[MUD-Dev] \"An essay on d00dism and the MMORPG\"

Peter malaprop at malaprop.org
Fri Dec 1 22:44:28 CET 2000

>Vincent Archer <archer at nevrax.com> on names:
>But the main trap remains the 1st: Non local names mean a HUGE memory
>investment. N-squared, remember.

	I don't know about how bad this problem actually is. N doesn't 
neccesarily have to equal the number of players of the MUD.
	The game only needs to load character names for the characters the 
player in question can talk to. This makes it look at first like N then 
equals the number of characters online, but it's not really.
	We only need to load the useful parts of the player's namespace. If we 
can load (and hopefully unload) names on the fly the memory requriements 
come way down. We'll need a character's name only when that character is 
visible to the current one or can talk (with identification) to the 
current character. So first we'll load the characters in the player's 
zone. Then we load the namespace with the characters on the guild/clan 
channels. If there's a global channel (like shout/auction/newbie), we 
can probably get away with only loading the character into namespace 
when they use the chan. If we can also remove characters from the 
namespace, maintenence is: drop every character who's left the player's 
zone (or vice-versa), guild/clan characters that have logged off (or 
toggled off the chan), and global channel characters that haven't 
shouted for a few minutes. If we can't selectively remove names, just 
wipe the namespace whenever the player changes zones and then reload.
	I've only been thinking about this a few minutes but it seems a very 
worthwhile memory to processor tradeoff.

	Also on this thread someone mentioned the problems of getting in 
contact with characters one had not met. A MUD I played on a while, 
Blood Dusk (which seems to be down now, unfortunately), had the player 
create a login name. This login name would be displayed in the "who" 
list and, IIRC, was used for tells. A player, though, could have 
multiple characters and would be identified in-game only by the 
character name. Adopting a similar system could solve this problem.

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