[MUD-Dev] Character evolution

Matt Chatterley root at mpc.dyn.ml.org
Sun Aug 17 13:46:25 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Sun, 17 Aug 1997, Richard Woolcock wrote:

> Matt Chatterley wrote:
> > 

[Richard's original post, and Dan's reponses snipped]

> > 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?

Yup. For something of this sort, an RL timescale is silly - if you have a
large combat element, it also means wounds could take a long time to heal
if severe (not necessarily bad, but being out of action for several weeks
would not be fun).

With 1s=1m time, say I get my hair cut every RL month (4 weeks, 28 days,
672 hours, 40320 minutes, that'd be 40320 game minutes = 40320 RL seconds
= 672 minutes = 11 hours, or did I go off the rails somewhere there?), I'd
have to cut it regularly in game. If you keep long hair, you could trim it
far less frequently. You could say "automatically trim hair each morning
to stay at X length(ish)" for those who wish to negate their personal
control to an automaton.
> 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
> time).

This could be interesting, although I'm not sure how players would react
(is that an issue at all? I usually say 'no'). It'd certainly add a huge
amount of credibility and consistancy to the world. I use the traditional
cop out that my players are "asleep somewhere safe" while logged out.
> > 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.

Absolutely. If you're going in for this, you can store the amount of time
someone spends in contact with someone else (or another factor) as part of
the recognition, which affects the chance of associating the name to the

Eg, if I know you, and refer to you as 'Ritchie', but have only known you
for an hour, and I see you a month later in a crowded room, I may think
briefly that I recognise you and then dismiss it. If we spent several days
working together on a one-to-one basis, and the same happened, I would
almost certainly put a name to the face right away.
[Snip snip]

> > 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.

Yup. This is absolutely deliberate. Preserved rations will be available
(but as you say, lacking in many of the things that the body will
require), as will fresh rations - both as 'ration packs' and individual
food items. Hunting when appropriate, scavenging for berries, even grubs,
finding water, etc, will be valuable skills when adventuring far from
town. Pack animals also become a factor if you want to carry a lot of
supplies and still move quickly, and sieges actually become dangerous.
> > > 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?

Laf! Powergamers who do not adapt to the style of play I am aiming at will
not survive for very long. Their first trip into the wilderness may be
their last - you cannot simply wander off in a direction and find an
'area' to play about in, because not everywhere leads where you want to go
- the wilderness/land in general is a wide open space, and if you are lost
with no map and few supplies, you could easily starve or die of exposure.

Newbies will of course start with a 'newbie pack', probably something

Leather backpack, containing: Two apples, a small loaf of bread, a piece
of cheese, and a small portion of cloth-wrapped beef jerky.
Small leather pouch, empty.
Tatty cloth sheath, containing: Light hunting knife.
Blue cloth tunic.
Green cloth trousers.

And thus they start. Very little by way of armament (BUT combat is not the
prefered method to adapt yourself to adventure! Infact, it'd be wise of a
newbie to wander about the town, talk to people, and work for an amount of
money to buy some light armours). A selection of quests will also be
presented early on to allow a hopefully slight learning gradient. The
newbie is only given fresh food, apart from the jerky, and enough to feed
a human for a day (two if they eat sparingly - the food will probably keep
for 2-3 days), by which time they will hopefully be able to afford more.
If they get really broke, they have things they can sell (although thats
probably not wise either).
> > 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'.

Very interesting concept.

	-Matt Chatterley
"Speak softly and carry a big stick." -Theodore Roosevelt

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