Head Builder

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    What is a Head Builder?

    Head Builder is a title given to a key staff member in a multi-user dungeon (MUD) responsible for designing and creating the game’s environments. They decide on the themes and layouts of various areas within the MUD.

    Beyond their own building tasks, they select and manage other builders, who contribute to the creation and maintenance of the game world. The Head Builder reviews, approves, and oversees all building projects to ensure they align with the game’s vision and standards.

    The role of a Head Builder has evolved from game maintenance to a more creative and managerial position. Initially, tasks were limited to creating basic environments and fixing issues.

    Over time, as MUDs became more complex and story-driven, the role expanded to include narrative development, thematic consistency, and community engagement.

    These days, with most staff teams being on the smaller side, the Head Builder may wear multiple hats. As such, they may prefer a more general title, such as Game Master.

    Head Builder FAQs

    What qualifications should a Head Builder have?

    A good Head Builder should have extensive experience with MUDs, both as a player and a builder. They need strong creative skills, an understanding of game design principles, and the ability to manage and guide other staff members effectively. Proficiency in the MUD’s building language and tools is also helpful.

    How do you become a Head Builder?

    Usually, a builder is elevated into the role after demonstrating their skill and trustworthiness as a staff member. The Head Builder position comes with additional permissions, powers, and responsibilities.

    How does a Head Builder select builders?

    While the process can vary from game to game, Head Builders typically select builders based on their demonstrated skills, creativity, and understanding of the MUD’s theme and mechanics. This selection often involves reviewing applicants’ past work, conducting interviews, and sometimes requiring trial building projects.

    What is the relationship between a Head Builder and other MUD staff?

    The Head Builder works closely with other staff members, such as the Head Coder, Game Master, and Administrator, to ensure a cohesive and immersive game experience. They must communicate effectively to align the building projects with overall game development and community needs.

    Can a Head Builder make changes to existing areas?

    Yes, a Head Builder can make changes to existing areas to improve quality, fix issues, or update content in line with the evolving game narrative and mechanics. They oversee revisions to ensure consistency and engagement within the game world.

    How does a Head Builder impact the player experience?

    The Head Builder significantly impacts the player experience by shaping the game environment. Well-designed areas can enhance immersion, storytelling, and gameplay, contributing to the overall enjoyment and depth of the MUD.

    Myths about Head Builders

    One common myth is that the Head Builder only deals with the technical aspects of constructing game environments. In reality, they also play a critical role in narrative development, thematic consistency, and community engagement.

    Another misconception is that anyone with building experience can become a Head Builder. However, the role requires not just technical skills but also leadership, creativity, and an understanding of game design principles.

    Head Builder examples

    • Designing a new city within the MUD, complete with unique buildings, NPCs, and quests.
    • Leading a team of builders in a large-scale project to revamp an outdated forest area, updating it with new challenges and storylines.
    • Overseeing the creation of a new player starting area, ensuring it is welcoming, informative, and engaging for newcomers.
    • Coordinating with the game’s lore team to develop a series of interconnected dungeons that align with the MUD’s overarching narrative.

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    About the author

    Andruid is a writer, roleplayer, storyteller, and nerd who tries to live by Bill and Ted wisdom, i.e. "Be excellent to each other."