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

Chris Gray cg at ami-cg.GraySage.Edmonton.AB.CA
Mon Sep 8 21:53:33 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

[Brandon R:]

:1) While I believe in the beauty of a well-turned phrase
:(or long_desc), there is a whole other dimension
:of building that has little to do with lavishly detailed rooms.
:This is a problem of Architecture: designing facades is creative
:and fun and stimulating, but there is a lot of other not-so-
:creative stuff that also has to get done.
:2) At a certain magnitude of scale it becomes improbable for
:any person or team to be able to hand design every detail of
:a world.  Consider graphical muds, or 3D worlds, where the
:number of possible viewpoints and interactions are explosively
:large.  What are the chances that someone will come along
:and actually read/see your hand created area?	If they do
:stumble upon it (a very unlikely thing), will they recognize
:it as handmade?  And is that a good thing?
:I think I will stop here before I start giving my "This is the
:future of design..." sermon.

I think we're preaching the same sermon here. My long-term goal for
MUDs (from even before I'd heard of them) is a very detailed world,
rendered in 3D. Since I'm not an artist, the idea of trying to draw
pictures was never an option. So, an engine to produce the views has
always been the goal.

My (very hazy) view is this. Start with a terrain generator, seeded
from the co-ordinates. Build a hierarchical data structure that can
represent anything you need in your terrain, and in the features that
you put on it. Store *only* those things that are different from what
your pseudo-random terrain/scenery/town/building/room/container/item
generators produce. The key is that these differences can be things
that have been changed by players, or things that have been changed
by builders. Thus, a builder is someone who can make deeper changes
than your typical player can. For example, a builder can force some
height values in your terrain generator, in order to produce the
desired interesting features. This can vary in scale from the central
China plateau to interesting looking bumps in your canyon floor.
The same for generators of buildings/rooms, etc. Builders wander
around the raw world, looking for something that interests them, and
can then customize it, making just enough changes to get the effect
they want.

There have been previous posts about this sort of thing, but as usual
I don't recall what the conclusions were (if any!). Another aspect
that has been discussed is that you can decay player-done changes over
time, so that eventually you can just delete the entries in the
hierarchical structure for them.

Chris Gray   cg at ami-cg.GraySage.Edmonton.AB.CA

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