[MUD-Dev] Geometric content generation

rayzam rayzam at home.com
Fri Oct 5 01:22:54 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Buehler" <johnbue at msn.com>
> Hans-Henrik Staerfeldt writes:

>> The problems that might arise from 'single, flexible character'
>> design is that every character in the game ends up exactly the
>> same.

>> In my opinion, some balance is found if you make most skill
>> combinations equally interresting to play. This way you will not
>> have a shortage of other players with different skill
>> combinations to cooperate with. (who want to be a barge pilot, if
>> you can be a crack-shot fighter ace?).

> Given a maze with one piece of cheese, all the mice will work to
> figure out the most efficient way to it.

Unfortunately for behaviorists and mice, not true. All mice will
continue to use the first reproducible way to it. If the mouse takes
a rememberable route to the cheese, and it replicates, that's the
way the mouse will continue onwards, even if there is a shorter path
not travelled.  The mouse is interested in the cheese, not in
exploring the entire space of possible solutions and coming up with
a local minima.

But for humans, we have communication. When one person finds a
shorter route, that information can be told to others who were using
a longer route.  Now they may try the shorter route. If it ends up
being reproducibly shorter, they'll switch.

Ever get told a 'short-cut' to some destination that you had your
own way for? You might try it when you're in a real rush, or on a
day when you have all the time in the world. If it ends up taking
longer, you might 'give it one more shot'. After that, you won't,
unless more people chime in with it being shorter, that is, more
external evidence compared to your own internal evidence.

For animal behavior, there's even a measure of superstition on top
of it all. If the animal turns around twice before getting to the
reward, they may feel they have to do that, and continue to do
so. We, as humans, do the same thing. Lucky shirt? Lucky shoes? 
Special breakfast/lunch/dinner before such-and-such event? Athletics
[play behavior] are full of superstitions, like this, as is dating
[mating rituals].

Rational entities could map out all possibilities and always settle
on the shortest path. We're not rational :) However, we are a
communicative, social herd. Or should I say, a distributed network
of pathfinding nodes :)


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