Getting players to cooperate (was Modeling spells/skills as collections of affects)

Maddy maddy at fysh.org
Thu Sep 11 11:59:38 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


Previously, Adam Wiggins wrote....

> [Shawn H:]
> > > l
> > Bubba is here digging the Panama Canal.
> > > help bubba
> > Sorry, digging the Panama Canal is a one-man job.
> > 
> > I wouldn't want to see that.  Nor would I want to see two Panama Canals
> > being created side by side because Bubba and Boffo both decided to start
> > digging in the same room.
> > 
> > Perhaps the grouping system could be used.  If you are in the same group
> > and in the same place as Bubba and you've typed "help bubba" or somesuch,
> > your stats are merged with Bubba's whenever the digging action is
> > performed.  I seriously doubt this would work in all cases and could lead
> > to an occasionally unwanted situation where Bubba doesn't have say, the
> > intelligence to learn a spell, but if Boffo decides to "help bubba" as
> > Bubba's learning the spell, suddenly he could catch on.  That example was
> > rather weak, but it illustrates the possibility of situations where you
> > wouldn't want helping someone to benefit that person in such a blatant
> > fashion.  How to distinguish the situations?

It'd work better like Adam suggested below, namely that if two players do
the same action they combine.  This way, Boffo couldn't help Bubba, he'd
only end up learning the spell himself.

> > Anyone else already doing something like this?
> 
> These sorts of things are really common on Arctic.  Typically you have a
> large object of some sort (a boulder, a bookcase, whatever) which takes a
> certain amount of strength to move.  When you type 'move rock' or whatever,
> it sets you to a state where you are actively trying to push the rock.
> Every pulse the rock checks to see if the total strength of all the characters
> pushing on it is >= its total required strength.  Generally a bunch of people
> is the easiest way to do it (there's no spacial constraints to deal with);
> a smaller group with really strong members (and possibly a mage to hand out
> strength spells) can do it with fewer.

Does the 'move rock' state wear off over time tho?  I'd imagine that you'd
soon tire if you tried moving a rock for any length of time.  Although this
would limit the rock pushing to people that don't tire easily as well, or at
least you'd start with the fittest person first.  Kinda reminds me of a
puzzle in an infocom game (Can't remember the name - the one about the ghost
detective) where you had to round up a load of other ghosts to help you pick
a lock.  Each ghost had to move a tumbler, or part of the lock and after
n-moves from the time you started they'd all give up and you'd have to start
again, so you had to tell all the ghosts one after the other, to do the
correct move.

> This makes for a nice cooperation puzzle without involving any combat.
> One of my favorite setups is the first place I saw this kind of puzzle.
> The situation is a heavy boulder in a river bed which takes a minimum of 3
> (very strong) people or four normal people to move.  Inside is a room which
> can only fit a single person; as soon as that person goes in the boulder falls
> closed.  The cave inside is a single room containing a tough critter of some
> sort.  The person inside can only leave when the folks outside shove the
> boulder aside again.  The critter inside is guarding a cache containing a
> spellbook which usually has a powerful spell of some sort in it.  (On Arctic
> the only way to learn any descent spell is to find a spellbook and study it.)
> 
> Since Arctic not only allows but actively encourages players to stab each
> other in the back (both physically and metaphorically), this made for lots
> of interesting situations.  You have someone in the group who has a grudge
> against the person going inside, and takes off once they're in, making it
> impossible for them to get back out until the folks outside find someone else.
> Also, you had to bring one extra person anyhow, since the person who was inside
> couldn't help from that side - bad coding maybe, but it actually made things
> a little more interesting.  And never mind the fact that the critter inside
> was fairly difficult and fleeing was nearly impossible unless you managed
> to yell to your buddies outside and then time it perfectly to flee just as
> they lifted the boulder.
> 
> Lotsa fun with this simple concept - no reason it can't be taken further.

Yes - a lot of muds only seem to want players to group for the purpose of
killing monsters.  The only problem with getting players to get together is
that you need other players.  I'm planning on (I might not be able to do it)
letting NPCs become adventures like the players, and go around doing things
like the players would.

Obviously they're not going to be able to solve puzzles, unless they're
really basic (place X on the Y etc), but they could be asked (nicely) to
help by players (or even other NPCs).  And since 'push boulder' is a fairly
simple thing, they could probably be programmed to ask for help too.  This
sounds way too scary.

Maddy, the wishful thinker



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