[MUD-Dev] Re: MUD Design doc - Combat

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Wed Jan 6 18:50:59 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

On Wed, 6 Jan 1999, James Wilson wrote:

> On Tue, 05 Jan 1999, Nathan F Yospe wrote:
> [JCL's original quote snipped]
> >On Tue, 5 Jan 1999, James Wilson wrote:
> >:I'm curious - has anyone implemented a system allowing variable levels of 
> >:combat detail ('brief-mode' vs 'verbose-mode', for instance)? 
> [snip]
> >The client has two levels of information screening: server detail level,
> >and display detail level. The first relates to bandwidth, but the second
> >is for exactly this sort of thing. Certain information will be described
> >in 7 modes: "minimal", "sparse", "simplified", "standard", "interested",
> >"detailed", and "exacting". These modes are autoscaled by attention, and
> >tend to focus rather highly on combat when it is first person; a fight a
> >character is endangered by goes up to exacting instantly... but this can
> >be manually overridden. I'm not sure what changes I'm going to make with
> >the manual override... I don't care for it much... but this is one thing
> >that makes me consider leaving it.
> I should have been more clear... I know that many muds allow different levels
> of detail in DISPLAYING combat (several people have already piped up saying
> that their muds do this) but what I was interested in was JCL's original
> problem, namely that some players would like to have a great deal of detailed
> control over combat. This is a problem not only in that providing that detailed,
> interesting combat system is naturally difficult, but also in that many players
> aren't interested in the details of combat and WOULD like to type 'kill
> Bob' and be done with it.

This does not seem possible to me in any sort of interesting combat
system.  To me a good/interesting combat system is one in which automation
is very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve (yes, I've read the law
about automation, but I disagree that it will always be done if combat is
designed correctly. No one has yet done it in Achaea) and one in which
there are a great deal of split-second decisions to be made.

These decisions, imho, cannot be made automatically without some sort of
sophisticated AI that is beyond the scope of any MUD I have seen or heard

Furthermore, let's say that Sir Gawain is fighting Silisaris, and Sir
Gawain knows that Silisaris has automated combat on. Given the Mudding law
(which I believe is more or less true) that players will always figure out
your algorithms by experiment, Sir Gawain is going to know exactly what
Silisaris is going to do. In a situation like that, Silisaris is going to
just get stomped on, primarily because a good combat system should have
enough variables in it that the creator of the system cannot just sit down
and say "ok, in situation X, a player must do action A to be most
effective". I've been surprised many, many times by the strategies
employed by my players in combat, and the way they combine abilities to do
things I hadn't thought of. 

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