[MUD-Dev] Sustainable Ecosystem

holding99 at mindspring.com holding99 at mindspring.com
Fri Jul 21 17:16:28 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

At 08:13 AM 7/21/2000 -0500, Peter Dughi wrote:

		< Lots of stuff snipped >

>	Else, i'd forget reality altogether, and just use the good
>old-fashioned 'wandering monster' concept.  That is, on any given turn,
>for a given environment, you have a chance of running into any one of a
>set of creatures.  Say you have a 1-in-300 chance to spot a deer per
>movement through a given forest.  Maybe your 'track' skill ups that to
>1-in-200.  Just randomly pop it in there from a previous state of
>non-existance. Change the 'chance to spot' based on if the animal dies,
>and what the chances are to encounter other animals in the random list. 
>If you kill it, your chances go down maybe 1-2 points.  Competitors
>chances will go up, predator chances will go down.  Over time, the chances
>should rise and fall based on random movement, +-(1-3) points every mud
>day, etc.
>	Not real simulation, but it gives the user the end result you're
>looking for.  It's easy too.

	Actually, the idea that sprang into my mind was similar to this. First,
create encounter tables for a given terrain for both "predators" and "prey". 
For example, in the woods, you might have deer, rabbits, wild pigs, etc on
prey encounter table, and wolves, tigers, bears, etc, on the predator
table. Then, have a general random encounter table that checks (ala D&D)
so often, or every so many steps for an encounter. This table would then 
reference the predator or prey tables to create an actual encounter. Now, the 
"ecology" portion: instead of keeping track of actual populations, just
a "equilibrium" number to prey and predators that ranges from, say, -100 to 
100. 0 would represent equilibrium. When players kill off enough deer, or 
rabbits, or other prey, reduce the prey equilibrium number by 1, and ditto
predators. Then, at time intervals, the mud will alter the equilibrium
by using the other number as a type of rate of change. A positive prey 
equilibrium would lead to a more positive predator equilibrium, and a
prey equilibrium would lead to a more negative predator equilibrium (on the 
basis that, if there's more prey, predators will reproduce more, and vice 
versa). On the other hand, a positive predator equilibrium would lead to a
negative prey equilibrium, and so on. So the more predators there are, the 
fewer prey animals should be around. Now, this ties into the encounter tables 
basically as follows: a negative equilibrium should reduce the chance of 
encountering an animal of that type on the general encounter table. If
manage to absolutely slaughter most of the prey animals in a region, they 
shouldn't run into any. Also, after a while, they should notice an incredible 
drop in the number of predator animals. However, after a while, the system
tend to return to equilibrium (ie, both equilibrium numbers back to 0).

	Unfortunately, this does imply that players do not, will not, and will
never have the power or resources required to destroy an ecosystem. Also,
it requires a bit more setup in terms of dynamically creating encounter
animals and setting up the encounter tables. However, it also has several
possibilities for expansion:
	- NPCs can, by checking the equilibrium numbers, notice an excess or
dearth of animals in a region (thereby adding to the mud's AI).
	- If the 2 step model is too simplistic, multiple levels can be added, up
to a seperate equilibrium number for each species. That would allow a
rabbit baby boom, while deer are suffering greatly.
	- A separate indicator of general intelligence and hardiness could be
added. It would have a chance of increasing when the equilibrium number
fell below a certain value (indicating that only the strongest and toughest
survived), and conversely decreasing when the equilibrium number rose above
a certain value (indicating that since any creature has the resources to
breed, they do). This indicator could then be used to make later encounters
with animals either harder (more of them show up, they hit harder, they run
faster, they use better tactics, etc) or easier. Once again, the mud's AI
could tap into this information. "Gee, Fred, you'd think those wolves
*knew* she didn't have a weapon."

Anyway, please reply with any comments/ideas. This is my first time posting
to the list (any list), so please excuse me if I have in some way offended.

							T.H. Cooke

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