[MUD-Dev] Re: Issues from the digests and Wout's list

clawrenc at cup.hp.com clawrenc at cup.hp.com
Fri May 23 11:05:56 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

In <3384855E.95DBC63A at darklock.com>, on 05/22/97 
   at 07:13 PM, Caliban Tiresias Darklock <caliban at darklock.com> said:

>clawrenc at cup.hp.com wrote:

Re: walking into walls

>> This is what I expect as well as what I "grew up with" in my
>> early MUDs.  It is up to you to pay attention to your environment in
>> the game (cf earlier comment on lack of or presence of independant
>> cognitive abilities of MUD characters).

>Ooooo, another old timer. Well met. 

I started MUDDing on Shades, SX MUD, and the very early beginnings of
the IOWA project back in the early 1980's.

>But truthfully, is this really
>what you wanted? It always annoyed me.

Its not exactly a question of what I want, but of what I expect.

I actually don't care whether if I walk my character into a wall, if
he gets hurt or not.  That's inconsequential.  What I want to see is
some result from the attempt, be it damage or an error message. 
Similarly, should I stick the character's hand in the fire, I expect
him to do it.  Having him do otherwise suddenly turns the character
from a willing prerepsentative into a balky dhild who must be

>> I don't want a Doom-esque twitch game, and I don't want a masked fancy
>> dress ball.  I do want an intellectual puzzle which I can delight in
>> exploring and manipulating.  I'm looking for a more visceral and
>> mental game than one where emotive content is of primary importance.

>Hmmmmm... this is what's lacking in most games I play. Lots of
>conversation, lots of politics, very little real intellectual
>stimulation. I like puzzles. They appeal to my solitary nature and
>hackish tendencies. But they're difficult to come across.

You would have loved the stuff I did for ShadowHouse:  

  The Blue Grass Path was a transdimensional path.  Very simple
really.  Pretty well in any room in the entire game which contained
the word "blue" in the description, or for which some form of
"blueness" was implicit, a player could enter "BLUE" as a command and
be automagically transported to the Blue Grass Path.  

  The BGP itself was simplistic in representation: a path floored with
faintly glowing blue grass, soft to the touch but
unbreakable/untearable, surrounded with faintly blue fog, with the
path extending out of sight ahead of and behind you.  The "BLUE"
command took you on and off the path.  Once on the path the only
movement commands available were "FORWARD" and "BACK".  No other
directions were possible.

  The other side feature was that the BGP was geometrically
inconsistant.  Getting on the BGP at say the Armoury and then
immediately leaving it again would most likely land you somewhere else
entirely (if in the same place every time).  Additionally the BGP
itself was non-linear and was directionally sensitive.  Thus while
getting on the BG at the Armoury and then getting off immediately
would land you (say) at the Pigs Tough, getting on the BGP at the
Armoury and going FORWARD and then BACK and then off would quite
likely land you somewhere other than the Pigs Trough.

  ie the BGP was essentially a directionally sensitive maze where the
entrances and exits from any given node commonly pointed to different

  The result, and the intention, was that the BGP was incredibly
annoying and tedious to map, but had the ability to both transport you
vast distances across the land almost immediately, as well as to
transport you to otherwise impossible or very difficult-to-reach
locations with minimal effort.  Thusly it was the most disliked,
complained, lauded and generally discussed feature of the game, while
simultaneously claming the majority ot the player's attention whilst
playing.  It was sort of an "I hate this bloody thing!", mixed with,
"Mein Gotte!  Look what it can do!".

  Fortress Fract involved retrieving the ever lost and ever wandering
Princess Julia and returning here to her to King Mandel.  Simple on
the face of it, but getting to Fortress Fract involved either solving
a large portion of the Blue Grass Path, or re-constructing the Human
Powered Catapult with the appropriate human skins (what it was tied
together with) and climbing aboard to be shot towards the castle
(weight dependant -- how much you carried determined where you landed,
and whether you lived or died upon landing).

  Once in the Fortress (which resided in the middle of an impassible
lake (monsters and vortexes -- thus the catapult or the BGP))
returning to shore was equally difficult.  

  The fortress itself was another variation on a maze, but this time a
maze where the player's actions mutated the maze at runtime.  The
basic pattern was simple: The floors of the fortress were movable. 
Whole sections of the building floors could be made to tilt such that
the floors became gently sloping ramps between other floors.  Thus
(say) you could stand on floor #5, pull a lever and walk east onto
floor #3, or west onto floor #7, or try and get off half way at floors
#4 or #6.  To make it more fun, typically the slope in the floor was
only detectable by dropping rollable objects and seeing which way they
rolled.  Similarly, the floors were not numbered or otherwise
identified, and were slightly difficult to distinguish from each
other.  The other side of which of course was that pulling the lever
(or doing whatever for that instance, different things moved the
floors in different places), or having some other player do it
elsewhere in the building might drop the floor above on you, or maroon
you in a vircle of ramps all of which lead to blank walls.

  The fact that other players wandering about could also move or
re-orient your floor while attempting to move theirs made things
interesting, as did the fact that moving some floors also moved many
other floors.  

  Note: "floors" as above typically meant a small section of the
building, tho occassionally did mean the entire floor of the whole
building (which was 64x64 rooms).

  Then, spaced about the periphery of the Fortress, and centrally
located, were towers, whose floors could be made to move up and down
ala elevators.  This was occassionally deadly -- such as standing on
the bottom floor of a tower and having the floor above dropped on you,
or visa versa at the top.

  Oh yeah, and the entire floor at each level was also formed like one
of those tile games (the one with the square tiles, one is missing,
that you slide the tiles about to re-organise a scrambled picture or
some such) with 8x8 room tiles.  Thus in various ways you could move
the floor tile that you were standing upon about the floor, (ie move
the hole) whilst also moving other tiles about (or have the tile you
were on moved by someone else).

  At the bottom of all this all wandered the lost Princess Julia.  At
the top in the Throne Room stood King Mandel.  Find Julia, persuade
her to follow you, re-catch her every time she wanders off, and get
her all the way back to Mandel, all while a dozen or so other players
were attempting the same (and thus moving the building about on you),
would earn enough XP to throw you almost a third of the way to wizard
(roughly 4 or 5 whole levels in one shot).  Oh yea, and there were
lots of other really nasty point opportunities in the process as well
-- such as reorganising a particular floor into a specific pattern, or
reorganising multiple floors so that particular tiles were above each
other, etc (you could see the ceilings and thus ID the floor tile
above you).

  Then there was Mobious Row, and the Mud Village, the Cheese Factory,
the White Oak Tree (with its elephant powered elevator and a 20+ room
Tarzan's tree-hut), etc.  

>> This all being true, I do enjoy manipulating the presentation of my
>> character in-game to create desired effects on other player's views.

>In my opinion, that's more truly roleplay than anything else I've
>seen discussed here. Roleplay is not a technical matter. It's a feel.
>If you give your character the feel you want him to have, then there
>you go.

The difference I think here, as compared to Miro's view, is that I'm
conciously manipulating the language I chose and my character's
actions to in turn manipulate the viewpoint other players have of that
character.  Its less a question of playing a role in a play, than of
artificing a scheme using the people about one.  There's a *lot* of
scheming and exact plotting and placement required -- which is
probably why I don't do it anymore.

J C Lawrence                           Internet: claw at null.net
(Contractor)                           Internet: coder at ibm.net
---------------(*)               Internet: clawrenc at cup.hp.com
...Honorary Member Clan McFUD -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

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