Lathander's Introduction

Dustan M. Hough dhough at sword.cs.ucla.edu
Sat May 17 08:33:03 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


Hello everyone, I was just invited to this list by Ling (known to me
as Ceilidh) and he insists that I post an Introduction, so here goes.   
I'll tell a bit about me and my mud, I hope the mud part doesn't sound 
too much like an advertisement.  Well, if it does, tough. :)

I'm a long time fan of C,C++.  I've programmed in a couple other 
languages including Fortran, Lisp, Basic, Pascal and Assembly (on a 
couple of different machines).  I'm a fairly competent programmer and 
a huge fan of role-playing games.

I am the head admin of a mud under development called Accursed Lands.  
This is the next generation of a mud called Dartmud (which was in turn
the next generation of LustyMud).  

Accursed Lands is a skill-based mud whose primary focus is managed
role-playing.  The creators on Accursed Lands will be acting as game
masters once they have contributed a significant project and been
approved as qualified role-players.  Every aspect of the game on
Accursed Lands is designed to immerse the players into the culture
and feel of the game.  We believe that good role-players don't just
happen, they are trained.

Accursed Lands runs on MudOS and the Lima mudlib.  Both of which I
am very happy with.  I'm not interested in getting into any holy
wars on the subject though.  MudOS suits me due to the fact that its
very stable and well supported.  Lima: I appreciate it because its built
on a solid security system with a well-built directory structure.  No,
its not hacker-proof, but neither is the Pentagon.  It also takes 
advantage of the very powerful verb-parsing system built into the 
MudOS driver.  This design forces us to build system-wide verbs
so that the same verbs work the same everywhere.  This means no
guesswork as to wether you 'use' the wand or 'zap' it or 'wave' it
because all objects use the same syntax.

Our goal at Accursed Lands is to create a mud where one can role-play,
improve on your character, and pursue any career from seamtress to
grand wizard.  We have no classes.  Skills are worked on individually.

Our skill system is based on the learn-as-you-use method, very similar
to Adam Wiggins' descriptions of his mud.  We do not use a skill tree,
however, but skill groups instead.  The more skills you learn, and the
higher they are in a given group, the easier it is to learn new skills
in that group.  True, this doesn't account for cross-over learning
between groups, but there's a limit to how realistic we need to get.

We have an introduction system where each person is described by many
traits until you 'name' them.  As such, a given person does not have to
go by their true name, but they get tell others whatever name they
want to go by.

We have a limbs system with auto-saving inventory.  Around 20 stats -
perhaps too many.  Various forms of timed movement, such as walk,
jog, run and sprint.  Various forms of personal posture - lying down,
crawling, stooping, standing or flying (for those with wings.)

Accursed Lands uses a hash-table type of language system which 
replaces mis-understood words with specific strings of syllables
from the language.  This makes each language 'sound' different,
even if you don't know a word of it.

There is a 2500x2500 square wilderness map including forests, rivers,
lakes, oceans, islands, continents, mountain ranges, swamps, deserts,
etc.  It is a full globe.

There is a large underdark which lets players dig permanent virtual
rooms.  Each wilderness square has room for 50x50 underdark squares
beneath it...per level.  Unlimited levels.  As you can guess, this
is a huge # of potential rooms.  We've solved this problem by storing
each room and all its associated data in 4 bytes.  Players are able
to dig permanent tunnels extending for leagues and leagues.  If they
run into a vein of ore, they can mine it.  There will also be 
underground cities.  The potential of this is to make a realm huge
enough to have the 'feel' of the Underdark as described by Drizzt 
Do'Urden - a vast and mostly empty network of tunnels.  Easy to
get lost in and infinitely treacherous. 

Our combat system looks like this:

                              Combat Style
Aim       |                        *                        | Control
Offensive |                        *                        | Dodge
Daring    |                        *                        | Parry
Power     |                        *                        | Speed
Attack    |*                                                | Defense
                                ---*---

You increase one area of combat and lose the benefits of another
area.  The scale is non-linear.

We have bleeding, wounds, fatigue, shock, hunger and thirst.

We have an object daemon which has standardized the construction of
regular objects so that even first-day creators can create complex
objects, rooms and npcs.

There is a construction daemon which allows players to build buildings
themselves and to outfit the buildings with furnishings.  
(eg. It will allow a player to 'install' a new rug on the floor, which
will then become part of the rooms description until removed.)

There are 3 moons.  The celestial bodies move in true orbits, going
through lunal cycles and eclipses.  The stars rotate depending on the
time of year.

There is a real-time calendar of days,months,years and seasons.

All non-unique objects are constructable through various skills
such as mining, smithing, carving, masonry, etc.  Magical objects are
craftable through alchemy, spells, or ritual magic.

Every room is on a coordinate grid.  We use this grid to time movement
and to help monsters 'find' their way to a particular destination.

We are developing a need-based artificial intelligence for NPCs.  NPCs
will evaluate their needs, desires and feelings before choosing a course
of action.  

I'm very interested in what you all have to say on the subject of 
mud-development, especially regarding improving role-playing
interaction between players.

Thank you for your time,
Dustan M. Hough
aka Lathander at Accursed Lands






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