[MUD-DEV] Ideas for dynamically generated worlds

J C Lawrence claw at cp.net
Fri Dec 17 15:55:56 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999


On Fri, 17 Dec 1999 12:12:18 -0600 
Cynbe ru Taren <cynbe at muq.org> wrote:

> In a 3D graphics world, this is ok: Rendering down to the pixel
> level is visually acceptable, and cutting back to some fixed
> angular level of resolutions is acceptable and easy to implement.
  
> By contrast, text descriptions must discard orders of magnitude
> more information, pruning down to the absolute bare essentials of
> a scene in very intelligent fashion.

> In short, the 3D graphics version can be handled by brute force,
> but the text version requires "intelligence", and current
> computing technology is much better at brute force than
> "intelligence" -- as witness Deep Blue's design.

<bravo!>

>    In particular, conventional programming uses very minimal
> context at each step and proceeds by Boolean decisions.  In my
> explorations at least, dynamic world generation builds and uses
> large amounts of information expressing the current context --
> geometry, culture, language, whatever you're interested in -- and
> has to sum it in ways much more sophisticated than the conditional
> Boolean expreesions typical of contemporary programming: The
> resulting mechanisms have much more the flavor of quantum
> mechanical summing of probability waves followed by collapse to a
> particular output at some point by picking a specific outcome
> based on the final probability function.

I've attempted to express this in some ways with my ideas on objects
and locations possessing probability fields, with probability fields
coming in a variety of "flavours" and thus affecting some specific
raneg of actions.  Its crude, it barely works, it is overhead
intensive, but it semi-back-bolts a crude sort a gestaltic dynamism
on top of a boolean descendant logic model.

Translation: I don't have mine working, but it keeps promising that
it *might* work.

> Instead, one can generate a canonical conical island with central
> peak, circular coast and coastal road, and semi-circular harbor
> cutout.  All the connections make sense by construction now, and a
> noise()-driven remapping can give each island realistic fractal
> individuality.  The archipelago itself can start as a rectangular
> or triangular mesh of island vertices connected by boating routes,
> with positions noise()-remapped to look more realistic.

Oooooooo.  I gotta think about this.  I've been playing with
triangular meshes built out of constant size (makes texture
applications *really* fast) isometric triangles (minor morphing to
allow for contour following), and then using a flat-plain-default
world which then "defines" itself increasingly as it is visited.

ie 

  The world is without form and void.

  The more people see the void, the more form it tends to assume.

  The more people do in the world, the more the world about them
  tends to be defined.

  The less people see the world, the more the world tends to become
  void.

  The less people do in the world, the more the world looses
  definition.

The background intent is that the game-world and all its details are
(generally) a random-seed generated thing with the depth of that
simulation (and thus the expense of the modelling) being
proportional to player activity there.

  The first player sees an endless flat gray plain without
distinguishing features, landmarks, interruption, or any other
observable entity in existance other than himself.

  As that player goes about trying to do things, and as other
players join him, the world gradually (or rapidly) forms about them,
growing out of the entropic raw chaos into something definite,
knowable, and of specific type

Player built constructs would then assume the same
requires-regular-human-refreshing-to-persist models, so that, for
instance, the road between a distant village and a local town would
likely be a narrow path thru the formless void, with only the path
and its immediate surrounds being well defined.  The pleasing
side-effect being, that should regular traffic between the town and
village fall off for some reason, the path would tend to dissappear,
and the village might well become permanently "lost".

In a sense this is taking the entire ur-object concept to the
meta-scale and applying it to the entire game world en mass in one
swell foop.

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


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