[MUD-Dev] Breaking down the walls

Matt Chatterley matt at eldoops.co.uk
Tue Jun 11 10:33:02 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


It's great to discover from my last few posts and the replies which
appeared that during my inactivity/absence, the quality of this
(always fantastic) list has if anything gone up :)

Some Pen & Paper RPGs (and an awful lot of their computer
equivalents) are strongly tied to the concept of rooms. You enter a
room, have an encounter or solve a puzzle and move on. This may be
an oversimplified view, but it covers the crux of the matter.

I'm looking to make my world a little more freeform. Of course, that
isn't to say that there won't be any rooms (That'd just be silly!),
but rather, that the transition between them should blend into the
time spent in them more. Instead of:

  You are in a yellow room.
  Exits: North, East.
  ] go east
  You are in a blue room.
  Exits: West, North.
  ... ad nauseum ...

I was aiming more for a system where you might see:

  You are in the middle of a yellow room. Passageways lead north and
  east.
  ] walk east
  You are at the eastern end of a yellow room. Passageways lead
  north and east.
  ...
  You are in a narrow passageway which runs east-west. You can see a
  yellow room at the west end, and can just make out a blue room at
  the east end.
  ...
  You are at the west end of a blue room.. etc

I'm wondering how well a sort of 'freeform' (or roomless, coord
based) world will scale to a text game, and how to implement the
user display. It seems to me that I'll have to do a fair bit of work
with semi-dynamic text descriptions (which isn't a problem; just an
observation).

My concerns are more that this doesn't make it too conceptually hard
to design, build and play in the areas on the game!

Wilderness areas will almost certainly link towns, dungeons and the
like (being in themselves vastly dynamically generated to a stored
terrain & location map). The use of a level-editor type tool to
create dungeons seems a very likely choice at the moment, and I find
myself sketching out ideas so that I can draft up a level format.

However, I find myself at a loss as to where to start, and ask --
have any of you tried this, and do you have any feedback about
roomless systems? I know they've been discussed on the list before,
but was hoping some new insights might have popped up. :)

--Matt

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