[MUD-Dev] Realistic travel times/virtual terrain

Mordengaard mordengaard at redhotant.com
Sun Oct 8 22:29:48 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

From: "Justin Rogers" <justin at mlstoday.com>
> [Patrick]
> > "I claim this desert obelisk in the name of France."
> This one single phrase really excites me when it comes to a
> MUD.  You may not realize it but you certainly hit a major
> point of what Muds are all about.  Exploring new territory.
> So the following is going to be built on a post I've previously
> had about autogenerated worlds, but I'm going to bring it
> down a notch to make it more (doable).
> The first concept is not having world developers manage all of
> the excitement of building a new world.  World builders are
> people.  And thus want to build an exciting world.  Almost
> too exciting at times, but at other times rather droll.  So
> pregenerate your basic areas in very reasonable and recognizable
> ways.  Have a few towns and some of the area around the towns
> (enough to give a plot and maybe a few quests).  But then have
> the rest of the quests be directly dependent on automatically
> generated space (ala Diablo II).
> When people are in unexplored areas let them know this.  Have
> a couple of functions for automatically popping up items that
> would fit well with the current area.  If your in a plains then
> maybe a dark shadowy forest area might present some good monsters
> to battle.  If your in a more mountainous area then maybe a whole
> bunch of wrong paths could be generated (but remembered after
> being autogenned for the next guy who comes along) and a couple
> of caves.  These caves could be *explored* because they aren't
> already made, but being made.

I've been planning on cutting down on "boring" rooms in my mud by having
"wilderness" rooms which sit on top of the main areas like towns and
dungeons.  When players leave a "hard" coded area (for example, the town of
Ariston), they enter the wilderness room.  This is a special kind of room
which lets people -think- they're moving around, but they are in fact
walking around a "virtual" area.  The player's position is tracked using
coordinates, and each wilderness room knows where there are "key" points
(like the town of Ariston).  Several players can occupy the same room, but
they can't see each other unless they're in "range" (simple bit of
pythagoras to find that out) - because each coordinate "point" is still
quite a large area, parties occupying the same point on the map have to
approach (or charge) to make contact.
This system solved several problems for me, like how to introduce a sense of
scale for the players, how to slow down travel times, and how to stop my
builders falling asleep.  I can also put my wilderness populations of
animals and monsters in the "cracks" of the map, so I don't need to jusify
repops (which we've all but done away with anyway).
I'm planning to expand the code (once it's working right... these ideas
always -sound- nice, but I'm not the best coder in the world) to allow
"trails" to form once people start to use a common route.  I'm also looking
at "seeding" areas with "features" (these will usually be terrain features -
I don't believe in "placing" monsters), that the players can then use as
landmarks if they should happen to get lost.
If you're not planning to utilise this kind of broad-scale system, I have a
cautionary tale for you.  When I was reading Justin's post, I was reminded
of D&D's wandering monster system - you know the one, you'd be walking
along, the DM would roll a few dice, then *bam* you get jumped by a monster
that by all rights you should have seen from about two miles back, and that
merchant you met didn't tell you about.  You might not mind this kind of
inconsistency, but they drive me and most D&D players I know nuts.

Mordengaard (Yhared MUD)

P.S.  I have to apologise for all my "quoted words"... I'm not exactly new
to MUDding, but I'd rather let my brain roam free over ideas than learn
technical terms for my hobby :)

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