Issues from the digests and Wout's list

Adam Wiggins nightfall at
Sat Apr 19 12:37:26 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

> >:I currently do this, with caveats for nested compleations, multiple
> >:character support (multi-playing) and priority interrupts.
> >I think there was a pretty heavy discussion on the rgm.* groups of
> >command completion.... mainly because I started it. 
> Didn't see that one.  Orion Henry and I stared a spirited chat on the
> area in r.g.m.m back when (which I think ended up with me inviting him
> to the old list).

Yeah, that was me, posting from the mud account between compiles (which
has Orion's name on it).

> In one case UggUgg gave his magical objects to you to exhaust your
> mana and cause your and his magical objects to instantly decay, and
> your spells to fail.  The problem here is that this action is not
> necessarily harmful.  It depends on whether you consider the
> destrution of the magic items to be damaging or not (their absence
> certainly simplifies the combat), whether your mana reserves can
> withstand the strain, or even whether those magic items are actually
> helpful to you to accomplish something you want (last component for a
> super spell?)  There's a lot of context here, and a lot of subjective
> assessment.

How about just ignoring what the actual action was?  If someone does somehting
which causes your magical items to decay, it doesn't matter what that action
was.  This also has the nice side effects of causing misunderstandings,

Bubba gives you a mithril longsword.
Your Great Axe of Hair-Splitting turns to dust.
> say you asshole!!!!

Even if the cause of your axe dusting was actually a sudden mana vortex
in the room or soemthing, rather than the mithril longsword.

>   1) Combat is not a state.  There is (or should be) no equivalent to
> a flag being set to indicate a combat condition.  

Yeah.  See my post about state-less mud design.

>   2) Result, not intent or activity characteristics, defines combat

I'm not even sure about that.  Combat is a tag that we, as humans, like
to stick on a certain set of actions...the mud shouldn't care, to my
mind.  People just do stuff, and they can call it whatever they like.
Is Bubba accidentally dropping his rifle, causing it to fire, which
hits Joebob (who happens to be flying 400 ft overhead) in the foot, combat?
We wouldn't define it as such, but it has all the necessary elements.
(No point in mentioning 'intentional'...there's just no way to define
intentional results...only the person issuing the command knows their
intentions, and this is out of the scope of the mud.)
So we can save a lot of time by just not ever worrying about it.

> The problem (for me) which raises #2 above is that I've just turned
> combat on its ear.  Fairly obviously (or at least safely assumably)
> someone running up and trying to run you thru with a spear is, err,
> both unfriendly and attempting to kill you.  However someone giving
> you some magic objects, or TC's, or partially/fully exhausting the
> mana (for something harmful/helpful/innocuous/unrelated?) in a room
> you happen to also be in, or taking something from you, or damn near
> anything can now, subjectively, be VERY easily classified as a violent
> life-threatening attack, massively helpful, or ignorable.

Right...I'm not sure why this is a problem exactly.  Because of your
scripts?  I don't see how doing an action/reaction script has to hinge
on something being flagged as 'combat' or not.  You have a script
which handles incoming projectiles, and it just handles *all* projectiles.
Whether that happens to be someone tossing you a side of beef or a sniper
three miles away firing at you is pretty irrelevant from the general
classification of script standpoint.  The script itself could decide
which one to catch, and which one to dodge.

> Its this second generality that raises the interest points for me. 
> The MUD world, and the comparitive survival and success of other
> players in the MUD world has suddenly become something that can be
> most easily manipulated and controlled/affected indirectly thru
> changes to the _environment_, and not thru attempted effects upon them
> directly.
> You want Bubba dead?  Go stand by him and drop a bag of TC spores on
> the floor.  The TC's hatch, eat all the mana, all Bubba's magical
> items and spells decay and fail.  The TC's now concentrate on eating
> each other, resulting in a few very large TC's, who then attempt to
> eat Bubba.  You walk out unscathed.

Right, and this is what is cool about what we're talking about, to
me.  It's a virtual environment, not a game.

> Even more indirect methods are event more effective, decently
> guaranteed, and difficult to track.

Sure.  Mudders love to come up with stuff like this.  Given some of the
totaly creative things I've seen people make use of in the relatively
rigid environments of 'normal' muds, I'd *love* to see what happens
in an environment like this...

> A side comment on my intentions for combat:
>   Newbies whould have a definite if small chance of being able to 
>     kill high level players.

I think most everyone is agreed on this.  It's pretty ridiculous how
a high-level player can take on a potentially infinite number of newbies
and come out unscathed.  Having this sort of balance makes being a newbie
killer quite a bit more dangerous, because eventually they're gonna gang
up on you and then you're in trouble no matter how good you are.

>   Probability of outcome for any combat should be unstable, if 
>     weighted toward the more skilled.

Unpredictabilty in general is, I think, a good thing.  Keeps things interesting,

>   A newbie character played by an expert human player should have 
>     the advantage over a high level character played by a newbie 
>     human.

This is true, even now.  It's the high-level newbie and low-level oldbie
syndrome.  It becomes obvious in about three seconds of grouping with
and/or attempting to kill someone how experienced they are, regardless
of level.

>   All blows/spells/etc have a chance of failing, whereupon they all 
>     also have a chance of reflecting back on their source (swing 
>     sword at Bubba and chop off own leg, shell explodes in barrel, 
>     ice spell freezes you instead)

In addition, I'd like to totally get rid of the boolean effect of actions.
Normally there is just sort of a failure state and non failure state.
You can fail to cast the spell, or cast it successfully.  Boolean #2 is
if they make their save or not.  There's no inbetweens - a paralyze spell
always renders them totally helpless, or does nothing at all.  How about
if you cast it poorly, it might still work, but end up only slowing them down
a bit?  Or, as you said - failed spells don't just fail, they end up
going off on the wrong target (possibly your friends or yourself), being
too weak (fly spell that makes someone feel lighter but doesn't actually
lift them off the ground), and so on.

>   Combat doesn't last long.  Less than 5 - 10 minutes IRL.

This counts as 'not long'?  Maybe I'm just used to fast paced muds
but in my experience most PKs take less than 30 seconds, and fights with
mobs aren't necessary much longer, except in extenuating circumstances.
Also, define 'last'ing.  Does this mean that after 5 or 10 minutes someone
is assured to be dead/flee, or just that the combatants get so tired out
that can't continue?

>   And of course: Death is permanent.

Yup.  We strained our brains for a long time on how to get around this one,
but multiple lives just have no place on any mud deigning to be at all
'realistic'.  Of course, you don't have to invest a hundred hours in a
character just to make them semi-skillful, either - sort of an easy come,
easy go effect.  If you want to live forever, don't get into fights.
This also allows for the blaze of glory effect - "Remeber Bubba the
Troll?  That guy was a kickass fighter! day he decided to
run in on the ancient multihued dragon, solo.  Now that was a hell of
a fight, but I think he knew from the start he had no chance..."

> True, they reek of their pulse/heartbeat based systems.  The problem
> is that I explicitly DON'T want to pace normal action in the game.  If
> the guy wants to walk across the entire land, and can enter (and have
> the server process) the commands quickly enough, then by Gum, he'll
> walk 10,000 miles in 3 seconds flat.  The comparitive problem with
> this is that I want combat to be forced to be a less hurried affair,
> and thus requiring pacing. have limitations on how far the player can walk?

> >The only complaint I can see is that this means the script has to
> >have a friend/foe value for the other guy...
> <shudder>
> Not in any system I have anything to do with.

Huh, I found this was only a natural extension of the character memory

> >Yup. Now your talking sense. *grin*
> 'Fraid so.

Hmmm, does this mean sense == things which will delay the completion of
my codebase by at least several months?
In that case, all we ever do is talk sense...:)

More information about the MUD-Dev mailing list