[MUD-Dev] Hard Sci-fi Muds was Character Evolution

Adam Wiggins nightfall at user2.inficad.com
Mon Sep 1 14:49:48 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

[Brain Price:]
> Suspension of disbelief requires a universe model that supports it in 
> a fairly logical manner.  We can get away with modeling a city with 
> what amounts to a small village.  Fantasy muds are easily restrictable 
> as to travel since transport technology is practically nil.  Fantasy 
> muds can also easily justify the 'a magical barrier prevents your 
> entry' sort of roadblock.  The problem as I see it in a hard sci-fi 
> setting is that, while you can easily downsize many features, it's 
> harder to justify artificial limits.  

Depends on what your 'hard science' actually is.  You could easily have
interplanetary travel without any sort of vessels - ie, some sort of
farcaster portals (ala Dan Simmons' Hyperion) which were granted by some
more advanced species.
I assume you mean the typical Star Wars/Star Trek/whatever sci-fi where
anyone who can get their hands on a small ship with a FTL drive can go
just about anywhere.

> Perhaps 25 is too large a number for a workable hard sci-fi approach. 
> This line of inquiry begets a number of questions:
> 1.  How many zones/rooms would be required to model a habitable 
> world?

This goes back to the landscape-generation stuff we always talk about, which
is useful for any kind of mud with landscapes in it.  Thus you could potentially
model as many worlds as you want by simply painting landscape maps for them
with a paint program.  If this is too tedious for you, there are tons of
great fractal landscape generators that can give you endless random landscapes
of varying terrains.

> 2.  How many rooms to model an orbital habitat or station?

This is more like a normal sized area - like 100 or so is probably good
enough.  Of course, I would tend to think that in a mud like this you'd
be moving away from hand-crafted zones and instead start creating lots of
generic objects.  Ie, you create a space station object which contains around
100 rooms, only 10 or so of which were created custom for that space station.
Then you can make many of these space station objects - they are different
because of the people that inhabit them, the stuff that is in them, etc.

> 3.  How many zones/rooms to model an uninhabitable world  with and 
> with out colonies (such as a future Mars)?

Here it's easy to put limitations - you smack into the edge of the domed
city.  Of course, then if you allow space suits and exploration outside the
city, you revert to your fractal landscape, with possibly a few alien artifacts
or ancient ruins thrown in to make things a tad more interesting.

> 4.  How many zones/rooms to model a gas giant with its moons?
> 5.  How to represent an asteroid belt?

Rooms would suck for modeling these, IMO.  Here's where you'd *really*
want to go to a coordinate/object based system.

> 6.  How many of the above features can minimally represent a star 
> system (assuming pc inter-planetary travel)?

You randomly generate as many star systems as you like.  Each system generates
a number of planets from 0 to (say) 10, based on the attributes of the star.
Each of these planets is given attributes (size, age, terrain, clime) based
on the attributes of the star and the distance from the star.

At this point you have the choice whether you want your races hand-crafted
or not.  You may want to create a bunch of interesting alien races, then
have the generator (or possibly yourself, if you don't mind some busy work)
search for a planet which meets all the life-support requirements for the
race.  If you want a dizzying number of races (ala Star Trek), you'll probably
want to define basic attributes (ie, 'bumpy forehead' or 'warlike') and
families, then have a generator that actually creates aliens from there.
Giving them culture and history is another thing altogether, but this will
take care of pre-civilization races romping around on various planets.

> 7.  How many zones/rooms can an average builder generate in a years 
> time?

This varies quite a bit, but more importantly I doubt that what you are
after is a hand-crafted, room-based world.  At any rate I would probably
throw up if I logged onto a 'space' mud and walked around spacecraft or
even space itself with 'n, e, s, w'...something like this literally begs
to be a coordinate/object system, with commands like 'go towards', 'turn
toward', 'avoid', etc.

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