[MUD-Dev] The grass is always greener in the other field

Adam Wiggins adam at angel.com
Tue Dec 21 11:33:20 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

On Mon, 20 Dec 1999, Travis Casey wrote:
> Which may be enough, if you simply don't want someone to spam the lock
> to quickly pick it.  The real problem here is not the ability to keep
> trying to pick a lock until you succeed -- it's the fact that each
> attempt takes so little time.
> In the real world, lockpicking is a variable activity -- sometimes
> picking a particular lock takes me just a few seconds, sometimes it
> takes me a few minutes.  Almost any key-type lock can be picked by
> someone who knows how to pick locks, given sufficient time -- it's
> that time that's important, though.  The longer it takes to pick a
> lock, the greater the chance is that you will be noticed.

Indeed.  I set up lockpicking to be a fairly involved process, which is
also difficult and expensive to learn, and even a master takes a while
to get a given lock open.  Since I'm assuming that the readership here
is a bit too laz^H^H^Hbusy to log on and see for themselves, here's
a couple of (undoctored!) transcripts:

A beginner vs. a medium-difficulty lock:

You begin picking the lock on the door with a set of tin lockpicks.
You slide one of the lockpicks into the top of the keyhole.
While pushing in the bottom pick, you fumble the top one and it slips out.
(The mechanism on this one is pretty complicated.)
You slide one of the lockpicks into the top of the keyhole.
You fumble, and a set of tin lockpicks snaps off in the lock!

A medium-skill lockpicker vs. a tough padlock:

You begin picking the lock on the door with a set of steel lockpicks.
You lift the padlock and thrust one of your lockpicks into the dark
Supporting the padlock with the first lockpick, you push in the second
Holding the lock steady with the left pick, you twist the right one
You fumble and almost drop a set of steel lockpicks.

And an expert vs. a medium-difficulty lock:

You begin picking the lock on a small iron chest with a set of steel
You slide one of the lockpicks into the top of the keyhole.
You slide the other lockpick into the bottom of the keyhole.
Carefully, you bend the bottom pick downwards, feeling for the latch.
There is a faint scrape as the bottom pick encounters resistance.
You push in the top pick, twisting it slowly against the release.
You hear a metalic rasp as the mechanism releases the teeth-guard.
A faint click sounds as you complete your handywork on the lock.
You gain 200 experience points.

There are a pretty decent number of variations on this theme due to
several different types of locks, lockpicks, varying skill level, size,
and agility of the characters.

> (Of course, there are also some other factors -- e.g., on some locks,
> it's possible for the pins to fall into the cylinder when the lock is
> turned 180 degrees, which may cause the mechanism to jam and require
> disassembling the lock to make it work properly again.  Nonetheless,
> barring such problems, any standard lock can be picked given
> sufficient time.)

Hmmm...jamming, I hadn't thought of that!  Gonna have to steal that
when I get around to improving lockpicking again.

> To my knowledge, no mud has yet tried hidden numbers and deliberately
> obscured formulas -- and while it makes no sense to assume that such
> an attempt would be 100% successful, it also makes no sense to assume
> that it would be 100% unsuccessful.  We can speculate either way, but
> we won't know what would happen until someone tries it.

*shrug*  That's pretty much what I do.  Very little is shown in actual
numbers, but almost all "stats" on characters or objects can be determined
through various informational commands.

So far I've had little problems with players "uncovering" the formulas,
which is not surprising due to the large number of variables used in
each one.  (Lockpicking, for example, takes into acount about a dozen
different variables.)  If anything, the problem has been confusion over
why certain tasks are more difficult for one character than another.
For example, most players try to create large (tall/meaty) characters
since they have increased health and better range in combat.  However,
this hurts almost all of the stealthy-type skills, including lockpicking.
Despite messages about "your hands are too big for this tiny little lock..."
as well as specifically mentioning the negative impact of size on stealthy
skills in the info files, most players get confused by features like

> You can also fight scripting in other ways, if you want to -- e.g.,
> limiting the rate at which commands can be entered, and possibly
> queuing "extra" commands to be processed later.

I think I described my task system some time ago on this list (I seem
to recall an example involving Bubba and digging of the Panama canal),
but it's pretty much what you are describing here.  It has worked
out remarkably well on many fronts, although it still has some glitchyness
(certain tasks stacking doesn't make much sense, for example).

The lockpick examples, above, show this to a certain extent, although
I didn't enter any commands during the execution to show task interruption
or queueing.  Check the archives (I know I've shown examples before),
or log on and experiment with it yourself.


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

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