[MUD-Dev] Wilderness

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Tue Jul 31 11:05:10 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

Sean Kelly writes:
> From: "Freeman, Jeff" <jfreeman at verant.com>

>> First, obvious solution was to allow the players to convert
>> wilderness to explored terrain, and then just dynamically create
>> some more wilderness.  That also has a negative aspect to it, in
>> that exploring randomly generated terrain is boring and pointless
>> ("the more things change, the more they stay the same" - once
>> you've explored one bit of randomly created terrain, you've
>> explored them all.

> Agreed.  Randomly generated wilderness is no fun.  Though fractal
> terrain is quite realistic and discovering interesting areas might
> lead to settlements and other community-forming opportunities.
> Perhaps if the players were provided with sufficient ability to
> permanently shape their environment it would work well.

Algorithmic generation of terrain produces perfectly wonderful
results.  You just have to work on the algorithm.  You don't stop
with fractal generation.  You alter the algorithm in different areas
and at different fractal levels.  You make the vegetation type
dependent on latitudes, altitudes, inclines and general locations.
The same with the wildlife.  Run a simulator to produce an
expansionist empire that then collapses and leaves ruins here and
there.  Run batch generators to produce individual features that fit
into the world terrain matrix, like caves, ruins and such.  To be
honest, I haven't figured out an efficient way to handle flowing
water.  I think it'll boil down to a batch simulator.

Beyond that, explorers simply want newness in the game.  To me, this
means simulations.  Simulations are coded systems that permit a
spectrum of outcomes instead of a set of discrete outcomes defined
by the developers.  This also means changes to the existing content,
which you have mentioned.  This doesn't mean that the players have
to be the ones making the changes, however.  Many here are advocates
of having the players run the world.  Because I'm after casual
gamers, I don't want such a thing in my world.  I think that the
gamemasters are responsible for making the changes.  A new building
in town, the baker gets married, the village celebrates its annual
Squash Festival, etc.  The world is a vast, ever-changing soap opera
of thousands of NPCs.


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