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

clawrenc at cup.hp.com clawrenc at cup.hp.com
Fri Sep 19 15:14:37 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

In <199709180303.UAA32639 at pc4.zennet.com>, on 09/17/97 
   at 08:16 PM, "Brandon J. Rickman" <ashes at pc4.zennet.com> said:

>On Wed, 17 Sep 1997 17:00:46 PST8PDT, clawrenc at cup.hp.com (The Man)
>>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

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

>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...

What do you define as "strange"?

>>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?

I haven't done a scale test with my server for a while.  I'm in no
shape to do one now alas -- my last three redesigns and re-writes of
the DB layer all had severse performance/bottleneck problems.  Once I
get things back running (now working on dsign #9) I'll try them out on
my standard 20 million room DB.  I don't expect them to be troublesome
as they are quite efficiently implemented.

Oops, actually that will have to hold.  Rooms don't work any more. 
That side of the server is half-way covereted over to a free nested
coodinate system.  <sigh>

>[-- 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 --]

Simple translation:  The world is so large that no single player will
ever see the majority of it.

>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.

I've been very resistant to your espoused devolution of game artifacts
to probability states.  (There is an X here because it is probable
that there is an X here)  You are beginning to get me to severely
re-examine some assumptions, if not convince me.

There is a point to devolve an object into a homogenous member of a
blob, and thus to cease caring about the specific object instance. 
The convincing factor for me is that doing this leads to a *more*
interesting and *more* playable world.  

  Bubba had the Great Sword of GooGoo.
  Bubba was on a ship.
  The ship sank at sea.
  Bubba and the sword were lost.

  Boffo finds a beached whale.
  Might not the Great Sword of GooGoo be found in its stomache?

Probability/quantum mechanics on a macro scale.

>>>(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?

Does it really matter?

>>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.  

True, but any state can be selected as being "virginal" and the system
keys to attempt to return to it.

>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.

Precisely.  The key of course is that the uninteresting undisturbed
grassy field may in fact be far more interesting as a source of
adventure and discovery (lost objects returned by probability?) than
the castle storming going on behind you.

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

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

Someone has to live above the corner store.

>>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?

Because the definition of "interesting" and "uninteresting" is both
subjective and hidesously variant.  In the general case I don't see
that it can be safely determined by the game on a macro scale, only on
a micro scale.

>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.


J C Lawrence                           Internet: claw at null.net
(Contractor)                           Internet: coder at ibm.net
---------------(*)               Internet: clawrenc at cup.hp.com
...Honorary Member Clan McFUD -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

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