[MUD-Dev] Breaking down the walls

Brian Lindahl lindahlb at hotmail.com
Wed Jun 12 12:32:15 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


From: Acius <acius at simud.org>

> It's very difficult to create meaningful landmarks for
> cross-country travel: how do you intend to solve the problem of
> walking across long stretches of countryside? How many times must
> I type "walk to fat tree", "walk to stream bank" "walk to north
> fat tree" "walk to northwest skinny tree" just to get somewhere?

I'm not excluding directional movement by any means. However, the
majority of the movement will be done with either maps, over longer
distances (where you read a map and walk to locations on the map),
and by locational movement. Furthermore, as part of the results of
the 'scan' command, all surrounding polygonal regions will be
described in brievity, so you can always walk to another polygonal
region. Such as walk field, walk mountain range, etc. Movement is
fluid, not incremental. When you type walk field, it may take
seconds to walk to the field, or you may be walking towards the
field for several minutes (environment descriptions and surrounding
descriptions being updated now and then as your view of the world
changes. This concerns the description system more, so I won't go
into that.)

In addition, our theme, storyline, and history makes avid use of a
type of train, although run differently and specific to our
world. So most of the great distances of travel will be done via
buying a ticket and sitting aboard a passenger train.

Also, our world doesn't require long distances of land travel. For
the most part, the gameplay will be centered around points of
interest, mainly a single city, to start with. I expect very few to
explore at great lengths throughout the wilderness, save for a few
hunters who probably will only explore the nearest woods for the day
before heading back to town to sell his game.

> In the end your MUD is just a variation on the connected graph
> (like a traditional room-based MUD is), only the connections are
> harder to traverse, and far more difficult to map.

The difference is that the players don't have the feeling of a
connected graph. Movement is fluid, and so are the descriptions. You
never recieve a block of text articulating a massive change of
environment. Text is sent fluidly as things change around your view.

> I'm not saying I dislike this idea entirely (see below), but I am
> suggesting that you shouldn't throw out directional movement so
> quickly.

Although I didn't mention it in my original post, I haven't decided
to throw out directional movement completely, but the gameplay will
be more central to locational movement.

> I expect that you're going to have problems when you get stuck
> 'behind' things. You can stand on the street, and see the bank and
> the city hall. You can walk to the bank, but since its entrance is
> positioned strangely, the city hall is now 'invisible' (the corner
> of the bank's wall blocks it out). What happens if you get stuck
> next to an object where nothing (other than said object) is
> visible?

Directional movement can be utilized in these situations, as you
probably now have already guessed.

> That said, I have done a lot of work on positioning objects
> *within* a room. I use an orthogonal grid for representing the
> room's coordinates. My editor is somewhat graphical (full screen
> editor that runs over a telnet client). To demonstrate, I made a
> quick log

I've never been a big fan of graphical movement like your
demonstration. However, this is a preference and a matter of
opinion. Neither I nor my thematic designer wanted to go this
route. We felt it was more important to keep the player as close to
the character as much as possible. Turning a player's character into
a token that is visualized on a bird's eye map is contradictory to
our mission statement of The Cathyle Project.

-Brian Lindahl, coder of 'The Cathyle Project'
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