[MUD-Dev] Sustainable Ecosystem

ERI gjsfaun at hotmail.com
Thu Jul 20 20:25:49 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

From: "Mordengaard" <mordengaard at redhotant.com>
> 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,
> > sustainable ecosystem?


> 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
> 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
> problem, since in my world they can't die of hunger... they just travel
> further for their McPersonBurger.

I'm currently designing what I'm calling a "virtual world". Basically I'm
trying to create a simulation of a low-fantasy world, keeping it as close to
reality as I can without sacraficing game-play. The ecosystem is my primary
project right now.

The way I'm handling it currently is a base "seed" population exists behind
the scenes. While characters can explore parts of a forest, it's assumed
that they can't explore all of it. A mob populates itself behind the sceens,
and once it reaches a certain threshold (a dynamic number based on the
species of animal, weather, season, and food supply) the system starts to
release that particular mob into the "playing" environment.

Of particular note, the playing environment is sectioned off into terrain
types - mountain, forest, swamp, etc as a primary node. Different areas
within the came can call to one of these primary nodes and store the actual
information for all of the rooms it contains. In this way, I've managed to
keep a single global system to handle everything about the environment.

Begin Example -- >
The global system decides it's time for a heat wave, and tells all the root
nodes to increase temperature by 14 degrees. Each root node communicates
this to their child nodes and, based on what sort of terrain and any other
variables (a forest is cooler than a desert; a costal area next to a desert
will be hotter than a coastal area near a forest; a heat wave during summer
is hotter than a heat wave during autumn) sets the temperature for all the
rooms it controls.

Each child node also checks to see if the heat wave has an adverse affect
for any of it's other systems (disease, animal population, food supplies,
etc) and makes the appropriate adjustments.
< -- End Example

The more rabbits in existance, the more wolves get to eat, the birth rate /
survival rate of wolves increases, etc. The reverse is also true, except the
"hunters" also will venture into the playing area when food supply becomes
critical (just not below the min. seed factor).

Players that want to hunt for animal type mobs have a verb available which
checks the number of that particular animal in the area, runs a skill check
for tracking, and if appropriate (and it's not below the min. seed factor),
will release that mob into the player's area.

The entire system is still under development, but the foundations currently
exist and as soon as I finish the weather-season integration I'll tie all of
them in together, fleshing out all the nuances during the process. So far
I've been fairly pleased with it, though the real tests are yet to come.



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