[MUD-Dev] Law of Resource Congestion

Patrick Dughi dughi at imaxx.net
Wed Aug 9 16:46:15 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

On Wed, 9 Aug 2000, Christian Loth wrote:

> On Wed, Aug 09, 2000 at 12:13:03AM -0700, Dan Shiovitz wrote:
> > that let you change stuff like this? Put different designs on things and
> > carve or cut them or whatever? What about more emphasis on creating
> > different stuff, like making a silk shirt vs a cotton one? (And this I
> > remember has been talked about, because there was a discussion that people
> > don't generally go for the 100-gold-piece goose pate over the 5-gold loaf
> > of bread if they both restore three hunger points. But maybe that changes
> > when most of the items you have are normal.)
> If you now abandon the 'strict prototyping' of Diku MUDs,
> and add a zone reset concept with a little bit of 'randomness'
> (e.g. load a sword, instead of load *the* sword #13451),
> this could lead to great variety.
	Actually, this turns out to be a decent problem in the end.  While
it's fairly easy to randomize things like damage-range, enchantment,
weight, speed, material, etc, it is not quite so easy to randomize the

	I have seen a previous post which develops a description in a
Diablo/Might & Magic-type manner, deriving the name of the item from it's
various material and enchantment types.  This is like hanging a steak
around a kids neck so the dog will play with him.  You still have an ugly

	I'd like to see something a bit more involved - and I'm actually
curious if it's possible.  I can see gaining a sword in a mud and
looking at it:

"The sword is forged of a dark metal which does not seem to reflect light. 
There are several engravings on the blade, along with 7 small rubies
arranged to appear as red stars on a night sky.  The hilt is a simple
affair, some hide fixed with silver wire ties."

	Or that bow from the elf I just slaughtered;

"A simple bow of pale wood.  Its string appears freshly waxed and the
brown cloth covering the grip has been cemented into place by time and

	Did I add the fact that these are random descriptions?

	I do actually believe this is possible; it should be easy to
divide into components:

	- Item type
	  - distinct overall shape of item
	  - parts assoicated with item type
	    - material type
            - descriptive adjective per part
            - if part is to be included in description
	  - description format

	For example:

	- Type : sword
	  - shape : (Null)  <as opposed to some general term, long, curved, etc>

          - edge
	    - not used
	  - pommel
	    - not used
	  - blade
	    - material: black metal
	    - adjectives: engravings, rubies like red stars on a night sky
	  - hilt
	    - material:hide
	    - adjectives: simple affair, silver wire ties
end parts:
	  - description format : 
	<type> <blade material> <blade adjectives> [,<blade adjectives>..].
	hilt <hilt adjective> <hilt material> [,<hilt adjective>...]

	Of course, you'd fill in the missing bits of data... You wouldn't
want "hilt simple affair hide silver wire ties", but "The hilt is a simple
affair made of hide affixed with silver wire ties"

	At least one problem is that you'll have to expand the adjectives
from a simple to mutable form, and use the correct one based upon the
description format! You wouldn't want to say "The hilt affixed with silver
wire ties made of hide is a simple affair"...well maybe you would but
it looks off to me. I'd use "The hilt consists of silver wire ties affixed
around a piece of hide - a simple affair."

	There are a slew of other problems as well.  Perhaps it would just
be easier to generate full descriptions for each individual item part,
have some defaulting going on as far as material type that is - a simple
hilt made of iron, same as the blade isn't worth noting. You'll say it's
an iron sword.  If you say an iron spear though, someone may well assume
that the shaft is iron - you can't default on parts of a weapon that are
important, based on the weapon type).

	Of course, it hurts to loose the expansion of the Diablo/M&M
keywords - if I changed the hilt material to 'cloth', or the silver ties
to 'knotted leather straps', nothing else needs be changed.  Further,
could we expect that any given random description for a part will show up
infrequently enough that it will not be considered non-unique?  If 40
people run around with glass-blade swords, it looses it's thrill, even if
each one has a different hilt, edge, and pommel.  Granted, the number of
part descriptions depends on the number of people in your realm, and the
number of random items lying around, but how many descriptions per-part
should we expect? 40? 50? 100?

	It seems easy but after about 25 I start fatiguing.  Considering
you're looking at just one part of just one type of item, you may get
frustrated quickly. 

	Any other ideas out there? Something viable perhaps?  Anyone
actually even attempt anything like this?


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