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Old 08-27-2007, 05:21 AM   #1
KaVir
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Roomless World Size

The recent discussions concerning payment model reminded me of something else I'd like to see in the listings - a "World Size" option that covers coordinate-based muds. Currently the options available to me are:

* Small (less than 3000 rooms)
* Medium (3001-6000 rooms)
* Large (6001-10000 rooms)
* Huge (10001-20000 rooms)
* Gigantic (20001+ rooms)

However my mud doesn't use rooms, so none of the above really fit. On another mud site I'm able to select "Not listed here (you'll be able to supply one)" which then lists me as "Unique world size", allowing me to clarify in the description that my world uses true-coordinates instead of rooms. But here, I'm forced to try and choose the one that fits the best (both 'small' or 'gigantic' sort of fit, depending on how you interpret my world system, but neither are really accurate).

So this is my request for either an extra world size, or the option of not selecting any size at all (so it just leaves it off the entry).
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Old 08-27-2007, 09:40 AM   #2
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Re: Roomless World Size

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
The recent discussions concerning payment model reminded me of something else I'd like to see in the listings - a "World Size" option that covers coordinate-based muds. Currently the options available to me are:

* Small (less than 3000 rooms)
* Medium (3001-6000 rooms)
* Large (6001-10000 rooms)
* Huge (10001-20000 rooms)
* Gigantic (20001+ rooms)

However my mud doesn't use rooms, so none of the above really fit. On another mud site I'm able to select "Not listed here (you'll be able to supply one)" which then lists me as "Unique world size", allowing me to clarify in the description that my world uses true-coordinates instead of rooms. But here, I'm forced to try and choose the one that fits the best (both 'small' or 'gigantic' sort of fit, depending on how you interpret my world system, but neither are really accurate).

So this is my request for either an extra world size, or the option of not selecting any size at all (so it just leaves it off the entry).
I need to add "not listed here" to pretty much every category. We support "MUD resources" in addition to MUDs in the rankings and most of the current options do not lend themselves well to that.
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Old 08-27-2007, 10:09 AM   #3
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Re: Roomless World Size

Yeah, and perhaps there should be an option for:

1) Handwritten rooms
2) Auto-generated world/rooms/descriptions

IMO, there is a _very_ big difference.
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:01 AM   #4
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Re: Roomless World Size

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Originally Posted by Hephos View Post
Yeah, and perhaps there should be an option for:

1) Handwritten rooms
2) Auto-generated world/rooms/descriptions

IMO, there is a _very_ big difference.
In terms of what?

I can see the value in having a click-box for muds that use a wilderness/overland map system (or perhaps even giving them a separate World Size list).

I could also see the advantage in having a click-box for muds that use dynamic descriptions.

But I'm struggling to see what benefit there is in a "hand-written vs generated" option.
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:04 AM   #5
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Re: Roomless World Size

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But I'm struggling to see what benefit there is in a "hand-written vs generated" option.
Its like comparing an auto-generated book to one created by an author. Simple as that. Not very struggling to understand. Its like how you tag normal merchandise. Handmade stuff compared to mass produced...

It is a nice tag for people that care about descriptions to see which games they think are worth visiting.

And IMO, there should be an option like this:
Code:
1) [X] number handwritten rooms   [y/n] allows copies
2) [X] sized overland map
3) [X] number auto-generated rooms
4) No room based world.
5) Coordinate based world.
And it would be nice if you could use several of them, some muds might use hybrids of all options.

Last edited by Hephos : 08-27-2007 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:35 AM   #6
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Re: Roomless World Size

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Its like comparing an auto-generated book to one created by an author. Simple as that. Not very struggling to understand.
It's more like comparing an auto-generated book to each of:

1. A book full of blank pages.

2. A huge novel...with the same 5 pages repeated over and over.

3. A book written by a trained monkey.

4. A book written by some random guy off the street.

5. A book written by a decent author.

Number 5 is going to do a much better job than the auto-generated book, but how many of them are you likely to run into? Number 4 might do a better job, but there's no way to be sure. Numbers 1, 2 and 3 are going to produce worse results than the auto-generated book.

So what exactly does the option indicate? It certainly doesn't indicate quality.
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:42 AM   #7
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Re: Roomless World Size

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1. A book full of blank pages.

2. A huge novel...with the same 5 pages repeated over and over.

3. A book written by a trained monkey.

4. A book written by some random guy off the street.
Sorry, but what a pile of bull.

Your then saying most text muds dont have descriptions at all, they are full of copies, or written by random people or monkeys? There is a big leap from a trained monkey to the decent author. A decent builder will produce MUCH better quality than any auto-generated world without much training at all. I believe even a random builder found on these sites will do a better job in 90% of the times.

I think you are glorifying auto-generated crap muds over well written muds with good builders. Ofc there are bad written ones, but there are sure a lot of very creative builders out there.

IMO, an auto-generated mud is just a graphic MMORPG without the graphics! You don't even have what makes other text games great. I feel sorry for any poor soul that gets introduced to text games by dropping into an auto-generated world... I believe fully auto-generated worlds are a bad thing for the text mud community in general. It strives away from what text games have unique and one of the main points of actually having good written text as a descriptive media.

And OFC there *should* be a distinction in the listings between them!

Quote:
So what exactly does the option indicate? It certainly doesn't indicate quality.
It shows that people have spent work on the game. And it is a hint that the game is well written.
An auto-generated world is NEVER going to be well written in the same way. You can argue that how much you want, but you will never get the same type of depth, storyline and quality that a creative builder can produce.

However, i'm not saying auto-generated content is all bad. It may be nice for certain things and it is nice to have an option for indicating you use random generated material.

Last edited by Hephos : 08-27-2007 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:54 AM   #8
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Re: Roomless World Size

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Your then saying most text muds dont have descriptions at all, they are full of copies, or written by random people or monkeys?
No, I'm saying that your proposal doesn't distinguish between blank descriptions, repeated descriptions, poorly written descriptions and well-written descriptions.

Quote:
Haha, i think you are glorifying auto-generated crap muds over well written muds with good builders. Ofc there are bad written ones, but there are sure a lot of very creative builders out there.
There are some very creative builders out there. There are also some really awful ones. Your proposal doesn't distinguish between the two, making it utterly worthless in terms of indicating quality.

Quote:
It shows that people have spent work on the game. And it is a hint that the game is well written.
No, I'm afraid it doesn't actually indicate anything of the sort.

Quote:
An auto-generated world is NEVER going to be well written in the same way. You can argue that how much you want, but you will never get the same type of depth, storyline and quality that a creative builder can produce.
Emphasis mine. Your proposal has nothing to do with "creative builders", and it has nothing to do with "quality".
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Old 08-27-2007, 12:06 PM   #9
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Re: Roomless World Size

I think it is silly to try to add a modifier about a mud that is completely subjective in nature. However rooms are created is irrelevant when the decision of whether it is good or not is entirely based on opinion.
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Old 08-27-2007, 12:07 PM   #10
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Re: Roomless World Size

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
No, I'm saying that your proposal doesn't distinguish between blank descriptions, repeated descriptions, poorly written descriptions and well-written descriptions.



There are some very creative builders out there. There are also some really awful ones. Your proposal doesn't distinguish between the two, making it utterly worthless in terms of indicating quality.



No, I'm afraid it doesn't actually indicate anything of the sort.



Emphasis mine. Your proposal has nothing to do with "creative builders", and it has nothing to do with "quality".
It doesn't have to indicate quality.

It indicates the world is written by a person and not generated random by the computer. That is enough. I'm not saying it have to indicate quality (even if i believe it does). I can't seem to understand why you hang up yourself on that.

If i'm looking for a mud, i want to get rid of those that are auto-generated right away. And showing that in the listing is a nice thing to have.

And it is REALLY bad to just have a listing for how many rooms a game have. There is a difference if they are auto-generated or written by hand. A mud that has several very creative builders writing up 50 zones might end up with 2500 rooms, while your auto-generated stuff shows 150k. It is not fair to have them in the same kind of listing. In fact, IMO its totally stupid. It should show in the listing.

Again:
Code:
1) [X] number handwritten rooms   [y/n] allows copies
2) [X] number auto-generated rooms
3) [X] sized overland map [y/n] ascii [y/n] graphic
4) [y/n] rooms display graphic
4) [y/n] No room based world.
5) [y/n] Coordinate based world.
(Just an example, could probably be done better...)

Why the heck do you not want that kind of distinction? Are you afraid your game will be less visited if it shows it is auto-generated? Why would this listing be any worse than the current one that just display a room amount?

Last edited by Hephos : 08-27-2007 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 08-27-2007, 12:29 PM   #11
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Re: Roomless World Size

Quote:
It indicates the world is written by a person and not generated random by the computer.
Well generated descriptions aren't simply "generated random[ly] by the computer", either - they're assembled from sections of text that have been hand-written by humans. You didn't honestly think the computer invented the descriptions out of thin air, did you? :P

Quote:
I'm not saying it have to indicate quality (even if i believe it does). I can't seem to understand why you hang up yourself on that.
I responded because I couldn't see what benefit there was in a "hand-written vs generated" option, and was bemused when you suggested that "hand-written" somehow indicated quality.

Quote:
If i'm looking for a mud, i want to get rid of those that are auto-generated right away. And showing that in the listing is a nice thing to have.
Then fair enough, we all have personal tastes. Personally I'd be more keen on a flag for dynamic descriptions, so that I can filter out the muds that use static descriptions.

Quote:
And it is REALLY bad to just have a listing for how many rooms a game have. There is a difference if they are auto-generated or written by hand. A mud that has several very creative builders writing up 50 zones might end up with 250 rooms, while your auto-generated stuff shows 150k. It is not fair to have them in the same kind of listing. In fact, IMO its totally stupid.
I already said in my first reply to you "I can see the value in having a click-box for muds that use a wilderness/overland map system (or perhaps even giving them a separate World Size list)."

Quote:
Why the heck do you not want that kind of distinction?
I don't care about the option either way, I just couldn't see what purpose it served to differentiate hand-written descriptions from generated descriptions.
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Old 08-27-2007, 12:29 PM   #12
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Re: Roomless World Size

I'm a bit confused. Do muds actually auto generate rooms? This is news to me since every one of the rooms and items in NW are hand written and created. I assumed all muds were that way, so this need of checkboxes about it baffles me.
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Old 08-27-2007, 12:33 PM   #13
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Re: Roomless World Size

Quote:
Then fair enough, we all have personal tastes. Personally I'd be more keen on a flag for dynamic descriptions, so that I can filter out the muds that use static descriptions.
A flag for dynamic would be nice too yes.
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Old 08-27-2007, 01:54 PM   #14
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Re: Roomless World Size

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I'm a bit confused. Do muds actually auto generate rooms? This is news to me since every one of the rooms and items in NW are hand written and created. I assumed all muds were that way, so this need of checkboxes about it baffles me.
I think they are referring to "grid rooms", often used for the main world, since its damn hard, if your world is thousands of rooms + areas, to hand write every single square mile of "forest" or "plains", etc., in between the places you actually expect people to do doing things. Instead you employ some generic info, which is tossed together semi-randomly, to give a general sense of what you are supposed to be looking at there.

Mind you, this is **nothing** like an MMO imho. If someone wanted to emulate that, it may look similar, but I don't think its impossible to make it reasonably different. After all, a true coordinate based system would have to know distances to other objects, which direction you are facing and thus what to *add* to the description to make it accurate. The hardest part would be designing a "writer" function, which puts that information together in a paragraph, not 5-10 disconnected sentences. In other words, it would need to do, "You are standing on an open plain, tall grass swaying gently in the breeze. Nearby, to your left, you see a small village, and in the distance a strange castle simply floats in the sky." You don't want, "You are standing on an open plain. There is swaying grass on this part of the plain. Nearby is a village. A castle floats in the sky in the distance." The later **is** stupid, and is precisely the sort of junk you get from grid systems, since its easier to tack a bunch of stuff together, generated from a lookup table, than develop something that at least "attempts" to parse it into something that reads like someone really wrote it.

That said, its bound to be rather complicated to come up with something that can do it right. And it kind of hinges on what people mean when they say, "real coordinate system", in a mud, since a "real" one *must* do something like this, there being no way to write every room (no rooms), while if they actually mean "grid system", then they could hand write every description, but I cringe at the thought of how much time it would take to make all of them unique on a huge world.
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Old 08-27-2007, 05:51 PM   #15
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Re: Roomless World Size

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Originally Posted by Hephos View Post
It doesn't have to indicate quality.

It indicates the world is written by a person and not generated random by the computer. That is enough. I'm not saying it have to indicate quality (even if i believe it does). I can't seem to understand why you hang up yourself on that.

If i'm looking for a mud, i want to get rid of those that are auto-generated right away. And showing that in the listing is a nice thing to have.
Umm... gotta agree and disagree with both here.

Like Hephos I prefer hand-written descs to auto generated. I've seen some single auto generated descs that looked very impressive, but as soon as you encounter a large number of them, they become repetitive. There are only so many phrases you can put into the system, and even if they are combined in different ways and great care has been taken to make the different phrases fit together, they still give a 'mechanic' feeling.

To me a well-written zone with lots of depth is like an interactive novel, where the plot unravels as you explore the zone. You can never get that feeling with auto generated descs.

However, as KaVir pointed out, the fact that a desc is handwritten is no guarantee for quality, nor is the fact that a zone is 'original'. I have seen Muds where the 'all original' zones they were boasting were so horribly written that the ever abused Old Midgard stands out like a true work of art in comparison.

In these cases the game would have been much better off with auto generated descs, or with just keeping a selection of the stock zones, (because most of these old stock zones at least had some basic quality standards, it's just that you've seen them around so many times that you get totally fed up with them).

It's a pity that quality is so hard to quantify. It's a pity that we cannot have little checkboxes for 'number of typos per 5 line descriptions', or 'number of exclamation marks per description'... Or - on a more serious note - 'number of repeated descs per 50 rooms', or 'number of extra descs per 50 rooms', or 'number of scripts or quests per 50 room zone', (all of which can be set as minimum standards in the Building policy of a Mud with high zone quality ambitions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hephos View Post
And it is REALLY bad to just have a listing for how many rooms a game have. There is a difference if they are auto-generated or written by hand. A mud that has several very creative builders writing up 50 zones might end up with 2500 rooms, while your auto-generated stuff shows 150k. It is not fair to have them in the same kind of listing. In fact, IMO its totally stupid. It should show in the listing.
Well, the number of rooms does matter.

So does the quality of these rooms.

A too small word soon gets boring, even if it is well written, with many extra descs, because there just isn't enough to do.

A large word without depth gets equally boring, if you like to read descs and not just kill anything that moves.

Ideally would of course be a large world, where all the rooms have well written, individual descs with lots of extra depth. Unfortunately, since time isn't unlimited, and since traditional building even normally is very time consuming, you have to make a choice and try to find a balance between the size of the world and the level of detail - i.e. a compromise between quality and quantity. I usually handle the problem myself by creating two types of zones, the 'connection' zones, like forests, roads, prairies, swamps, sea etc., which usually have shorter descs and lest detail than the 'real' zones, like cities, castles, islands, etc.

Dynamic descs of course are awesome, since they allow you to let parts of the room descriptions change with time of day, weather, people in the room etc. But again this creates more work for the builders, and you have to decide whether the extra plus factor really is worth the extra work, since so few of the players will take notice. It certainly is worth it for a few special rooms and situations - (like the inscription on the wall that only becomes legible when a beam of moonlight hits it at midnight). But these are so few that it probably would be easier to work with scripts for those cases. You can create almost any illusion that you want with a good script.

Still - it would be nice with a checkbox for dynamic descs, even if I don't have them myself.
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Old 08-27-2007, 06:32 PM   #16
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Re: Roomless World Size

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The hardest part would be designing a "writer" function, which puts that information together in a paragraph, not 5-10 disconnected sentences.
Actually it's not that hard, it just depends how you design it. I found the easiest way was to store compound sentences of hand-written dynamic text (i.e., each sentence also contains tags and conditional statements) and then assemble the description from those and then parse the dynamic elements afterwards. While it's not going to match the cohesion of a good well-written description, the results aren't too bad IMO - eg:

You are walking through Westgate Forest, the brown leaves which scatter the ground crunching beneath your boots. The late afternoon sky is heavy with dark clouds, and rain falls through the trees and on the ground around you. Many of the higher branches of these great maple and oak trees meet and interlock, creating a canopy of brown foliage high above you.

Obviously the quality of the writing is limited by the fact that building isn't my thing, but I think it reads okay from a cohesion perspective - and in my opinion it's proof of concept (with a good builder producing the compound sentences, the descriptions would look a lot prettier). I've certainly seen worse hand-written descriptions.

Quote:
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And it kind of hinges on what people mean when they say, "real coordinate system", in a mud, since a "real" one *must* do something like this, there being no way to write every room (no rooms)
Right - I'm using a roomless system, so there's not really anything to pin a fixed pre-written description to.
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Old 08-27-2007, 10:30 PM   #17
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Re: Roomless World Size

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Originally Posted by Molly View Post
It's a pity that quality is so hard to quantify. It's a pity that we cannot have little checkboxes for 'number of typos per 5 line descriptions', or 'number of exclamation marks per description'... Or - on a more serious note - 'number of repeated descs per 50 rooms', or 'number of extra descs per 50 rooms', or 'number of scripts or quests per 50 room zone', (all of which can be set as minimum standards in the Building policy of a Mud with high zone quality ambitions.
I'm surprised in today's world with modern editors that typos would abound anywhere. I mean, certainly we receive typo reports on NW, but they are light and sporatic and normally homonyms rather than typos. However, the quality of description in a game can only be measured by the quality of the writers. Good writer = good quality on description. Quantity and variance are only one attribute. For example, we used to have a creator that was a fabulous arteest who could write the most elaborate and beautiful room descripts. The trouble was they were too elaborate and huge and made things clunky feeling.

So it is indeed a balance between smooth prose and enough description, something every writer competes with when writing a book.
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Old 08-28-2007, 01:12 PM   #18
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Re: Roomless World Size

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I'm surprised in today's world with modern editors that typos would abound anywhere.
Yeah, well, most mud building editors, like OLC for example, don't have built-in spellcheckers to my knowledge. And even if you DO write the descs in Wordpad and then spellcheck them before you copy/paste them into the editor, there still are the classic word pairs that almost all builder misspell, since the spellchecker doesn't catch them, because they are all real words: its - it's, their - there - they're, two - too - to, where - wear etc.
And typos do happen. However many times I go over my own zones, The playtesters still manage to find some typos in them after they are implemented.

Of course, '100 % typo free' does not equal high quality any more than '100 % original zones' does. I've seen zones that were flawless when it came to spelling and grammar, but totally without flavor and suspense. True quality comes from talent, imagination and creativity rather than correct English, even if the latter is not unimportant.

Quote:
Quantity and variance are only one attribute. For example, we used to have a creator that was a fabulous arteest who could write the most elaborate and beautiful room descripts. The trouble was they were too elaborate and huge and made things clunky feeling.

So it is indeed a balance between smooth prose and enough description, something every writer competes with when writing a book.
You are totally right there of course. Writing a good Mud zone is also very different than writing a novel, since you need to take many more things into consideration, above all playability. Rooms, mobs, objects and scripts must all work together to create a harmonic whole.

Too long descs only result in one thing; players putting brief mode on. That is where the extra descs come into play. By using those in a creative way, you can add several layers to the zone, making it more opaque, but also more interesting and rewarding for those that bother to delve beneath the surface. The careless hack'n'slashers will just rush through the zone, killing everything in sight. The more skilled and thoughtful players will check the extra desc, and find things that unravels the depth of the zone and allow them to find the hidden treasures, the concealed trapdoors and the deepened plot that will help them solve the quests belonging to the zone.

You should have told your 'arteest' to put more work into the extra descs, and confine the main descs to 4-8 lines. That would have made her a much better builder. (By the way, does 'arteest' have some attributes that I am not aware of, or is it just a typo? Sorry, couldn't resist).

Another important factor is that the character of the world very much depend on what type of Mud it is. For instance my own Mud is focused mainly on Questing and exploring, while KaVir's is focused on combat and PvP. that means totally different requirements for the Mud World. A game focused mainly on roleplay would have yet other requirements for the world.

Anyhow - unfortunately it's very hard to 'quantify' quality in spite of the fact that most people recognize high quality when they see it. No little checkboxes will ever catch the quality of a game, although it is a much more important factor than most things that are checked in the game entries.
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Old 08-28-2007, 01:19 PM   #19
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Re: Roomless World Size

Quote:
Anyhow - unfortunately it's very hard to 'quantify' quality in spite of the fact that most people recognize high quality when they see it. No little checkboxes will ever catch the quality of a game, although it is a much more important factor than most things that are checked in the game entries.
Yes it may be hard to define quality through simpel checkboxes, but they are a good step on the way to help people find games that suits their judgement of quality, or just suits the prefered game types.

For example, I would think a checkbox for "[] allow room copies" is defintatly something i would use everytime i searched for a mud. Then you have "[] wilderness ascii map", which is also something people might be looking for.
Personally i would use the "[] handwritten rooms" and "[] dynamic rooms" when looking for games as well.
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Old 08-28-2007, 01:37 PM   #20
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Re: Roomless World Size

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Yeah, well, most mud building editors, like OLC for example, don't have built-in spellcheckers to my knowledge.
Even if they do, a typo isn't necessarily a spelling mistake. Ewe cud runny desk rip shun threw yore "spellchecker" with aught pea king upper roars.
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