[MUD-Dev] Re: Levelless MUDs

Matt Chatterley matt at mpc.dyn.ml.org
Mon Jun 29 21:23:34 New Zealand Standard Time 1998


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On 16-Jun-98 Holly Sommer wrote:
> On Mon, 15 Jun 1998, jacob langthorn wrote:

[Snip]

>> >   o Remove the level restrictions on eq. This is what the builders
>> >     objected to the most (see below). I am of the mindset that levels
>> >     could still be left in place for deciding relative "power" of the
>> >     eq (and the goodies/bonuses/penalties/etc. which go along with
>> >     the more desirable eq), but that if player characters no longer have
>> >     player levels, then there is no level check for using eq: you
>> >     found it, you can use it.
>> 
>> Okay, call me crazy, but I don't think in 6 years of mud coding
>> that I've ever created a piece of equipment that was "level" based.
> 
> I wouldn't say crazy, just "someone who has never built on a Diku." Are 
> Richard Woolcock and I the only Diku people here? Sometimes it sure feels 
> like it.

Heh. It must happen on other platforms, too (fairly sure I've seen similar
systems on older LP Muds - more recent designs, particularly since Nightmare &
Co, have gone with at least mildly skill-based level implementations, ie a
skill 10 sword). Are there really that few Diku folks around? This is something
which could be interesting - what sort of server influences are most people
here under?

Personally, I've done substantial quantities of time on both LP-style and
Tiny-style games, as well as a little on Diku-like (far less). I've run one
Tiny, am currently developing an LP (albeit very differently to many existing
ones), and have a custom server project on the go (design/development model
currently being selected).
 
>> Strength/skill based, yes, 
> 
> Well, sure. Objects which are heavy require a higher strength to even 
> wield. There are other restrictions which can be added: racial, 
> class-based, alignment-based, etc.

I won't open the 'alignment' can of worms at this point :) There are a lot of
things you can use here, as you say: Are you strong enough to lift/swing it?
Does it (magically speaking) let you? Are you skilled enough to use it
effectively? The last word is quite key - penalise use for those without
enough skill, but permit the use nonetheless.

Perhaps consider making items less specific; a weapon is an object designed for
combat use. Any object can be used *as* a weapon, but *weapons* (specific type)
are meant for the task, last longer, and are generally better.
 
>> but I've never said, hey, if you're under level 15 you 
>> can't use this.  Having level based eq seems to be a crazy idea to me.  
> 
> I don't think it's crazy, it's just somewhat artificial, but it works, 
> for certain game settings. Those which rely heavily on eq for individual 
> effectiveness in survival have a need for level-based eq restriction.

Well, its all relative. In a heavily skill or stat based situation, its
extremely artificial, in a game where the premise is that you have levels, and
they are a key point, it fits perfectly. :)
 
>> But what does age have to do with it?  
> 
> Indeed. What *does* age have to do with it?

Age should have no direct effects, but it should have influences on stats!
Modify (modulate?) them slightly with age to predefined patterns. Set peak ages
for each race/stat combination, and the algorithms with which they vary. Not
worth doing unless player aging is significant in your game, of course.
 
>> A 50 year old man doesn't have as much hope of doing what a 10-20 year 
>> old would with a broadsword.
> 
> Depends. What race are you takling about? A 10-20 year old dwarf would be 
> wet behind the ears, and a 50-year-old dwarf would be a strapping young 
> buck ;)

Oui. He did say 'man' though. :)
 
>   [snip]
>> (ie., likelyhood of it being of a stronger material than your
>> opponent's weapon).
> 
> OK, but this isn't really related to removing levels from MUDs.

It's a sane complication to consider, though. Urm, not 'complication',
'sophistification' or something. It fits into the kit discussions, at any rate.
Material the weapon is made from should influence how tough the weapon is
(duh). All objects involved in things such as collisions can be damaged, and so
forth.
 
>> >   o Give players who wish to not killkillkill something else to do, which
>> >     represents well-spent time. Player houses, quests, let them run a
>> >     city, RP, etc.
> 
>> I agree with this.  Why not let them open up shop and make money
>> off the adventurers.  A good shopkeep could make a heck of a lot of
>> money i trading.  Soon enough, if he makes enough money, perhaps he buys
>> some guards/mercenaries, and before long he's lord of the land.
> 
> *nod* Which are good things in heavily RP games. For those which are 
> still (despite their strongest effors) grounded in whacking your opponent 
> to bits, this would be astoundingly dull.

Aye. My personal focus is multi-style; there are several possible approaches to
gameplay. Some areas are designed for thinkers, others for doers, and so on.
Progression in game terms (accumulation of power in some state) is to be
roughly equally distributed between the two methods.

>> Definitely should be bonuses for brains over brawn. =)
> 
> Which is always a challenge to code :)

Neither should be advantageous! Not unless thats part of the game design brief,
anyway - they're both, to me, relevant, and different styles of play. They lead
to different paths, and different choices - ultimately different kinds of
success.

For instance, a thinker who trades, solves puzzles set and accumulates wealth
might be rich enough to raise an army, thus manifesting a physical power to be
contended with. A doer who spends time gaining combat experience (not points,
time spent) and skill chopping things up might go on more physical quests and
adventures, manifesting physical power in his own body, and his equipment.

Two of the ultimate goals are raising a kingdom of your own (via wealth and
devious planning), and becoming a hero of Herculean proportions via adventure
and questing.
 
>> >Essentially, levels are being used for two things:
>> >   1. Determining when you can learn a skill
>> 
>> How 'bout you can always learn a skill, but based on your stats
>> and profession, you have a predisposition towards some skills rather
>> than others.  
> 
> This is what we've done with our professions system. The skills still, 
> however, are not available until you reach the proper level. We are 
> hoping to eliminate this barrier by using the previously mentioned 
> skilltrees.

We use professions as a way to augment your starting skills. The system for
selecting skills is based around your choices of tutor during five years of
youthful apprenticeship (number of years which you have to spend may be
variable by race or may not; Learning ability influences how much you learn,
and relevant of the skills to your stats too). I'd be glad to post a little
more if anyone is especially interested to hear about it.

[Snip rest]

- -- 
        -Matt Chatterley
        http://user.itl.net/~neddy/
"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.." -John Lennon (Imagine)

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