[MUD-Dev] Geometric content generation

Eric Rhea eric at enkanica.com
Wed Sep 26 12:51:02 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


On Mon, 24 Sep 2001, Ola Fosheim [iso-8859-1] Gr=F8stad wrote:

> There are of course smaller worlds that do this. For large games
> you get the painful lag, bandwidth and server load issues. (in
> addition to the quality issue you raise)

These are very valid and distinct reasons why content contribution
on behalf of the user is often negated as a feature within a
gamestate. Maybe this is an instance of where we need to be smarter
with our cookie dough to get as many cookies from it as possible. I
think this has been discussed on the list fairly recently.

>> 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.

> Considering that competitive MUDs spend years to get the balance
> right (or never manage), it certainly bring up many issues in a
> system with global resources.

What are those issues? We always see they have problems, but I've
yet to see someone break out a list as to what those problems are,
what the attempted solutions were, and what did/didn't work.

> I've previously argued for the basic idea found in the IRC model,
> i.e.  autonomy and more locally bound resources. Except it should
> be less disconnected than, say, Furcadia. The role of the system
> is to provide the infrastructure, common grounds and the glue
> between user created areas.

I think our thoughts are on similar paths, but have different
approaches.

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

> Are you suggesting an editor? The trouble is that users generate
> lots and lots of disconnected content. Can you really afford to
> pay someone to make this coherent and usable?  Or are you going to
> curb users so much that they merely configure the world, rather
> than construct (boring).

If there exists some inherent property of the state, then the
content will not be so disconnected. E.g., slashdot has a story
posted. Users respond in a thread like fashion with moderation. The
posts themselves appear in a chaotic fashion, but there is structure
that keeps it together.

As a side note, has anyone tried moderation (something similar to
slashdot) in the control of content crafted by players?

This goes back to what I said earlier in that some world states
could support user driven content generation and some could not.

>> 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.

> Hmm, this doesn't sound like user generated content, but assuming
> it is:

It isn't totally user generated content. It is a call for the
generation of content in a part by the user. Not 100%, not 50%, but
10-15%.

>   1. If your system is competitive then players will spend their
>   energy on creating areas that have no aesthetical value, but
>   rather build "factories" that works as harvesting farms.

This assumes that the players will be able to add/detract the kind
of content that will arm them into configuring this kind of
model. Content creation could also be, justifiably, having
established buildings wherein a player could add elements, such as
their collections throughout their adventures.

>   2. If you allow them to build in the same area then they will
>   harass each other (either by building something "shameful" next
>   to other people's property or destroying their creation by other
>   means). (not necessarily bad, but I am sure you will get
>   whining)

Or griefers who place objects purposefully in the way of completion
of an objective.

>   3. Ugly suburbs make it difficult to locate the pearls.

What if..

The regions were designed with a capacity for environmental change? 
That is, if player construction of buildings were permitted, that
the region would be smart enough to reconfigure itself to move those
pearls to a new location, thus prevernting the pearl buildup
problem.

Perhaps the pearls require a certain resource, certain fauna only
provided in that area. If the players destroy that native habitat,
the peals are moved elsewhere.


>   4. They won't tolerate that you remove their creation. They
>   won't tolerate that you keep their creation after you kicked
>   them out of your system. (+ copyright issues)

=09IP is a big beast. It seems to me that you effectively rent
everything from game companies in an economic sense. That's an
entire discussion all to itself.

hmm..

There does appear some interesting properties emerging wherein user
driven content is concerned. e.g., It is not adviseable to have
players build houses on their own choosing unless the world state
can accomodate for it in some way. This leads me to believe there
are at least some core principles that might be shared and an
attempt to enumerate them might be in order (as I haven't seen an
attempt anywhere else).

  - Players should not have free roaming placement of buildings.
    - They should be able to rent or purchase buildings.

  - Players should not be able to place object collections anywhere
  of their choosing.

There should exist hot-spots wherein certain types of content are
permitted.

  - Players should not be able to remove object collections of
  another user.
    - If the larger consensus is that an object is troublesome, it
    should be returned to the player's inventory.



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