[MUD-Dev] Wilderness

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Mon Aug 6 12:12:32 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


Matt Mihaly writes:
> On Thu, 2 Aug 2001, John Buehler wrote:
>> Ola Fosheim Grostad writes:

>>> 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.

>> I disagree.  I don't find hand-built content all that intriguing.
>> It's limited and it tends to be arbitrary.  This works, that
>> doesn't.  There's a pin in the corner of this room, but that
>> table won't move.  Hand-built content tends to be interacted with
>> in the generally-linear structure that the designers have in
>> mind.

> Personally, I agree with Ola. Computers are horrid at creativity
> and are likely to stay that way for the forseeable future. When I
> see an area, I want it to have an interesting backstory for
> instance and things in the area that tie in with the
> backstory. I've not seen any good computer generated areas that do
> that.

I didn't mean to say that the entire world would be created
algorithmically.  The idea is that the designers retain control at a
high level, but the details are left to the computer.  I suppose
what I'm shooting for is that the computer provides the defaults,
while the designers provide the exceptions.  And even the exceptions
should be provided with an assist by the computer in order to ensure
consistency.

I object to the idea that designers need to hand-build so much.  In
some cases, all that's needed is 'a ruins'.  Have the computer spit
ten or twenty combinations out and let the designer pick one that
works well enough.  It takes a couple minutes and it comes as a
fully-featured ruins (walls can be pushed over, stones can be taken,
etc).  All the designer has to do is place the ruins as appropriate
for the backstory.

If the computer knows about ruins, townsfolk and all the rest, then
when a designer wants to hide the keys to the barrow's three-lock
vault door, the designer says to scatter the keys within 30 miles of
the barrow, emphasizing ruins first, towns second and monsters
third.

Algorithmic generation is the way to go because 99% of the terrain
isn't significant to anything.  The other 1% can be crafted with
further algorithmic assists because 99% of the ruin that you're
creating isn't significant to anything.  And so on.  Do you care
which kind of key is involved with the vault door?  Probably not.
But the computer-generated key can be quite interesting and
involved.  If that's what the designer wants.

JB

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