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

Adam Wiggins nightfall at user1.inficad.com
Tue Sep 23 00:11:43 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

[Bradon Rickman:] (figure I better use full last names for the Brandons)
> One day, you decide to find and collect all the old postage stamps lying
> around your house.  You probably do this by locating any known collections
> of letters you may have, plus a scattered collection of more recent
> mail.  Say you locate 100 stamps pretty quickly.  It is almost certain
> (unless you live out of a suitcase) that there are a few more stamps
> somewhere in the house, but you'll really have to tear things up to
> find them.  And no matter how much you search you will always have 
> the sense that there is another stamp hidden somewhere.
> I can think of two interesting side effects of this exercise.  First,
> you end up not only with a small pile of stamps, but also a larger pile
> of stamp-less envelopes.  And second, you probably came across some
> other forgotten items, related to and unrelated to stamps,
> during the search.
> So now your house is slightly more organized - you found some missing
> things and threw away those useless envelopes.  You now have two
> courses of action: continue to collect new stamps as they arrive in
> the mail, or go back to the old habits.  To continue to
> collect stamps is to deny being able to do any 
> impromptu stamp searching in the future, including the loss of
> any of the side effects.

I nominate this for Most Obscure Analogy of the year.  <applause>
Which is saying something, on this list... :)

> Compare this exercise with the junk scavenger situation.  If all
> corpses are automatically consumed/collected/organized you will
> never _accidentally find_ a corpse lying around.  And the
> consequence: if you ever *do* discover an old but unscavanged
> corpse you will assume it has been artifically
> placed there (as a puzzle, part of a quest).
> (I am reminded of the Daggerfall quest where you must retrieve some
> lich dust from a dungeon, but it can't just be any old lich dust,
> it has to be the quest item with a special border.)

I'm a fan of creating things out of pre-existing building blocks.
This is a major problem with existing puzzle games, and muds are no exception.
You need rope to climb a certain cliff, but not just any rope, only the
rope that comes from a certain NPC somewhere else in the zone.
IMO the best quests are ones that use existing pieces from the mud, especially
everyday things which you think of having no value.  One I played on had
a whole area where there were doors with riddles which you 'solved' by
putting the solution object onto little pedestals.  All of the objects
were just ordinary things which could be easily come by elsewhere on the
This increases world consistency while reducing builder effort - why bother
creating a whole new object?

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