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

J C Lawrence claw at under.engr.sgi.com
Fri May 15 18:48:11 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Thu, 14 May 1998 17:38:55 -0500 (CDT) 
Raph Koster<rkoster at origin.ea.com> wrote:

> On Thu, 14 May 1998, J C Lawrence wrote:

>> On Fri, 08 May 1998 17:54:27 -0700 J C
>> Lawrence<claw at under.engr.sgi.com> wrote: 

>>> 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?

>> 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 well as its rate of internal divergence and
>> other factors, however the same principle seems to underlie.

> I'm not sure what sort of context you are looking for. 

It struck me upon re-reading the above, that the process of building
societies within populations and having those societies be viable was
remarkably similar in character to that of the genetic viability of
species populations.  The mechanics and growth patterns on the
uneducated face of it seemed very similar.

> UO during the beta test had already started developing things like
> player towns, if that sort of activity is what you were referring
> to. That was during the second beta phase, which I think numbered
> around 20,000 total, for around 2500 simultaneous playersB. I do not
> recall any player towns developed in the first phase, which was an
> order of magnitude smaller. But then, there may simply not have been
> enough time for them to develop.

Is that 2,500 players simultaneously on the same shard?

> As far as "genetic diversity," you'd have to give me some criteria
> for what sort of thing you are looking for.

Largely in the player base the genetic diversity would be represented
by the variation is game expectation and goals nurtuted by each

I suspect the genetic parallel is more than a bit forced at the faint
level we're able to examine and model it.  We're just not capable of
gathering enough data to see if or to what extent its applicable.  The 
mechanics certainly *appear* similar.

>> I'd *really* also like to avoid a tile based game (they don't
>> handle convex hulls well for instance -- and I *really* want to
>> handle reasonably complex surface forms (yes, incl klein bottles
>> and your standard Escher art re-mocks)).  This is going to be a
>> heavily puzzle-oriented and allusory game world.  Visual puzzles
>> and tricks are fun.  I want them.

> There are of course HUGE advantages to tile-based. Particularly if
> you have limited art capabilities. Don't knock it. :)

Yeah yeah, I know.  My eyes are of course bigger than my cranium.  Me-um
wantum 30fps truecolour mega-pixel 1st person animation with
stereoscopic surround sound.  (Yes, Magic Edge is less than a block
from where I'm sitting now).  No can do, even if I had the hardware to 
make it possible (which I might just have here at SGI).  Not my area
of expertise.

I did just run thru the MudConnector and review the other current
graphical efforts (BTW: the screenshot URL for UOL has rotted).

First thought:

  NetStorm looks utterly fascinating (Jon!  Looks like one you might
be interested in as well).  I'd have a very very easy time persuading
myself to buy that, and I haven't bought a new off-the-shelf game in
years.  <URL:http://www.titanic.com/netstorm.html>

Second thoughts:

  Tiles aren't *that* bad.  They are ridiculously cheap, and I might
be able to get away with the clever stuff in fly-over windows
(expensive) or textual descriptions (cheap).

  Top down is for the birds.

  Isometric views, especially those as in "Lords of Empyria"
(URL:http://www.empyria.com/ you have to dig under "The Land Of
Panterra" to find the screenshots) which use a fish-eye lens to cover
a greater geographic area in the view (see the "Jungle Graphics" and
"Lordship Castle" graphics in particular) I find very unappealing as i
t gives far too much sense of context and reduces the significant of
distance and boundary containment massively (notice how very very
small that swamp actually is despite its fearsome appearance?).

  UOL's variation (less fish-eye, shorter focal depth, less size
distortion etc), is much better, but still more impersonal than I'd

  Asheron's or EQ's first order rendering is actually even more
off-putting in the crudity of their landscape in their sample shots.
The idea of large hills and ridges with perfectly planar sides is
incredibly grating to me, even if an obvious development
simplification and fairly easily rectified before ship.

Hurm.  Dunno.

>> Third preference: 3rd person over the shoulder cam.  Nothing
>> terribly unusual here, tho its my least favourite.  Main complaints
>> against it are that I find the site of the character waving things
>> about in front of his face, and thus my view (cf M59) expressly
>> irritating.  1st person view is merely a variation on this
>> irritation, especially given the problems of peripheral view and
>> awareness as discussed earlier (stand in place and spin like a
>> top?).

> There was a thread probably available via DejaNews in which a couple
> of us (I think Dr Cat, myself, and possibly others) argued 1st
> person versus 3rd person in a mud context on socialization,
> pre-conception, and player behavior grounds. It was a couple of
> years ago.

Yep.  That's the thread that got Dr Cat invited to the list AIR.  I
think I got you from the Skill Tree stuff.

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...

MUD-Dev: Advancing an unrealised future.

More information about the MUD-Dev mailing list