Simulated societies (Re: [MUD-Dev] Thought Experiment: Permanent Monster Death)

John Arras johna at wam.umd.edu
Sat Jan 10 21:18:17 New Zealand Daylight Time 2004


On Sat, 10 Jan 2004, J C Lawrence wrote:
> On Tue, 30 Dec 2003 19:05:07 +0100
> iso  <olag at ifi.uio.no> wrote:

>> I haven't had a chance to look at this beyond reading the few
>> hints given at the website. It would be interesting to read more
>> on what the simulation involves. Are the slides from the
>> presentation available somewhere?

You can look at the CD, but it's a powerpoint presentation which
means it's sketchy on details, and I've thought about the
relationships between the parts more in the intervening year. I will
try to explain the basic idea behind the code and go into more
detail if people are interested.

The idea is that players should be able to do a lot of things to
influence and change the world. IMO they should not be able to
control the world, so the world has to be massive, and each of their
actions can only make a little change in the world so they have to
work together over long periods to bring about large changes. The
game can be run by generating a giant world, that gets seeded with
populations I call societies. The reason the world is generated is
that the world needs to be huge, and I tried getting builders, but
they weren't too keen on the idea of their areas being overwritten
by cities and their monsters and quests getting stepped on by hordes
of monsters.

These societies consist of several different castes like workers and
warriors and such that have specific jobs. The societies spawn new
members, and compete and fight with each other and can make new
villages and wipe each other out. Within the world, there are
several alignments, and societies of the neutral alignment are all
alone, but societies of within other alignments are allied within
their alignment. Players cannot be neutral, so they will live in a
world with many allied and enemy societies. The major idea of
societies is that they do things independently of the players. and
they need resources to do these things.

The players come into the picture by either helping allied societies
by getting resources, or defending them, or helping to build their
cities, or raising their morale. They can also help by hurting enemy
cities and killing enemies and even by trying to convert enemy
cities over to their side. The main interface players have to find
out what's going on in the world is the "news" command. If a player
types "news" in a room with an allied society member, he might get
some responses like this:

For example:

  Ubka the swamp troll footpad says 'Someone told me that the Evil
  need wood.'

  Ubka the swamp troll footpad says 'The Contingent Of Sorcerers of
  The Grotto Of Despair have a powerful leader named Iwridhin.'

  Ubka the swamp troll footpad says 'I heard that The Red Slaan of
  Petoidol raided the Cave Dwarves of The Emerald Ways about a month
  ago.'

Players can get an idea of what kinds of things have been happening,
and they can choose to act or ignore. I don't care. But, these
things all have consequences. For example, wood is an essential
resource, and if you don't have it, it slows down how quickly you
can make troops and new members. If a society has a leader, then it
gets massive bonuses to fighting and morale and production, so you
want to protect your leaders and kill opposing leaders. Also, when
you find out about attacks, it gives you an idea which societies
either need help rebuilding, or you might find out that a new
society has spawned someplace, or you might use the knowledge to
attack the attacker society since it will be weakened from their
attack.

Some other examples of these interactions include:

  You give a small dagger to Roehnil the gray hobgoblin neophyte.

  Roehnil the gray hobgoblin neophyte says 'Thank you for giving us
  a small dagger, Lonb.'
  Roehnil the gray hobgoblin neophyte gives some money to you.

You get exp, money and sometimes quest points and items for
performing services for societies.

You can try to build cities of allies. As a member of the tinker's
guild in a proper location you can type

  | citybuild

and you will get rewarded when you encounter a society member:

  Fehor the cave ogre guard says 'Thank you for building A Rough
  Hewn Passage, Lonb.'

  Fehor the cave ogre guard gives some money to you.

There are even things like diplomacy with the proper skills and
guilds:

  | diplomacy

  They like you more.

  Ebcaf the cave ogre teamster says 'Thank you for talking to us,
  Lonb.'

  Ebcaf the cave ogre teamster gives some money to you.

You can try to inspire people (raise morale which helps fighting and
production) if they're your allies:

  | inspire

  Lonb give a rousing speech and inspire the Mountain Gnolls of
  Ercia.

  Urithem the black ogre explorer says 'Thank you for inspiring the
  Mountain Gnolls, Lonb.'

  Urithem the black ogre explorer gives some money to you.

If they're not your allies, then it'll fail:

  | inspire

  This isn't a friendly village. You don't want to inspire them!

So, that's basically the idea. There is a giant simulation in there,
but it's a part of the whole and it's there to generate things for
the players to do that will have results that feed back into the
simulation. IMO much more interesting than a game filled with fixed
quests or just randomly generated quests that pop into existence for
no reason.


John
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