co-operative option or even a bizarre capture the flag option).
How would that work? Hundreds of multiple Buffys running around on the screen? Or the virtual world would be limited to four people per world? I don't think it's plausible to turn Buffy into a virtual multiplayer game unless it was clear to all players that Buffy was an NPC, and then I don't think anyone would wanna play. Personally, I'd dig on a "virtual Sunnydale" where you could walk around and visit all the main digs like The Bronze or Sunnydale High. I think everyone should be Jonathon, or maybe the avatars would be multifaceted where people could be everyone OTHER than Buffy. Like a chat world with some interactive functionality.
thousands of Jonathons running around in a virtual 3-D online space would be a hoot! With a couple Warrens and Andrews tagging along behind them.
Thats a very scary thought lol. But in answer to your question, a multiplayer game could be restricted to 4 or 5 people. Buffy doesn't have to be a NPC. There are online games where players take on different roles i.e. soldier, medic, engineer etc.

One player could be Buffy taking on her strengths and weaknesses, and then the rest of the players could be Giles, Willow, Xander etc who have their own special abilities. And the game could only be won if the group worked together as a whole much as they do in the tv series.

Now the idea of 100s of Faiths running around really does appeal to me.
I've been working on ideas for a MUD based on the Buffy mythology, set in Sunnydale. It's a balance of role playing and level gaining, where you could feasibly just sign on and gain levels but there's no way you'd be able to role play long enough without having to gain levels.

Problem is, I can't code. If you know anyone who can, or if YOU can, or if you even have an idea, e-mail me at juanschwartz@hotmail.com.

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