[MUD-Dev] Character evolution

Adam Wiggins nightfall at user2.inficad.com
Sun Aug 17 18:10:31 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

> 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
> often, and get their hair cut (unless they wanted it long, in which
> case they would need to tie it back).  Shaving would be another option.

We have hair growth and cleanliness factors.  No nails, as I couldn't
think of anything interesting about those.  It's all very race dependant -
we even have one race of completely hairless humanoids.  Many races don't
have facial hair (hobbits and elves).

The way we work it to keep it from being annoying to players is that you
get an automatic bath/shave whenever you stay at an inn, unless you've
specifically set an option for your character's appearance like 'grow
a goatee'.  Result is that people who always sleep out in the wilderness
start to look grubby and unkempt, while those who sleep in inns every
night tend to look a bit more presentable.
Naturally this would be pretty boring if it weren't for the actual
*effects* these things have.  Here's a few:

- Different people react to your appearance different ways.  Surface elves
  will hardly even talk to you if you stink; cave goblins can't stand anyone
  without a 'natural aroma'.
- Lack of cleaniless increases likelyhood of carry (communicable) diseases.
  Smart players don't hang around with grubby folks a lot for fear of getting
  some strange disease passed onto their characters.  Goblins are, of course,
  immune to most all disease.
- Recognition (that is, 'Bob' vs 'a bearded man') is based on how the person
  last saw you.  So if you know the infamous criminal Boffo as having long
  hair and a full beard, he could shave and cut his hair to reduce chances
  of being recognized.  By the same token, he could get his hands on a fake
  beard or a wig, or walk with a limp, or get a good disguise-artist to
  draw a nasty scar on his face.

> In addition, what about eating and drinking?  I think I have heard
> before the suggestion about players who eat pies all day should get
> fat...but has anyone actually coded anything like this?  You could
> in theory even code some sort of 'energy' system for players, so that
> players who don't eat enough - or just eat junk food - would get
> exhausted faster.  Chocolate would be great for a quick energy boost,
> but if you did it all the time your teeth would rot and you would
> start getting very fat.  Thus different food types could have different
> advantages and disadvantages.  Note also that chocolate is mildly
> addictive.

We have something like this, as well as 'tastes' - ogres think raw human
flesh is tasty, dwarves do not.  Our goal was to make food a factor without
making it annoying; you really only need to eat about once per mud-day, which
is about 3 hours long at the moment.  So while starving to death is a danger,
you don't need to stuff your face every ten minutes.  In fact, this would
be quite counter-productive.

> Age is another factor that could be taken into consideration.  As your
> character got older, your hair would go grey - maybe fall out - and
> your skin would wrinkle.  You would start losing attributes and maybe
> pick up some mental conditions.  Eventually you would die of old age.  

Again we have this as well, although our time scale is so large that it would
take something like 6 RL years for a character to age to death.  The only
exception would be if the player choose to be very old at the outset,
or is playing a short-lived race.

One think we considered but discarded was making the time scale incredibly
short - characters would live and die within a two week (RL) period.  This
makes time a very real factor in a character's life - they can't ever learn
everything because they simply don't have enough *time*.  We decided that
this wouldn't fit into our set-up too well, but it is something I think
could work on some mud somewhere.

> This is one of the reasons I am thinking of using my mudsex/pregnancy/
> birth code for - so that players can 'prepare' their child (thus passing 
> on their skills and knowledge) for when they themselves die.  This would 
> effectively allow you to 'live forever' in theory, even though you
> would be living through several different people.  It would, however,
> require some planning by the player.

We are still pondering players being able to create family names (which
they could potentially share with other players) in order to give
continuity and make death a little less aggrevating.  There was a pretty
good thread about this stuff about six weeks ago.

> 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).

Hum...I can't see any real advantage to this, to be honest.  I don't really
like things unless there's a pretty clear set of effects that are worthwhile.

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