[MUD-Dev] Re: Some thoughts on languages and users - was: Ma

Chris Gray cg at ami-cg.GraySage.Edmonton.AB.CA
Sat May 2 10:35:51 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

[Jon A. Lambert:]
:I know you've posted on this before, and there was a heated discussion on 
:it, but I can't remember what your position on variable typing was.  

Strongly typed. I suspect there is really only one reason for that - speed!
I've been an efficiency nut for as long as I've been programming (we used to
have to pay for time on the University mainframe, and I did a lot of game,etc.
programming on CP/M, where memory was somewhat constrained (56K)). Strong
typing cuts down a lot on the run-time conversions needed. The programmer
has to put them in explicitly, and so is very conscious of how many are
happening. I also like the parser/compiler to tell me about as many errors
as it can, rather than having to do lots more (possibly very time consuming)
manual testing of the code to make sure the types come out right.

I do realize that many people detest declarations, but its not really
practical to have one system that is both strongly typed with declarations,
and weak typed without declarations at the same time!

:I'm going for very weakly-typed variables (all variables are of type 
:variant), yet having requirements for simple declaration.  Sort of like 
:"Rexx, but you better tell me what's a legal name".

That gets rid of one of the most evil things in Rexx, from my point of view.
Having the meaning of a word change from "string constant" to "variable",
without warning, is a maintainence and testing nightmare!

:Hmmm, why not implement it as the accessible, but hidden, power-user 
:interface for your next level?  

Could do. Historically, it came before the mouse interface. I was then
(and still am) trying to support both text-only users (telnet, regular MUD
clients) as well as custom client users. So, there is a full set of textual
commands for building, that do the same as the mouse-directed stuff. The
prompted-oriented programming can be viewed as an extension of that level,
and that is how it originated.

Extending the capabilities of the mouse-driven stuff has been on the list
of things to do for a while. It'll have to wait for the new custom client
to be created in Java, however.

:I have a gut feeling that users will fall into 4 categories.  I have no 
:idea of where and how the numbers fall out.
:1) Not interested.  I came to play.
:2) Notemakers.  I write, therefore I am.  I'll just pick from the 
:   library, thank you. 
:3) RubeGoldbergers.  Willing to use most of the tools of my "widget 
:   workshop" and fiddle with the properties.  Not quite right?
:   What's that stuff that looks kinda like basic?
:4) Scriptors.  Drop me into the MPL.  I know how to swim.

Since the source to my server isn't released, I find there is also:

5) I want the source to your server so I can change it!

So far, no-one has been able to explain just what it is that they want
to change. If the framework of the MUD language is powerful enough, nearly
everything can be done in it, so there is no real reason why they need the
server sources. Wanting them for other purposes is another matter!

:<Gasp!>  Oh crap... fluids and gases.  This is excellent thread material. 
:Anyone? Help! 

Didn't they come up a year or two ago? I recall Chris L. posting about
fluids running around and collecting in a stream or something? Still, it
is an interesting area to open up again.

Hmm. Poisonous fogs. Poured from a high point, or seeping up from the

Chris Gray   cg at ami-cg.GraySage.Edmonton.AB.CA

MUD-Dev: Advancing an unrealised future.

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