[MUD-Dev] Re: Character evolution

Koster Koster
Wed Aug 27 11:03:13 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Wednesday, August 27, 1997 3:18 AM, Jeff 
Kesselman[SMTP:jeffk at tenetwork.com] wrote:
> The key for "my" system ( and ist really ours, i have 2 
co-designers) is
> the lack of witnesses.  Reputation is gloabl, it gets aroudn 
> quickly.  As we have world-wide person-to-person chat in the game 
> only logical.  (Its a very psychic world so that is easy 
> But witnesses are key.  Witnesses actually generate a % chance that 
> system then rolls against to see if this act gets tarcked to your 

Whereas UO's system cares not at all about witnesses. It does however 
have a local versus a global component, so that your reputation (we 
call it "notoriety") can vary from place to place.

The reason why we chose the witnessless (is that a word?) route is 
because we are using it primarily as a method of social control.

> >  Identical to the above, except that now Bubba strangles beggars 
> >finds in alley-ways in the city with no witnesses present.
> Depedns  on the alley way.  In very bad sectiosn of town it 
effectively no
> witnesses.  In good sections of town though "the walls have eyes". 

Basically, we say, "if someone keeps ducking into alleys, or keeps 
being seen with dirty shoes and banana peels on his pants, and on top 
of that a lot of beggars are turning up dead in alleys, eventually 
people put two and two together." Less realistic, but it is a tighter 

> Some ntoe son our plans:
> (1) Infamy only get bigger. Actiosn cannot decrease it, though we 
may give
> it a gradual decay over time.

We have decay over time, and we also permit actions to affect it. 
However, we use various exponential curves of course for how much the 
value may be affected at different points along the curve, etc. Heroes 
fall from grace very easily, it takes a lot of work to redeem a 
villain, etc.

> >>Something important of note is that while players can get an idea 
> >>their reputation (by little signs - if you hear good songs about
> We're nmot sure of thsi one ourselves.  We are leanign toward makign 
> eprsons infamy known, though not in any ckind of nuerical way that 
coudl be
> sued to make a game otu of gettign the lwoest infamy.  The reason 
> makign it knjwon is "newbie' players really shoudl knwo that Black 
bart is
> a well known wanted killer....

We have two mechanisms, one of which is admittedly cheesy.

1) Cheese method: we have titles which represent your current fame to 
you. We were pushed to this by the desire of players to see the 
notoriety of other players, in order to be able to judge how much 
danger they were in from them.

2) Better method: every bit of NPC conversation actually exists in 
multiple forms. The NPC will say "I don't understand" in very 
different ways based on their intelligence, their current happiness, 
and the reputation of the person they are speaking to. So a stupid, 
unhappy baker who sees a known killer may grovel, whereas a more 
secure NPC might be defiant or insulting. There's 275 strings for "I 
don't understand" alone...

[snip case of Bubba who eradicates a whole town, no witnesses]

> >What is Bubba's reputation?
> Again depends on teh size of the town.  In general above a fairly 
> size we are going to assume soem of the "men on the street' thata 
rent in
> game rpesent can survive and run away.

Some people get away, there's the fabled little kid who hid in the 
attic and saw it all, there's the merchant who was heading there and 
met only Bubba on the way out, and then got there and found nobody 

> >What is his reputation?
> >That point I am heading towards here is that reputation is 
> >on perception.  The fact that Bubba takes off on a long voyage and
> We agree HOWEVERE we also believe that our game does not physicaly
> represent on screen al lthe potential witnesses.  In fact, ina 
> densly populated area yo uare virtually ASSURED of NOT accountign 
for all
> the witnesses.

Exactly. There's also the factor that if you are using this as a 
method of protecting players and to some extent punishing "killer" 
behavior and encouraging alternate forms of play, you have to be sure 
that it blankets enough cases to serve that purpose.

In UO's case, we've been reducing the number of NPCs in the world more 
and more over time,because we found that players were filling most of 
the roles we had planned for them. This also means less witnesses. We 
did recently add the capability for players to witness crimes 
themselves and call the guards, however.


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