[MUD-Dev] MMORPG, buildings, is it bad to be just props?

J C Lawrence claw at kanga.nu
Thu Feb 20 18:06:07 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

On Thu, 20 Feb 2003 15:46:16 -0500
Lee Sheldon <lsheldo2 at tampabay.rr.com> wrote:
> From: J C Lawrence
>> On Wed, 19 Feb 2003 15:32:17 -0500 Lee Sheldon
>> <lsheldo2 at tampabay.rr.com> wrote:

>> Walking to the corner store to buy eggs each day is (likely) boring,
>> but that same chore also presents the opportunity for other more
>> interesting things to happen in that time.  The problem is creating
>> sufficient density of interesting events in walking down to buy eggs
>> without making the trip a foray in its own right.

> Um er, I didn't mean to suggest that jump cuts worked splendidly in
> MUDs.  Is that how it sounded?

Nahh, I'm merely a selective reader.

> That was the first Reality vs. Drama example that popped into my head.
> (Lee, look at the name of this list, you dolt.)

Hehn.  Far be it from this list to stray from its Subject: headings.

> Let's try a more pertinent example: Repetition of interaction with
> NPCs.  We routinely have flags to trip so we know when a player has
> completed a step in a quest so an NPC doesn't trot out the entire
> story each time the player returns. Yet each time I approach a
> crafting merchant in DAOC, it's as if he's never seen me before.  It
> would be a simple matter to filter lists of ingredients based on my
> choice of craft, and previous purchases.  If we then give the NPC
> dialogue to reflect the changed state along the lines of a bartender
> asking, "The usual, Mr. Lush?" the interchange becomes more
> immersive/dramatically valid, we've "cut to the chase," and wasted,
> non-active time (paging through useless lists) is gone.  Of course if
> the player responds: "I'm looking for something new today.  I'm not
> sure what." (Hits the ALL GOODS button, whatever), we get the full
> menu.

Yup, its also a relatively cheap implementation if you stick the data
character-side in an LRU HSC structure (can't have them building
infinitely, in too large numbers, or being continually retained in
current character working set).  Hurm.  Given a little clever type
indexing there are even some interesting side effects, such as NPCs
which "glean" attitudinal/characteristic data from that backing store
without having had a prior relationship -- it could make for an
interesting rumour system.

> Your example of buying eggs sounds more a way of lathering on
> additional, I'd suspect unrelated, activities.  Whatever balance you
> are striving for (walking to get eggs/major foray), you are adding to
> the length of time involved, and if the player really wants those
> eggs, you risk annoying her.

Yeah, you're right.  When I wrote that it seemed like a problem space
that would subject fairly cleanly to a layer approach to give the
impression of complexity/interest to the player, but I think that's a
dead end.  It violates the rules of simple goals and well defined
primary barriers.

J C Lawrence
---------(*)                Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas.
claw at kanga.nu               He lived as a devil, eh?
http://www.kanga.nu/~claw/  Evil is a name of a foeman, as I live.

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