[MUD-Dev] Character Perceptions

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Fri Jan 23 11:44:33 CET 2004

Björn Morén writes:
> "John Buehler" <johnbue at msn.com> wrote:

>> Current graphical games seem to have the model that a player is
>> running a game client which shows the virtual world as the
>> player's character is driven around, doing its thing.  Players
>> then generally click on objects and characters to obtain
>> information about them.  The information available about an
>> object is limited and quite uniform for all characters,
>> regardless of skill or class.  (Which isn't very surprising,
>> given the narrow 56K pipe that is the least common denominator
>> for client internet communication.)

>> There seems to be a significant opportunity to greatly magnify
>> the entertainment value of MMORPGs by basing what the players see
>> on the skills and abilities of the characters that they run.

> It's an excellent idea John. I really like it.

> Throttling information could also add to realism, plus it solves
> bandwith problems. Say that a char can only receive information at
> a max specific rate (char dependant). The server prioritises the
> info (weighs in what sense organ, and distance) and sends only a
> specific amount each second. For instance, in a place with lot of
> action going on, only changes relatively close to the char will be
> updated on screen. The rest will be "ghosted" out. Poison and low
> health will decrease the rate temporarily.

Yup, I was imagining the same sort of thing, but where that
communication rate is decided by the weighting in perceptions
assigned to each thing being sensed.  Stepping on a nail is going to
completely distract my character, even though the fact of stepping
on that nail doesn't have a high data rate associated with it.

Ultimately, that does serve as a throttle to limit the amount of
information being sent to a client.  Any given character can only
take in so much of the environment around it.  The ghosting and
diminished perceptions things are effects that I was hoping for as

Wounds are painful, and they distract the attention of the
character.  So they tend to draw in the limits of the character's
perceptions.  There should be skills to counter that effect, such as
Battle Hardness.  That makes the perceptions more stable because
they are less sensitive.  But that very trait makes skills that
require high sensitivity impractical - perhaps magical skills.  And
there may very well be a number of skills to enhance perception
sensitivity for people like mages.  And that would make them easy to
distract in battle.  Just throw a rock at 'em.  They're pansies.

Come to think of it, enhancement of vision, smell, hearing and so on
could also be in the set of available skills.  Want amazing vision?
Well, you can get it.  That might include the ability to perceive
more detail about others from a distance.  Want amazing hearing?
That may well permit you to detect enemies sneaking up on your
position or to hear conversations around you better.

And there could be perception attacks as well.  Explosions would
tend to disable sensitive hearing.  Flashes would mess up eyesight.
The player would still see a fully functional screen, but the
perception information being fed from the character would be

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