[MUD-Dev] Confined Gameworld

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Mon Apr 5 22:54:46 CEST 1999

On 06:46 PM 4/5/99 +0100, I personally witnessed Ling jumping up to say:
>Kickback reaction.  A good portion of the designers here for
>goal-orientated muds seem to desire pretty large gameworlds where the
>player has to spend a fair amount of real time to traverse the entire

>From a *server* design perspective, handling small ones is almost trivial,
and as such doesn't tend to come up much in conversation. You don't need to
worry about file formats and caching and performance if you have 4 KB of
game data -- just slurp it into memory, for God's sake. Now, when you have
4 GB of data, you need to sit and think. 

>From a *game* design perspective, small worlds are easy to build and easy
to watch and easy to get used to. Easy is often seen as bad by game
designers, because most players say *something* about challenges when they
talk about why they play games. A small world implies less challenge. A
large world implies more. Now, in truth, a small world can be VERY
challenging (look at the Zork series. What were there, *forty* locations
all told in Zork 1?) -- and a large world can be almost as challenging as a
yo-yo (in Might and Magic's "World of Xeen", a single-player MUD if I ever
saw one, your entire career consisted of wandering around killing things;
the challenge was inherent only in the two questions "can we take him" and
"how do we get out of this damn dungeon"). 

>I was wondering if anyone has considered the precise opposite.  

My personal opinion is that a game world should start small and expand to
meet player demand; a MUD with eight players doesn't need much more than
four or five areas (in the Diku sense -- an area consisting of several
"themed" rooms), but a MUD with fifty thousand players had better have a
few hundred at least. What this means in terms of server design is that
your MUD has to *handle* big areas, and in terms of game design it means
you have to be ready to expand at the drop of a hat (so keep a few areas up
your sleeve). 

| Caliban Tiresias Darklock            caliban at darklock.com 
| Darklock Communications          http://www.darklock.com/ 
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