[MUD-Dev] Wilderness

Brian Hook bwh at wksoftware.com
Mon Aug 6 09:32:24 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

At 03:36 AM 8/4/01 +0200, Ola wrote:
> Uhm, but disks are at 100GB.

Not everyone's are.  Computer systems just two years old on average
have 4-8GB hard drives.  Even new computers today typically ship
with 20GB HDD -- only high end systems have the >= 60GB HDDs.

Just to put this in perspective when trying to generate 1000 worlds:
assume each world is rectangular and covers "only" 10km x 10km @ 1M
resolution, each height value being 16-bits and an associated
"terrain" style being 16-bits.  That gives you:

10000 * 10000 * 4 bytes = 400MB of uncompressed data for a
relatively small world with no non-terrain content.  Some people
want HUGE worlds, on the order of hundreds of kilometers by hundreds
of kilometers.  And, of course, you want 1000 worlds.  So now you're
looking at anywhere from several hundred GB to several dozen TB of
uncompressed terrain data.

For huge, vast, sweeping content, algorithmic creation is REQUIRED.
There is no choice in this matter.  You can try to give designers
relatively coarse level tools, but at most they'll get to say "make
a desert planet".

You're not going to build a universe a brick at a time.

> in making interesting algorithmic music, and world design is
> definitively not easier

The two aren't the same at all.  Music is not created through
natural forces -- it's an inherently man made construct.  The
creation of planets, by and large, is not a human activity =) As
such, algorithmic generation of terrain is an exercise in modeling
natural phenomena.

But your argument is valid for algorithmic generation of human
content like buildings, objects, quests, etc.

> Still, in existing MUDs the quality problem does not seem to be
> related to having too small worlds or a lack of realism or fractal
> dimensions or any such thing, but a lack of skilled and meaningful
> design that carefully blend esthetics with game elements.

This may be so, but to me it seems the two are largely unrelated.
There is a need to create large quantities of content.  At the same
time there is a need to create a huge amount of interesting content.


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