[MUD-Dev] RP thesis...

Matt Chatterley root at mpc.dyn.ml.org
Sun May 18 09:27:36 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


On Sat, 17 May 1997, Adam Wiggins wrote:
> > > > [Matt C:]
> > > [Adam W:]
> >  [Matt C:]

[Languages, I said they wouldn't work with a small mud, but would with a
big one, basically. Much snippage because it's getting confusing with all
these quotes.]

> Oh...yeah, if there's four players online and none of them can talk to
> each other, that does kind of suck.  I think it's pretty silly to
> imagine, however, that there are X number of races all living within
> a radius of (say) 200 miles and don't know a word of each other's language.
> Think of modern day Europe...it's a larger scale, but modern transportation
> methods probably make it about equivilent.  Thus two elves would much
> rather be together because they can chat in high-elven without an
> difficulty, go the same places, wear the same equipment.  If a hobbit is
> tagging along, they have to revert to something the hobbit knows, which they
> are likely not as good at.  Thus they have to use smaller words, ocassionally
> repeat themselves, and so on.

Perhaps.. I'm thinking maybe racial tongues have become somewhat backwater
(for instance, Jersey-French), with a common language taking precidence in
each region. Contact between regions (continents in this specific case)
being slightly rare, and the languages having developed differently. Thus
with half a dozen continents, you are left with 6 languages, and since
players originate in the same continent (and can move later), you can
simulate something vaguely real (within license), but not too bad to play
either.

> Written language makes a lot of things more interesting, too.  A smart
> mage will scribe his spellbook completely in a language that is relatively
> unknown, since it means other mages will find it pretty useless unless
> they take the time to learn that language.

Absolutely. Since we do intend on having writing, it would be more likely
that those who can write would not write in the common, IMHO.
 
> > Yeah. Implementing eating (as a necessity, rather than the typical 'eat
> > bread x10 for HPs back thing) is something I'm looking into. The trick of
> 
> Heh, I see you play mostly LPs. :)

<g> I found the crap way food is handled in most stock Dikus a real bore,
and gave up before I really began. I hopped around a half dozen stock
dikus about a year ago, and never went back to another one. ;)

> Dikus always require you to eat and drink.  My problem with it is that
> it's so simple, to the point of being hardly worth mentioning.  You either
> stop at the bakery in town and buy 20 loaves of bread for consumption on
> the road, or have some sort of skill to create food and water.  (Common
> ones are a 'sustenance' spell for druids, a 'butcher' or 'carve' skill
> for rangers that lets them make food out of corpses, 'create food' or
> 'create water' for clerics, and find food/find water for barbarians.)
> If you don't eat and drink for long enough, your regen goes to shit.

Yeah.

> buy bread (x100)
> put bread in bag (x50)
> put bread in bag 2 (x50)
[Later]
You're hungry!
> get bread from bag (x10)
> eat bread (x10)
You're full.

The above example sucks, to be blunt. It's quite clear that while hunger
is a bad thing (thirst is included as 'hunger' for the time being, I will
move onto dehydration later, perhaps), and can kill you, if all it does is
annoy you, it might as well be assumed.

It doesn't have to be like this though! The first step is to complicate
things internally, and actually require a vaguely balanced meal. On the
complicated end, you use a set of vitamins, and juggle them. On the simple
and more practical end, a ratio of 'nourishment' for every food (any
number, with negative being something that is 'bad' for you but filling,
ie chips/fries/whatever-else-you-call-deep-fried-potato-chunks, and a
positive number being something nourishing, like a nice fresh piece of
lemon sole, or a pineapple. God, this is making me hungry. :P)

Now, if the player junks out on 30 breads every day for a week, he's going
to be somewhat malnourished. He might get filled up (his 'satiation
counter' will rise, and he won't starve), but he will suffer health
problems (nutrition counter will not have risen much, and will soon sink
negative, indicating malnutrition. He will suffer various detrimental
effects.. stat penalties, penalties in combat, reduced stamina, and so
forth). Now he is in a situation where he has to buy, or find, decent food
to eat in some variety, and going adventuring has another real risk,
malnutrition and starvation.

What about thirst? Well, first of all, we make alchohol a little less
central to the game - it really does screw you up if you drink too much (I
heard somewhere that a little alchohol is actually good for you.. on the
news, or somesuch). Drinking a little will increase confidence and
willpower, make you a little less controlled, increase healing rate.. but
if you drink too much, you'll get a hangover later (dehydration too),
maybe be sick.. and all sorts of other nasty things.

Oh I forgot to mention above!

A troll might like to chow down on a goat's carcass after he biffs it over
the head, but a human would almost certainly cut it up and cook it first.
This is an important distinction. Different races will have to eat
slightly different things.

> In fact, I played one mud where there was a 'regenerate' spell that
> clerics got at low level.  It made you regen mana and hitpoints about 3
> times as fast, so everyone who ever grouped with a cleric (which was just
> about everyone, since clerics were rather vital to killing about anything)
> was regenerated.  The cavet was that it made you eat and drink every 60
> seconds.  End result was that people carried around several barrels full
> of water and hundreds of loaves of bread so that they didn't have to go
> back to town very often.  An interesting idea, but pretty pointless to
> my mind, mainly because you *can* carry that much stuff around.

LOL. Yah, this is something to be avoided, by an entity called 'balance'.
I'm also of the opinion btw, that the faster your metabolism (I plan on
tracking approximate metabolic speed.. how fast you use up food, recover
from drunkeness, heal, and such), the sooner you need to eat, and the
sooner you heal. It's a decent picture, if you have items which boost
metabolism (for instance, a character with a ring of regeneration,
necklace of fasthealing, regeneration spell, Troll's natural regeneration,
and an artefact anklet "Rumbletummy" which quadrouples your healing rate
will need to eat about every 3.5 seconds or starve :P Point taken that
it's easy to get ridiculous here).

> On the other hand that mud had an interesting use for alcohol.  Bards (which
> my character was) could sing songs of different sorts - healing songs, battle
> songs, etc which had the effect of healing the party, making them hit harder,
> etc.  The fun part was that a bard's mana was 'drunkeness'.  You had an
> indicator as to how drunk you were in your prompt, and when you approached
> sober, you got all sorts of messages about how your throat was parched and
> started fumbling the songs.  Needless to say, my bard spent a *ton* of
> cash buying alcohol.  Now this is a simple concept, but I actually enjoyed
> it quite a bit.  (Particularly people's shock at the amount of alcohol
> my character went through.)

*LOL* That IS actually quite nice. :)
 
> > course is to do it subtly, and so that it isn't a bore to do (a routine
> > thing that people set up triggers for, or deal with as simply as possible,
> > and so forth). One step towards this is to adjust healing *rate* when
> > characters eat, and give little or no HPs back. Perhaps physical and
> > mental fatigue are relieved a little, and morale of a group (say a bunch
> > of soldiers) would certainly go up. An interesting topic.
> 
> The morale thing is the way we decided to go.  Sure, you can survive
> eating root and grubs and sleeping out in the forest.  But a night in the
> town inn, a bath and a shave, a good hot meal, and a tankard of ale will
> do wonders for your ability to do just about anything succesfully. :)
> Oh, we also track hair growth (including facial hair) and cleanliness,
> so someone who has been in the outback for a while really looks it.

Heh. Hair growth eh? I'll probably track morale more simplistically..
 
> Thus...
> 
> A grubby, unshaven man goes up the stairs.
> [time passes]
> A clean-shaven man arrives from above.
> 
> I think I've already mentioned how "remembered state" affects memory.  Thus
> you might end up with fun things like:
> 
> Bubbba the grubby, bearded, long-haired man goes up the stairs.
> [time passes]
> A clean-shaven man arrives from above.
> The clean-shaven man says, 'How do I look?'
> You says, 'Who are you?  Do I know you?'
> 
> *cackle*

*evil grin*
 
> > Ayup. Any semi-competent coder can eventually sling together all that he
> > wants into a mud (I couldn't code at all in LPC about 6 months ago, but
> > I've learnt an awful lot just from initially hacking about with Nightmare,
> > and then writing huge hunks of code myself; currently a mail & news
> > system.. it's amazing how fast you can learn given a small amount of
> > dedication, if you really want to), but you really need to apply yourself
> > to balance it, and make sure it is all well integrated together (it should
> > feel like one fluid reality, not a bunch of systems hurled together to
> > make one).
> 
> Yup.  This is why muds are so difficult - they have such a broad scope.
> You can't make something so all-encompassing without making everything work
> together.  That's the main reason most muds are based on some pen and paper
> RPG - much easier to just implement a working system and then tweak it than
> try to come up with something completely new.  We've revamped various systems
> time and time again, because once we've updated one system, the other one
> is now either outdated or just doesn't fit in anymore at all.  Now
> things are approaching the point where everything works together very smoothly;
> I'm incredibly happy with our game design.  It's just a matter of coding it,
> now.  We've thrown away a ton of perfectly good code just because the
> system itself doesn't work correctly anymore.

Right. This is the killer really. :)
 
> > Yeah, this works too. :) We're using the standard (well, fairly standard)
> > heartbeat (or round if you prefer) based combat, in a way. Or rather, we
> > aren't depicting all actions simply be reflex-time delay (some, such as
> > application of archery and other missile attacks ARE reliant on a time
> > delay), but each character will normally take a certain amount of attacks
> > and parries in a round (modifiable through tactics and/or fighting style
> > as well as 'special abilities'), so we will use the above penalties to
> > simulate the effect you have nicely wrapped up. :) It really helps to
> > bring out the 'confusion' involved in being surrounded.
> 
> Ugh....we tried round-based combat for a while, and it was such a pain.
> Our new system is so clean and easy - EVERYTHING works exactly the same
> way, from combat to cooking to climbing.  Which makes it both easier
> to add new things you can do, and cuts down the size of the code.
> (Our combat module got cut nearly in half (byte size) when we chopped
> out round-based combat.)

Groovy. I personally really like round-based stuff though (and the problem
with syncronising other stuff to combat time is well given.. we wrote a
timing daemon which sorted this out by using time-rounds for other things)
 
> > Yeah, it's very different - and was one of the first things I decided to
> > do with our combat. If we intend to support whole armies (most likely
> > actually created NPCs who will actually fight, but using a muted combat so
> > as not to spam things to hell.. or a semi-muted combat which pages it's
> > messages, ie: 30 red-lion soldiers swing and miss their opponents, rather
> > than 30x A red-lion soldier swings and misses his opponent), we have to
> > make sure that you don't have 100 soldiers dash in and jump another 50,
> > the 100 instantly all mobbing the first of the 50..
> > 
> > Imagine..
> > 
> > 100 Red Lion soldiers march in.
> > The soldiers see your uniform and attack you!
> > 38 Red Lion soldiers miss you completely.
> > 20 Red Lion soldiers hit you for no damage.
> > 10 Red Lion soldiers hit you badly.. and so on.
> > 
> > It wouldn't be fun. :)
> 
> Yeah, I thought about this.  Frankly I'm not really interested in doing
> things on this scale.  For one thing we're still using rooms for our location
> system, which is somewhat limiting.  I really like being able the hand-craft
> areas, so we're leaving in the room idea, but if I wanted to allow for infinite
> scale we'd have to ditch this altogether.

*nod*

We have both normal rooms, and our own mappable virtual room areas, you
can create a map such as:

XXXXXXXXXX	X = impassable terrain
**########	* = swamp
*######@##	# = grassland
XXXXXXXXXX	@ = a lake

and set a scale for each room - this map would be converted into normal
rooms with randomly set sizes, descriptions, weather suited to the area,
and so forth.

Regards,
	-Matt Chatterley
	http://user.itl.net/~neddy/index.html
"Fishing is complete and utter madness."  -Spike Milligan




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