[MUD-Dev] Geometric content generation

Kwon Ekstrom justice at softhome.net
Thu Sep 27 13:20:56 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

From: "Travis Nixon" <tnixon at avalanchesoftware.com>
> From: "Kwon Ekstrom" <justice at softhome.net>

>> As for people who picked better at the start should have a better
>> character or class for the rest... that's not an issue since you
>> don't choose a class of any type, sort, whatever... all players
>> are assigned some basic skills for each of the major knowledge
>> spheres, and gain in knowledge through use.  What I don't see is
>> why a player should reap benefits from bad decisions...  they
>> should be able to recover from them, but not benefit from them
>> other than the knowledge of it being a bad decision.

> And I don't see why a player should be punished for making a bad
> decision that they had no way of being able to determine was bad.

Don't tell me that you've never made a bad decision due to lack of
information and had to pay the price of ignorance.  It happens even
to the best of us.  To assume that every decision must be a good
decision is imho, is living in a dream world.  I admit that these
are games and should be entertaining, but I have found that without
risk, any entertainment grows dull rather quickly.  Rather than
attempting to make all decisions good, I'm giving a fallback route,
you can advance infinitely and change your course if you wanted to.
The penalty is simply a little time.

> To say anything else is to say that you expect ALL your players to
> do a very detailed min-max analysis before picking anything at
> all, which is...well, it's just silly to expect them to do
> that. :)

I don't expect every player to min/max, but some will, and by not
addressing issues that allow it, you're asking for problems in the
long run.  It would be stupid not to expect some players who do
that.  I think you're assuming that without innate knowledge of the
system you will never get anywhere...  that isn't the case.  My goal
is to have all routes be useful in some way, you'd have to
consistenty make bad decisions the entire time that you're playing
the game to not get anywhere.  Instead I'm assuming that some
players will attempt to power game and make "know it all"
characters... the system is setup to allow such chars but makes it
difficult to maintain such a status.

> Of course, there is another option, and that is to expect your
> players to go to outside sources (fansites) to find out which
> skills are good and which ones are worthless.  However, that
> option is even

This is just putting words in my mouth, I never said anything that
even remotely refers to external resources.  There will probably be
some resources, but I don't see them as a requirement.  I do intend
on making the helpfiles and whatnot accessable from the web page,
but those will be the same helpfiles you can access via the game.

>> Well in reality, skills upon themselves don't negate other
>> skills, although people do forget things over time... and the
>> time necessary to develop and hone skills is limited.  I think
>> that too many game development teams put too much stock in
>> reality, it's a game.  There should be enough reality to make
>> things recognisable, but most importantly it should be
>> entertaining.  I agree consistency is the key to any system or
>> suite of systems.

> Another point to make here is that although learning basic first
> aid is highly unlikely to cause any deterioration in my
> programming skills, going to medical school and becoming a
> neurosurgeon just might.  At the very least, it would slow the
> rate of advance of my programming skills and cause stagnation.

Once again, this is a game, reality it is not... the class system is
the most basic and commonly accepted way to handle advancement.  I
don't see it as realistic in any sense of the word, but it's the
accepted way of handling this.  It also seems that you are assuming
instant degredation... It will adversly affect your other skills,
but at a slow rate.  Constant use of an opposing sphere would
whittle down your skills, not chop them down rapidly.  It's a slow
balancing process that encourages a player to use any skills he
wishes to advance in.

In your example... learning first aid wouldn't adversly effect your
programming skills as long as you still program... but if you only
worked on first aid it would over time degrade your programming
skills.  The more diverse a skill base you have, the harder it will
be to maintain.

-- Kwon Ekstrom

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