[MUD-Dev] Re: Reputations, More Mazes

J C Lawrence claw at kanga.nu
Sat Jan 16 17:47:28 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

On Fri, 15 Jan 1999 04:05:09 -0600 
KiZurich <Eli> wrote:

> J. C. Lawrence:

>> At the danger of treading into meta territory, considering MUD-Dev
>> as a MUD, what of the same danger and problem with the more
>> established (well known, reputations, etc) posters in MUD-Dev, or
>> even of myself here?  There is a definate peerage (nod to Lambert)
>> in the older posters in MUD-Dev.  I find it worrisome.  It also
>> acts as a significant barrier to entry for new posters.

> After I read this, I noticed that I have had ideas that I have not
> posted because I questioned the signal to noise ratio.  

???  You questioned the signal to noise ratio of the list, or of your
ability to contribute to the list?  Ouch.

> Quite frankly, the list can be rather intimidating...

Aye, you're unfortunately not the first to say so.  This is something
that needs to change.  The list will not survive, and more importantly
will not serve the purpose I intend for it if it degrades into an
ivory tower forum for assumed masters.  

> ...for a sophomore in college with a scant four years (mostly self
> taught) of programming experience.  

FWVLIW I have no formal education in the field, or in computing for
that matter (am self taught the whole way), have spent just under half
of my working life doing things not computer or game related (aquarium
fish breeding, cat breeding, commercial fisherman, printer, school
teacher SF&F writer etc), and now make my living as a contractor,
moving from client to client as the programming need takes me (as
happens I'm looking for my next contract now; the one at SGI is about
up).  The *only* claim to fame I have in the area (MUDs or
programming) is that I have worked hard to be able to understand and
create "interesting things" in those areas, and a certain ability to
bullshit people, no more.  This gives me no advantage or altitude over
you or the rest of the list, just a different viewpoint.

> In any case, I have a bit more to add to the subject of mazes...


> Quzah's thread on the "maze of the mind" system got me thinking on a
> better way to model vast, twisting, untamed wilderness without
> having to store thousands of rarely visited rooms (much less code
> them).

> My first thought was to randomly generate them.  But, it seems to me
> that forests should be more static than that, trees and boulders do
> not jump around that much.  Instead, the descriptions, exits, etc.
> could be generated from a known seed value for a random number
> generator set aside for the mazes.

Quite.  Well analysed.

> To sum up: Random number generator that can be seeded easily (1)
> Mad-libs style room descriptor (1) (There is a [pick size] [pick
> type] tree in front of you.  The forest floor is littered with [pick
> ground cover].)  Reversable bit masher used when party travels (1
> per movement axis allowed)

In principle this is good stuff (and well workable).  The problem is
translating it to a workable, interesting and believable environment
within the game world.  Nobody here has yet done that, tho we have all
nodded out heads wisely and said, "Yes, that's a good system that
would work well in principle."  Implementation is a whole other bitch:

  Okay, you have a random value.  Exactly how do you translate that
into a generated room which is fairly consistent with the rooms
surrounding it (encluding those NE/NW/SE/SW), or is at least
believable without being a very simple variation of combinations of a
few components in a room:

    Tree?  Yes/No
    Rock?  Yes/No
    Pond?  Yes/No

  Simple random combinations of the above makes for a mighty boring

Possible approach:

  Devise a compressed (ie light storage requirements) meta form of the
area you wish to describe.  This might be a two (or three) dimensional
array of integers, each teated as a bitfield or compressed record,
with each integer mapping to a single room/location.  The values in
each integer would name the basic characteristics of that location,
landmarks, etc but at a very compressed level.  The random seed (and
its variations if needed) are then used to provide localised
customisation (ie non-architectural items), on top of the basic
framework laid out by the meta-data.

> That, and it's way past my bedtime.  :)


J C Lawrence                              Internet: claw at kanga.nu
----------(*)                            Internet: coder at kanga.nu
...Honorary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

More information about the MUD-Dev mailing list