[MUD-Dev] Re: MUD-Dev digest, Vol 1 #142 - 4 msgs

Par Winzell zell at alyx.com
Tue Aug 17 11:56:16 New Zealand Standard Time 1999


Matthew Mihaly writes:
 > On Mon, 16 Aug 1999, Par Winzell wrote:
 > > Dr. Cat writes:
 > >  > Let me pick 4 random 
 > >  > days...  Got it.  Every other day I'll vary the price of this item
 > >  > up and down with statistical white noise, and on those days I'll
 > >  > make some big dramatic changes."
 > > 
 > > I don't see how this adds any fun to a game. How can anybody be a
 > > trader if white noise governs his profession?
 > 
 > The financial markets are complicated enough that from the
 > investor/trader's point of view, they operate little differently from Dr.
 > Cat's system. While I agree that a nice, lovely system operating on the
 > edge of chaos (thus achieving complexity, and avoiding death by either
 > order or chaos) is interesting, I think your whole post vastly
 > underestimates the difficulty in creating a self-sustaining, complex
 > system. 

I should not have ended with that particular paragraph, perhaps. I don't
know what kind of dramatic changes Dr. Cat planned on the 4 random days,
but probably not white noise. I see how it could add fun to a game.

As for the rest...

I don't -want- to investigate the bleeding edge of cellular automata,
and the urge is -not- to mimic realistic ecologies. Would you consider
SimCity self-sustaining? Where do the people come from? They appear as
inevitable results of your town being a desirable place to live. That's
a way to create an ecology too -- toss out breeding rates and predators
and just assume nature will find a way [tm] to fill any empty niches.

I picked the example of Gandalf precisely because it's about as far as
you can get from bleeding edge, infact it has nothing to do with scalar
fields or automata at all and so in your words cannot be interesting --
yet it made the game so much more fun.

Simulation can mean a lot of different things. If you want to be able to
gaze at your ecology with eternal fascination, then perhaps you do need
to blend just the right amounts of diffusion, propagation, sources and
interactions and I'm sure that is a terrible complex field of science
and I would perhaps go so far as to label this one of the pipe-dreams
I want to avoid. However, to populate the wilderness with a sensible mix
of critters that vary in concentration depending on where you are, that
can be pretty simple and yet be called a simulation.


All this said, though, I don't expect any of this to be trivial and I'm
looking forward with great anticipation to digging into the details of
it. If I sounded terribly arrogant I apologize. I'm not underestimating
the problem, I think; I expect it to be tricky... but doable.

Par



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