[MUD-Dev] Geometric content generation

Eric Rhea eric at enkanica.com
Thu Sep 20 08:34:52 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


On Wed, 19 Sep 2001, Peter Tyson wrote:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Matt Mihaly [mailto:the_logos at achaea.com]

>> 1. Simply outspend the users. Put more and more developers on the
>> project.
>> 2. Increase the power and capability of development tools.
>> 3. Increase the complexity of the game/world.

> 4. let the players create content?

>   First, divide content between
>     a) physical stuff (more terrain, monsters etc)
>     b) intellectual stuff (events, stories etc)

> My 2p for today :)

Bravo!

I'm glad someone mentioned this. It seems to be the little dog that
everyone overlooks in the pet store whenever you talk about content
generation. And dammit, someone needs to pickup that dog!

If we tease out 4.a. a little

	4.a physical stuff
		1. monsters
		2. terrain
		3. edifice
			a. wizard towers
			b. castles
			c. small to large housing
			d. stables or garages
		4. misc. stuff
			a. house furnishings
				1. chairs
				2. beds
				3. tables
				4. paintings
			b. terrain objectcs
				1. rocks
				2. trees
				3. stubble

		5. culture
			a. books
			b. plays

I think that one of the reasons why ultima online continues to be a
success isn't so much because of the additional realms that little
to no one participates in, but the grande ability and capacity that
the game has for players to contribute to the game state.

One problem that I often hear whenever content generation by the
players is discussed is that of control. I don't think there is some
generic rule that could be applied here without considering how much
of the world is setup. I do think that in the majority of cases it
would be possible to allow the players to add content, but there are
some cases where it would be exceptionally difficult to pull off and
not bring over a hoard of issues.

It seems to me that there are some drawbacks to having the designers
or a system handle content generation. Loosely, those are

Designers: 

  1. typically can only produce so much, and so release something
  not quite up to snuff

  2. players consume it, then want something else

System:

  1. Has the recycled feeling, gets boring

  2. Rarely provides that sense of "oh, i *have* to see that"

Both:

  1. Once produced, the players tend to have little in the way of
  contributing to the game state (many muds and MMOGs suffer from
  this)

I think the total solution would be to balance player generation
with both designer and system generation.

System generation often entails a dungeon or terrain, but it could
also have the purpose of populating a dungeon or other "zone"
crafted by a designer with mobs/objects. It could also offer a sense
of life/death with the ecology by using various a-life algorithms.

And so with that note, I think an optimal situation would be to have
the creative power of the designer lay out the region and the
various ecologicalmembers it then should contain, then use various
system scripts to bring the region to life. Once that has been
achieved, the players should be equipped to move in and assist or
detract from the ecology and the region itself, assuming the world
state can support it of course.

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