[MUD-Dev] Re: Levels (was: Administrative notes)

Adam Wiggins nightfall at user1.inficad.com
Sun May 25 03:55:29 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

[Chris L:]
> > But the key point is that you
> > said, "..having to go.."  I dislike requiring a certain 'guildmaster'
> > to teach you some skill past a certain number.  I like the idea of
> > teachers, books, etc being able to greatly aid your learning, but I
> > dislike *having* to hunt down some mob just to be able to continue my
> > studies.
> Agreed.  This is was much of the meat of my argument.  I dislike
> having to hunt down a mobile...yada yada to get a known skill.  The
> equation instatly becomes:
>   Want XXX skill == Find YYY mobile/player == Get him to teach me ==
> Maybe have to do something he asks first.
> Boring.  Simplistic.  Inelegant.  Dumb.

Maybe, although if you had an equation *this* complex you'd already be
ahead of 75% of muds out there.

Want XXX skill == kill more mobiles == gain a level, learn skill

> I want a choice of possible paths.  Thus I proposed the basic "think"
> verb and the possibility of a lone player deriving a new skill without
> external help.  I don't think its a *good* solution (actually I think
> its a lousey idea), but it at least offers a seperate model and
> compleatly different path to take for skill advancement.  Now at least
> the equation is:

You can learn skills from many different people (mobiles or players),
books, or even by just seeing someone else doing it.  Many skills
are considered 'implict' - you may not know the first thing about swiming,
but if someone picks you up and tosses you into a lake, you will find
yourself learning pretty quickly.
In fact...I'm having trouble thinking of any skills that aren't implicit
in this way.  You try to sneak around, your stealth-related skills go
up.  You spend a lot of time in the forest, your botany-related skills go
up.  Maybe this is because we have really simple skills (a benefit of
being a fantasy world) - there's no "brain surgery" or "solving 6 variable
integration functions" skills.  The only thing I can think of right off
hand that you *can't* learn on your own is elementalism, because this requires
that certain pathways be forged in your body by someone else who can focus
elemental energy.  This isn't necessarily skill-related, though, in the
same way that religion isn't.  You can know everything about a certain god,
but if that god doesn't like you, you aren't gonna get any help from that
quarter.  By the same token, if you're the apple of that god's eye, he may
step in and catch a death blow or save you from starvation without you doing
anything at all.

>   Want XXX skill == (Find YYY mobile/player == Get him to teach me ==
> Maybe have to do something he asks first) or (sit down and see if
> light dawns).
> Still boring.  Less simplistic.  Still inelegant.  Still dumb.  It is
> at least some improvement.

*shurg*...as I'm sure you know, it's far easier to just go to the library
and read up on whatever topic you're interested in than to sit down
and try to figure out how it works without any knoweldge of it whatsoever,
so I can't imagine why anyone would ever bother doing the second.

> I'd love to think of a reasonably elegant way to turn this into at
> least three or four simultaneous equations.

How about:

(find a teacher) or (see someone else do it, and try to immitate them) or
(read a book about it) or (stumble upon it by accident)

The last would be things like getting tossed into a lake and learning the
rudiments of treading water, or even something along the lines of:

> l plaque
It is inscribed with the words, 'Kaltu Veratus Niktu'
> ' hmmm, you know what "Klatu Veratus Niktu" means?
You say, 'hmmm, you know what "Klatu Veratus Niktu" means?'
The earth begins to tremble...

For learning how to 'cast' spells.  In this case your spellcasting
would be highly manual - to cast a spell, you say some magic words, wave
your arms around, whatever...as opposed to an explict 'cast' command.

alias {earthquake} {wave arms around;trace rune in the air;say Klatu;get
dust pack;throw dust into the air;say Veratus;hold arms aloft;close eyes;
shout Niktu}

> >Good point.  I'm also thinking of the early days of the mud - with
> >only 30 people online most of the time, your chances of finding
> >someone who knows exactly what you want to learn is next to nothing.
> With such a low population for your world, you expect them to have
> derived a complex and detailed field of skills?

That's my point.  30 people aren't the 'world', they are the players.
If you have skills only teachable by players, it's gonna be rather difficult
for those at the begining.  I suppose there's nothing wrong with that,
exactly, but I want the game playable on Day 1.

> This is actually more in reference to another internal debate of mine. 
> Many/most MUDs presume an internal hidden population which keep
> everything running.  I think Jon referred to them as a the
> "Sim-Peeps".  Few to no MUDs are going to stock their city with 700
> mobiles just have a decent simulation.

Nope, but I find that forty or fifty is plenty.  More like a village than
a city, but it's fine with me.

>   Aside:  While I understand the reasons for this, both in
> playability, system resources, and sheer work load to create that many
> unique mobiles, I also think its a crying shame.  I would love to see
> someone attempt it.

If you wanted to this, you'd just automatically generate them.  Not
terribly exciting.

> My debate is over whether I should even postulate the existance of
> Sim-Peeps, virtual or realised.  My tendancy is to arrange the world
> so that players are the only actual intelligences in the game, and
> that this is a known feature of the world (cf a multi-player Myst). 
> Then mobiles become the shadows of deranged and descended
> intelligences (cf Heinleinian Puppet Masters, David-brin-esque raised
> chimps/dogs, demons nailed to this weary mortal coil).

That works well.  I'm pretty fond of the old mud-standby where the
players are the brave and adventurous heros and heroines, whereas the
mobiles are the boring work-a-days wandering about tilling fields and
mending shirts, and going "ooh" and "ah" at the players and their daring

> >We don't consider intelligence as having anything to do with
> >reasoning. Intelligence is, for our purposes, the speed at which your
> >neural net (brain) adapts to new inputs.  This says nothing about
> >your character's knowledge or ability to reason.
> In which case a better definition for your IQ stat might be,
> "Perceptive ability", no?

We have a stat, "perception", which is used heavily (possibly more than
any other stat, although the things it affects tend to be less earthshattering
than the other stats).  Most of the people I know that are stunningly
intelligent are also about as perceptive as a deaf horse wearing blinders.

Perception == awareness of surroundings
Intelligence == speed of learning new concepts

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