[MUD-Dev] Level abstractions - Realism vs Game Issues

Matt Chatterley root at mpc.dyn.ml.org
Mon Jun 30 20:44:56 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Mon, 30 Jun 1997, Martin Keegan wrote:
> On Sun, 29 Jun 1997, Matt Chatterley wrote:
> > On Sun, 29 Jun 1997, Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:
> > > I like the idea of doing away with levels entirely, and instead using an
> > > array of skills. I also like these skills to increase with practice, but
> > > through experience points. In other words:
> > 
> > Well, if "level" is a measurement of power (standardised), then in a skill
> > orientated system, it can easily be thought of as "overall skill level" -
> > this translation works well.
> I've considered level as just being some logarithm of your total XP. A
> problem with XP is that 300 points may be a huge amount to Joe Newbie, but
> to Old Gammage, it's less than he expends just sneezing. Steve Jackson's
> FF series featured many games where you had a mere two primary attributes:
> skill, and stamina; how well you were doing was measured in how close you
> were to achieving goals. It's only when the multi-player competitve
> spirit kicks in that people start needing more ways to compare themselves.

Wangling around XP to be reasonable with levels is difficult - if you go
for that approach. Higher level players can presumably gain more XP, and
advance more levels, faster, if each level requires the same amount of XP
(or an amount less than that which they can gain). The best approach is
probably to reduce the XP gained from sources below the players level, and
to increase it from sources above, and so forth. Levels are, as you say, a
pretty nice "chewing gum" for player comparison. They also have their
associated balancing whiners - "I'm two levels higher than Fred, he can
kill Bobby, but I can't! Out of balance! Out of balance!", repeat ad

Don't get me wrong, I like the levels concept, but it is somewhat problem
wrought if not applied carefully.
> On my system, the goal will be to sublime into an energy being - *not* to
> risk your life climbing up levels and amassing wads of cash. This goal
> will be quite secret, and only mentioned occasionally, but the fact that
> the way of 'winning' the game is secret will be broadcast widely ;)

Heh. :)
> > > 	Hit points are static. You have X hit points plus your usual
> > > 	constitution bonus, period. Your additional ability to survive 
> > > 	comes purely from skills like dodge, parry, and increased damage
> > > 	from weapon skills and multiple attacks.
> > 
> > Pretty much sums it up, although: Constitution/Endurance/Stamina
> > statistics should be increaseable, although not necessarily by a lot.
> > Depending on the influence they have over HPs, you may want to allow HP
> > increases without "whole" stat increases (or indeed, fractional stats
> > which are continuous, rather than discrete). Increasing your physical
> We considered making levels on Eclipse continuous rather than discrete,
> identified only by vague titles. player comparisons would be possible by
> observing the behaviour of NPC (or asking them!)

<g> Probably the biggest thing my players will get out of levelling (other
than increased skill maximums) will be the neat title (and a small
reputation bonus to fit it). Discrete stats are actually quite
troublesome. "I have 13 str!", "He has 14 str!". But if She is stronger
than I am, but not as strong as he is, we're stymied!
> > endurance is easier (depending how good it is - going from couch potato to
> > superathlete is pretty damned hard, but going from total couch potatoism
> > to being able to jog up some stairs without being out of breath is easier)
> > than increasing something like.. say.. willpower. Of course, the increase
> > curve here is pretty much an exponential approach situation, the higher,
> > the harder. If you apply "stat decay" like Nathan(?)'s dynamic skills,
> > physical stats could become a LOT more meaningful.
> An important factor screwed up by many muds is the rate at which player
> attributes replenish themselves after depletion (through combat or spell
> casting or what not), and the effort required for achieving this. Do your
> scores shoot back up, or crawl? I really don't think any realistic
> approach will be remotely enjoyable for the players - who's been to
> hospital recently?

Right. Jon Lambert (I believe, and I hope I spelt that right) mentioned
that he has a very realistic approach, and fears there may be troubles
with it. My personal approach (as yet unwritten) will probably be
somewhere along the lines of "vaguely realistic simulation".

The worse you're hurt, the slow you'll heal (depending on the rate of your
metabolism, and a few other factors). Broken limbs will heal on their own
(but over several game days - the rate of game days to RL days being about
3:1), obviously severs will not. Naturally there are added complications
(bleeding, disease, and so forth).

The theory is, if you're scratched (say under 3% damage), it'll heal up
and not be a problem in a very short space of time, but if you're badly
hurt (over 50%), it'll take much longer, and can be life threatening (yes,
it's possible for healing to go into reverse, if you're critical).

Fortunately magical healing aids will be available, and fundamental
physical healing available via a skill (a healing skill, low levels of
which being first aid). Most adventurers will gain access to basic skills
such as slowing bleeding, dressing wounds, and so forth, eventually.
> Mk

	-Matt Chatterley
"He can't stop us, we're on a mission from Glod!" - Soul Music (Pratchett)

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