[MUD-Dev] Re: Combat Was Re: Leaving characters in play

Oliver Jowett oliver at jowett.manawatu.planet.co.nz
Mon May 18 22:42:22 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Mon, 18 May 1998, Orion Henry wrote:

> >I have a feeling I've seen discussion of this before on the list, but 
> >anyway..
> Yes, this was brought system was brougt up over a year ago.  Its been so
> long since we have talked combat systems and we have so many new
> subscribers I didnt feel bad about recycling it.  Also all the luck stuff
> at the end was new and I was curious as to what people thought.

I actually meant the "how do you work out which actions are appropriate"
idea - I'm sure I saw a thread to do with climbing trees vs. finding
healers at one point. WebGlimpse on the archives is spitting internal
server errors at me currently, and the other search engine is timing out, 
so I can't find it :(

> >How long do actions last in the queue? How are they affected by changes in
> >the environment?

[.. Yet Another Bubba Log ..]

> >  Bubba casts the dreaded "make all chests electrified" spell.
> >  > skewer bubba
> >  You skewer Bubba with your sword. He collapses to the ground.
> >  You open the chest. ZAP! You are dead!
> >  > say damn!
> hahaha... yes, that COULD happen under the system as I understand it.  I
> had a few things to compensate:  1) the "stop" command clears the queue of
> all volintary actions.  Thus if you see something bad heading your way you
> can immidatly stop your action queue.

Hm, well, my point was that it might kick in before you have a chance to
react, which is why you want the system to be intelligent about which
actions it selects. more on this below.

> 2) different actions have different
> fragility levels.  If you get bonked on the head you will most likely
> forget about your apple.  If you casually kill bubba without breaking a
> sweat you'd go right back to eating it.  Some things (like counting) get
> broken very easily. ;)

Right, this sounds like what I was suggesting later. Anything significant
should interrupt less important actions, so combat of any length would
probably result in the open chest action being cancelled.

Do you use a simple priority system to work out what to cancel? ie. "being
bonked on the head cancels all actions at priority 'menial'"? Or
something more complex like "if I'm bonked on the head more than twice in
10 seconds, cancel all actions at 'menial' that will take more than 5s 
to execute"? Or something different again?

I can see the advantages of having a more complex system, so that someone
can't sit there and repeatedly scream "WE'RE UNDER ATTACK" in your face,
thus preventing you from ever eating your apple. Conversely, a lot of this
system seems to be oriented around improving player control - at least
partially to counteract the speed-demon-typist syndrome, I suspect: it's
so that the character has some basic intelligence of its own, rather than
being a mindless puppet. You want a -predictable- system, as requiring a
player to constantly guess what their character will do if they enter a
command doesn't seem too enjoyable to me.

[did that make any sense?]

[.. itchy ears eventually disturbing/cancelling other actions ..]

> I was actually considering doign things like that just for social purposes
> but letting them affect other things as well.  The itchy eaer would proboly
> start as a proprity menial and sloooooowly work its way up to life-or-death
> and finally involentary.

Not sure on this - the ear was probably a bad example. You want to assume
that if the player suddenly enters a stream of high-priority actions, or
if a pile of reflex actions kick in, then something -important- is
happening, and the player doesn't want to be worried about whether he'll
be opening the chest next.

There's an element of "people don't -do- that!" in here too. Having
players eat apples while fighting off dragons and opening chests in the
breaks in combat seems vaguely obsessive-compulsive to me. "Ooh, he's
pausing to cast a fireball, I can open another chest! <creak> <boom>"

Perhaps suspend actions when there's something important going on, and
remind the player about them in some way when the fuss dies down.

   > open chest
   A dragon flies in and tries to eat you. Ouch.
   [.. combat ..]
   The dragon collapses to the ground, dead.
   You could probably continue opening the chest now.
   > continue
   You open the chest.


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