[MUD-Dev] Next gen MUD wishlist

Bryce Harrington bryce at neptune.net
Thu Feb 17 02:46:02 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000


I'd like to get input on creating a "wishlist" for a kind of
"next generation online RPG".  What would you want to see in
a brand new codebase?

I've been speculating pretty intently about online rpg's for 
a year now, and having been lurking on this list a bit I'm 
finally eager to try to do something about this desire.  ;-)

I think it'd be a big job to do something like what I've heard
people say, but that don't bother me too much.  I started such
a list back in the early nineties for a Civilization sequel, 
which was eventually picked up and done by Microprose.  (No,
no name in the credits for me, sadly, but the game was pretty
cool.  Do a search on "bryce harrington civII" to see the proof.)
I'm pretty sure that once the requirements have been hammered out, 
me and some of my co-workers could bang out a design that'd do 
the job.  Coding and playtesting it might take some time but is 
also 90% of the fun.  ;-)

Anyway, some wishes I've seen (or thought of) so far:

Licensing / General
   * Freely available codebase
   * Ability to use codebase commercially, but is more hobby-oriented
     than commercial-oriented.
   * Allows/encourages sense-of-community (the key to success)
   * Allows/encourages player-world-building (the key to uniqueness)
   * Allows/encourages community to establish and enforce its own 
     rules (the key to avoiding burdensome administration)

Server
   * Should support on the order of 100-500 simultaneous players
     (Is this a realistic number?)
   * Should permit scripting in easy to learn, existing language
   * (Desired) should allow use of any arbitrary scripting language(?)
   * Should abstract rules in a way that allow modular replacement
   * Should be genre-generic, and even game-generic, at the core
   * A stock world/rules should be provided, as a basis to work from.
     Further, it should include all graphics, music, and text media to
     characterize that world.
   * In general, the server should be easily customizable by the admin,
     so that new wannabe admins can take a stock world and immediately
     and quickly turn it into something interesting and unique.
   * As much as possible, customization and editing should be doable
     while the game is still running.
   * Allows "building" and "inventing" 
   * Free market, player-driven economic system 
   * Allows for creation/optimization of sophisticated AI's
   * Dialectization - Modify player speech to suit the race/nationality
     they're playing (orcs speak orcish, etc.)
   * Coordinate-based rather than room-based.
   * Able to make large scale world changes (meteorites, massive weather
     changes, etc.)
   ? Server distribution?  Should it be possible to link several
     different people's servers together?

Client Interface
   * Should support graphics (to compete with UO/EQ/etc.)
   * Cross platform playable
   * Don't forget about importance of text and text interfaces
   * Can't trust client (treat it as already hacked; it _will_ be)
   * Configurable dynamic music (music changes to suit the scene,
     and can download new tunes between play sessions as they become
     available)
   * Semi-dynamic graphics:  can upload your character portrait or
     animation to a central server, for others to (auto?)download.
     (This encourages the players to generate the hardest artwork -
     character animations - themselves.)

Note that at this point I don't care about technical issues like the 
graphics engine or database system; those will flow out of the design 
that will be produced later.

This is just a start, but hopefully it'll grow into something useful.
Please send me your thoughts/ideas/requests, and I'll incorporate them
and repost for further comments.  

Bryce




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