[MUD-Dev] Logical MUD Areas

Travis Nixon tnixon at avalanchesoftware.com
Tue May 8 11:31:51 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: "Brian Hook" <bwh at wksoftware.com>
To: <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
Sent: Monday, May 07, 2001 3:26 PM
Subject: Re: [MUD-Dev] Logical MUD Areas

> At 10:16 AM 5/7/01 -0600, Travis Nixon wrote:

>> Fine.  So don't generate random content with no personality.
>> Generate content that has personality.  Sounds simple enough,
>> right?  :)

> One could argue that the content generated by a "random personality
> generator" isn't going to be particularly compelling.  Random
> "whatever" generators tend to be of the "Mad Lib" style forms.  Not
> very compelling.  Hell, writing a good random NAME generator can be
> tough enough ;-)

Well, I was halfway being facetious, but only halfway. :)

> So randomly generating content with "personality" doesn't seem to be
> a trivial problem.  It would be akin to randomly generating a movie
> or book that makes sense and has depth.  While I won't say that
> Everquest's stories are going to win any literary awards, there are
> some creative people that put a lot of energy and heart into their
> work.  Crush's Tunic, by itself, is a fairly epic little
> "mini-story".  To someone more entranced by the world of EQ than the
> achievement stuff, things like the Shiny Brass Shield and Crush's
> Tunic and Dvinn's Dagger have a lot of meaning and personality, even
> if there isn't much of a story.

> Even items without stories but that are unique have personality
> because of their locations, operation, etc.  The Polished Granite
> Tomahawk or Barbed Leather Whip just wouldn't be that cool if their
> effects existed as a random attribute of random gear from random
> mobs.

Here's why I was only being halfway facetious, rather than all the
way: because purely random content will never be compelling, in the
sense that it has a background, that it has a story, that it has some
reason for being, some purpose.

Random content will never get there, because it's...er, well, it's
rather random, that being the whole point.

So random content is a bad idea.  That doesn't mean that automatically
generated content is a bad idea.  In fact, automatically generated
content is something that, in my eyes, will happen.  Something that
MUST happen.  But that doesn't mean it has to be random.  Obviously
there has to be a little bit of randomness, or you'd end up with the
same thing every time.

Also, I'm not really sure I agree with you that Crush's Tunic and
D'vinn's Dagger are all that cool.  Maybe for the first few people
that killed them, sure, but it doesn't take very long at all for that
to get stale.  I mean, really, don't you think that the orcs would
eventually beef up their stronghold after Crush got killed so many
times?  Note that I don't necessarily have a problem with Crush
respawning.  I mean, on some levels I don't like it, but whatever
justification you've come up with for the players being able to come
back to life (since I like permadeath even less) can just as easily
apply to mobs.  But at some point, the orcs should figure out that
they're getting spawn-camped, and go somewhere else, or do SOMETHING.
Yes, they're orcs, but even a lowly insect has the sense to scury away
from certain death.  (well, except for moths, who seem to enjoy
burning themselves up)

Yes, I completely understand that the technology simply isn't yet at
the point where truly dynamic content is possible on a large scale,
but it will get there, and automatic generation of interesting content
is a piece of that puzzle.

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