[MUD-Dev] [MLP] The use of ecology models (was: NPC Complexity)

Sean Kelly sean at ffwd.cx
Sat Apr 27 09:23:41 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


From: "Koster, Raph" <rkoster at soe.sony.com>

> We are doing this in Star Wars Galaxies. There was recently a post
> on our boards about how it works, written by listmember Jeff
> Freeman:

> start quote--->
> There seems to be a little confusion over just what the
> differences are between these four (distinct) things. So here they
> are, in no particular order:

> Spawning is the system determines when and where Lairs, POI's and
> random monsters should appear. The Spawning System is the system
> that looks at you and says:

> Gee, he looks like he could use a little excitement. He's in the
> forest on Endor and he seems pretty tough, so I'll look at this
> list of *Tough Things, In The Forest, On Endor* and pick one of
> them. I'll put it near him (but not too near... don't want it
> dropping on his head!). Have fun!

> There are no "fixed spawn points" or anything of the like. The
> spawning system takes various things into consideration about you
> (just how tough are you, anyway?), and your location (are you in
> or near town? In the wilderness? In a "hard" part of the
> wilderness, or an "easy" part of the wilderness?) and chooses an
> appropriate encounter (so no Krayt Dragons popping out of the
> alleyways of Theed).

This is the best approach I've seen so far, and interestingly, it's
basically the D&D random encounter concept with the weight of random
dungeons behind it.  It sounds quite promising.

> Or you might find a Lair.

> If so, then the Lair System takes over. This is the system that
> creates a Lair Object (a cave, a nest, a Rebel Encampment,
> whatever). Notice that because Lairs are created by the Spawning
> System, there aren't any fixed locations for Lairs to spawns
> either. The Spawning System puts them near the players, whenever
> the players are somewhere appropriate for that type of Lair.

...

> The Lair behaves very much like a fixed spawn point, except that
> it is a temporary thing. Lairs can be destroyed (by you, that is),
> and they can also just get very old and eventually die-out.

Sounds like a good compromise between a full-blown ecology and the
standard spawn-based worlds.  There's all the unpredictability of an
ecological model without the implementation or cost issues.

So what happens if there are other players in the area?  Is it
possible the encounter generated for one might drop on the head of
another?  Or do you look for an empty space and not drop one at all
if there are none?  This may give rise to a lot more explorer-type
players.

Sean

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