[MUD-Dev] Re: darkness/visibility

Travis S. Casey efindel at io.com
Thu Jun 11 14:25:13 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Thu, 11 Jun 1998 Michael.Willey at abnamro.com wrote:

> I agree in part - I see a problem with the default
> 'either-you-see-it-or-you-don't' system, but not the one originally
> referred to.  The problem as I see it is the clear dividing line between
> what light level A, where you see perfectly and light level B, where you
> can't see at all.  Realistically there are gradients between the two levels
> where your vision is impared, but you still see - you can certainly
> identify a book, navigate to it and pick it up, but you can't read the
> writing on it.  In a slightly darker room you can see objects, but can't
> identify them.
> Many muds have implemented a kind of variation of light levels, but they
> still retain the clean lines between level A and level B, usually adding a
> level C, where the light is too bright to see, and adjusting the effective
> position of the lines dependant on your race/class/spells/equip/whatever.
> This adds some complexity to the system, but it doesn't correct the basic
> flaw.
> On a graphic mud, this seems like a non-problem - since the players are
> interpreting their surroundings with the human eye already, simply turning
> down the lights causes the same effect as it would in RL.  Assuming a
> text-based mud, how could you present the same effect?

One method would be to require different light levels for different
things.  E.g., one might be able to see the room description at light
level 1, large objects in the room at light level 2, medium objects at
light level 3, small objects at light level 4, and read at light level 5.
(Obviously, this is a very rough system; it's just a simple example, I'm
not recommending it).

A refinement would be to give visibility modifiers to objects -- something
which generates its own light should be quite visible in almost any light.
OTOH, a small object would be difficult to see, and a nearly-transparent
object might be too.

Altering room descriptions for different sensory abilities has been
discussed on this list before, and the techniques discussed apply to light
levels as well -- for example, using a markup language for room
descriptions and having the mud build a room description for each player
based on the marked-up description and the character's sensory abilities.
You could try a search of the archives at 


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