Evil coders from beyond the grave

Matt Chatterley root at mpc.dyn.ml.org
Thu Jul 17 21:34:29 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

No, its not the latest third rate horror movie about the revenge of former
microsoft employees... its the beginning of a new thread! Hopefully.

I may be mildly incoherent, or tend to babble, so please forgive - I'm
part way through a 2000-5000 word physics paper, and my brain is more
than a little scrambled.

Undead of all sorts are a favourite tool of horror writers, and moreover,
of mud builders (term builder used to describe all those who create realms
of any kind for players to puddle about in, in any and all senses).

However, the much-maligned former dead are typically treated exactly the
same as other monsters - you hit them lots, they fall over, and thats it.
There are a few games which address this to make them different (this fits
into broader considerations of some things being vastly different to

The undead have been changed from what you might call a normal opponent in
many ways, in films and literature, to make them nastier, and scarier -
theres something very frightening about trying to kill something that is
already dead. Or there should be.

It's not hard to make undead that don't die normally, on a technical basis
- for me, it'll involve writing a 2nd level inheritable for undead, who
will not die as normal, and will take special considerations into effect.

However, designing this particular facet of the game IS hard, or rather,
designing it so it's good, and doesn't feel like an "undead system" is
hard. For instance, one can throw 'holy water' into the game as a
substance, and allow players to tote it. But if all it can do is
kill/injure undead, it becomes a very superficial thing, and is really not
worth the bother. To counter this, we make it a proper substance, and
treat it as normal water which is blessed in some way.

So adding commands like 'impale vampire through the heart with the wooden
stake', or rather commands which would make that viable, but only for a
vampire, is a flawed approach - if we want burning the corpse of a zombie
before it can rise to be a good way to keep 'em out of action, burning
corpses (and objects in general - another topic, fire!!) as a whole must
become possible.

What other considerations might we have to take into account for this, and
moreover, what would the effect of this be on the game, and other elements
of said game? Are there things noted herein, or hidden herein, which can
allude to better ways to handle other parts of the environment?

	-Matt Chatterley
"Never enter an arsekicking contest with a porcupine."-Cohen The Barbarian

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