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

Adam Wiggins adam at angel.com
Wed Jan 13 10:42:17 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

On Wed, 13 Jan 1999, Koster, Raph wrote:
> I have seen muds that charge movement points for yelling and/or
> shouting, presumably in order to reduce spam. They seem to me to be
> missing the point that interaction with others is why one plays a mud as
> opposed to a standalone game. Channeling communication for higher signal
> is more profitable for the game than merely preventing it.

Actually, I think restricting global communication a little bit is
pretty worthwhile on any game-oriented mud.  (For a talker it's obviously
pretty silly.)  The first mud I played on (ShadowDale) worked like
this, and I thought it was a pretty good system:

"say" and "emote" are free, although there are multiple languages you can talk
in (for "say"), and it doesn't work underwater or in silence rooms.

"tell" goes to a single target, and is zone-wide (eg, just the city you're in)

"sign" allows you to sign to someone in underwater or silence rooms, as
long as they know sign language as well.

"gossip" goes to all targets within the zone that you're in.

"shout" is world-wide, but costs 10 moves and 10 mana.  Most people have
between 80 and 120 moves.  The mana cost is to keep casters from
constantly casting "refresh" on themselves to be able to talk infinitely.

"telepathy" is a skill that many caster classes get.  It allows worldwide
communication to a single target for a mana cost and a small casting delay.
In addition, reasonbly tough dragon loads a "helm of telepathy" which allows
any character to send unlimited telepathic messages.

This had the effect of limiting worldwide comminucation to things people
thought were actually important (eg, high signal).  The gossip channels
were frequently full of low-signal crap, of course.  But nicely enough
if you got tired of the debates going on over the gossip channels, you
could just leave the city (or whatever) and go someplace else.
If you were interested in it, you could stick around but you weren't
limited to just a single room.

Arctic takes a different method: you get one free "shout" every
N number of minutes.  N has fluctated over the years; at one point
it was as high as 24, at another point it was as low as 3.  I think
it depends on level now (to keep people from creating newbies and
shouting their heads off, but at the same time high-levelers can
use it a fair amount).  In addition, the admin change the value of N in
response to the signal going across the chat channel; if the signal is too
low, they increase N and post a news item like, "Perhaps this will help
keep people from wasting their shouts."  (One interesting result of this
is that it became popular to shout "." in order to show your disdain for
"wasting" shouts.)  There is also a "yell" command which propogates
a certain number of rooms depending on how often you've been yelling
lately (if you do it a lot, your yell will drop to not much more
than a "say").

> It would be worth debating whether speech should need a command at all;
> just typing talks, and all other commands require a prefixed symbol
> instead.

This is pretty common on talkers, and I agree it makes sense for them.
(Especially since many of their users are going to be people used to BBS
chat and IRC.)  For any GOP mud I'd say that having to type one extra
character to indicate whether it's an emote, say, or something else is
worth consistency in the interface.

Adam W.

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