[MUD-Dev] The Virtual Ecology

Ilya Ilya
Fri Jul 23 20:34:20 New Zealand Standard Time 1999

On Fri, 23 Jul 1999 16:22:21 -0400, Jp Calderone wrote:

))Tony Wilkinson wrote:
))> Well, the ability to persuade the player that he is in a living, breathing
))> place and that the whole world doesn't just revolve around him. He also
))> will have the ability to perhaps alter the equilibrium.
))> Fun stuff.


))> Tony.
))This is something I've been interested with on and off, I wrote some
))insect simulations like this, unfortunately never got very far.  Anyway,
))here's one problem I see straight off with doing anything like this in
))an xp (gained by combat) system.  All your animals are going to go
))extinct very quickly - And this isn't a problem with the system per say,
))but a problem with human behaviour.  Look at the real world, you can't
))get a more accurate simulation of human behaviour than that, and look
))what people do.
))That doesn't
))fit in with a realistic simulation of an ecosystem.

I beg to differ -- it is (as you yourself argue) quite realistic.
It's suicidal.  It's futile.  It ultimately may ruin gameplay.
But it is realistic, and fits in well with what's going on today,
more or less.

More on that below.

))You can limit the area where players can kill (Or not base the system
))on killing, a solution I much prefer), give them 5% of the population
))to work on, and simulate population levels behind the scenes, only
))moving from there to the playing field when a species is in low numbers
))on the playing field.  That's really the only solution in a kill-based
))system I can think of.  I'm curious if anyone else has solved this
))extinction problem in another way.

Seems to me your 5% option is a good one.  How about this as an alternative?

Allow players to move things to extinction, but let the effects be perhaps
a little less subtle, and a little more immediate, than they might be in the
real world.  Most things in these games are less subtle and more immediate
anyway, so the idea fits right in I'd say.

As a species or animal group dwindles in size, it's harder and harder to
find, and the things that rely on it begin to suffer, and all that other
stuff we read about in the eco books.

Might set up a really interesting set of conflicts for players, since the
irresponsible ones won't care, and the responsible ones might have to find
ways to deal with them.

I think it's fair to say that experience systems could profit from
being made broader than fight/kill/grow/repeat anyway, so make sure there
are plenty of other rewarding possibilities for things to do.

In short, I think the system can be made to be at least somewhat self
correcting.  This may mean that the self-correction includes starvation
for the playing community!  Of course this may mean the person who learns
animal husbandry and starts to raise a tiny flock in relative safety and
obscurity might make some _really_ powerful friends and get rich along
the way.

  Ilya, Game Commandos     http://www.gamecommandos.com     

MUD-Dev maillist  -  MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

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