[MUD-Dev] Re: MURKLE: Wot it is

Mike Sellers mike at bignetwork.com
Fri May 15 08:07:02 New Zealand Standard Time 1998


[Not sure what's up --don't have a lot of time to monitor the list-- but I
seem to be missing a *lot* of original messages: almost all of them are
"Re: something incredibly important" ]

At 01:13 PM 5/14/98 -0700, J C Lawrence wrote:
>On Fri, 08 May 1998 17:54:27 -0700=20
>J C Lawrence<claw at under.engr.sgi.com> wrote:
>
><<Hi me!>>
>
>> A preface on MUD game design:
>
>>   The largest failure of MUDs is that they have generally never, and
>> never stably, been able to assemble large simultaneous populations.
>> What is "large" in this context?  I would start at 500 as still
>> being on the verges of small.
>
>>   Raph, Sellers: Can you provide context from UOL and M59 here?

One difficulty here is the perennial disagreement of the definition of
"MUD."  Lots of muds or mud-like games get 500 or more simultaneous users.
Gemstone and LambdaMOO have both done this or come close to it, and I'm
sure there are lots of others.

OTOH, I'd say a "large" simultaneous population may start somewhere below
500 users, and mostly depends on the size and nature of the game.  In M59,
100-150 people starts to feel pretty large (but not exactly metropolitan);
in Everquest (if their world size estimates are accurate), this will be
nothing. =20

In the final result, I wouldn't get too hung up on having a certain number
of simultaneous players without setting that in the context of what sort of
game the MUD is. =20

>I would be interested in a genetic comparison here in particular.
>What is the minimum population required to supply sufficient genetic
>diversity to be considered "viable"?  Yes, I know that this is highly

>dependant on the range of genetic diversity in the subject species, as=20
>well as its rate of internal divergence and other factors, however the=20
>same principle seems to underlie.

Oh man, it's been way too long since I looked at this kind of question, and
I'm not about to haul out those old texts. :-)  I think there *is* some
psycho-social analog to genetic diversity in muds, but unless your PCs are
exchanging complex genetic material I wouldn't worry about directly. =20

>> Project name: MURKLE
>
>Now to expand on my earlier, tired-outta-my-gourd exposition.
>
>The world is, of course, persistant.  There are no resets.  There are
>no re-pops.  There are no little figures in white coats putting things=20
>back the way they were (cf MirrorWorld). =20

I agree that this is a good way to go... but you're going to have to have
*some* kind of repop, or otherwise you're going to run out of things pretty
fast.  We've talked in the past about monsters that regenerate along
plausible lines (e.g., spider queens that lay eggs that grow to adults that
comprise the giant spider population -- where the rate of egg-laying
depends on the amount the queen is able to eat).  I think you need this
sort of plausible repop at several levels to keep the game world viable. =20


> ...

>Currently slated is to attempt a graphical interface.  I'm not a
>graphics person, either from the artistry or the DP sides.  Dunno how
>I'm going to approach this.  My preference would be for a very very
>cheap dynamic rendering system.  (AlphaWorlds?  Are they still a going=20
>proposition?)

ActiveWorlds is still around, mostly run by Circle of Fire Studios I
believe.  But I don't think their rendering system is appropriate for a
game like this.  At this point, I don't know of a cheap solution to
creating a graphical interface, whether first or third person: no matter
how you go, the art is voluminous and expensive. =20


> ...
>>   Combat: Yes, I have perma-death.  Combat is intended to be fatal,
>> messy, and highly risky even to the experts.  The underdog is
>> expected to win or do serious damage an appreciable percentage of
>> the time. =20
> ...
>  Passive death caused by the world (eg fell down a cliff and died,
>walked along and a tree fell on you) is not __always__ permanently
>fatal.  Death caused by other players or NPCs (eg combat), or overt
>acts of the game world is __usually__ permanent.  The rules will be
>deliberately foggy and vague.  Its not intended to be fair.  It is
>intended to be capricious, but with known tendencies.

This may sound interesting, but it's also the express lane to losing
players.  You're going to need some way of giving players an incentive
--across lives-- to stick around.  Otherwise, particularly after a death
that they see as useless/unfair/capricious, they are likely to either leave
(if you're lucky) or turn into bitter game-wreckers. =20

=20
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