[MUD-Dev] How much is enough?

David B. Held dheld at codelogicconsulting.com
Fri Apr 26 11:38:12 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

From: "Talies the Wanderer" <snicker at pinkpig.com>

> Now, add a little "randomness" to it.  rhit is a random number
> from 1 to 3, generated for each separate attack.

>   if (dam == 0)
>     { vs = "miss"; vp = "misses";              }
>   else if ( dam <=   4 ) and ( rhit  = 1 )
>     { vs = "scratch";  vp = "scratches";       }
>   else if ( dam <=   4 )
>     { vs = "graze";    vp = "grazes";          }
>   else if ( dam <=   8 ) and ( rhit  = 1 )
>     { vs = "scratch";  vp = "scratches";       }

> This would present an invisible factor that the player would never
> see, thus making it nearly impossible, except perhaps over the
> course of killing hundreds of goblins, to determine the exact
> variables in play.

Yeah, this in effect applies "fuzzy logic" to gaming.  The idea is
that "classes" (in this case, damage messages) overlap, thereby
making certain classifications ambiguous.  The canonical example is
"hot" and "cold".  While most people agree that 0 F is "cold", 60 F
might be "cold" to some, and "warm" to others.  By allowing the game
to randomly decide among labels in overlapping regions, you can hide
some numbers and make the exact boundaries difficult to game.

That being said, I agree with the camp that claims that "gaming"
isn't so bad.  I think an interesting strategy is that taken with
Angband: give the players numbers where it counts, and labels where
it doesn't.  Not only that, but make information a reward in itself
(or a cost).  That is essentially what an identify scroll is.  Or a
potion of self-knowledge.  Obviously, a multi-player world like the
MMORPGs can't use the same strategy as Angband, being a
single-player game.  But there are certain things that can be
borrowed, like self-knowledge.  If Achievers or whatnot want to know
their exact numbers all the time, let them pay for it.

Another way to hide information is to increase the number of
classes.  "Gaming" is possible exactly because all the short swords
in the world have exactly the same stats.  This makes for huge
memory savings, but also makes the world fundamentally less
interesting.  If you had normally distributed variations on item
stats, you might know that the typical short sword has 1D6 damage,
but any given short sword you come across could have +1 or -1 to
damage, representing a normal variation in quality.  On low-level
items, this variation wouldn't be too severe.  But on higher- level
items, people would want to know exactly what they have, and that is
where identify becomes important again.


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