[MUD-Dev] Optimized Object Storage

Sellers Sellers
Fri Dec 17 16:27:13 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

Ian wrote:
> Having a piece of metal armor, kept in a presumed oiled condition, in
> a dry environment, and then getting 'a pile of rust' or the even more
> generic 'crumbles into dust', is OOC to my mind because it is not
> realistic.  

Okay, but this seems OOC because it's extreme.  First, you're *assuming*
that the character is keeping the armor in a nicely maintained (oiled, etc.)
state, without requiring any effort or cost on their part -- a missed
opportunity for a money-drain, IMO.  Second, if you *did* have a maintenance
requirement, you could make the "crumbles to dust" option generally
avoidable, though the armor's utility would drop gradually, slowed by
maintenance and speeded up by use/damage/etc.  In this way, the player would
stop using the armor as soon as it was of little utility (and this decrease
need not be linear) without having to endure the surprising "crumbles to
dust" messages.  

> Some things do have a 'use by' date.  Others don't.  Just
> lumbering everything into the same handling system isn't IC.  Having a
> rose and a sword decay at the same rate is ridiculous.

Yes, but no more ridiculous than having either or both never decay at all!
Keeping your sword sharp should take money, and maybe time and skill.  And
if you don't keep it sharp, you increase the chance of catastrophic failure.

> I do not see the necessity of trying to kludge the system either.  For
> example, making a player oil the armor, wrap it nicely, then pack it
> in a dry safe location.  That is the sort of thing I assume the player
> is doing by default.  Adding that onto the requirements is what I call
> a kludge.

It depends on the granularity you use.  The detail you mention would quickly
get tedious.  OTOH, levying a maintenance cost allows the player to choose
to slow the armor's decay (without worrying about exactly how this is
accomplished), or to save their money if they think it's needed more
elsewhere.  And it sets them up for having to make the choice to toss aside
an old dented piece of armor (maybe its max protection/condition number goes
down a notch every time it absorbs a certain amount of damage in one blow)
when they have enough money saved up.  

> You can limit things in lots of IC ways.  For example, weight and size
> limit you automatically as far as bags and carrying go.  Implement
> them rather.  If the player starts hoarding too many boxes, crates,
> bags and/or loose items, you can start tripping the player over
> things, bring the whole lot crashing down and damage or destroy some
> fragile items, and dent and buckle some others.  That's IC.  

Seems pretty contrived to me.  And it doesn't address the situation if you
allow house- or bank-based storage (hoarding).  

>Even have
> the player severely damaged and/or killed in the crash.  After all.
> Having a box of swords smash and scatter everywhere, with you most
> likely at the bottom, isn't going to be good for the health.  

Carrying around crates and boxes of armor, swords, and fragile vases is

> Another alternative is to have this warehouse box crash cause sparks
> to fly, and a fire to start.  Viola.  BIG explosions.  Leave him with
> some chunks of melted metal and ash.  Players will think it's IC.  All
> of the above are IC to me.  Simple decay isn't.

YMMV, I guess.  Maintenance and decay are more IC to me -- it lets the
player know what's going on, make meaningful choices, and provides for both
subtle and catastrophic consequences, rather than only catastrophic ones
(whether it's "falls to dust" or dying by being buried under your own swords
or causing a warehouse explosion, none of which seem particularly IC to me).

> I don't know if you live in the USA or not, but there have been rather
> frequent finds of Spanish Conquistador armor, in excellent condition,
> throughout America (especially in dry locations).  That's why I don't
> think having carefully stored items last forever is OOC.

There have been frequent finds of dinosaur bones as well.  This doesn't
argue against decay.  Your house, car, and clothes all decay.  My SCA armor
in my garage has definitely decayed.  I'd venture to guess that 99%+ of all
the Spanish conquistador armor has by now fallen to dust, and the items that
have been found are by far the exceptions.  

> Trying to stop somebody hoarding stuff and forcing them to go
> adventuring, for example, is like saying "You've had enough fun now.
> I know you enjoy it, but I think you should rather enjoy something
> else."  Players are your customers.  Don't try and sell them what you
> want to sell, rather sell them more of what *they* want to buy.

Unless what they want to buy is what cripples your game and your system.
Hoarding leads to player ennui, which kills gameplay, and database bloat,
which kills the server.  Gentle pressure leads to further actual play and
enjoyment.  Micromanagement is tedious, but absence of management is boring.
You have to thread between the two.

Mike Sellers

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

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