[MUD-Dev] Life

Matt Chatterley root at mpc.dyn.ml.org
Tue May 27 09:56:25 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


On Sun, 25 May 1997, Ling wrote:

> On Sat, 24 May 1997 coder at ibm.net wrote:
> 
> > Its been too long since we've had any decent size posts.  This list
> > used to be rife with 30K signal filled chunks.  
> 
> Let's bring them back. :)  I'll start slowly though.  Tee hee.

Ack, noo, lets not. Large emails clog up my mail-fetching system something
chronic. ;)
 
> > On 24/05/97 at 07:57 PM, caliban at darklock.com (Caliban Tiresias
> > Darklock) said:
> > 
> > >Something I've discussed with some people is the idea that when a
> > >player dies in a game with permanent death, it's terribly
> > >demoralising to start over at ground zero. One thing I have
> 
> Yep, I can confirm this, having died at a mud with permanent death.  I
> just blinked and sat there looking gormless for a bit.  It was a stupid
> death as well, I tried someone a bit bigger and left it on auto, I thought
> I was doing something else, mope.

I've done something mildly similar (died stupidly as a newbie, got
deleted, boggled, and decided not to try again). Whether or not permanent
death is appropriate for your game depends on the sort of reality being
modelled, and how your game balance is skewed. If it's easy to die, and
the environment is not 'ultra realistic' (ie a purist RP game modelling
something taken more or less from RL), the player should probably have
more than one chance before permadeath. If it's not easy to die (barring
doing something really absurd players should know will be lethal), or
rather, if balance is skewed towards that, then permadeath may work.

It also depends on the aim of the game - purely fun, serious playing, and
so forth. I plan on making death non-permanent (in the sense that your
character will not be deleted via dying, unless you die down to level one,
don't have the required state of being to save, and log off), but quite
involved. Many LPs support the 'oh dear, you died. well.. float to the
church and pray' approach, which is quite simplistic and thoroughly
detestable. I plan on creating an alternate 'plane' on a spiritual level -
when you die in the 'real world', your body becomes just another corpse,
and your spirit is sucked to this metaplane. Once there, you must find a
way to be reincarnated into the real world. The 'kicker' here is that
while battling through the metaplane, you do not have the stats you had in
life (so a powerful character is as much use as a weakling would be), but
rather start with nothing and build up, until you find your way back. The
amount of time between death and reincarnation is a large factor in how
much you are damaged by the reincarnation (the ties between spirit and
reality have weakened over time). It's perceivable that you could
eventually 'die' for good by never returning. You could in theory play out
the rest of your time on the game as a ghost.

Think of the film 'Ghost' and how Patrick Swayze had to learn how to focus
to do things - flick the bottle cap, kick the drink can, and so forth..
building up until he was fairly formidable by the end. This is the same
sort of situation, I suppose.

> > >considered doing is allowing them to take some credit for previous
> > >accomplishments in the form of benefits and artificial advancement
> > >for the next character. For example, in an AD&D game, I'd give them
> > >some form of starting experience and equipment that allows them to
> > >hold their own in the party; in a White Wolf game, I'd give them some
> > >portion of the experience their previous character had earned to buy
> > >skills and whatnot; in a Cyberpunk game, I'd probably let them start
> > >with a greater budget for cybernetic enhancements. 
> 
> I'm glad you raise this point.  I think, with my sci-fi setting,
> characters will die very easily.  Yet characters take ten minutes to
> create, each (that's the plan).

This works for me.. as long as it's not a typically 'linear' mud. Ie, you
play for a month, and you're a lot better than a new guy. In theory you
should be one-month better than a new guy - but he could still kill you.
Being shot is basically a dangerous experience (excluding any sort of
defences you might have amassed in that time).
 
> I'll have to refer to my life path system.
> 
> (http://dark.x.dtu.dk/~ceilidh/char/create_exam.html to see what I'm
> taking about.  Lynx compat, Chris.).

I can't get a connection to it at the mo, so I'll have to look later.
Bleh. :P
 
> What I have jotted down is this:  when characters die, the player is given
> more options on the lifepath system for having 'scored points' in a
> previous character.  So the new character would have more cash/stats/cars. 
> Characters can also start out the game as a master builder (refer to a
> post that just arrived).  Oh yeah, I reckon character creation is gonna
> take me a few months to slink together (slink?). 

Slink? Anyways, this sounds like a goodly way to handle it. :)
 
> > persistance will always win the day.  I also really dislike the idea
> > that a player will lose his character because he got hit by net lag at
> > just the wrong time (I've seen fights on Shades start and finish all
> > in the time one player was waiting on net lag -- he (me) was unhappy
> > about that).  As such I believe that a player should be able to
> > largely protect himself against permanent death. 
> 
> I would like to see examples on how to increase the life expectancy of
> characters.  That is, give me more examples of devices to eliminate death
> by netlag and such like.  Combat scripts/packages and bestowing some
> intelligence on the characters are a good start.

Yeah. It's incredibly hard to think about stopping death via netlag. The
'wimpy' function implemented in many muds is a step forwards - but not a
very good one, since it also has downsides.
 
> > the idea that a human player can have multiple characters in a game,
> > but has to bend over backwards (login twice or some such) to play them
> > both simultaneously.  It seems silly.  So I split the game-login from
> > the character login.  Playing around with the idea of slaves,
> > will-power fights, demonic possession, swarm bodies (eg hive
> > intelligences) etc so I made a single character able to simultaneously
> > control multiple bodies.  
> 
> Agreed, forcing players to use multiple telnet sessions to a single site
> is a bit silly.  I have thought about having players control *teams*
> instead of individual characters.  Team death would not happen as long as
> at least one of the original characters stay alive (cf: Megatraveller,
> computer game, actually, I'm heavily influenced by Megatraveller).

I like this actually.. a bit like Betrayal at Krondor (Sierra), where you
had a party of three characters. If one or two got KOed, they'd live as
long as the third made it through.. not necessarily the best way to handle
it, but the right general idea.
 
> > Advancement in the game is not the simple old progressionm of levels,
> > or the hoary old class/multi-class chestnut.  The goal is to advance
> > your characters.  You do this by increasing your character's skill
> > sets (whcih instantly spread to all their bodies), by gaining magical
> > ability, by gaining mana abilities, by gaining strength and will
> > power, etc.
> 
> I think advancement for my mud would be classed as more possessions and
> building up your characters, not in the tradition sense of physical and
> mental improvements but more contacts, favours owed and general knowledge.
> Take a statesman for example, The New Statesman would have few contacts
> within the political structure and he would not be a household name.

Yeah. This makes permadeath much more bearable and much more sensible.
  
> As the majority of characters start off with skills they need, there is
> going to be very little skill advancement.  Looks like I'm going to have a
> MUSH/MUD thing on my hands at the end of the millenium. 

Heh.
 
> I suppose another gain for the players would be an insight to the culture 
> and universe of the mud.  Playing different characters would be akin to
> watching continuous episodes of a series and learning more and more about
> the universe created.  I do intend to spend a few years creating the
> world.  Seriously.

Yeah, well, if you go into great depth, then more time spent playing would
mean players understand things more, and thus will do better, so forth,
and such.
 
> > I won't pretend its a roleplaying game in MIro's definition, nor that
> > it fits Jeff K's concept of the beer swillin' armpit scratchin'
> > minimally literate hormone driven game buying/playing out there.  OTOH
> > I do think it is fun.  With luck, should I ever get it up and running,
> > others will think so too.
> 
> smile

<g>

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




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