[MUD-Dev] Hard Sci-fi muds was Character evolution

Brian Price blprice at bedford.net
Tue Sep 2 19:34:00 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


I've moved this reply over to the Hard Sci-fi muds thread, hope I'm 
not confusing or losing anyone by doing so.

> Date:          Tue, 2 Sep 1997 09:18:18 PST8PDT
> From:          Nathan Yospe <yospe at hawaii.edu>
> On Sun, 31 Aug 1997, Brian Price wrote:
<snip Choice A/B and continuing with wormhole model discussion>
> 
> (rf - David Weber and Steve White, "Insurrection", "Crusade", "In Death
> Ground", and another as yet unnamed fourth book Weber mentioned in a recent
> interview - highly recommended, the most significant work in hard sci-fi
> strategy _and_ tactics short of David Weber's Dahak and Honor Harrington
> series... the man is a master. And his "Path of the Fury" was pretty good
> too. In any case, the isolated "wormhole" travel system is very well
> developed and evaluated strategically in that coauthored series (and to a
> lesser extent - not being exclusive - in the harrington novels) and they
> would make an excellent model for a sci-fi mud.)

I really must catch up on my reading someday soon :)

> I also do this myself in my Singularity game, except that my "wormholes" 
> are a little easier to deal with - they are local 10space linearizations,
> and can be generated between any two synchronized points. This does require 
> a beacon at the unoccupied end, however. And beacons can only be found where
> they have been placed. Generally by crawlers - near lightspeed robotic
> probes. And a lot of the game centers on gaining access to the tachyon
> resonances of disparate beacons, as well as fascilities with sufficiently
> powerful computers and generators to place you at those beacons. Spaceships
> are of the near-orbit one-to-ten man chemical propulsion class, and orbital
> bases are common.

Assuming an area generator to bear the brunt of the building work, I believe 
the models described above, including functionally parallel models, to 
be the most interesting type of sci fi mud universe to implement.  
Elsewhere in this thread we've discussed a number of plot-devices to 
achieve the same functional ends as the model above.  They all give a 
plausible reason for having a functionally-finite mud universe of any 
reasonable size.  They are also expandable models, allowing star 
systems to be added to the mud as desired without requiring any new 
plot-devices.

<snip Choice C description>
> Not if your generation algorithm can produce (and reproduce) most of it on
> demand. I do this, though on a planet by planet basis. Meaning you have to
> give me enough of a planet's makeup to work with, and my generator will take
> off and go. Or that's the theory. I'm working on it.

If you ever decide to release your generator, put me on the 
distribution list :)  I've attempted to do similar things twice in 
the past and it looks as if I'll soon be developing a similar 
generator.  (Make that attempting to develop.)  It will be 
interesting to compare notes.

<snip> 
> :sci-fi mud is doable but it would seem to be a _very_ difficult task 
> :to do it well.   From the stand point of an ex Traveller rpger, I've 
> :yet to see a sci-fi mud that even approaches satisfactory levels.

I need to modify this slightly, I've been messing around a bit on 
swmud and there are some things in it that are implemented in an 
interesting manner.  Still, assuming that as the state of the art, 
we've a ways to go.

> No clue w/ regards to Traveller, but I write hard sci-fi. I figure that 
> makes me capable enough to write a sci-fi mud. Combined with my ability to
> program, and creative ability in that area as well, of course.

Traveller, particularly book 6 Scouts, is worth a look, not sure if 
it's still in print though, it was published by GDW some years back.
If and when you create a sci-fi mud, I look forward to playing in it.  I'll 
also have to keep an eye out for your writings.

The model I'm currently toying with is a trinary system such as Alpha 
Centauri, having enough seperation between its stars that each has 
planets.  It assumes human colonization via relativistic flight and 
interplanetary pc travel.  Basically it gives me three star systems 
for the price of one.  At some point in the mud's development, I'll 
introduce the plot-device of the discovery of an ancient alien 
artifact - a jump gate network.  (Hokey but workable.)

This approach should allow me to develop the mud and the virtual star 
system generator in parallel.  It's one example of how a mud could 
start out as a model A universe and evolve into a model B universe.

Brian Price aka Delver <blprice at bedford.net>



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