Just a bit of musing

Chris Gray cg at ami-cg.GraySage.Edmonton.AB.CA
Thu Feb 27 07:26:05 CET 1997

:A thread on rec.games.mud.admin has recently turned to combat interaction.
:	As crude as their suggestions have been, the concept of a MUD based
:on free space instead of rooms has been clinging to my mind. What do you
:guys think of this?

My thinking is that if you want a graphical MUD, you should go with a
graphical MUD. I've always viewed text-based MUDs as being very free-form,
with no coordinate systems, no visibility calculations, etc. I've got a
small area in my scenario which is based on a 3D area which I physically
modelled with building blocks to get it right. The scenario has a big
routine that "looks around" the player in order to produce a text
description of the immediate area. It also has a routine that scans
further around to produce a block-based overhead graphical view of the
area. The latter is much more useful - someone with the graphical
display simply ignores the text, as the text is harder to interpret.

I think that's my main objection to these schemes - they produce output
which is hard for the player to interpret. Text doesn't distinguish what
is important and new from what is unimportant detail or is repetition.
People are used to making those distinctions visually, so have the
equipment to do it well. Textually, however, it is harder to ignore
things that are repeated over and over again (the big rock at 8,7,-1 for
example). Text games tend to be very free-form, and people can remember
that they are "a couple of locations up the hill behind the barn".

Wanting additional detail like this is why I want to go with graphical
systems in the first place.

Anyway, a co-ordinate system can probably be used in a text MUD, but
you have to be very careful to hide it from the user, and avoid a lot
of description duplication.

Hmm. It just popped into my memory that I used a 3D coordinate system in
a text adventure many years back - it was for an underground lake that
the player was piloting a submarine around. The only real use of the
coordinate system was to provide the sonar information, limit the places
the sub could go, and add minor text like "The sub is beside the north
side of the lake." I'm pretty hazy on this - I'd have to go look at the
sources for more info - assuming I have them anywhere! Oh yes, the
physical stuff was used for feedback when you fired torpedos.

Chris Gray   cg at ami-cg.GraySage.Edmonton.AB.CA

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