[MUD-Dev] Dynamic muds

Justin Lockshaw jlockshaw at signio.com
Sat Sep 25 06:01:54 New Zealand Standard Time 1999

I'm also a bit latent about responding to this as I have been away for a
while but here are my thoughts.

:: [Ryan]
:: Are truly dynamic
:: rooms, in your opinion, worth spending the extra
:: effort? In dynamic, I mean that the description changes with 

As some of the others have pointed out there are a few issues to be
addressed here. The main one is your personal opinion. I'll assume that you
looking for something that the players will respond well to. I've been a
builder on a few muds for a few years now and I enjoy creating highly
detailed and in depth areas in which to explore. Unfortunately I find that
room descriptions, while captivating at first, are often simply overlooked
beyond the exploration. I must admit that when I play I tend to do the same
thing(although I never use the brief command). 

As a simple example I was attempting to reward players who actually
continued to read the room descriptions by putting 'subtle'(sometimes far
less than) clues in the room descriptions. I took this a bit too far
apparently in one area. I had a small courtyard outside of a temple with a
recall room high above a fountain that sat in the center. Unbeknownst to me
I had forgotten to make the exit gate visible to the exit list. When I
eventually opened the area for testing it didn't take long before I was
bombarded with tells asking how to get out of the courtyard even though the
room descriptions explicitly stated that there was a gate to the west which
opened to the rest of the city. Unfortunately most of the 'subtle' hints
that pointed to the majority of more in depth aspects of my area were, I
must assume, never read and continue to go unnoticed, undiscovered, and in
all other ways unused.

To get back to the point of dynamic room descriptions, I also quite enjoy
creating areas that are always in flux because of any number of elements. I
love dynamic descriptions although the implementation on their use must be
good otherwise it becomes very tedious. I have gone so far as to write 5
different room descriptions for a series of 10 rooms which I feel were never
appreciated by the players. 

As a builder I would be willing to go to great lengths to produce really
good dynamic descriptions even if difficult to produce as long as they had
some impact and I didn't feel as though my work was simply bypassed by the
brief command. IMO you might have a hard time finding builders that would be
willing to put forth a lot of effort to make a dynamic description when they
could type in "This is a beach". Make it easy to use, and they will use it. 

As a player dynamic descriptions are nice to look at but usually (in my
experience) have very little to do with the game itself. IMO if the
descriptions had some sort of use, some reason to actually note the status
of the space around you, then there would be nothing better. For instance,
being able to look at the room description and see if it is daytime, or
raining I would enjoy but for game porpoise it is simply the same as an
alias that shows the time and weather commands. You could argue that their
use is game immersion which I would agree with if I believed that even the
die hard role players walked around reading room descriptions of rooms they
have been in more than 5 times. IMO this just doesn't happen.

So it is all based on what you believe to be important. I for one couldn't
go without dynamic descriptions and intricate in depth areas if I were to
run a mud. This would be true even if those aspects are overlooked by the
majority of the players simply because *I* enjoy them.

:: what do you think of dynamic rooms and how they add to the 
:: atmosphere of a mud?

Atmosphere is important and even if players no longer read the descriptions,
it may bring the initial 'feel' to the mud which is everlasting.

So there are my belated thoughts...

(I would use my real name/initials but I find they are far too common here,
them being JCL.)

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