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

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Sat May 25 16:33:30 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

In <URL:/archives/meow?group+local.muddev> on Wed 22 May, Acius wrote:
> David B. Held wrote:
>> From: "Sasha Hart" <Sasha.Hart at directory.reed.edu>

>>> If the homeostasis you build in is too perfect, though, then
>>> nothing will change.

>> Presumably, homeostasis would not cause man-made structures to
>> become unmade. ;) Unless, of course, you simulate extreme
>> weather. ;)

Well, why not.  I mean, not simulating extreme weather (though there
is nothing with that either) but with slowly turning abandoned items
and buildings into ruins and rubble and eventually,  after perhaps a
couple of real years, entirely removing them. Would be very cool for
an explorer  to encounter the ruins of a city,  with roofs collapsed
and trees growing through the walls. It would also give the non-com-
bat oriented players like crafters something meaningful to do. With-
out there constant intervention things *will* break down in the city
and players either have to go elsewhere to find things, or find some
player to (re)build it.

> desired effect. In r/l rabbits are capable of reabsorbing their
> young before they give birth if they are going hungry (I don't have
> that on good authority; a zoologist may feel free to contradict me).

Any species can do that, though it rarely encounters situations that
will make it necessary.  Nature is  a bit more efficiently organised
than that.  Climate generally is cyclic and life cycles have evolved
to make as efficient use of it as possible.

> The cycle of "going into heat" every year
> has probably got some hidden advantages as well.

True, and it is a rather prosaic one at that. By synchronising their
birth cycles  the species ensures that all the young are born at the
same time more or less.  This makes it impossible  for the predators
to kill all the young,  because the number of hunters  is determined
by the smallest amount of prey they can hunt throughout the year and
not by the sudden wealth of potential prey.  Would the young be born
throughout the year then predators would constantly have a supply of
easy prey, and would thus grow in numbers,  and threaten to hunt the
prey to extinction.  A secondary advantage is that it allows for the
pregnancy  and nursing  during a time  when the food supply  is most
plentiful for the mother.

The question remains why you would want to go through all this trou-
ble.  In essence predators are nothing more than a limitation on the
reproductive rate of a prey species, and some pro-active scavengers.
If a duck lays 10 to 12 eggs  each year  and at average  only one of
them results in a mature duck,  then it does not really matter which
predator killed the others.  It may be a fatal birth defect, an egg-
stealing ferret or bird. A young may have been killed by a fish or a
cat or a fox. Or it may have hit a car. The same effect could easily
have been reached  by making the duck lay  only 1 egg  and having no

To really simulate an ecology you need to keep track of not only the
number of animals in an area, but also on the distrubution of plants
on the weather patterns, the presence of competing species, the pos-
sibility to shelter with non-prey animals (e.g. mixed herds of wilde
beasts and impalas). Each species deals with its ecological niche in
a different way (living solitary, in packs, in herds, in colonies or
in any of the other organisations. Will it remain stationary or will
it travel, and how does that interact with its breeding patterns and
so on...)

Most of all,  you need a world  that is a lot bigger than a football
field  crammed full with animals and players.  By the time the world
is the size of a small country and walking across it would take just
as long as it would in reality,  then you can start thinking of hav-
ing an ecology that can accomodate a couple of thousand players.

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

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