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Old 05-24-2002, 02:55 AM   #1
Miyamoto
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Angry

I guess this is both specific and general... I've found myself in this situation several times: I spend a great deal of time and thought on an area, and, finally finishing it, find it simply lacks the OOF (for lack of a better word) I wanted it to have. One: I've invested so much time into the area, I can't force myself to trash it, and Two: I usually don't have the energy to trash it and start over again.

In my particular case, I let the area be as it is, but I tend to wince when someone mentions it. They aren't bad areas, but I, as a builder, am disappointed in my own results. I was just wondering what you guys thought... scrap it and try again? Let it be, as long as it isn't too bad for players?
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Old 05-24-2002, 03:58 AM   #2
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I think we all have areas that we are not too proud of. My own first efforts as a Builder were pretty crappy.

But I wouldn't scrap anything, unless it is obviously unbalanced. Just leave it as it is, adding to the size of your word. Who knows, some players may like it, the taste varies a lot. And if nothing else it will make good hunting grounds.

Later, at a time when you feel more motivated, you can go over the area again, and add some things to make it more interesting to you and others. A very tough mob in a hidden room, some useful object (not necessarily good equipment), some tricky quest. There are lots of things that can spruce an area up, but it's better doing them when you feel inspired.
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Old 05-24-2002, 04:17 AM   #3
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Without knowing your as a person or your building abilities it'd be a hard assessment to make.
As an artist, you are naturally going to be your own worst critic. Given that you seem to care enough that you'd post such a note and admitted that you've spent much time on an area, I'd think that your areas are as you want them to be but now that they're open to the public, you're shy about them. It's natural. Take Molly's advice and leave them be until you feel confident enough knowing the needs of your players as whole, then tweak your areas.

I am a very slow builder. I'm know what the mud needs but I also like to add my own little quirky twists to keep people interested and coming back (It's an elaborate quest area and the outcome can end in at least 4 different ways...still working on it). I'm very satisfied with my work in progress but I still insist on at least 2 different people looking thru it to give me inspiration or ideas that never occured to me. Embarassing as it is to say, I admit I've been working on my area for 9 months. My downfall is room descs :/
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Old 05-24-2002, 01:27 PM   #4
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Lightbulb

As Lily said, I am my own worst critic. I have a certain standard I set for myself but RL does sometime detract from my building. In cases where I am not satisfied with my work I will not allow it to be linked into play until I feel that it is complete and worthy of play.

As head builder, I also tend to be more critical on myself than I am others. When proofing areas for other builders prior to link in, I check spelling, grammar, and overall flow of the area.
As a player (to me) nothing is worse than an area changing themes mid stream (unless its a quest type area).

Well that is my thoughts.
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Old 05-24-2002, 03:15 PM   #5
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Thumbs up

It seems we all agree that we are our own worst critics. I learned some time ago that if I continue to critique my work until I think it is 'flawless' (never happens imho) it becomes something differrent than I intended.

I listen to my instincts and try not to overdo the dramatics in my designs. Just because I'm not totally pleased doesn't mean some players won't find it amusing.

Take Molly's suggestion - let the area sit for a few days and come back at it. The time away will give you and idea what you need to add to bring a little adventurous pizazz!
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Old 05-24-2002, 10:12 PM   #6
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Building a unique, complicated, interesting zone is a challenge for even experienced builders with many zones under their belt. I've seen many put up decent but somewhat bland zones to begin with, then spend periods of time going back into it and improving this or that, fine tuning so to speak until it's a great zone.

Some find proofing other zones give them ideas for neat things, some take on two zones at once and bounce back and forth as the ideas strike them. I write little notes to myself in a special notebook I keep with me at all times and usually am working on three zones at once. Hmm, that is when I'm not proofing or editing some shortcoming somewhere.

Overall, I think the important thing is to remember these are works of art we are creating and I can't envision any true artist ever thinking the last one was their coup de grace or ultimate masterpiece. Take breaks, switch a focus, experience other zones with always keeping an eye to improving a published work instead of trashing it, they take too much time to create from scratch.

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Old 05-25-2002, 03:38 AM   #7
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I tend to disappoint myself often, but I think that's a common trait for all builders. When I end up with an area I'm really diappointed in, I let it be, and eventually go back to it at a later date and re-work it. If I'm just mildy disappointed in it, I let it go, and re-work parts of it as the inspiration hits.
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Old 05-25-2002, 06:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (donalban @ May 24 2002,2:15 pm)
I learned some time ago that if I continue to critique my work until I think it is 'flawless' (never happens imho) it becomes something differrent than I intended.
That's another flaw of mine.  I'll critique the heck out of my work, adding/removing progs, etc, until it becomes something unlike what I envisioned.  Many times I've had to stop and say to myself "Nice idea but does it really fit into the theme?" and chances are, it didn't.  Alot of times I thought of a clever prog to add to a mob but then I realized it would change the whole personality of said mob so, altho I whined and cried to myself cuz this prog was oh-so-great, I didn't make the change.  I've had the misfortune of entering areas where the author didn't give one whit about the player.  On an h&s mud I played, the author only cared about killing the players as often as possible.  Didn't care that all the roaming and aggro mobs with no less than 10 attacks each gravitated towards the trans room so that as soon as you were transed, you were immediately attacked by 15 mobs.  I kid you not when I say that as soon as the smoke cleared, me and my party of 3 had 40-45 corpses laying at our feet.  This is the very same area I mentioned in the thread about colors on a mud.

Anyway, I say if you DO edit your area, make sure it's beneficial, in every way, shape, and form, to the mud.
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Old 05-26-2002, 03:39 PM   #9
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Hmm... but I'm _never_ finished with an area. Years after it was created, I return to it and add things. I would say that if you're not really satisfied with the initial result, you can always save it for a rainy day and improve it then.
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Old 05-27-2002, 05:54 PM   #10
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If I don't like an area, even after I've put it into play, I keep going. I go back and add a shop, a little prog here and there, an extra room, a hole in the wall... cool little stuff to keep people coming back.

I've always been a big proponent of dynamic areas, not so much of having seasonal and night and 18 million descs per room - that's just silly. Instead, I like to see cities that builders don't just finish and let go, but go back to, and refine, and change a little over time - it shows not only a vested interest in the game and the area, but it also gives players a reason to keep coming back.

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Old 05-27-2002, 06:17 PM   #11
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Exclamation

I myself am not a supporter of seasonal room descs, but I do like adding things to areas long finished now and then. Specifically, the area I was thinking of when I posted this, was a rustic logging town nestled in the chill arms of a mountain range, populated by Minotaurs and a few dragons. That was the idea I had when I started, at least. A few underground homes, log cabins, mines, and still lakes later (when I had finished with what I'd planned), I just wasn't happy with the final product. It was like seeing a sunset with your eyes, painting it from memory, and producing someting more akin than the image of a candle seen through a dirty window. There was nothing missing, or too much of any thing, and it had plenty of creative places to go... but I just looked at the finished product and said, 'Hmm.'

Usually, I say, 'Ahh.'

'Ahh' and 'Hmm' are two very different representations of my building
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Old 05-30-2002, 04:00 AM   #12
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No, this is not intentionally a promo for staff that should be on another forum.

But I want you all to come and build for me.

-Visko
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Old 05-30-2002, 10:19 PM   #13
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'Chuckle,' I'm quite sure you would Visco given the credentials of some of these responders.

Set your standards, hire selectively based on resume and demonstrated potential. Attention to detail and a work ethic even though it's a hobby can be readily identified if you look for it.

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Old 06-07-2002, 11:55 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (melopene @ May 27 2002,4:54 pm)
Instead, I like to see cities that builders don't just finish and let go, but go back to, and refine, and change a little over time . . .
Being a GM for various games for over a decade has aided me tremendously in my building. One aspect I bring from the world of TRPG is that players build the game themselves without actually realizing they are. I take all the suggestions and ideas from players and incorporated them into my designs.

Even the most assinine suggestion can be a creative boost for something I may have planned for another area. It's also fun to watch someone who submitted a suggestion actually see their idea come to life somewhere in the MUD.
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Old 06-07-2002, 05:27 PM   #15
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I know that some muds have different descs for day and night, or even for different weather types, but personally I think this is overdoing things a bit. Since most players are too lazy to even read ONE desc, I consider it a waste of energy. (Of course, the muds with day/night and sun/rain descs usually have code generated descs, which you may or may not consider a good thing, but this is yet another discussion. My own opinion about those is, that although I have seen some pretty good examples of code generated descs, I still don't consider this 'building', since there is no actual thought and planning behind the descs in different rooms, it's just a random occurance. I might look good, but still is rather soulless).

Anyhow, to come to some point here, I've actually made a sort of seasonal descs once, on an orchard. Not the room desc itself, that is pretty neutral, but on the trees, which are objects. So there are 4 different trees, with descs for winter, spring, summer and autumn. When the zone resets it loads the winter tree, after a given time that tree loads the spring one and the purges itself, etc. And the autumn tree has some fruits in it, which are used for some quests. Simple but pretty neat. You have to wait out the right season to harvest the fruit. (This only works if the mud is reasonably stable of course...)
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Old 06-07-2002, 07:04 PM   #16
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My building experience is limited to one game primarily, plus a few short weeks in what I felt to be too "generic" and "stock" for my tastes.

I am very picky about writing room descriptions. Some (okay most) considered me anal retentive about it, in fact. Grammar has to be perfect. Not even awkwardness, no matter how "correct" it was, was acceptable. The sentence had to flow gently into the next sentence, so that the reader would feel as much a part of the atmosphere as I did when I wrote it.

I wasn't particularly picky about content, however. If I was doing a series of rooms for a road that led from point A to point B, and there wasn't anything special I needed to include, I wouldn't be concerned if the description was boring or not.

But when I created custom player homes, I pulled out the stops. Went nuts with my imagination, gave the players the best I could give them. Even the tiniest detail - the spacious lawn in the room description - would have an "object" they could interact with. That very same spacious lawn could be layed upon by the player, and IT had its own description. If there were tufts of pink flowers along the fence, the reader would be able to touch those flowers, look at them, whatever the code allowed for.

Then there were semi-important rooms, where they were needed for a plotline, or as part of a quest puzzle, where details had to be very specific, only certain things layed out and other things obscured. The "feel" for the room was extremely important, because this "feel" would encourage people to seek out other things, or not try to seek them out, or experiment, or what have you. I had to let the player come to conclusions, rather than tell them what to do. This last bit applied to all rooms, but especially for quests and puzzles.

I also didn't usually work alone. I was basically the head room designer, though we didn't use such lofty titles. I was just another GM But we each had things we were best at, and room design was mine. I almost always asked another GM to walk through an area with me to point out anything I missed, or suggest a better word here and there, or come up with an idea for something I just wasn't sure about. I always offered to do the same for other staff members, and they usually took me up on the offer. Teamwork was wonderful.

R
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Old 06-29-2002, 06:43 PM   #17
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Regarding seasonal and time biased descriptions; I for one am very fond of the room parser system that allows you to use simple if...else code in your descriptions in order to have both day/night and or seasonal descriptions. That way you can for instance change the part in the description that relates the trees, or the ground, to have snow on them, and leave most of the other parts of the description intact. I find that those kind of descriptions are not as bad as code generated ones, and they can most often be adapted to be quite fluent and beautiful as well, even though it requires more effort. I do not do that in all locations, but in some places where I know that many players will spend at least some time, as in markets, squares, and inns, I use it from time to time. Hopefully somebody notices it and says, "Hey, that's really cool, the desc has changed!"
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