[MUD-Dev] Breaking down the walls

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Wed Jun 12 21:36:11 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

In <URL:/archives/meow?group+local.muddev> on Tue 11 Jun, Matt Chatterley wrote:

Sorry, I meant to reply to this as well but I accidentally deleted
it in my first reply :(

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

The issue of orienting yourself in a room-less world is likely not as
big as you fear,  though it might be a bigger problem for e.g. ameri-
cans than it is for europeans.  Equally I would expect women would do
a little better (initially) in it than would men.

Basically, people who grow up in cities whose plan is based on a grid
tend to orient themself first by counting and only secondary by using
landmarks. By contrast european cities are often very organic and not
many streets, especially not in the old parts, are straight. To be a-
ble to orient yourself  you must first of all learn to use landmarks,
and only at very local details can you rely on counting.

Rather than saying: "5th left and 3rd" right you get something along
the lines of:  "Follow the street  until the barber shop.  Then turn
left and follow that street until you hit the fork.  Follow the left
side. When the road turns sharply to the right you look for a bakery
at the right side.  After that you must turn right again and then it
is the 2nd house at the left side of the street."

Women tend to use this later approach more easily  than the counting
things one,  though this  might have more to do  with math education
than with innate abilities  since both sexes can learn to use either
approach.  I know that I always oriented myself,  even in room based
games, by the unique locations.  Consequently I have problems speed-
walking (even through areas I know well)  and I immediately get lost
in areas where all room descriptions are identical.

In a room less mud however, you are in a situation where you can not
count things.  Instead you have to rely  on navigating by landmarks.
This obviously means that the game must provide plenty of them on e-
very scale.  From the towering spire of cathedral that is visible at
more than ten miles  to the local shops  that can tell you where you
are within the city. Important is that these landmarks are fairly
unique or they will not be of much use.

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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