[MUD-Dev] Sustainable Ecosystem

Josh Olson jolson at micron.net
Thu Jul 20 23:57:50 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

-----Original Message-----
From: Matthew D. Fuller <fullermd at over-yonder.net>
>1) Man (or 'players', but 'man' is easier to type) is NOT the top of the
>food chain.
> In fact, there IS no such thing as a food chain.  It's not a straight
> chain, or a pyramid, it's a circle.  Everything both benefits and
> detriments everything else.  Killing the fish doesn't just starve the
> sharks and increase the plankton, it increases the rate of shark
> waste buildup and decreases the rate of water flow that helps the
> plankton grow and spread.

So you're implementing fungi, bacteria and scavengers?  :)

>  Left alone, this system will flow toward a
> balance.  With players fscking with it, it'll flow toward utter
> chaos.  The only way to counteract that is to make 'bad' causes show
> 'bad' effects quickly, and have the system be able to recover quickly
> when left alone.  Also, it'll need to have some inherent checks
> against being put too far out of whack.  If you kill enough wolves,
> they get smart, run, and hide.  This also leads into:

I dunno.  I think the only real(*) solution is sufficient world scale to
maintain an adequate ratio between players and animals.  For every herd of
deer being slaughtered, there have to be X other herds out in the wilderness
somewhere being left alone.  Even in the real world, the only places
ecosystems survive are where humans either don't kill the member populations
(either by law or disinterest), or aren't present in significant numbers.
Left to our own devices, we're a rapacious lot.

These ideas sound fine but I know they would immediately break down in the
current crop of massively multiplayer environments, because the population
density of players is just too high.  Without enough open space to separate
the hunters from the hunted, all the repopulating tactics in the world will
just be exploited as respawn.

-Josh Olson

(*) Assuming there will be some player benefit to having animals around
other than aesthetics.  While it would work as a virtual ecological measure,
it seems a trifle silly to populate the world with animals that players get
no benefit from hunting.

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