[MUD-Dev] Mass Creation OLC Functions (idea from Elder Games)

Richard Woolcock KaVir at dial.pipex.com
Wed Mar 17 23:41:46 CET 1999

Brandon A Downey wrote:

[snip stuff about auto-generated world]

> I would think that the whole point of improving the overall quality of
> muds is to look at an area like Midgaard, and say "Never again". The 
> fact that an area generator can generate a reasonably readable wilderness
> matters not one jot, particulary if you're in the business of creating a
> unique world, with it's own story.
> Perhaps I'm not the only person to think this, but I do believe mud
> worlds should "tell a story" if they're to be considered any sort of
> serious creative endeavour.

The question is, do you want them to tell the same old story again and
again, or do you want the story to constantly change as the players 
interact with it?

> To help understand why generated areas are bad, let's consider this
> from a player standpoint.

You mean to help understand why YOU think generated areas are bad.  In
my opinion, as both a player, coder and admin, static areas become dull
and boring after I've read them once.  They also limit player-world 
interaction, and take a lot of time to create.

> Let's take the example given in the previous threat, where a wilderness
> is created to expand the "boundaries" of your world. (When a player reaches
> the edge of the world, he stumbles into the random zone). What benefits
> does this have for a player?

I'm not sure why you're limiting generated areas to some form of wilderness,
but anyway...

> Well, from a superficial standpoint, it opens up new vistas for exploration.
> It also adds an element of "realism", where the world just doesn't end
> because the shrubbery is too thick for you to continue.

Agreed, although those points are far from superficial.

> Of course, for any explorer worth his salt, the experience of slogging
> through randomly described rooms is rarely edifying.

What does the explorer do when he's finished exploring your static world?

> Even if you throw in random encounters, these are seldom, if ever, any
> more challenging than mobiles situated in strategic places, and more
> often at best a nuisance, and at worst an irritant.

At worst, fatal, I'd imagine.

> Contrast exploring a dungeon that's _planned_ with a randomly generated one.

Okay.  I explore a planned dungeon.  It's probably going to be well laid-out,
with a selection of mobs.  It's always the same, and everything in there gets
slaughtered regularly.  Now I explore a mud-generated dungeon.  I'm the first
person to ever go there, so nobody knows what's inside.  If I eventually clear
it out, it stays empty - perhaps I'll choose to make it my home afterwards?

> I would stipulate there is far less enjoyment in making it to the 200th
> randomly generated "forest path" by hacking through your 35th random
> wandering kobold than in outwitting the fiendishly planted traps in the
> diabolical dungeon, filled with the pent up rage of caged implementors,
> maddened by long exposure to hordes of newbies.

Bubba tells you 'Yeah, watch out for the pit-trap in the first room.  The
kobolds in the main chamber are easy, but their king is a bit tougher.  
Don't forget to pick up "Excalibur" while you're there, and that princess
behind the alter is worth exp if you rescue her'.

> Imagine if they made AD&D modules by random description generators

Imagine if your DM only had half a dozen AD&D modules, and every session
he asked which one you wanted to play ("Hey, we've not played the Quest
Into The Dungeon Of Nasty Things(tm) for almost a week now!").

Furthermore, imagine if - after clearing out the wicked King's castle of
guards - you were told you couldn't take over the castle yourself.  How
would you feel if the DM told you "the king's going to repop in a couple
of hours, so you better leave the castle.  The next party of adventurers
are due soon"?

> Maybe I could pose this in rule form:
> It's always more enjoyable to outwit an (equal) intelligenece, as
> opposed to a random number generator.
> Random number generators might be fun, but they ain't people.

This is true, which is why many roleplayers hate muds.  The question
is, where do you draw the line between computer and human control?

> Now, you might set up these Very Large Random Boundary Areas (VLRBA for
> short) as a place to gain experience, train skills, or whichever arbitrary
> point system you happen to be using, but is it more fun to do this sort
> of thing in a place with novel and well-thought out rooms, or in randomly
> generated rooms? Even though you might think slaughtering hordes of kobolds
> is necessary, why can't we at least do it in an area that might pose unique
> challenges,

How is a static area unique?  It'll be the same every time you go there.
Wouldn't it be better if you could slaughter the kobold village then come
back a week later and find it populated by human settlers who had moved in?

> which players can use their intellects to overcome. (Avoid the
> super-nasty elite patrolling kobolds, to level on the soft kobold women
> inside the village!)

Yet the kobolds are always there.  Where is the fun in that?  It's too
predictable for me, I like a challenge - something exciting which keeps
me on my toes.  I gain no pleasure from cleaning out the same old area 
every X ticks.

> If you want a good place to socialize in, random areas seem to fall
> short as well -- lots of space to lose friends in, and all the reason
> in the world to meet in more congenial environs.

As long as it's easy to find people (which is really a factor of world
size rather than anything else) I fail to see what difference randomly
generated rooms make in this respect.

> The problem with these random areas is that they're very good at giving
> your world _breadth_, but very poor at giving it any sort of _depth_.
> The missing element from any such random scheme is the absence of meaning,
> and intelligence.

That depends on how 'random' the world is.  If the world generation has a 
set of rules to follow, I'd say it would probably have far more depth than 
any static mud could ever have.

> Now, the diatribe aside, there are a few places where a big random
> 'wilderness' can be good.

Once again you're applying the word 'wilderness' to dynamic rooms.

[snip a chunk]

> Note that it's very important to pepper such a wilderness with
> interesting places to visit -- and for the love of your favorite
> deity, don't advertise your mud as having "3 million rooms" when
> that really means "3 million #'s and *'s!"

Actually Nathan's "random" (?) room descriptions are far better than
most static muds.  Only the cheapest of diku wilderness systems still
stick to #'s and *'s.


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