[MUD-Dev] MUD Design Fundamentals (Was: Looking for books...)

Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no> Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no>
Tue Sep 2 12:27:48 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


>On 30/08/97 at 09:47 PM, Ola Fosheim Gr stad  <olag at ifi.uio.no> said:
>
>LPC has been demonstrated effective on high-end Intel PC's with
>simultaneous user loads up to the 800 range and and active world of
>over two million objects.

I want to mention that LPC can be translated to C and compiled
back into the executable.  Dunno if that is done in your example though.
Most textmuds are "cut up" in hundreds of rooms.  In the typical LP setup
objects in rooms without interactive objects do not get executed and non-
passive objects are executed every other second at most (+ catch_tells). 
While I think the room-concept is a good one, it does make things simpler
than in a graphical environment where you can see everything up to the
horizon.

>Doing the arithmetic, and in simplistic testing here on a not-very
>high end machine, I am content that allowing MUD world code to be
>written in an internal server-specific language can generate
>acceptable performance for large complex worlds (10 Million objects,
>1Million active objects), with very large user loads (1K+) is possible
>without excessive effort.

I never said it could not, but I say it is ineffcient in the general
case, where you don't want to limit your design by a platform/language
if there are better options. Especially in essentially nondiscrete
systems.  In my case it would be inefficient, even though my system
is going to be small and simple.  I do believe that more dynamic
systems are the future. Essentially that means coding up the "laws
of nature" and let the users build by intuitive means, that is by
physical simulations.  In such a system there would be a lot of
similar objects, and not too much explicitly coded object interaction
except for collision systems etc.  The whole thing will be more
iterative, and I believe this leads to new requirements in terms
of runtime systems.

>The concetration of this list is not virtual world theory.  It is an
>acceptable topic within the list, but the list and the list's
>membership is not constrained to that.

I didn't claim it was either.. :)

>I would also note that even within Virtual World attempts, there is no
>requirement for the world created to actually resemble this world or
>its mechanics to any significant extent.  Of course this can be an
>escape route to avoid complexity, but it can also be used to create
>something with entirely different mechanics.

Yes.  I dislike virtual reality.  What I want with Virtual Worlds is
to question the norms and views we hold of what we see and live in in
the real world.  Hence I do not want to recreate the real world. I
think that would be essentially a waste of time. I'm all against it.

However, with some interest in usability I understand that one have
to base a design on intuitive concepts and thus have to mimic some
concepts from the real world.  My nondiscrete ideal is simply a
reaction to computers in general, I want the computer to be
transparent. Essentially I want the screen to be a view into a world,
not a view into a computer or into a computer with views into a world.

Although the recent "persistent discussion" may suggest that I'm all
hooked on languages and programming, I'm not.  I find programming
dull and boring, but I don't like having my views twisted and
reproduced out of context.  However, context has a tendency of
slipping out in such threads.

I do have a great interest in understanding how virtual worlds work,
and how they affect the users. I'm mostly interested in the conceptual
ideas and problems as the technical are easy compared to those,
besides... First thing first.

My main goal though, is and has always been, to build virtual worlds
as artworks.  That is, I view myself as an artist.  The computer is
a natural medium for the contemporary artist, but to realize the
full potential in the medium one has to go for interactive art. Why
place the computer in the galleries?  Why have people watching
scanned paintings on the web?  Why not have the public enter the
computer artwork on their own terms, in their own livingroom,
together with other people?  I view virtual worlds as the most
complete computer art canvas.  I'm not talking total immersion, I don't
want to relieve people from their physical world.  I want them to
view the physical world differently, I want them to learn something
from spending time in the virtual world.

A secondary focus is international communication. Getting to know
different cultures, other worldviews, other problems than what you
have locally.  Then there is edutainment.

Now, these are my interests, what I actually produce may turn out to
be crap. :)

>>Well, I wouldn't call persitence and multimedia metaphores, not very
>>useful ones anyway.  Metaphores in design, is for instance: looking
>>at an email application as a library, or as a telephone, or as a
>>radio, or as a typewriter etc.  It's a tool that is intended to make
>>you explore more concepts/ideas than by just saying "I'm designing an
>>emailapplication".
>
>>Then there is metaphores in userinterface design. We all know the
>>desktop metaphore..

>That's a very limited definition of metaphores.  Scenarios can also
>act as metaphors in that they present an encapsulated model which
>drives the is-like relationship, as vs a real-world object.  

I'm getting a bit of trouble with definitions, which one often do when
one talk with people with other backgrounds.

Metaphores as a concept "is describing something which it is not",
or something like that.

I'm doing my major in "systems design" (I don't know what you call it),
which deals with needs assasment, user participitation, analysis, 
userinterface design etc, but my BS is general CS.  My field consists
essentially of a heap of methods, tools and techniques. Most of these
techniques are rather simple, but useful for different purposes.

In this context metaphores may be used as a technique to help the idea
process.  Another related technique is brain storming.  Metaphores
are of course used in other contexts as well.

When you say "scenario", I would think that you are trying to imagine
how the users would actually use your application. (MUD).  That is,
you are looking at some situation, and try to figure out if the users'
needs are covered, or how to cover that particular situation. I believe
walk-throughs have similar purposes, to verify the design.

I sometimes cut my descriptions short, perhaps because I am used to
discussing with people that would get the intentional meaning
even with less details.  I see that this can lead to some confusion
when the readers come from another culture. Besides I fumble more in
English than I do in my own language, so I am apt to cut corners. :)

Ola.



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