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

Nathan Yospe yospe at hawaii.edu
Tue Sep 16 11:02:21 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Mon, 15 Sep 1997, Brandon J. Rickman wrote:

:On Mon, 8 Sep 97 21:53:33 MST, cg at ami-cg.GraySage.Edmonton.AB.CA
: (Chris Gray) wrote:

:>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.

:Ah, the "not an artist".  If one could just qualify the title and
:become a "programmer artist".  "Digital artist" is no good, it
:conjures up images of richly-detailed renderings from Myst (or Riven,
:I suppose).

Since I am an artist (a few kinds, in fact, and professional in two forms)
I cannot completely comment... but even AS an artist, I find myself wanting
to generate as much of the graphical content as possible for my GURU engine.
Physmud++ is going to support real art as backgrounds for the text. As soon
as I get my client working the way I want it to.

:>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.

:I have done some thought experiments with this kind of idea.  Without
:decaying the effects of players (as below), user changes will
:require a larger and more complicated amount of data as your world
:seed becomes more simplified.  It really is an entropy effect: when
:the world is just an abstract function it is in a high state of order.
:Added details to that world, which from an individual point of view
:might seem to help organize the world, just add disorder.  But few
:would disagree with me that these details are what make the world
:interesting.  If only there was a way to identify which details were
:slightly more interesting and get rid of the rest...

I've been playing with the same, and trying to find ways to compress things.
I figure a pile of junk is a pile of junk. If its all bones, the compression
schemes have no problem. Or all gems or treasure or armor. It can find enough
common, and the placement of components is unimportant. But, say there is a
pile of random stuff from a player's home that was dragged out by a thief.
How to represent this (or even in the home, to tell the truth?) in such a way
that sentimental objects don't get denatured, without exhausting resources? I
have thought a lot about allowing the client to remember the details of such
as this, and simply compare it with the regeneration of the compressed data,
such that (like a jpeg scheme, notice?) the compression of the client's data
_matches_ the current. If the compression matches, we let the client's
version become instantiated and forget the regenerated version...

:>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.

:Making things decay is tricky without introducing a weird kind of
:physics.  I'm thinking about Wizardry VII where monsters vaporize when
:you kill them.  Imagine how disgusting a mud would be if every room
:in the newbie area looked like this:

Oh, I dunno. I call it denatured entropy, and it resembles real physics in
every way except one... the entropy of the universe tends toward a constant,
rather than infinity. As for the specifics? Well, it doesn't touch massive
destruction, but the variant seeds are given a steady decay input based on

:Happy Forestland
:You stand in a clearing in the middle of Happy Forestland.  The sun is
:shining on the happy green trees.
:Your movement is slightly hampered by the rotting corpses of several
:thousand dead bunnies.
:A fluffy bunny is here.

Yuck. I like it. Of course, it would help if you had a complete ecology with
no bunny resets, and if bunnies ran away when they saw you coming...

:While this would make a mud quite novel it probably wouldn't be too
:appealing to a large number of players, and the type of mud where such
:a situation would be most likely to actually occur would probably 
:want to have more than a few players.


:So should we dismiss corpses as being relatively uninteresting details
:(aside from special corpse-related activities (hey!) like looting and
:sac'ing)?  I guess it depends on the situation.

And the intent... the rest of this doesn't interest me much, as I have
already concluded that resources must be maintained and redistributed
according to events... the bunny bones would be there, no question... but
the bunnies themselves would not, unless they had learned to run.


"You? We can't take you," said the Dean, glaring at the Librarian.
"You don't know a thing about guerilla warfare." - Reaper Man,
Nathan F. Yospe  Registered Looney                   by Terry Pratchett
yospe at hawaii.edu   http://www2.hawaii.edu/~yospe           Meow

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