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

J C Lawrence claw at under.engr.sgi.com
Tue Jun 2 19:51:02 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Thu, 28 May 1998 19:46:05 +0100 (BST) 
Ling <K.L.Lo-94 at student.lboro.ac.uk> wrote:

> On Tue, 26 May 1998, J C Lawrence wrote:

>> On Sat, 23 May 1998 15:12:40 +0100 (BST) Ling
>> <K.L.Lo-94 at student.lboro.ac.uk> wrote: 

>> On Fri, 22 May 1998, J C Lawrence wrote:

> Had a strange idea of sorts: Magical objects require mana
> maintanence.  Some of the mana is sucked up from the environment.
> This would cause a small delta of mana flowing in from the region
> around.  Loose spores gently roll with the flow (mana wind).
> Unfortunately, an artifact requiring massive amounts of maintenance
> would suck up spores from the entire region (having said that, the
> spores would sprout asap).

I currently do a little of that, but found that the effects took far
too long to percolate across the land.  The liquid flow was just to
slow, and also too uniform.  I wanted waves, tides, roaring floods,
deserts, etc.

What I have at the moment are mana producers and some base mechanics
on mana motion.  So far its semi-working (ie I still don't like it).

  Mana producers produce mana at variant and unstable rates.  The
current formulaes are simple:  Pick a random time not too too far in
the future, pick a random mana production rate to be accomplished at
that time.  Then produce mana over time at a rate that progresses
linearly from the current rate to the target rate by X time.  Mana is
of course produced in equal qualtities of oppositely signed
particles.  Mana producers are made in pairs, one produces -ve mana,
the other +ve.  

  The clever bits come in with motion.  Mana is repelled by like
signed mana, and attracted by opposite signed mana inversely
proportional to the square of the distance between them.  However mana
is attracted to like sign mana proportionally to the square of their
relative velocities, and inversely proportional to the square of the
seperating distance.  The result is that mana tends to travel in
packs, blobs as it were, and to travel at speed.  Once a blob strts to 
form, and once it starts to move, the mana attractive force quickly
escalates to a point where its affecting and attacting the mana over a 
very large area, which mana, as it starts to move toward the blob,
causes the attraction wave to expand and grow exponentially.  

  Just to kick things off, mana producers occassionally emit mana
particles with high random velocities.  The velocity of produced
particles maps against a curve which peaks at zero velocity, and
rapidly approaches zero as the velocity grows.  

  The goal is for a big puddle of slowly self-repellant mana to form
about each producer, for the puddle to tend to form streams and rivers
(see earlier discussion with Keegan about Ley Lines) that head toward
the opposite sign mana producers, and for the random high speed
emmissions to act rather like sun spots, ripping chunks out from the
puddles and plunging across the land much like an exponentially
growing tidal wave.

  I'm considering making mana destruction (opposite signs meet)
attractive to all mana inversely proportional the the square of the
intervening distance.  This would encourage stream/river formation.

  Currently tuning is required.  The high speed particles/blobs are so
chaotic and powerful that they rip any nascent pattern that may have
started to form apart.  I also have problems deciding what happens
when a blob reaches the boundary of the coordinate global system --
currently I silently destroy it and immediately emit it as unbalanced
particles at appropriately signed producers.

>> > cf Shadowrun.
>> ???

> Sorry, this was a bit too obscure. :) Someone once told me that the
> Shadowrun's explanation for 'goblinization', when a quarter of the
> world's population started morphing quite painfully into one of the
> mythical races (elves, dwarves, orcs, etc), was due to mana cycles.
> When the global mana level dropped, dragons and such went into
> hibernation.  Within the really big mana cycle is a lot of smaller
> mana cycles, and so on (akin to days, years, that 11 yr period of
> the Sun and ice ages - seasons within seasons).

Ahh, neat!

A comparitive is Vinge's "Fire Upon The Deep" (excellant read) which
postulates that the base laws of the physical universe vary dependant
(non-uniformly) on radial distant from the galacti core.  As a result
FTL, for isntance, is physically impossible for much of the galaxy,
but becomes possible further out.  More interestingly FTL craft can
only be constructed near the edge of the galaxy, but will continue
working (at reduced efficiency/capabilit) for some futher distance in
-- at locations where it is physically impossible to manufacture

Similar patterns apply to other technologies like anti-gravity
materials, self-aware computers, some forms of software etc.  The can
be used as close in as X, but can only be made at X+Y distance and
further out. 

There are many other extremely neat ideas in the book.

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...

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