[MUD-Dev] Necessary Stability (was: Logical MUD Areas)

Scion Altera keeler at teleport.com
Sun May 6 01:34:49 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

Friday, May 04, 2001, 5:24:47 PM, Kevin Littlejohn wrote:

> Idle thought: Would random creation of treasure destroy the
> collectables aspect (and hence a big part of the addictiveness) of a
> mud?  Do you need to have _some_ named/unique gear or monsters in
> there, so people can talk about them without referencing the stats?

Yow. I hadn't even considered it from that point of view before. Let
me reminisce a bit about my last mud, where I had implemented such
features as a random name generator, randomly named mobs, player
generated (and named) equipment, and randomly placed mobs...

What I remember, now that you mention it, is that the players talked
mostly about how many times they had killed the biggest mobs in the
game. We had a number of large mobs with recognizable names, such as
"%s, the One True Master", where %s would have been a generated name.

Now, it occurs to me that most of the time, the players bragged about
how many times they had killed the OTM. While they insisted to me that
they thought the generated names were cool, they still did cling to
the stable portion of the name.

This is a very interesting thing to me, because I have always been in
the "generate everything" camp. Also, I have been very interested in
quite a few of the posts I got in tonight's digests... so I have a lot
of rethinking to do.

Here's my initial reaction, after having read the "I Want to Forge
Swords", the "Logical MUD Areas", as well as the "Information Sharing"
posts tonight:

I don't want to hire builders, so I am going to generate zones. Now,
that means much of the world can be dynamic... I'm going to have the
world expand as players explore it, and shrink where players don't go
on the assumption that something is wrong with a zone that nobody

However, it appears that there must be some element of stability in
the world to keep players' attentions and add to the "collectability"
of the game. I am certainly making this a game, rather than a
simulation. So, where should that stability occur?

The stuff in "I Want to Forge Swords" suggests that this stability can
come in part from the generated equipment. Having a set of materials
from which one can build equipment, I assume the modifiers from each
type of material would be fairly static: steel makes a more durable
frame for glasses, so it must make a more durable plate in a suit of

So perhaps it could come down to "Slim makes the best swords this side
of the Argroth Plains" being an element of stability, because all the
swords Slim makes have very similar stats, are made from the same
materials, and work pretty well. Obviously, Slim could decide to make
a better sword, or he could mess one up here and there, but his "bread
and butter" sword could indeed be better than his competitors in his
part of the world. Whether Slim is a player or NPC is actually pretty
irrelevant to me, in case anyone's interested.

Another element of stability could be that each village of goblins
would be reasonably similar to any other village of goblins. The
individual mobs and the number of mobs might vary, but each one would
have a chief, a number of warrior types, a number of magical types,
and a number of non-combatant types... as well as a reasonable amount
of loot. Furthermore, the "total power" of one village of goblins
would be similar to a similarly sizes village of humans, orcs,
dwarves, etc. Theoretically speaking then, a player could go up to any
goblin village, take a look at it, and say "I think I'm going to need
about this much firepower to take this village out". Alternatively,
the player could go up to another village and say "Dang.. these guys
probably won't have much to trade for the arrows I've just made," or
"These guys don't usually have spellcasters... I wonder what's going
on here...?"

So... is it mud-dev's opinion that being able to buy one of Slim's
swords and being able to guage the firepower needed to take out an
unextraordinary goblin village is the right type of stability to lend
"collectability" to the game? Will players be happy being able to brag
about wiping out a dozen goblin villages and sacking four
castles... or would they be happier being able to name those castles
and have their buddy tell them "Oh yeah, I sacked those months ago"?

Finally, is it reasonable to believe that much of the required
stability could come from not over-fuzzifying my numbers, and from
players and NPCs just going about their business rather than being
hard (or soft) coded into the game?

-- Scion

"This is funny." -- Last words, "Doc" Holliday

-- keeler at teleport.com -- peter.keeler at brokat.com -- ICQ: 1824934 --

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