[MUD-Dev] Breaking down the walls

David Clifton demosthenes810 at hotmail.com
Wed Jun 12 14:48:24 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


On Wed, 12 Jun 2002, Matt Chatterly wrote:

> The other question which I will now raise is that of
> information. The information given to a text-mud player is
> traditionally blocks of text which describe his environment. I'm
> contemplating mingling these with ASCII overheads, a stick-man
> equipment diagram, and a few other things (and am contemplating a
> system with an optional custom client).

I played around with it when I was doing MOO development ages ago,
and had some pretty good results...I used a client to handle it,
myself, because I was looking to make things more intuitive, so went
to extra graphics on the side. On the MOO side (as I said, I was
using MOO, LambdaMOO in particular) I had extra quick blocks of text
that described body conditions. I had simply head damage, torso,
legs, arms...nothing too exciting (I was 13 at the time). The client
then cut these lines of output from what was displayed to the player
(I began all with a special character set, ~^^~, requiring that it
be at the beginning of the line so as to make it very unlikely
anything else would start out with it), and updated the graphical
'circle figure' representation depending on this. An example line
coming to the client would be:

  ~^^~h10t6ll4lr4al3ar3
  (h=head, t=torso, ll=left leg and so on, with #'s being hitpoint values)

I never went very big with this particular implementation (partly
that 13-year-old factor I'd imagine) but a few people I knew in the
MOO community did try it out and found it pretty useful...I used
colors to denote different levels of damage to each section and the
like...  Also, more recently, I noticed in DragonRealms a good
number of the 'empaths' use a program (I forget the
name...somebody's crutch it's called) which gives similar
information by parsing the regular text the empath receives, thereby
giving the player both versions, text and graphical, to work with.

I have not personally seen anything to define equipment and the
like, and nothing of the sort as an ASCII overhead...if you wish to
stick completely text based, all I can suggest is to leave good
readable text as well...ascii art quickly becomes cryptic if too
complicated.

I have seen room descs of ascii art...which to be honest took longer
to take in than a quick once-over of a text paragraph...hence I've
always suplimented any I use with text.

On the positive side, it shouldn't be hard at all to implement,
given uniform stick-figures, and say keeping the text of the graph
in an array with uniform ranges that define where clothing items can
go...how you would overlap and handle which is seen over which, I
would find a bit of a pain to deal with, but doable.

Personally, I'd definitely stick with that supplemental client you
are contemplating :)

David Clifton
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