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

coder at ibm.net coder at ibm.net
Sat May 24 16:51:33 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On 24/05/97 at 01:47 PM, caliban at darklock.com (Caliban Tiresias
Darklock) said: >On Sat, 24 May 1997 11:38:24 PST8PDT,
clawrenc at cup.hp.com wrote:

>>You would have loved the stuff I did for ShadowHouse:  
>>  The Blue Grass Path was a transdimensional path.  

>I've done similar sorts of areas... it's tough to design it in such a
>way that it's elegant. Really a sweet idea.

Thanks.  Its one I intend to re-create here and do several better.  

>>  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).

>NICE. You are twisted, demented, and sick. I love that.

I was a great area.

>>  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.  

> Not more? Gee. I'm disappointed. ;)

Chortle.  Leaving the fortress as I recall either involved using the
BGP backwards (tough as most routes from Fract lead back to Frack or
to death/entrapment), recovering Julia to get a one-shot spell from
Mandel to return you to the mainland, or finding the rubber boat and
rowing to shore with enough vigor that you reached land and could jump
out before it snapped back to the Fortrees (rubber remember?).  This
one got most attempters snapped back to the Fortress and splattered
all over the walls.

>>  The fortress itself was another variation on a maze, but this time a
>>maze where the player's actions mutated the maze at runtime.  

>Oh, GOD. I have been wrestling with getting something like this to
>work right in a game... I have all the proper working code in place,
>but it's the actual design of the maze which drives me nuts. I don't
>want any possibility of someone getting stuck someplace where they
>can't get out.

Ahh, I didn't bother with that.  If they go stuck it was up to them to
either get unstuck, or to persuade other players to rescue them or
magically summon them out.  ShadowHouse had a *lot* of traps like this
(eg the Mud Bubble), places it was easy to get into, but impossible to
get out of without external help.  (Note while logging out on
ShadowHouse did remove your character, logging back in found it in
exactly the same place).

  Ahh.  Fond memories of seeing the Mud Bubble with 15 out of the 16
players online stuck in it with me dancing about outside and gibbering
at them.  It cost them dearly to get rescued...and a piece of work on
my part for them not to realise that I'd set them all up to get in

>>  Oh yeah, and the entire floor at each level was also formed like one
>>of those tile games 

>Holy shit. I love it. 

The problem was that the tile game was so complex, and so impossible
to map (8x8 tiles, spread over 16 floors, think about it), that almost
nobody attempted it, and nobody ever did do the whole thing.  That
aspect turned into a bit of a waste tho every so often a player would
wander thru and get some accidental line-up and suddenly be showered
with points.  

  > score
  You have 5000 points
  > pull lever
  The floor grates beneath you!....etc.
  Suddenly a bright golden light briefly fills the chamber and the
  of faint singing is heard!
  > score
  You have 3,5000 points.

It was a very point generous area if you knew how to do it.

>>  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 

>*LOL* I love this. This sounds great. I would have been screaming and
>carrying on in less than ten minutes.

A lot did.  I was soundly cursed and reviled with incredible
thoroughness when I released it upon the land.  They'd thought the BGP
was bad.  I told they were but innocent babes in the woods.  They
didn't believe me.

The problem from their PoV was that the potential point gain from the
BGP, the White Oak Tree, Fortress Fract etc was so incredibly high
that they obviously thought it was almost silly to attempt earning
points by any other way.  The problem was that even attempting any of
those areas was fatal 99% of the time, and plain old frustrating as
hell and confusing as heck and annoying as McGulliver the rest of the
time.  Damned if you do, and damned if you don't.  They couldn't
resist the possiblity that they might just be the next one to be the

They all claimed to hate it, said that it had destroyed the game, yada
yada, but it was also where they were all to be found every time they
logged in.

Funny really -- I took a game with a fair spread of areas and some
nice puzlles and effectively turned it into a game where all the
players spent their time in only 3 or four areas.  When I left I was
working on integrating the BGP much more thoroughly into the fabric of
the game, as well as adding thses sorts of nasty puzzles to all the
areas such that there no longer were any clear distinctions between my
high-rish/high-gain areas and the rest of the game.

>>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.

>But it's so much more rewarding when it works!

Yeah.  I just ended up feeling uncomfortable at the level of personal
deception I was practicing.  While I knew it was only a game, far too
many took it all too seriously with some serious upsets resulting.  It
soured the area for me.

J C Lawrence                               Internet: claw at null.net
----------(*)                              Internet: coder at ibm.net
...Honourary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

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