[MUD-Dev] Unique items (was: Graphic MUDS/Ultima Online)

coder at ibm.net coder at ibm.net
Tue Feb 17 12:20:12 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

On 16/02/98 at 02:25 PM, cg at ami-cg.GraySage.Edmonton.AB.CA (Chris Gray)
said: >[Chris L:]

>:Why not hand-design the gross features of the world, its basic terrain,
>:resources characteristics, etc, and _then_ define the rules which govern
>:the use of those resources.  Plug it in, flick the switch, bake at 400 for
>:an hour and Voila!  Instant world of 12 million rooms (if you're still
>:using rooms).	Want cheaper, easier, more interesting?  Do allt he same
>:definition work, but skipp the baking step,  Just load the raw dough onto
>:your servers and throw your players in like yeasty raisins.  As soon as a
>:player opens his virtual eyes, the world creates itself about him.  The
>:question of the tree falling in the woods is finally answered: with nobody
>:there, there is no tree, there are no woods, and there are no ears to

>Pant, pant, drool! That's what I'm slowing heading towards, but I'm sure
>the professionals will be there long before I am.

I've spent most of the last 48hours working this one over.  Its possible,
its a data structure nightmare, but it can be done given enough horsepower
(and it will need a lot of horsepower).

A key point in the design would be the level at which generation and
prediction takes place.  If your world is constantly torn down as players
move out of areas, and then rebuilt when they move back in, something has
to do the predictive work to regenerate the new world.  Given the fact
that such probabilistic systems tend also to be complex systmes (made of
simple parts, very complex behaviours) especially over time, its very
encouraging to keep the majority of the world static and only make the
details dynamic.

Side notes:  

  I've coined the terms, "Self-realising object", and "self-ignorant
object", to specify the difference between objects which can be
dynamically torn down and rebuilt without impact, and those that can't.  

Players obviously come into the self-realising camp.  However player
controlled robots, avatars, remote cameras, etc etc etc are also
implicitly self-realising as they pick it up by contagion from their
controlling players.  

The key datum however is that an area containing (or percieved by) a
self-realising object can't be torn down, whereas an area not containing
only self-ignorant objects can been freely torn down and rebuilt without
impact (presuming your rebuild and prediction tools are good enough)

>I did a quick calculation about Earth itself, and have decided that an
>appropriately sized fractal world is about 16 million tiles squared. For
>my scheme that works out well, since it is a multiple of 16, which is
>what I chose for the size of my hierarchy nodes. Needless to say, the
>vast majority of that world *must* be creatable on demand. One of the
>neat things about fractal generation is that you can create maps of any
>of it, without actually creating the world. So, a wizard flying around
>high over the world can see lots of stuff, without the system actually
>having to generate any of it. Of course, if he insists on flying low, you
>then have to at least temporarily create mobiles, details, etc.

Yup, the whole thing becomes very fractal reminiscent in its endless
descending detail.  The problem is that the detail at each level often
bears no consistant relation to the detail at higher and lower levels.

However, I think I'm going to try this.  _BUT_, I'll use a mostly
persistant world (fixed terrain, mostly fixed resource maps, fixed major
objects etc), and the make the chaff dynamic.  

J C Lawrence                               Internet: claw at null.net
----------(*)                              Internet: coder at ibm.net
...Honourary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

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