[MUD-Dev] Sustainable Ecosystem

Mordengaard mordengaard at redhotant.com
Thu Jul 20 08:59:45 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

From: Geoffrey A. MacDougall <geoffrey at poptronik.com>
> Quick question...
> Does anyone know of a project - commercial, educational, or otherwise -
> which is working on creating a vw with a true-to-rl, persistent, working,
> sustainable ecosystem?

Hmmm, not sure if you'd consider this "true to RL"...
We're attempting to create a simple one using three classes of mobile, "pig"
"wolf" and "dragon".  Pigs are your basic herbivore, they wander around
large areas eating, sleeping, and breeding (although they don't actually
"eat" anything, they just have a preferred environment that they get hungry
if they're not in).  Wolves have more restricted movement, they're tied down
to a lair and territory, and they're carnivores (therefore they have to hunt
living creatures).  Wolves will fight if they meet another wolf class
mobile, and they have a drive to increase/defend their territory in addition
to the eat/sleep/breed drives.  Dragons are larger fantasy predators that we
put in to shake things up once in a while... a dragon class mobile will put
a major dent in the numbers of Pigs (and to a lesser extent Wolves) in an
area when they get hungry.  The small scale simulations of this system have
done very well in testing, and I'm working on a larger scale simulation now.

As a couple of people have already said when replying to your post, the
problem comes when you introduce the human element.  Even a small population
of players can clear a whole area out of wolves (leaving the pigs to grow
unchecked until more wolves move in) and/or pigs (leaving the wolves to
starve to death, or depopulating the area totally).  Wolves can of course
eat people as well as pigs (they taste the same...:p), but may die off if
there is no food within a reasonable distance.  Dragons don't have the same
problem, since in my world they can't die of hunger... they just travel
further for their McPersonBurger.
Since the Real World (TM) hasn't come up with a solution to this problem
that doesn't involve "player" intervention (and I'm damn sure I'm not going
to get a player-run GreenPeace guild on my MUD), I'm toying with the idea of
adding an "artificial" element, namely "ecobots".  These basically monitor
any given area and "seed" it if the ecology of the area collapses.  The
"seed" will be presented as a small number of "pigs" moving into the area to
take the place of the old (presumably slaughtered) inhabitants.  If
necessary, once the "pigs" are settled in, a "wolf" population will also be
Just to clarify, "pigs" are herbivore-class mobiles like deer, buffalo,
rabbits (and pigs).  "wolves" are carnivorous mobiles like lions, leopards,
foxes (and wolves).  "Dragons" so far are just dragons :)

Mordengaard, Yhared MUD

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