> Re: [MUD-Dev] Integrating PK

Matt Chatterley root at mpc.dyn.ml.org
Fri Jul 11 07:25:56 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

A Note before hand: I'm replying from the digests, because I've been off
the list for a while due to a machine crash that incapacitated my new
address (it's apparently still dead, and I'm back to itl.net). I'm going
to send several replies today, because theres some great stuff in here -
but if things are a teensy bit mangled because I have to chop them out of
the digest, I apologise. :)

Nathan Yospe (Wed 9th July):
> On Fri, 27 Jun 1997, Huibai wrote:
> :Brandon Cline hath ordained:
> :: I've thought about introduction name handling, and would have
> :: mentioned it before in my post, but have not figured out how to
> :: explain tracking 100 or 1000 aliases per player, client or server
> :: side, for pc names, but maybe this would be worth it, and if you
> :Client side! No need to bother the server, especially since the
> :'client' (player) is the only one working with the memory.  I am
> :going to trim the familiarity method by using only the most recent
> :100 or so 'aliased' names.  That should allow relationships to die
> :out fairly naturally, whether due to time or social scale.
> What if you wanted to describe someone differently if they were
> remembered? Say, if you had a series of changes to a character, with time
> slots for each change, and a "ID Time Name ..." for each remembered
> character... to produce something like "A tall guy with a crew cut walks
> in through the swinging doors. He almost looks like someone you know."
> >exam guy "You suddenly recognize the tall guy as Jeremy. Last time you
> saw him, he had long black hair. He killed your brother Joe." >shoot Jer
> "You whip out your six-gun and shoot at... nothing, as Jeremy drops to the
> floor and rolls."

You're leaning towards, or have pretty much got summed up, an approach to
this that I considered (albeit briefly, and for a past project). Rather
than simply make the connection in the PC permanently "#6577 is James",
tracking how well knows #6577 is to our PC, and the names he has
encountered. If he simply called him 'Sir' throughout (for instance if
#6577 was his boss), then that *would* be added as a 'secondary label' (a
title). Tracking the different names (James, James Tyneforth, JT, and
anything else that #6577 might be called), along with titles (Sir, Boss,
Mr, etc), and how often they are used - and how long for, you can build up
a sort of 'familiarity index' for these recognitions.

> :: The only problems I see with who lists, are that they are un-
> :: realistic, and allow for generlizations like, oh so-and-so isn't on
> :: the who list, he must have logged out, which people shouldn't
> :: be able to tell anyways, shrug.
> :I'd lose it if I could protect the ability of players to find their
> :friends to play with fairly quickly upon login, i.e. this scenario:
> :Joe logs on and wants to find Tom and Janny to RP with.
> :(currently, it's done this way:
> : by the 'who' list, Joe sees Tom in there but not Janny.
> : Joe sends a money-costing page to Tom, who believes in a
> : passing daydream that he should go visit someone in Goodtown)
> :Tom will either go to Goodtown and immediately meet Joe, or
> :Joe will get bored and log off, making it actually just a daydream
> :for Tom when he arrives and finds no skinny elf waiting for him.
> :mail messages can be sent town-to-town, but recipients aren't
> :notified upon receiving mail, much less which town it's in.
> What if you allowed something a little more direct? I mean, daydreams are
> a bit fanciful... Maybe a sprite on someone's shoulder? Or a page,
> breathlessly explaining that Joe will be in Goodtown for the next fifteen
> minutes (or whatever) and would like to speak with you... (This allows
> things like Dishonest John (Nyah, hah, hah!) sending Tom a message
> purporting to be from Joe...)

It allows a lot, and is generally a great gameplay concept, but many
different methods of suitable communication are applicable (birds with
messages, errand boys, etc). 'Who' lists, and other similar commands
(tell/page, finger, etc) would really have to go in this kind of
environment. Perhaps at most the game could inform you how many people are
connected - or display the identity they choose for the who screen
(unconnected to their PC).
> :: I forgot to bring up about making stuff less game termish,
> :...
> :: So that you don't have someone saying "Oh man, that 50th
> :: level dragon took off 200 hit points per round, he's tough."
> :: Instead you get, "Wow, we fought an elder dragon ealier today
> :: and his claws sliced right through my plate armor, knocking me
> :: to the ground, it was all I could to to get up and run away while
> :: he was distracted by the rest of my group..." 
> :*excited* Yes! This is exactly my goal.  It is by far the best
> :way I can see to integrate PG and RP... you trick stat-oriented
> :people into respecting the environment for its surface and not
> :its mechanics because those are the only 'terms' you give them.
> :Instead of terms to say "you need ac16 to go 4 rounds and still
> :absorb 130hp of damage from that level 18 monster", they will 
> :have to express in environment-safe terms: "that dragon is so
> :tough that only full plate armor can last a minute against one".
> :Surely no passerby who's really into his RP would mind that.
> Not at all. I've tried for a similar effect, though my setting is sci-fi.
> Things like the following:
> (Commands are included in brackets here, as I cannot use the split screen
> I normally would... this is not mode char, just output signals... mode
> char is used only when in editor or terminal accounts)
> Johnny Angel lopes by, his assult rifle slung over his shoulder. He grins
> at you and gestures, waving you to follow. Ira pats your shoulder as she
> runs past, and behind you Krr*ganfth growls as he straps himself into a
> combat mech. Krr*ga's mech tromps past, and Captain HarshLight turns to
> you and yells "Get a move on! This operation is important! If we pull it
> off, I might be able to pull a generalship. [mutter damn uptight
> mercenary] You mutter under your breath. HarshLight whirls around and
> glares at you. Ira winks back at you and whispers "Don't mind HarshLight.
> He's just not a very good roleplayer." Ira blanches. "Oops." [chuckle]
> You chuckle. Krr*ganfth pushes open the bulkhead door with a groan. A
> blast of heat and light blinds you and sears against your face. Someone
> screams, and HarshLight roars over the comm, "It's an ambush! Fall back!"
> You smell charred meat. Something sharp and hot tears into your left wing,
> and you smell burning feathers momentarily before the dull numbness of
> hurt penetrates, and your wing begins pulsing loudly. {note: this
> character is a tre'laeci, and their species does not feel pain in the same
> way as humans and glah*drack.} 

Not sure if there were meant to be CRs in there that got lost, but it
looks very nice overall - something good to aim for. :)
> :: I've seen ranged combat done on mud systems using rooms,
> :: but you either have over powered or underpowered problems.
> :
> :I favor underpowered, then.  A good archer will get in a third
> :shot on a longe-range target before the ground is closed.  The
> :damage done is not more than melee damage, but is harder
> :and less common to be protected against.  The best of bowmen
> :better also carry a close-combat weapon.  Unless the target
> :refuses their natural instincts to take cover or charge, they'll
> :be in close-combat by the second volley in most cases.
> This is, of course, quite different in dynamic when you have a sci-fi
> setting. Very few people get all that close when guns and grenades and
> sniping are involved. Of course my long range combat is overpowered...
> there is very little that can be done with a close range weapon that
> cannot be done at long range. There are some exceptions. Plasma arcs are
> among the most powerful personal weapons... but they have a diminishing
> return on distance. Likewise for flamethrowers, which have a constant
> strength, with a sudden termination. Some weapons (missiles, for example)
> are far less uasable up close, as the detonation hurts anything in range,
> regardless of source. Smart missiles (laser heads... no, not bomb pumped)
> are safe at any range. Grenades are limited by lobbing strength and
> detonation radius to a ring around the user.

I don't really see how you can have 'underpowered' range weapons in such a
setting - as you say. Even in a modern day setting, firearms seriously tip
the balance to favour moderate range, if not long range.

My own range system is simplistic (basically to avoid headaches while we
test out what we want it to do at this point - although it's quite nice
to play with), and range weapons have varying degrees of lethality. Slings
are not too bad (but magical pebbles are more common than magical xbow
bolts), short bows are nice at short to medium range, xbows are always
useful - they're handier to fire at short range, and pretty powerful, plus
they can carry a quarrel loaded and ready, but longbows are probably the
most dangerous in terms of range and power. Missile hits from the latter
are all fairly dangerous in any case, because they can cause quite nasty
puncture wounds. Seige weapons bring a whole new situation in. The main
use of missiles is literally to get in a few shots (the better you are,
and the quicker your weapon is to reload and ready) before combat begins,
OR to allow armies to engage with missile cover (later on a lot of the
scope of the game moves to MASS combat).
> :: [solo player vs. group player paragraph]
> :: should balance be geared towards group players, making solo
> :: players difficult, but not impossible, also, being solo, that would
> :: make it harder to recover without friends, i.e. all beat up, and no
> :: healer?  
> :I don't believe that all areas should be equally balanced, just 
> :that something out of 'balance' should defend itself from being
> :overly exploited.  The 'population container' idea, for example,
> :could well control the wealth of a particularly weak goblin tribe,
> :as well as the birth rate in their subterranean warrens.  I'd not
> :mind one area being considered 'rich' in plunder over another,
> :as long as the nature of the game made the players have to
> :hunt to find which areas are rich again this week.  Of course,
> :with the 'goblin warren' (howdy Magic fans!:) population con-
> :tainer going, and goblins' propensity to go fight when in bands
> :of sufficient numbers... well, so much for the town while the
> :players were off beating on the Kobolds of Lonely Mountain.
> :With ungodly-strong challenges (not particularly meant to be
> :conquerable) out there, I think you could make a world of
> :sufficient complexity where both solos and groups would find
> :their places.
> :Hah.."just make it more complex" - that's my new motto.
> *grin* Now that works for me. I have set it up so that, with a single
> stealthy player, you could concievably get in and out without being seen,
> where fifty armed troopers would get themselves toasted... or the other
> way around, if the security is better than your stealth. Then again, you
> could always patch into their computer network and kill the security...

Heh. Heh. I like this. :)

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

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