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

Brandon J. Rickman ashes at pc4.zennet.com
Wed Sep 17 20:03:36 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


On Wed, 17 Sep 1997 17:00:46 PST8PDT, clawrenc at cup.hp.com (The Man) wrote:
>In <199709160940.CAA30935 at pc4.zennet.com>, on 09/16/97 
>   at 08:51 AM, "Brandon J. Rickman" <ashes at pc4.zennet.com> said:
>>Making things decay is tricky without introducing a weird kind of
>>physics.  

>Not necessarily.  You can also introduce various forms of carrion
>consumers (for corpses), or variant forms for the other types of
>decay.

Carrion consumers are on the edge of funny physics.  "Junk" consumers
are very funny physics.  I suppose a good definition of funny physics
would be things that cause observably strange behavior...

>  Happy Forestland
>  The bloody corpse of a bunny is here.
>  A badger dashes from the woods, grabs the dead bunny, and disappears
>    back into his set.  You hear the faint sound of chewing and the 
>    pleased stomache grumbles of a well-fed badger.
>  
>As always, taking a slightly different tack, I have my Trash
>Collectors (TC's)as discussed earlier, which have their own in-built
>ecology based on the avilability of objects for them to consume.  They
>more they can eat, the more they breed (spores).  They more they
>breed, they more they eat.  If they starve to death (not enough
>objects to consume) their spores will hatch along later, hopefully to
>find more plentiful food supplies.
>
>The intended result is an entire species based on the ecology (and
>economy, implicitly) of the supply of "uninteresting" objects.

As a system you have built into your world this works and makes good
sense.  But would it work in a Big Universe?

[-- clip out and save --]
The Big Universe (alpha definition): An average creature can explore/
experience an area of size K in an average day.  In a Big Universe we
must maintain a reasonable amount of persistence in an area that is
several magnitudes larger than K for each active creature.

Most muds (lpmuds, MOOs, ...) keep track of an area that is roughly 
10xK per creature.  Single users CRPGs might keep track of 100xK.
A Big Universe would be 1000xK or more.
[-- clip out and save --]

There are two fuzzy words in there: "reasonable" and "several".  Oh,
I suppose active creatures would just be the sentient ones.

>[TC's snipped]
>...
>>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.
>
>As discussed previously: on eapproach is to look at corpses as a
>resource.  The question then becomes: what can I do that is
>interesting with this resource.

Corpses make good game resources.  A different case:

In some game, coins are used as money.  When he is bored, Shoehorn
likes to put a scratch on one side of all the coins in his pocket.  He
then spends these coins in various ways.  If Shoehorn ever recieves a
coin that has already been scratched he will add another scratch to
make it an X.

(I am hoping this will be a Big Universe problem.)

Reasonable persistence: Shoehorn goes to a shop and buys a knife.  He
then waits outside the shop until it closes and mugs the owner.  There
should be at least one scratched coin in the owner's purse.

>>(Somehow I have gotten obsessed with the specific case of corpses as
>>opposed to the more general case of decaying the effects of players 
>>upon the world.  But perhaps the answer is hidden in the details?)
>
>I think the problem is being looked at from the wrong end.  Consider:
>
>  There is a grassy field.  
>  50 players walk in single file across the field.
>  There is now a path across the grassy field.
>  It rains.
>  Time passes.
>  The grass grows.
>  The path dissappears.

Yes, I like the idea.  Will anyone ever notice?

>More generally this can be reduced to a question of systems and
>feedback points.  The grassy field can be assumed to be a steady
>state.  Once the field has achieved the state of "uniformly
>uninteresting grassy field", it can be considered as uncahnging from
>that point on.

Such a thing (a virgin field of grass) sounds like a rarity, but your
mileage may vary.  Who would ever bother going into the quite-
uninteresting-forest-where-nothing-ever-happens?  And what would they
do there?  Stomp on the grass and chop down some trees, of course.

>So, now we have to plant and regrow grass, with its implicit resource
>economies.

A nation of gardeners?  Where will the shopkeepers live?  :)

>Footprints in sand dunes, dust collections in undisturbed catacoombs,
>etc, can all be treated the same way.  There is a presumed steady
>state, and a number of organic systems which attempt to re-establish
>that state when it is disturbed.

So tell me again why you are keeping track of an uninteresting place
where no one ever goes?

There is a difference between modeling systems that tend towards a
steady state, and systems that could potentially end up in a steady
state.  The former is completely unnatural, the latter of dubious value
as entertainment.

- Brandon Rickman - ashes at zennet.com -
While I have never previously found a need for a .sig, this
may be considered one for the purposes of this list



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