[MUD-Dev] Character evolution

Richard Woolcock KaVir at dial.pipex.com
Sun Aug 17 13:06:59 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

Matt Chatterley wrote:
> On Sat, 16 Aug 1997, Dan Shiovitz wrote:[snip]
> > On Sat, 16 Aug 1997, Richard Woolcock wrote:
> > >
> > > Okay we've talked about the world evolving, but what about players?
> > > I have often thought about coding it so that players hair/nails slowly
> > > grow, causing them social/combat problems unless they do something
> > > about it.  Players would therefore have to trim their nails every so
> >
> > [hair growing .. aging.. getting fat from eating too much chocolate]
> >
> > > There are other things that could be added also, although I wouldn't
> > > go so far as to code toiletries....as amusing as it would be to watch
> > > players 'nip off behind the bushes' before a fight, or wet themselves
> > > in combat if they didn't (and had recently drank a lot).
> > >
> > > Comments?
> >
> > I've got a minor comment and a major comment. The minor comment is it
> > seems that this is going to involve the players giving up more control
> > over their appearance than they're probably used to; this may in turn
> > lead to people looking more alike than they would on other muds.
> It may do - but once players adjust to it, and realise the degree of
> control it gives them, plus ways to turn it to their advantage, it could
> get interesting. For instance a famous long haired, blond swordsman might
> shave his head, and dunk the remains into some dye to facilitate part of a
> disguise.
> > The major comment is that I can't really imagine playing this sort of
> > mud for long periods of time. It would be cool in the short term,
> > definitely. I'd dig being able to cut my hair and having it grow back,
> > and having to watch what I eat. It's hard to guess how it'd feel in
> > the long run, but I strongly suspect I'd dislike it for the same
> > reason that I dislike having to shave/trim my beard in real life: it's
> > too damn much work, and it's not that interesting to do.
> It depends really - it fits more into 'full emersion' atmospheres, and is
> probably not something for all players. The big point that I have made is
> with game play, in slanting towards *going on adventures* rather than
> anything else, for the adventure types. This again is not for all players
> - some like to "power mud", and others like "pure roleplay". It is for
> people like me, though, and that is what really matters at the end of the
> day.

I agree.  However I don't see how this would bother other people - they
would just give themselves a quick haircut every so often.  My mud runs 
on the timeframe of 1 second real life = 1 minute in the mud, so this
might become a bit awkward, but I suppose I could always add options so
that players can automatically be assumed to cut their hair/etc every
so often, so cater for people who really are not interested.  I was
considering making the mud run in real time, but the problem with this
lies in the 'child birth' thing...who would want to wait 15 years rl
time before being able to play their child?

On another (perhaps offtopic - sorry - but this just reminded me of it)
subject, I was thinking of actually having the players as 'permanent'
people in the world who go around doing their everyday chores.  Thus
if you are a baker, while you are not playing online your character
would be going around making bread (and thus bringing in an income for
you to use).  I would have to ensure that your character could not be
killed while you were not playing them (for sake of fairness), but I
think this could still prove rather fun.  Imagine you're just about
to buy some bread off the shopkeeper (who, as far as you're concerned
just seems to be a MOB who sits there selling stuff), except today
you've been playing the mud later than you usually do.  Suddenly the
shopkeeper tells you to get out, grabs a sword, and walks out the
door of his shop.  Particularly with the 'personal recognition' code
where the player wouldn't 'know' the shopkeeper and thus wouldn't
even have realised he was a player (who just wasn't logged on at the

> Since I'm getting a little off the subject - this also allows a good
> interface to 'personal recognition' code. You might have a long beard,
> stained blue with dye made from a flower (or somesuch), and be quite a
> well known pirate for instance. Or confused for him.

Hmmm you've just given me another thought...should 'personal recognition'
be boolean 'I know him/her'/'I don't know him/her'?  That is how I was
thinking of it...but why not have it as a variable value, depending on
how much time you spend interacting with that person?  Thus if Blackbeard
the pirate gets his beard cut off and his hair died blond, most people
wouldn't recognise him - but members of his crew, who had been around him
for years, would most likely realise who he was as soon as they saw his
face or heard his voice.  This would lead to having different 'levels' of
disguise, ranging from the old superman style of "a pair of glasses" to
things like false beards/shaving/dying hair/face putty/makeup/etc.

> > How much simulation you like is obviously a personal choice and is
> > going to vary (incidentally, any of you read rec.games.frp.advocacy?
> I haven't.. but I suspect I may now.
> > They're having a continuing discussion about three different
> > role-playing styles that have a lot of application to this stuff I'm
> > talking about now), but for me, there's no reason to add anything that
> > has no use in the game. You can add in hair and nail growth, but if
> > the only result is that I have to type "cut hair" and "clip nails"
> > every day or so, it's not going to add anything to my enjoyment of the
> > game. Food is a little more interesting .. I could see a game
> > stressing the importance of a varied diet: for one thing, this would
> Yeah. To me getting the food stuff expanded was vital - it allows us to
> put a time restriction on players adventuring. "Do you have enough
> supplies?". Generalisation of commands, and items means that nonspecific
> objects such as metal pitons and rope will be typically handy to have
> around too. If you've ever played a D&D campaign that bordered on
> hack'n'slash, thats vaguely the sort of feel I'm aiming for, because I
> found it enormously fun.

Hmmm supplies might be awkward, as most food would go off if left too long.
You would have to carry salted meats and stuff - unless you have a more
modern setting with vitamin tablets.  Survival skills would become vital,
you'd need someone to bring in fresh meat and vegetables.

> > encourage trading between players ("Oh, you're a baker? I'll give you
> > some of the carrots I've grown for a few loaves of bread"), and it
> > also avoids the ("buy bread", repeat 10x, "eat bread", repeat 10x)
> > problem you get on most dikus. But again, I suggest thinking more
> > about how this'll feel to the players. It's enough of a pain to have
> > to floss after meals and do sit-ups to keep my flab down in real life;
> > why would I want to play an interactive flossing experience?
> Heh. :)

Strikes me that you'd be able to detect the powergamers - they would be
the extremely thin (or fat) people running around with long nails, long
hair, and long scraggy beards.  If you've seen "the life of Brian" then
picture the man who had kept a vow of silence for many years, until Brian
jumped on his foot - thats the sort of picture I think of.  I wonder how
such an appearance would be greated in society?

> Players will be at liberty to eat whatever they want - but if they don't
> eat SOME good food, they will eventually run into problems. Oh, and they
> need to eat things that won't make them ill, of course. Since you can cook
> corpses (after cutting off suitable sized pieces if necessary), finding
> meat is not too hard while adventuring - but if its kobold meat, and
> you're human, you'll be out of action for a while with gastritis.

Hmmm I remember the previous conversations about having different types
of constition - being able to shrug of pain, being able to look at blood
and gore, etc...well how about another for eating?  Thus most people in
high society wouldn't be able to stomach food that wasn't cooked perfectly,
whilst a hardened survivalist would be quite happy to eat raw fish and
maggots and pretty much anything else that was actually 'edible'.


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