[MUD-Dev] Wilderness

Hans-Henrik Staerfeldt hhs at cbs.dtu.dk
Fri Aug 3 12:24:05 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

On Thu, 2 Aug 2001, Ola Fosheim Grøstad wrote:
> "Nathan F. Yospe" wrote:
>> John Buehler <johnbue at msn.com> said:
>>> 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.
>> Sorry for the second reply, but this has gotten me started again.
>> There are those on this list who may remember me for exactly this
>> kind of wild design...  and even some who have accused me of
>> blue-sky naivite.  Those

> The problem is more like: why do it?  Designers want control, and
> quite frankly designers are going to produce more interesting
> areas than any general algorithm can produce.  Yes, there are some
> interesting algorithmic artworks, but such art typically has been
> guided and selected by a rather patient artist in a rather
> inefficient fashion...  In the near future I think the role of
> such approaches will be limited to fill-ins of designed
> structures.  Constraint style "paint tools" with various
> generators seem to be much more useful for content generation that
> is actually worth experiencing if used carefully.  For instance,
> computer generated ruins are plastic, a complete and utter waste
> of symbols.  They don't carry meaning. A designed ruin, however,
> may fit in the greater plot.

The reason I see to do it is to provide much contents with little
(or at least less) work. Also as pointed out in earlier posts, it
provides a method for storing contents using much less space. I do
agree that we are yet to see fractally generated contents that match
that of the designed. However the distinction is becomming less and
less obvious. Many has talked about the importants of providing the
designers the tools to design the contents and giving them
control. The information we have seen about the upcomming NWN seems
to be a step in that direction, where the designers (as in those
that buy and design their own areas) will be given the creation
tools with less control (like inability to import new 3D models,
rulesets and the like (i think, i may be wrong)). However when we
look at the level of detail that the designer of content works on,
there is usually a story that needs to be told, that the player can
interactively take part in. Some may call this a 'quest', but the
important thing is that the design tools need to provide the
designers with a functionality that lets them tell this story.

Using fractal generation, would enable the designer to make
large-scale design decitions when creating contents. For instance
the creator could tell the design tool to generate a small village,
and it would do this right down to the name of the local inn.

The key now is to provide tools that let the designers move a step
toward the generation algorithm, and let them use the algorithms to
generate their contents in a way that lets it be permutable. This
way their work can be immediately incorperated several places
instead of just one, and thus produce varied yet unique contents for
the game.

To my knowledge, such tools are far from available presently, but
that does not mean that such a solution is not viable. First stage
would of course be to develop a fractal algorithm that would be
easily expandable with new rules.

I see at least one way that would start moving the technology from
the designers to the fractal algorithms, and that would be to do a
machine- learning approach (or human analysis) to already generated,
fixed designs, and let that discover the variation seen. Such as
someone mentioned, rules such as 'this type of door goes well with
this type of house in this envonment' etc. Not an easy task, but
perhaps a beginning.

Hans Henrik Stærfeldt   |    bombman at diku.dk    | work:  hhs at cbs.dtu.dk      |
Address:                |___  +45 40383492    __|__       +45 45252425     __|
DTU, Kemitorvet,        | Scientific programmer at Center for Biological     |
bygn 208, CBS.          |  Sequence Analysis, Technical University of Denmark|

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