[MUD-Dev] Containing automation?

Marc Hernandez marc at ias.jb.com
Wed Jul 21 17:04:19 New Zealand Standard Time 1999

	More of a question playing off the paragraph above.

On Wed, 21 Jul 1999, Katrina McClelan wrote:
> If the only real cost of manufacture is the time spent typing it, then the
> economic model is weak.  The real problem here is that players are coming
> on to play swordsmen and wizards and such.  Some people are content
> running shops, but most are wanting adventure.  They go to (work|class)
> every day and lead normal lives, so they come to a MUD for adventure.  If
> you make specializing in sword making get in the way of learning how to
> use the weapons, you won't find many people using up their aptitude to
> make lots of coins off sword production.

	What about Mu* games where building _is_ the game?  Is this going
to appeal to anyone but a small subset of people?
	I am currently writing a multiuser system where people come
together and can collaborativly (or seperately) build things.
	The original plan was to have people build spaceships out of
building blocks (instead of the common: select hull size N, It has P ports
for weapons.  It has C cubic metres for cargo.  Select laser etc).  But I
found building a full spaceship out of such things is a monumental task.
	So I have switched to a less ambitious design.  Currently I am
doing what amounts to virtual legos.  However once I call it a block
building game (not even invoking the Lego god) it tends to be considered a
game aimed at a younger audience.  Not that that is bad I just happen to
want a building game for older people that like to build things.
	I have an economy worked out.  You can get plain gray blocks in a
quarry for free.  Colors come from plants people can collect.  Sometimes
you will find Gold or Silver blocks.  You can use these to build or use
them to buy items from a central store.  The central store will stock
items that are computationally expensive (like springs or motors or
magnets).  I have some ideas about having lights and electricity and
switches with simple, user designed circuts to work them.  Perhaps a
market of cool circuts will develop, who knows?
	I just havent see much differentiation in things to do in regular
Mu*s.  They all seem to come down to killing things.  Not that this isnt
fun (as I gaze at the QIII icon on my desktop), but I would think the
online environment could be a little more diverse.
	I have seen Active worlds.  It is ok, but has some design flaws. 
The viewable range is very short.  The objects seem ... lifeless.  Your
building area is seperate from everone elses.  Rather than go for any
polygonal set of objects I decided to restrict the type of objects, but in
the end it should allow greater freedom in what can be built. 
	Technology is catching up to being able to handle this sort of
thing.  The physics libraries that are coming out (sometimes free) are
pretty good.  The capabilities of desktop machines is pretty phenomenal
especially when you take into account the fact that the framerate can drop
to around 5fps with little degredation in playing enjoyment (although my
target is 10fps).  My $179 TNT2 can render 2500 blocks (6 faces) at 10fps
(300,000 triangles per second).  
Marc Hernandez
to beg a tale of breath too weak to stir the tiniest feather
and what can one poor voice avail against three tongues together
						Lewis Carrol

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