[MUD-Dev] People were talking about resets..

Sasha Hart Sasha.Hart at directory.reed.edu
Fri May 10 02:26:26 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


[David Anderson]

> I was thinking of how to do resets awhile ago and basically came
> up with the idea to not have resets work like standard muds.. I
> never liked the idea that creatures just suddenly "appeared"
> magically.  If you're trying to RP that you've killed all the
> creatures in an area, and then they reappear, you've done a pretty
> sad job.

if the problem is that you can't extinguish populations of mobs, you
have picked a tricky problem to work around (from the perspective of
a classic diku or the like). it's doable, but you might have to try
a few different versions to get something which is quite playable.

if it is a problem that they appear per se, (e.g. *poof* new rabbit
in room) then your code for handling spawns can check if a player is
in the room, and if so figure out a nearby empty room to spawn the
critter in. or just not spawn there.

if it is a problem essentially that spawning occurs unrealistically
then that is a stickier issue. if you want a population of dwarves,
but your players keep killing the dwarves, you either have to spawn
dwarves at an unrealistically fast rate or somehow discourage
killing the dwarves.  or make a dwarf population so big it lasts
forever. ;) the problem with realism is that once you take a piece
of it, you often need other pieces of it to cope with problems
introduced by the first piece. by the end you have something which
might not solve the problems you wanted the game to solve to begin
with (e.g. real life is a TERRIBLE hack and slash game, even through
a number of layers of abstraction).

> What I'm planning on having right now (not quite done yet), is
> that most creature races will have two sexes, male & female.  Mobs
> are created with a random sex if you don't set the sex in the
> reset.  Then according to a timetable per each race, they have a
> chance to create a young creature of a random sex of the same race
> if a male and female are in a room together.

you don't have any provision for population control. the least you
could do here is put a cap on the population of each critter somehow
- you could allocate the critters per area (the old way, with
spawners of some variety) - if you still want the male and female
scheme then you could have the baby take up part of the spawn quota
of its mother's spawner object. or you could have this specified per
species. a nice advantage of tracking population centrally like this
is that you can also manipulate spawning as a GM tool for events and
the like, you can also have code that increases birth rate to
compensate for heavy cull, etc.

i don't see that having a male and female mob in the same room
randomly spawn a baby really solves versimilitude problems - it is
just a funky way to spawn critters, once again, out of the blue.
and it takes away from the tight control of populations you get from
more traditional schemes. ultimately you decide best what you want
in the game, but don't take away all of your control over the game
to solve a problem which is totally independent of whether or not
you have the control.

>   1. People will empty out the areas really fast and then we'll
>   have an empty mud.

Yes. Unequivocally, if the game provides incentives to do so
(e.g. xp).

>   2. Too many mobs in an area if they're never killed.

Yes.

> How does this all sound?

It boils down to this. If you don't care about extinction then any
scheme which involves putting a brake on spawning as population size
decreases will serve you well - if what you want is to allow players
to depress mob populations. Actually you don't even need to allow
extinction - you can have a floor spawn rate below which it won't
drop. This gives you the population responsiveness you alluded to at
the beginning of your post, _no matter what the details are about
the spawn_. So whether you use the male and female scheme, or spawn
from spawners, or have autonomous zygotes grow into fully fledged
mobs after many months of fluid simulations in the womb, you are
doing the same thing from the point of view that you are putting new
critters in the world at the same sensitive rate.

Following the "floor spawn rate" rule, you could still drive the
point home that killing can mean total extinction by (from time to
time) manually killing off a population which is at floor spawn and
which you are OK with losing. An advantage is that you can use this
to test the viability of really killing them off - if you end up
doing this a lot and saying "no, I don't want to lose this
population" then it's safe to say it shouldn't do this through
automation either.

If you are doing a hack and slash game (e.g. one in which the
majority of play is killing mobs) then you will hack off players
doing this and should evaluate whether you want a classic killing
game, or something else. If you do this relatively "softly," so that
mobs essentially are guaranteed to repop in some number of hours,
then you just have a mechanism for making players move around the
areas more. Cool. :)

Sasha
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