(fwd) Re: equipment

J C Lawrence claw at under.engr.sgi.com
Thu Apr 16 10:32:24 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

From: "Alex Bertoglio" <alexb at internetcds.com>
Newsgroups: rec.games.mud.misc
Subject: Re: equipment
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 12:58:04 -0700

<SNIPPED Massively>
Cimri wrote in message <6gtt2k$jpv$1 at gte1.gte.net>...
>Answers below to John and Richard/KaVir
>- I've given thought to eq differentiation, like variations in speed
>  maneuvering, balance-affects, length (and practicality in various
>  situations relating to range and room),
>  breakage-resistance, breakage-causing, type of attack
>  slash, bludgeon),  and so forth. Is this what you had in mind?  Have
>  you seen much done with this?
>Hmm, outta time.  Let's design a whole system here, eh John?
>Jay // Cimri

The systems already exist. It's just a matter of taking the elements that
seem to have merit and converting them to a computer system. I have studied
various RP systems out there, GURPS, Chivary and Sorcery, Aftermath, all the
freeware systems and others. It turns out that the more unplayable or
unwieldly a system (or game element) is in Face-to-Face play, the better it
looks when computerized. The reverse seems to be true as well. Game systems
which flow nicely in live play seem somewhat sparse when modeled on a
The roleplay/"rollplay" argument goes away when the server does 28 combat
dice rolls in a few milliseconds.

A couple of things have to be decided before crafting a combat system. The
most important is the notion of real time combat verses various degrees of
auto combat. First I should say that the technical nature of my system  (a
non-persistant server connection, using a HTTP webserver) mandates some
degree of auto combat. My remarks should be viewed with that understanding.

Realtime combat is something of a misnomer in computer games. We have
reached the point in single person games run locally where the ILLUSION of
real time action is now possible. What we are really seeing is a series of
preprogramed moves which are TRIGGERED by player control and the computer
adjudicates the interaction and displays the results. I remember playing
Computer Ambush on a Apple II where the turns took 20 to 80 minutes to
calculate. Put a longsword into a VR glove and wear VR goggles and then you
will have a chance (with enough horses in the hardware) to experience real
realtime. Having said that, the current crop of computer games do a great
job of simulating realtime action. The question is, is it possible to
duplicate this model over the Internet. I would suggest at this point the
answer is no. If a 25mhz local bus speed is inadequate to produce an
effective illusion, a 28k speed guarantees failure. My experience with real
time combat in online systems suggests that the only real advantage is the
ability to take 12 blows before you even know you are under attack. You can
blame it on lag but that is the nature of the internet.

On the other hand, total auto combat is boring and mindless. It guarantees
you will not blindsided by the technology in use but comes a high price. The
lack of tactics leads to the Munchkinizing (ok, a silly word) of players by
seeking better and better gear. Basically, the biggest stick wins, all
things being equal.

I propose a modified system of auto combat  based on action-reaction with
manual overrides possible. Players choose combat options in advance. These
options are stored in a database and checked when a reaction is needed. Some
of these profiles include:

Readiness profile. How are weapons stored? Are they wielded in a combat
ready stance or held casually? This profile affects how you are viewed by
npc and is communicated to players without any skill-based randomization.
Choose primary weapon. Secondary weapon. Backup weapon.

Attack profile. What attack method is chosen? Change weapons if range
changes? Target ranged weapon wielder/mages first? What is desired combat
range? Flee if range cannot be attained? If weapons are changed are the
unused weapons stored or dropped?

Defense profile. Convert attack attempts in to parrys? Whimpy code. Convert
hits to fatigue (fatigue lowers stats but heals faster). Flee if weapon
breaks, shield breaks, etc.

Other elements as well. Most major elements can be controlled from the
command line. Example: [ c rp longs 1 ] translates to Change the Readiness
profile to move the sheathed longsword into hand a primary weapon in the
case of combat. If issued during combat the weapon is drawn and wielded. The
command: [ slash orc lord] (with wielded halbred) would override the Attack
profile which says use the halbred as a impaling weapon (spear end) because
you expected to meet heavily armored foes who would take more damage from
multiple impale strikes than the massive overhead slash (not a good example,
but you get the idea)

The server reports the actions of combat as it develops but the player can
interact by issuing commands like close, withdraw, attack full, etc which
change the situation and activate new triggers. As a side benefit, the
readiness profile adds to RP. A player who walks into a bar with weapons
drawn, visor down, etc. will be treated differently than if he come in with
a more peaceful affect.

Internal complexity is cool. External complexity is work.

John Bertoglio
jb at paper.net

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

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