[MUD-Dev] Star Wars Galaxies: 1 character per server

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Wed Jan 1 07:42:14 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: "Marc Fielding" <fielding at computer.org>

> Apparently, a player simply stocks a factory with raw materials
> and schematics before logging off.

That's not offline crafting, that's automated production. Offline
crafting is a character process; it results in experience or skill
building, as well as a *new* object. Automated production is a
machine process; it results in neither experience nor skill
building, merely in more copies of an existing object. Offline
crafting needs to be more intelligent than automated production, or
it won't be an effective substitute for online crafting.

Essentially, when I tell my character "do this while I am offline",
he must do so roughly as intelligently as a mildly retarded human
player. If I am in a room stocked with components, my offline
crafting should not halt because I do not happen to be HOLDING the
component that is sitting right there in the big bin next to me. The
entire reason you would *have* a room stocked with components is to
prevent that problem. If I were actually online, I would just pick
up the component and continue. If the offline system *doesn't* do
that, then it is *hopelessly* retarded and I simply will not use it.

Now, I can accept that the system doesn't know there are components
in the NEXT room, because any offline AI is guaranteed to be a
little dumb. There is a big nasty problem in the issue of
conflicting requirements; if there is a room full of components next
door, but it is guarded by stormtroopers who are looking for me, I
can't simply waltz in and grab what I need. The system would need to
know that this area is off limits for component gathering.  There's
really no good way to fulfill this little requirement, so it's best
for all concerned that the offline crafter AI simply stop and say "I
can't decide".

Otherwise, the player would occasionally have to spend half an hour
explaining to the crafter AI exactly what to do and how to do it and
where to go when this or that or the other thing
happens. Eventually, he would forget and the AI would do what he
told it and something bad would happen.  This would, of course, be
the fault of the developer... not the player who forgot to tell his
offline AI that he moved and sold his prior house to a faction of
trigger-happy militants.

The thing that most interests me about offline crafting is that it
provides me with what I have always wanted: a way to do all the
tedious, boring crap offline, and invest my *online* time in things
that are more interesting. I don't want to pay a monthly fee to sit
my character in a little room and type "make rifle" over and
over. It's just like walking around town typing "search" over and
over to max out the skill so you can actually find things with it --
boring and stupid and NOT WHY I'M PLAYING. Crafting is by nature a
solo activity, and if I wanted solo activity I wouldn't be playing a
multiplayer game.

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