[MUD-Dev] Ideas for dynamic worlds

Chimera chimera at SoftHome.net
Sat Dec 11 10:43:13 CET 1999


Glad to meet another lurker, though by these posts I
guess we don't qualify any more. What you have in mind
sounds similar to my own project (which has also been 
on hold thanks to college and its trappings... funny 
how I finally find time to work on it during _finals_,
eh? <grin>), so I thought I'd speak up for once.

I want a grid-based system too, but I admit that I have
not thought about using layers. I think the problem 
with mountains can be solved by assigning height to 
each layer. The parser would then take into account
only those grids that are in the line of sight (on a
plane parallel to the grid the user is on). A side 
effect (which may not be undesirable) might be that
users can look down and up as well as straight ahead.

I think it makes sense to assign "visibility" levels to
objects (but have it calculated automatically and give
builders the ability to modify this value if they want,
or it will get tiresome). A glittering tower will
certainly be more eye-catching than the rocks on the
ground! I want to make this visibility level dependent
on the user too, so a character with keener eyesight or
who is on alert will notice more things than someone
who is dozing off.

Regarding roads, I've decided to use compass directions
for simplicity's sake. It would be nice to have "follow
road" commands, but my main concern is that with
increasing population the calculations will bog down the

Your idea to construct rooms out of objects is one that
I'd thought to implement as well. Instead of writing
descriptions for rooms, builders will place furniture
and stuff according to their tastes, and a parser will 
handle what users see according to their position, 
lighting, etc. Unfortunately this will also place quite
some strain on the server.

Another thing I'd like to do is make the objects 
themselves composites of other objects -- a shovel is
composed of a pole and a metal head, the pole is 
composed of wood... I hope to get all the way down to
the atomic level (with considerable simplification, of
course). This will make it possible for objects to 
"know" what should happen to them if the user does
something, without all the contingencies having to be
hard-wired except in the lowest levels. As an example, 
suppose the user decides to throw the shovel into a 
bonfire. The wood molecules "know" that they burn, and
the metal molecules "know" that they don't. So, even
though the builder of the shovel did nothing more than
specify that the shovel is a piece of (dry) wood 
attached to a piece of metal, the shovel knows how to
burn and leave behind ash and metal. This will also
make it possible to carry out experiments, such as
finding the best fertilizer for a plant, and I hope to
make it a large feature. I know it is pretty ambitious,
and would appreciate any feedback.

To cut a long e-mail short, there is just one more point
I'd like to address. You mentioned having the server
concoct strings "on the fly". This is something I've been
thinking long and hard about, and I thought to use a
natural language processing subroutine which would make
it possible for the server to understand "plain English"
as well as produce sentences from raw information
(this is one of the things I got stuck at too). Again,
I am worried about performance. What did you have in
mind, if you don't mind telling?

This is enough for one post, I think. :-) Later!

MUD-Dev maillist  -  MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

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