[MUD-Dev] Re: OT, kinda, but yay :)

Jon Leonard jleonard at divcom.slimy.com
Fri Oct 23 15:53:18 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

On Fri, Oct 23, 1998 at 11:59:26AM -1000, Nathan F Yospe wrote:
> On Fri, 23 Oct 1998, Jon Leonard wrote:
[Unicode and multiple language support]

> :That reminds me of another idea I've toyed with from time to time:  Machine
> :translation in a MUD.  If you force all player communications to be in a
> :form that the server can understand (that's the bad part), and have an on
> :the fly text generation system, then you can allow players who don't even
> :speak the same language to communicate, at least in character.
> Yes. Very much so. Um. I've got some of this going on in my client
> prototypes. But... well...
> :The big problem is the immense amount of work invoved in writing natural
> :language parsers (even restricted ones) and the output text generation.
> Yes. I've only even started to attempt English, though the NLP is designed
> to be language inspecific. I did cheat a bit on the work aspect, by using
> a Neural Net to actually do most of the linguistics work.

An alternative is to write something like the parser in the Infocom games.
It restricts the kind of commands players can use, but it's really not that
much worse than most MUD parsers are now.  If you're willing to not
translate things that players say, it gets even less restrictive.

> :It also imposes certain kinds of structures on the internal workings of
> :the mud.  It's no longer possible to create a room by just filling out
> :the text descriptions, for example.
> Exactly. On the other hand, everything becomes extremely dyanmic...

That's the major benefit.  The gameworld actually has to have as much depth
as it looks like it does, and some user interface issues actually get better.
There's no longer a question of which verb out of a list of synonyms will
work in a given place, for example.

As a minor benefit, if you have multiple languages in your game (elvish,
dwarvish, etc.), then characters who understand them can have them be
rendered in different human languages for atmosphere.

Jon Leonard

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