[MUD-Dev] Re: How to handle log-outs in a totally dynamic world.

Ben Greear greear at cyberhighway.net
Mon May 11 18:41:12 New Zealand Standard Time 1998


On Sun, 10 May 1998, John Bertoglio wrote:

> From: Ben Greear <greear at cyberhighway.net> Date: Sunday, May 10, 1998 10:01
> PM
> Subject: [MUD-Dev] How to handle log-outs in a totally dynamic world.
> 
> 
> >
> >As I've posted before, I'm working on a space game which will be constanly
> >moving foward.  In other words, no static world to reboot to, reboot to
> >the last saved image (a whole other can or worms!).
> >
> >I am going to try the model where the players are always in the game,
> >even when logged out.  There will be safer spots than others to stow
> >your craft and belongings, but nothing is guaranteed.
> 
> 
> The first thing to address is how this feature will benefit game play or
> further the goals of the game world and structure?
> 
> What does "always in the game" mean? A lot of design decisions depend on
> what scale the players are functioning in. Live on board a space station or
> large colony ship would create the need for lots of AI (perhaps user
> programmed/selected). The key here would be to make it worthwhile for live
> players to interact with logged-off players being "run" by AI routines.
> 
> If the game is scaled at a ship to ship/company to company level, the needs
> do not change but behavior modeled does. Now you need routines to deal with
> exceptions. Example: You log off giving your space trader captain orders to
> to from planet a to planet b, buying selling certain commodities in each.
> You could come back in a few days of realtime and find quite a nest egg
> waiting. (This, BTY, is something we are using in AR. Characters use
> off-time to study and inprove existing skills. There is no risk in this
> activity except the normal risk inherent in skill improvement.) On the
> other hand, if the trader was attacked by pirates...you could log into a
> "you are dead" message...tough thing to pull off, I think.

I expect both to happen, but I want to be able to give the player the
ability to strategize this.  For instance set risk% to 1, and the trader
will make less, but risk less...  You are right...I need to think on
this a bit longer :)

> See Tradewar and similar BBS-type games. It would be cool to build NPC
> organizations which can be bought into and eventually controlled by player
> run-syndicates. Attempts to model a steady-state economy are very
> difficult. However, there a many models of trade simulations out there. I
> think you will find the need for NPC run companies will continue as certain
> trades are found to be unprofitable. Live players will gravitate away from
> those activities unless very sophisticated market balancing is in place.

This would be a critical mass kind of thing.  If there were 500 ppl online
at any given time, then NPC's will be less necessary, but otherwise
they will be needed.  I will probably populate them accordingly..

> A question here is whether "fair" is a reasonable goal at all for a
> competitive game. Was it "fair" to pit NBA All-Stars against the world in
> Olympic basketball? Fair is a goal which is incompatible with your stated
> goal. Turing a player, a ship and/or a intersteller business over to AI is
> not something from which fairness will spring. It might be a interesting
> world to play in, but not because it is *fair*. I agree that is difficult
> if when modeling a world, certain things happen because a player is not
> around. It is not very satisfing to attack a space ship only to be told
> "Your laser blasts have no effect because the ship is not currently
> controled." A game play result is 12 yearolds who cut school will have huge
> advantages in the world because they can learn the AI and plunder offline
> characters one-by-one. All in all, a real challenge.

I want it to be fair enough that one can go away for a weekend
_relatively_ sure that his/her status in the game will not change
drastically.  One partial solution would be to have large fortresses
where you could rent space for your ship to be stored.  Of course, 
very determined pirates might could bust up the fortress, but that
would just be part of the fun :)

> An interesting variant would be to only allow the player to interact
> through the game interface. This would make it much more difficult to
> determine if a player was live or memorex. The player would record a series

It would be interesting to just play dead, and way for someone who thinks
they have a free lunch :)  This would be an excellent reason to remain
in character and quite on the global channels...  I think I'll allow and
encourage multi-playing, for those who can do it.  Working on a way to
make this fit in the game logically...

> particular. Example: Say the character gets certain benefits from and
> aggressive (nearly abusive) stance with vendors. However, that behavior is
> also more likely to provoke an assualt from an NPC. Trying to reset the
> profile to a much nicer stance (to make sure you are alive when you log
> back in) might be greeted with "Zug's personality can not change Commercial
> Agressiveness that dramatically in such a short amount of time. Perhaps you
> would like a PAT (Personality Alteration Training) answer to make this
> change?"

I will definately try to not allow wild swings from one 'alignment' to
another.  At least to the point where an evil pirate can't set his
alignment to good right before logging off...

> 
> John Bertoglio

Ben Greear (greear at cyberhighway.net)  http://www.primenet.com/~greear 
Author of ScryMUD:  mud.primenet.com 4444
http://www.primenet.com/~greear/ScryMUD/scry.html



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MUD-Dev: Advancing an unrealised future.



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