[MUD-Dev] Character evolution

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Thu Sep 4 11:19:12 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


Chris Gray wrote:
> 
> I've never been a read admin, but I've done lots of quest programming.
> From that point of view, I would applaud the solution and fix the problem.
> Actually, I might even deliberately leave a hole in the problem so that
> others could do the same thing, perhaps with a bit more thought/planning.

As opposed to a read/write admin? Hmmm, chmod bits on the admin
levels.... mmmmm... ahem. Sorry.

Something I've considered here and there is the possibility of hiring
mobs to do things. When I play MUDs, I often find that I have all this
money piling up, and nothing I can do with it; so I was thinking, why
not allow people to pay some amount of money to a mob and give it a
number of commands? I mean, if you're the medieval equivalent of a
multi-billionaire, why should you have to do everything yourself? There
would also, of course, be the obvious 'cheat' of hiring some low-power
NPC to go do something which is trivial but tedious, and then when he
returns with the appropriate task completed you could kill him and get
your money back. The problem could be further aggravated by having some
NPCs be untrustworthy; you hand them a bunch of money, and they
immediately run off or attack you (depending on relative power levels)
with the general thought of 'hey, that dork just gave me a pile of money
-- I could [go get a beer | kill him and take the rest too]'. This is a
good application of alignment, also, as a mob's alignment could affect
its chances of taking each given action. Using the AD&D system, a 'good'
player would be more likely to run off whereas an 'evil' creature would
be more likely to attack. The 'law' and 'chaos' distinction could affect
the creature's likelihood of actually going out to complete the assigned
task.

This is just a thought which I'm fleshing out as I go along, and it may
have serious drawbacks. But I'm leaning toward something similar to what
Ultima has generally done: an NPC has a certain series of motivations
and a general routine which can be triggered by various things. This
could be abstracted by a 'goal' field, which would contain a list of
motivations and potential conditions, like 

	if hungry
		if have_food then 
			eat_food
			new_condition 
		else 
			get_food
		endif
	endif

	proc get_food
		if food_here then
			take food
			condition hungry
		else
			if in_town then 
				go_tavern
			else 
				wander
				condition hungry
			endif
		endif
	end proc

(I know, it's awful BASICish. I'm trying to overcome my aversion to
BASIC in order to get myself up to speed on VB programming in the near
future, as my company has several nice positions in the programming
trenches available, but they're all in VB and they have no need for C++
ATM.)

I know mobprogs can handle some of this, but I'm looking for a way to
make this elegant and efficient, which isn't easy.



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