[MUD-Dev] Re: Recursive look

Ling K.L.Lo-94 at student.lboro.ac.uk
Wed Oct 21 21:11:38 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

On Wed, 21 Oct 1998, Adam Wiggins wrote:
> On Wed, 21 Oct 1998, Ling wrote:
> > I've called this 'recursive look' coz that's exactly what it is.  Best
> > done with an example.  Character enters a room.  She will get a short
> > [snip]
> I liked the idea when you first mentioned it, and still do.  Perhaps there

Cool, thanx.  Tho I can't remember suggesting it. :)  Any of you archive
browsers wanna verify?  I think it appeared as an off-the-cuff statement.
By whom?  Dunno.

> should be other interactions - if you start doing something which requires
> your mostly undivided attention (such as combat) then you stop getting
> the messages.  Less rigorous activities (ie, speech) will still give
> you the messages.  Also - it should keep track of what you've seen
> before (sort of an automatic brief mode).  If you walk through the room
> ten times a day it should only give you the most terse of descriptions,
> plus anything that has changed from usual.

Uh-huh, I've kinda assumed this.  Sorry, I have a really bad habit of
doing this but that's why I've thrown this to the list, to clarify my

The 'automatic brief mode' that remembers things could also do a sweeping
generalisation.  For example, something that is metallic, probably black,
has long cylinder with a hole in one end and a handle attached is probably
a gun.  Likewise, a place that's grey, lots of concrete, random flashing
lights, plenty of people milling around purposefully is probably urban. 
This would lead to a cool effect of culture shock and the equally neat
effect of 'seen one, seen them all'.

Bubba, having never been to the big city before, stands there with his
mouth open staring at the pavement for 10 minutes.

Implementing it...  That's a different matter altogether.

[snipped: customised entry/exit message]

> I like it quite a bit when I see it used (although it's usually
> fairly limited).  Especially if it conveys information about the
> character's state:
> Bubba walks in from the east, smiling.
> Bubba limps in from the east, dripping blood.
> Bubba runs in from the east, panting.
> In the first case, they did a "smile" social just before leaving
> the room.  In the second case, they are heavily wounded.  In the
> third case, they were walking quickly and are low on stamina.

Acknowledged.  I was thinking of tying in the idea of a recursive look
into this.  Something like: (warning, bad prose coming up)

  A man walks in, you can see yourself in his chrome eyes.  A point
  defence laser is mounted on his shoulder.  The gun he holds looks as if
  has just been used recently.  There are large holes and blood stains in
  his grey clothes.

Eyes, first thing you notice.  Laser swivel on his shoulder and gun as
they represent potential threat then overall view, the garment.  The
recursive look process will start including him coz the level of detail
described on him will be low.  (recursive look algorithm would probably
randomly pick objects weighted towards whatever the player is paying
attention to and things that haven't been described yet - could code in a 
special case statement whereby male speakers will stare at breasts but
that's probably too realistic)

Then you meet the guy a few days later, he's not done anything about his
appearance and has just been to a party involving bullets.  The output
might look: 

  A man walks in, his chrome eyes glisten in the sunlight.  A point
  defence laser on his shoulder focuses on you.  In his left hand is a
  gun, still smoking from its last use.  His grey clothes are bear
  numerous large holes and blood stains.

Mostly the same information, presented slightly differently.  Player has
to read both thoroughly.  Both messages are not subject to customisation
by the player, they're autogenerated and pretend I've made the effort such
that each of those lines above can appear in at least 10 different ways.
If you were standing in a busy area, this would probably happen a lot, for
those that haven't already been described.  Now, same question, would this
irritate you?

I suppose I can limit the amount of description generated in 1 second.  So
lots of people walking by will become a blur instead of being subjected to
the same treatment...

PS:  I find it strange that I am more active on MUD-Dev during term time
when I have less time available.  Is it because during the holidays my
turn brain into mush? 

  |    Ling Lo (cod)
_O_O_  kllo at iee.org

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