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Old 01-26-2005, 09:49 PM   #41
 
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Originally Posted by (Ilkidarios @ Jan. 26 2005,18<!--emo&[img
http://www.topmudsites.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img])]When I say race, I actually mean species and different types of humans. There are plenty of MUDs that have variety simply in the large numbers of different humans.
There's also another view that a race on a mud is essentially equivalent to a piece of equipment. It has capabilities, adders, subtractors, special skills, strengths, weaknesses, powers, etc. That's a view coming from a pure game players or game designers view and nothing wrong with that.

In that context, I think you might see a lot of originality and variation too. As in...

"On our mud orcs have metalworking skill, and can repair equipment in the field and they of course come in three colors - red, purple and pink depending on which of the warring sorcerory factions created them. Orcs are not born but built by powerful sorceror factions using arcane magic, yet are creatures of free will once created. Our elves have bard capabilities and can do increasingly powerful battle songs at various levels. They also have the intrinsic ability to predict the future. This allows them to view one or more opponents moves before selecting their own."

Etcetera...
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Old 01-26-2005, 10:21 PM   #42
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Dwarves are filthy, lice-infested dirteaters.

That is all.

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Old 01-27-2005, 04:34 AM   #43
 
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Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Jan. 26 2005,21:21)
Dwarves are filthy, lice-infested dirteaters.

That is all.

--matt
That may be.

I bet you knew that hobbits eat 2-3 times more food than your average human? Of course you did. But one thing that's not well publicized, probably for political reasons, is that they also produce 2-3 times as much flatulance. That's why noone in their right mind, not even a Nazgul, would willingly enter a hobbit hole. So the One Ring was quite safe at BagEnd. The breaking of the Fellowship had much less to do with Boromir wanting the ring than having to bunk up night after night with four wind-breaking hobbits. There's a lot about LoTR that just doesn't pass the smell test.
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Old 01-27-2005, 04:36 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by (Tyche @ Jan. 26 2005,21:48)
I think race is too misleading a word, not from the viewpoint that it's really species, but that what one really means are new and interesting cultures to play.
Whether its race or species is really a matter of debate, and depends on the individual race/species in question. In many settings I've seen, humans can breed with elves or orcs, implying that they belong to the same species but different races.

On the other hand, D&D settings like Dark Sun allow humans and dwarves to breed and create a sterile race called a Mul - this would imply that humans and dwarves don't actually belong to the same species. D&D also has a dwelf (half dwarf half elf), which I presume would also be sterile (although I don't recall the details).

I don't know how crossbreeding works with the other races, but I could see some good arguments for the 'short' races (dwarf, gnome, halfling, etc) being a different species to the 'tall' races (human, orc, elf, etc).

However in general I think it's easier just to refer to them all as 'races' - then clarify in the help files that they're not necessarily races of the same species.
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Old 01-28-2005, 10:35 PM   #45
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I think that race or species depends on what you're talking about.  I mean, elfs could just be people with pointy ears.  Orcs on the other hand, really depend on where you are or what you're doing/reading.  The dwarves/all the small people are pretty much the same things anyways, so I'm not so sure they're different species.  In the end, I think race and species have melded together to form a compound of sorts where they both mean the same thing.  In Tolkiens books, elfs, orcs, and humans were all pretty much the same people.  I mean, if elfs and humans could interbreed, that probably meant orcs and elfs, and humans and orcs.  So it really depends on what the environment is, be it D&D, Tolkien-pure, or any other manner of things.
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Old 01-29-2005, 09:31 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by (UnderSeven @ Jan. 22 2005,16:53)
So far as I can tell with massively multiplayer games getting so popular and the technology going the way it is, there are only two reasons for playing text based muds.  

The lack of restirctions, words gives more freedom.  But if you're only going to play a hack slash without any interest in story, description or rp, you might as well do a graphical one.

The other reason is freedom, text gives lots of freedom for skills, powers, abilities and updates.  But if you're playing muds that have no concept of balance, or just call fireball acidflute and it does the exact, or near to exact same thing, once again you might as well just play a graphical one.

So many muds are clones of things that it's a wonder anyone cares what names they use for races and spells.
Actually, there's one more massively important reason to play a text-based game over a graphical one. Price. :> Though I have actually bought optional items in games before, the vast majority (though not all) of text-based games are free to play, payed for by people who like the idea enough to maintain the servers or to donate to their maintenance. Not having a monthly fee is *the* primary reason I've never gotten into the massively multiplayer games.
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Old 01-30-2005, 08:48 PM   #47
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I agree with the price issue, but I forsee a time when it is less of a problem. Just not anytime soon. There is currectly a high dependence on polygon based systems right now. While this is expected, since designing a graphics card to do that is fairly easy, it limits what you can do. Why? For one thing it means you can't do anything without a modeller. No sane person is going to try to work out how to make something by hand using triangles. Second is size. The 'basic' info for a sphere might be a few hundred triangles, but also a 1-2MB file with the 'texture' to be put on it, especially if is requires fake reflections. Want ripples in the water at the bottom of the well? You can fake it with an big image you have to download (or install before hand), or you can tripple the number of triangle OPenGL or DirectX uses to draw it. Either way, you take up more space in the HD. And forget changing the color, shape, size or any details of the scene on the fly, even broadband users won't be happy with a 20MB update downloading to 'fix' the room.

And all of that overlooks the fact that it takes far more artistic skill and ability to use the modeller and other software to make all those objects in the scene and paint all the needed patterns and details on them. A scene with a simple well in a patch of dirt with some grass might take 10MB by itself. And that is about 9.5MB more than it needs to if you could work with good procedural textures and simple CSG objects based on sphere, cubes, toruses, etc. Worse, CSG (Constructive Solid Geometry) isn't even possible in OpenGL and DirectX on the fly. For OpenGL and DirectX you end up having to pre-determine what parts are visible, then delete any triangles that you don't need (and modify others). True CSG doesn't even use triangles and figure out what parts to show as it draws. The result? A sphere with a square hole in it for CSG would take (assuming the sphere was 100 triangle objects and each 'object' took one line of text), maybe 90 lines (the 'box' would only be about 8 lines at 3 triangles per surface), while the CSG version would be three lines:

difference{
sphere {< 0,0,0>, 2}
box {<-3, -1,-1>, <3,1,1>}}

It won't, as I said, be fast enough in the near future to compete with the speed of OpenGL and DirectX. You won't be using it to make rooms you can wander around in or building a first person shooter. Truely complex ones may take 2-3 seconds to generate, especially on slow machines. But.... as a transition step between pure text-based muds and expensive graphical ones, it goes way beyond MXP or other ones that rely on pre-made and static pictures. (or at best, lots of different ones.)

Want people to be amazed by the pirate ship? Why make a 1k image that is 200x100 to show it. Why not a client that uses a simplified POVRay type engine to produce a 2048x1024 image from a 1k gzipped text file?

Point is, text muds are free because you don't need nayting more than basic writing skills to use them. No expensive graphics modellers, no expensive photoshop like programs, etc. No atistic talent either and sadly not even the need to know how to write well, though you are not going to become top of any list with something badly written. But what about a simplified and more limited graphics engine like POVRay uses, which makes designing your images almost as easy as building a castle using Legos and which you can update in real time, just like a text based room on a mud?

There seems to be some hostility towards even trying. And the arguement is usually, yeah, but you can do more with text. The other being, I like to imagine what things look like, not be shown them. To the first - Yes, we it will be a long time before monsters can be created as easy in graphics as text, but that's is not a valid excuse imho for not trying the rest. IT may be a lot more possible than you expect, just not using all the nice OpenGL/DirectX tools everyone babbles about. To the second? Some people don't like color on muds. Last I checked you can turn that off. Why not just turn off the pictures? lol

Maybe the lack of free systems is due to people looking 'too far' forward with respect to what they want for a free graphics based system? Or maybe there just hasn't been anyone with both a good idea and the skill to try to make it work. Of which, I unfortunately currently lack the later.
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Old 01-30-2005, 11:24 PM   #48
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In regards to the race originality, who's to say what's original? Think of any fantasy creature you know. Just about all of them are simply combinations of existing animals (unicorn, chimera, hippogriff) or existing animals beefed up with cool powers (nightmare, blink dog, cranium rat.)

In just the same way, races are either going to be humans of varied sizes/shapes/stereotypical personalities (elves, dwarves, halflings), or human/animal combinations (catfolk, tiefling, aarakocra, etc.)

Are we lamenting the lack of race originality? Or are we lamenting the fact that there is no originality in roleplaying? I don't think the variety of races is relevant so much as you know WHO and WHAT you're playing, and can do it well.
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Old 01-31-2005, 06:03 PM   #49
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Besides race originality, another point designers ought to look at is how to encourage racial roleplaying.

In Lusternia, we designed both original races--at least, we thought they were original!--and archetypical races (humans, dwarves, elves). It was my philosophy that while we wanted originality in races, we also didn’t want to disappoint those players who identified their ‘alter egos’ as a particular archetypical race (i.e., I have a friend who always insists on being a dwarf). In any event, from my past experience, I noticed that race wasn’t taken as an important roleplaying feature; rather, players chose a race because they wanted the stats or special powers and roleplaying their race was almost non-existent. To help encourage a little bit of racial roleplaying, we made some of the races transform to different stats for some guilds (i.e., classes) attached to cities. In other words, our ‘elfen’ race players get their stats adjusted when becoming druids--making elfen druids desirable (and their race transforms from ‘elfen’ to ‘high elfen’), though you can certainly be elfen and a member of any other class (I’m not a fan of class-restricted races). Also, our history of the cities and races were written based on this racial feature.

Honestly, I hadn’t held out much hope on this design encouraging racial roleplaying, thinking that ultimately players will continue to just choose race as an afterthought (as nothing more than 'a piece of equipment' as someone else suggested). Much to my pleasant surprise, however, I’ve seen extremely strong racial roleplaying, to the point where some races are actively discriminated against (i.e., certain races have become ‘second-class citizens’ in the evil city) to serious discussions on which races should be leaders of major player organizations (i.e., only someone of the aquatic merian race should be a candidate to become the prince of the city founded by merians). Mind you, all of this roleplaying of races has been generated by players on their own.
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Old 02-01-2005, 12:14 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by (Morten @ Jan. 30 2005,22:24)
or human/animal combinations (catfolk, tiefling, aarakocra, etc.)
Tieflings are humans with a bit of fiend blood (at least in D&D, maybe your mud took the name without the rest of it). Not a human/animal combination.
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Old 02-01-2005, 05:26 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Estarra @ Jan. 31 2005,17:03)
Much to my pleasant surprise, however, I’ve seen extremely strong racial roleplaying, to the point where some races are actively discriminated against (i.e., certain races have become ‘second-class citizens’ in the evil city)
That's what I've always wanted in a text-based game. I want people to discriminate against each other, come up with derogatory terms, hate crimes. I'm not being sarcastic, I'm serious! That's one thing I've always seen lacking in many MUDs, and one of my main problems with Achaea. In Achaea, all the races pretty much were just names slapped before a generic description. It's good to know that Iron Realms has put the effort in Lusternia towards making that happen. I think MUDs should all try towards making people really role-play into their characters to have that realistic effect. In real-life, people just don't all love each other and get into big groups to help each other, every person hates somebody. And I think that should be the same in MUDs. Anyways, I just felt like getting that out. That's one of the problems with the races is that in most MUDs they are amiable towards each other, the only thing they hate are the monsters they are fighting! I swear, if that dragon or giant mole didn't attack them first they'd probably start talking to it and trying to find out what it's life motivations are.
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Old 02-02-2005, 05:06 PM   #52
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That is how it is in RPIs and many other RP-enforced muds. Some people don't enjoy roleplaying though and that is why there are muds more oriented towards H&S.

So what you want is already true in some muds. Wanting it to be true in all muds is unreasonable as some people play muds just to hack monsters to bits and feel good about themselves or maybe some other reason(PK, socializing...) that doesn't involve racial RP.

If you enjoy Racial RP, play one of the more roleplaying oriented muds. If you don't, don't. Simple.

If you want a place where different races don't get along to well, and fights, arguments, and insults are commonplace, where the only reason the races don't tear each other to bits is because their leader would kick their *** if they did, the city of Minas Morgul, in SoI would be a good place to play. Though there are probly other games with other such areas with well RPed racial interaction.
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Old 02-03-2005, 10:19 PM   #53
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I actually play SoI right now. I've got a Gondorian leathercrafting guy, though. I didn't like being a goblin that much.
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Old 02-11-2005, 05:22 PM   #54
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You can make hundreds of races, think out fancy names for them, make detailed descriptions, write elaborate backstories for each of them, paint them blue and adorn them with all kinds of ribbons and bows. But they still don’t add much to the gameplay, unless they are different in some crucial ways, and also are balanced.

Because if they aren’t really different, in the sense that they have some useful property that not all the other races have, all the rest is just cosmetics. Just like skills and spells that have been renamed to look original, but still are basically the same as the old stock skills are nothing but cosmetics.

And if they aren’t really balanced, the players will choose only the ones that give the biggest advantages. Players are usually very quick in catching up on those things, and word spreads incredibly fast in a mud. And you’ll end up with only a small number of all the races being popular, and some not being played at all.

It might be a different thing in a pure RP Mud, with no code-driven combat, but as soon as there is some kind of competitive gameplay in the mud, balance immediately becomes an issue. And I think even in a hardcore RP Mud, people would be pretty reluctant to pick some of the choices offered.

There are several ways of making races different. One of the better might be extra or unusual wear_locs, like wings, tails, horns, antennas, tentacles, 3 heads, 6 limbs and so on. But as soon as one race has more wear_locs than the rest, it becomes unbalanced, and a large number of the players will then choose that race for that very reason, which perhaps wasn’t quite what you intended. And if you switch one wear_loc for another, you need to make sure that there is similar-quality equipment available in the world for ALL the different wear_locs.

You could also use size to differ the races. But for this to be meaningful you also need to implement size to many rooms, and to all the available equipment, and make sure that there is a sufficient and balanced supply is for all races. Because if a giant can use the same equipment and weapons as a pixie, size doesn’t really make sense. Giants should not even be able to enter human-sized houses, let alone pixie-sized ones, and pixies should have a rough time getting along in a normal sized world, because those little butterfly wings will only take them so far. And if one or the other gets the disadvantage, you have the unbalance back again and nobody will choose that race once the word spreads.

Many Muds use stats like int, wis, con, strength, speed etc, to differentiate the races. This again poses some balancing problems, because wisdom isn’t automatically exchangeable for strength. And the same goes for ‘natural’ weapons and armour, like scales, exoskeletons, elephant-skin, claws, fangs, stings, fire-breathing etc. A race that has any of those natural assets should automatically be disqualified from using things like swords or platemail. This might give those races some initial advantage, but those could easily turn to disadvantages in the long run.

Then there are special abilities like gills, fire- or heat-resistance, waterwalk, flying etc. These properties are only really useful if the zones are created in a way that makes you need any of the abilities to get along. And if this shuts a majority of the other races out, it is not only a waste of areas (and Builder work), it’s also very frustrating for the players. And again it’s potentially unbalancing, unless all races have equally unique possibilities.

I am not saying it wouldn’t be fun to make a lot of different and unique races. But if you want a logical and consistent world and not just cosmetics, you need to follow them up throughout the entire design of the Mud. And that could lead you into problems and difficulties that you never even dreamt of, when you first decided to make all those cute races.

I guess it would be quite possible to design a mud solely based on the properties of a number of very different races. It could for instance be quite interesting in a Pure PK Mud, with a small world, to set races with different properties and abilities (like claws, poison stings, scales, termo-shells, firebreath etc.) against one another, like humans were set against lions in the Gladiator games of ancient Rome. Provided of course they could all be sufficiently balanced and have weaknesses as well as strengths.

But in the ‘normal’ Mud too many REALLY differentiated races would probably lead to either creating an insanely complex world, or discarding many other aspects of the game. It is a choice you have to make when you first start to plan your world. After all, the main aspects of a game are playability and entertainment. And that is why, after lengthy discussions, we decided to limit the races to humanoid size and shape in my Mud, and only have a few extra wear_locs. We would rather spend our best efforts on features that we found more interesting and rewarding for the players.
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Old 02-11-2005, 07:07 PM   #55
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I have a question. I've just finished re-reading the Silmarillion and I never saw any mention of elves having pointed ears. Does anyone know which is the precise book that mentions this? Is it The Fellowship? Which one? Also, where did hobbits come from? There's no mention of their origins in the Silmarillion.
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Old 02-13-2005, 01:21 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by (Ilkidarios @ Feb. 11 2005,18<!--emo&[img
http://www.topmudsites.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img])]I have a question.  I've just finished re-reading the Silmarillion and I never saw any mention of elves having pointed ears.  Does anyone know which is the precise book that mentions this?  Is it The Fellowship?  Which one?  Also, where did hobbits come from?  There's no mention of their origins in the Silmarillion.
Tolkien didn't write Elves as having pointy ears in any of the major books, but he did reference pointed ears in one of his Letters (#27 I think but I don't recall), and in the Etymologies, published in the Lost Road. (It's a study of his Elven languages). He wrote: The Quendian ears were more pointed and leaf-shaped than <blank>. It's assumed that he's comparing them to human ears but it's unclear because his writing was quite light and that word isn't readable in his handwritten manuscript. This is one of the classic Tolkien-geek arguments, along with whether Balrogs have wings (who gives a toss, I say) and a couple others. It does seem likely that he intended for Elves to have slightly pointed ears but it's never going to be 'decided' for sure.

As for hobbits, they were probably created in the First Age, but nobody paid attention to them (or knew about them? I don't know.) until the Third Age.

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Old 02-14-2005, 06:48 PM   #57
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I play a MUD that's got quite a few original areas, races, and theme elements. It's not really that there's no originality in MUDs, but more just the fact that it's easier to build onto established themes than create new ones.
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Old 02-15-2005, 08:32 PM   #58
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My theory on Tolkien is that he wrote very vague details about the races because he wanted the individual reader to draw his own conclusions about what the races look like. That way his singular works would have limitless possibilities which were only kept in check by a reader's own perception of the world. He would say that someone was tall, but you would be able to create your own imagery because you had no idea what the normal height was. It's really a classic example of fictional writing, write a detailed story and then let the reader fill in the holes himself. I don't write this way. I enjoy detailing my races and locations with specifics, but I wouldn't compare myself to Tolkien!
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:14 PM   #59
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Re: Lack of race originality?

It mentions Dopplegangers, what MUD has those?
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Old 05-13-2010, 10:03 AM   #60
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Re: Lack of race originality?

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Originally Posted by Monkeysky View Post
It mentions Dopplegangers, what MUD has those?
A doppleganger is a ghostly image of a person, quite often appearing as a harbinger of that person's death. As such it wouldn't be a race of its own.
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