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Old 09-28-2003, 02:58 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by (vedic @ Sep. 28 2003,09:58)
Just as authors wouldn't want people changing text or words in their novels, I see the look and feel of a game as essential to the final vision of the product. That includes color. True, you can't control entirely how it will look at the other end, but you can come close. Perhaps I am pickier about that than most.
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Sounds like you're underestimating the value of color in a game. Color can speak volumes - warn players with bright red text, put channels in magenta, put player-to-player conversation in cyan, etc. -
This is exactly what I'm talking about. All of those examples are color used as a separator, not as information itself. What do you care if players want to see warnings in magenta or green? The point is that the color makes it or the channels stand out from the flow of information around it. What color is actually used in these cases makes no difference to the information communicated to the player. (Incidentally, we already give players the ability to configure the color of every single channel in the game).

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Additionally, colors in terrain maps play an important role, such as blue for water and cyan for reefs or shallows, for instance. I think there's a point where you can focus too much on the interface and giving players commands to change anything.
Yep, this specific example is why I said that color is used, 99% of the time for separating and highlighting. In the case of terrain maps the color is the information sometimes. We don't let people configure what colors are displayed on terrain maps for this reason.

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Just as authors wouldn't want people changing text or words in their novels, I see the look and feel of a game as essential to the final vision of the product. That includes color. True, you can't control entirely how it will look at the other end, but you can come close. Perhaps I am pickier about that than most.
Authors control content, not presentation. Various editions of an authors book may be published with different text sizes, on different types of paper, in different fonts. It doesn't affect the novels at all if they were published in red instead of black text. It's the same with text muds 99% of the time.

--matt
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Old 09-28-2003, 07:10 PM   #22
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But you're effectively saying that presentation has no impact on content, and that is completely false. Take a look at the hardback edition of "The Neverending Story" by Michael Ende. One half of the book is published in red text, the other is in green text, which corresponds with the transition from the real world to Fantastica. It makes a significant impact on the reader of the story and adds to the overall enjoyment of the book. True, the book can be, and has been published without the colors - I didn't say that you couldn't have an effective book without it - just that it DOES make a difference. Cover picture. Fonts used. Images or no. All those things are presentation, and they make a difference.

I would hope that your game would be better than a mass-produced paperback novel. Even mass-produced paperback novels know that it's all about the cover and thickness of the book - presentation again.

In text games, as in novels, presentation makes a huge difference, and keeping tight control over presentation - as tight as you can without controlling the client 100% - is a good way to do it. Having good content is nice, and that makes up the meat of a text-based game, but presentation provides the flavoring.

I mean, really - if you apply your argument to picking the characters you use to generate virtual maps, isn't there a reason water is blue and is made using tildes (as an example, I haven't seen your game), and grass is green? The same should go for warnings (red, that is an international standard, by the way - there's no reason it should be changed).

If you truly feel that the colors don't matter, try changing the colors around on your game. Put your room descriptions in screaming red, your character descriptions in bright yellow, and change the colors of your terrain to random - green water, red trees, and white plains. I think you will find that suddenly quite a bit has changed in the "look and feel" of the game, and your players are complaining. Do they really need control over that, as a standard? I think it's up to the individual server authors.

Again, what I object to is your comment that it should be a de facto standard to give users configurable colors and prompt. I'm not saying you are wrong to allow it, just that you are wrong to declare that it should be that way on every text-based game.
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Old 09-28-2003, 07:34 PM   #23
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I believe the basic point is that there is absolutely no real disadvantage (besides an additional small investment in developer time) to allowing configurable colors, and many advantages.

After all, a significant portion of the population is red-green colorblind.
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Old 09-28-2003, 08:37 PM   #24
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Really? What percentage, and how many of them play MUDs? Have you ever encountered any in your years of administration? And given that there are many popular clients out there that allow you to reconfigure the way ANSI is displayed itself, if you were really red/green colorblind don't you think you might use one of those and it's a tad redundant to have it on the server level as well?
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Old 09-29-2003, 04:44 AM   #25
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All of the talk about coding a "custom client" has sparked my interest in coding one. Anyone have any suggestions on books that might be good to read if I wanted to write a custom client for my MUD. I took a look on Amazon for "telnet" and "GUI", and a few other phrases, but didn't come up with anything that looked like it would be helpful.

Any ideas or suggestions would be great!
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Old 09-29-2003, 05:13 AM   #26
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vedic wrote:
1) If many clients allow the ability to recongifure what color is displayed when a specific color code is received (such as ZMUD) is it really necessary to have this available in the game server as well? If the player really wants to change the colors, they can do so with the client. But the game itself is sending out consistent information to everyone, so there's no question. Interpretation of that information is, of course, up to the client.
So what about those who aren't using mud clients?  And even of those who are, you're going to need to add colour support anyway (because there's no way that the client can know how to colour a wilderness map, for example).  So why not put that extra little bit of work in in order to give everyone the same possibilities?

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2) I'm not sure what you mean by "not knowing what the player's prompt is".
Actually I said "there's no way to know what other players prompts are".  That was in response to your statement "A game has a much more cohesive atmosphere to it if everyone's look and feel are the same".

So to put my question another way, how does it provide me with a "much more cohesive atmosphere" if Bubba the Barbarian isn't allowed to remove mana from his prompt?  There's no way that I can even see his prompt.  All it does is limit his user interface.

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Obviously you should provide the ability to configure settings in the server that are necessary (such as turning of special text decorations for blind players, as an example). But color and prompt (again, I'm talking about the hp/spell point/stamina-type prompt) should be made uniform so that the interface is the same for all users.
What possible advantage is there in forcing everyone to use the same prompt?

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Room names appear in yellow, room descriptions in off-white, wilderness/ansi-mapped room color and icons appear the same, etc., for all users.
I hate coloured room descriptions.  In fact, I dislike them so much that I would simply switch off colour if that was the only other option.  That would be a shame, however, because I like having colour for some things (such as highlighting or underlining keywords in a helpfile, differently colouring OOC and IC channels, wilderness maps, etc).

I can understand providing default prompts and colour configurations (ideally a variety of recommended/popular versions of each), but I cannot see any possible advantage in forcing people to remain with those defaults, rather than customising their own.

In fact at one point I even planned to add player-configurable score layouts, and actually created a snippet to that end.  The only reason I never got around to adding to my mud was because of time constraints and more important tasks.

Such configurable options have one of the most desirable characteristics of any mud feature - they provide useful and desirable functionality for the players who want it, without causing any impact on those who don't.
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Old 09-29-2003, 06:28 AM   #27
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Well, I've explained my reasons for my opinions (in great detail) and there is no point in explaining them again - your responses don't seem to match what I thought I said. If you can't understand them, then I guess you can't understand them
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Old 09-29-2003, 07:40 AM   #28
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Well, I've explained my reasons for my opinions (in great detail) and there is no point in explaining them again - your responses don't seem to match what I thought I said. If you can't understand them, then I guess you can't understand them
I understand what you've said, I just disagree with it, and was hoping you could give some reason for why there shouldn't be reconfigurable colours and prompts other than "there's no reason it should be changed".  Customisation adds a great deal to a game, while taking absolutely nothing away from it.  There is absolutely no reason why it shouldn't be added, other than lacking sufficient time or technical ability.  I could understand if you felt there were more important things to spend your time on, but you actually appear to think such optional customisation is a bad thing which somehow detracts from the mud!

And you've still failed to explain how my gaming atmosphere is made more cohesive because Bubba the Barbarian is prevented from adding "berserk duration" to his prompt.

As you yourself stated, "In text games, as in novels, presentation makes a huge difference...presentation provides the flavoring".  But not everyone likes the same flavours, and by forcing everyone to play your vanilla flavoured mud, you're cutting out all of those who like chocolate, strawberry, raspberry, etc.

The logical course of action for anyone wanting to run a successful mud is to let each player choose their own individual flavour.  And when that can be done without any impact whatsoever on the other players, so much the better!
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Old 09-29-2003, 09:14 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (vedic @ Sep. 28 2003,19:37)
Really? What percentage, and how many of them play MUDs? Have you ever encountered any in your years of administration? And given that there are many popular clients out there that allow you to reconfigure the way ANSI is displayed itself, if you were really red/green colorblind don't you think you might use one of those and it's a tad redundant to have it on the server level as well?
I didn't learn I was red-green colour blind until I was 18 years old, when we finally studied it in physics class.. I've met plenty other colour blind gamers as well.. not going to try to throw out a percentage, but I guess you can now say you've encountered one or something.
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Old 09-29-2003, 02:59 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by (Lanthum @ Sep. 29 2003,03:44)
Anyone have any suggestions on books that might be good to read if I wanted to write a custom client for my MUD.
That depends whether you know how to program at all.  If not, then choose a language and study it.. but I'll assume you do know how.  In which case, just search for tutorials on the net, there is no reason this side of the 9th #### that you need to spend $60 on a book from Amazon, everything is fairly simple and well-tutorialized.  you'll need a solid grasp of socket programming and a good grasp of the telnet protocol would be useful but neither require a master's in comp prog :p
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Old 09-29-2003, 03:56 PM   #31
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Anyone have any suggestions on books that might be good to read if I wanted to write a custom client for my MUD.
Gee.. Another custom client... Ok. I admit that initially I went looking around, saw KMud and thought, "This has bloody everything I ever wanted, including a mapper. Wonder if I can port it to Windows?". But I found Mushclient and got over the loss of the mapper (which often don't work well in all cases anyway).  There are a 'lot' of cheesy, low level, minimal function clients out there. I am not saying designing another one is a 'bad' thing for you, but I would hope that, if it can't compete with the top runners, you don't muddy the waters farther by introducing it to the pool of mediocre clients that already exist. But that is just my opinion. You could manage to design something truly useful, but considering the time it took to track down the one I now use and the clients I had to slog through first...
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Old 09-29-2003, 04:58 PM   #32
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One of our builders is red/green color blind. Boy did his maps come out looking funny.

In addition, the current version of zMUD displays light grey text as dark green by default. We get players logging in all the time asking why their home city is green. So yeah, as logos said, you cant control what people see.
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Old 09-29-2003, 05:00 PM   #33
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And you've still failed to explain how my gaming atmosphere is made more cohesive because Bubba the Barbarian is prevented from adding "berserk duration" to his prompt.

As you yourself stated, "In text games, as in novels, presentation makes a huge difference...presentation provides the flavoring". But not everyone likes the same flavours, and by forcing everyone to play your vanilla flavoured mud, you're cutting out all of those who like chocolate, strawberry, raspberry, etc.
On the contrary, I think I explained it pretty well. As I have said countless times, my point is NOT to suggest that prompts and colors should not be configurable, just to offer alternative suggestions for the reasons why some people may NOT WANT to do that for their games, in response to the_logos's blanket statement that all text games should have that as a standard.

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The logical course of action for anyone wanting to run a successful mud is to let each player choose their own individual flavour. And when that can be done without any impact whatsoever on the other players, so much the better!
That's the reason there is more than one game. If one game could provide everything to everyone, no one would have the need to do another and no one would play anything but that one game. Each game has its own personality, and the look and feel is DEFINITELY part of that personality. If you want to offer a ton of options to your players, that is up to you, but it shouldn't be a standard because not everyone has the same outlook on how MUDs should operate, as evidenced by this conversation.
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Old 09-29-2003, 05:02 PM   #34
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In addition, the current version of zMUD displays light grey text as dark green by default. We get players logging in all the time asking why their home city is green. So yeah, as logos said, you cant control what people see.
OF course you can control what people see. ZMUD only switches the light-gray text, not all the colors. The majority of your selections are perfectly fine. You sound like you're saying you can't control it, so why bother.
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Old 09-29-2003, 05:24 PM   #35
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[quote= (vedic @ Sep. 29 2003,16:02)]
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OF course you can control what people see. ZMUD only switches the light-gray text, not all the colors. The majority of your selections are perfectly fine. You sound like you're saying you can't control it, so why bother.
Im not saying "why bother" at all. Im simply saying you cannot control what people see. As you just said yourself, zMUD switches light grey text. Therefore, if I want someone to see light grey and their zMUD is configured in this manner, they won't see light grey!
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Old 09-29-2003, 06:56 PM   #36
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Do you have a point, other than to be argumentative?
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Old 09-30-2003, 05:33 AM   #37
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And you've still failed to explain how my gaming atmosphere is made more cohesive because Bubba the Barbarian is prevented from adding "berserk duration" to his prompt.

On the contrary, I think I explained it pretty well.
No, I'm afraid you've not explained it at all.

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As I have said countless times, my point is NOT to suggest that prompts and colors should not be configurable
Actually that's exactly what you've done - for example:

"A game has a much more cohesive atmosphere to it if everyone's look and feel are the same. Color is a big part of that."

And:

"color and prompt (again, I'm talking about the hp/spell point/stamina-type prompt) should be made uniform so that the interface is the same for all users."

And:

"The same should go for warnings (red, that is an international standard, by the way - there's no reason it should be changed)."

Etc.

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The logical course of action for anyone wanting to run a successful mud is to let each player choose their own individual flavour. And when that can be done without any impact whatsoever on the other players, so much the better!

That's the reason there is more than one game. If one game could provide everything to everyone, no one would have the need to do another and no one would play anything but that one game.
Are you suggesting that a mud should specifically aim to appeal to a smaller audience so that it doesn't attract too many players?

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Do you have a point, other than to be argumentative?
You claimed that the mud owner could control what people see. Treestump disproved your claim by citing an example from his own mud. I'm not really sure how that is "argumentative"...
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Old 09-30-2003, 12:13 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by (vedic @ Sep. 29 2003,17:56)
Do you have a point, other than to be argumentative?
My point is simply that your statement that you can control what people see is innacurate. As we established, clients choose how to display information not the MUD.
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Old 09-30-2003, 04:22 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by (Treestump @ Sep. 29 2003,15:58)
One of our builders is red/green color blind.  Boy did his maps come out looking funny.

In addition, the current version of zMUD displays light grey text as dark green by default.  We get players logging in all the time asking why their home city is green.  So yeah, as logos said, you cant control what people see.
Your kidding me right? I swear sometimes Zugg is trying to break his own client. Its like MXP. The spec clearly sates that < and > should be replaced with &lt and &gt for 'all' text that is not part of a tag, but then zMud simply ignores and displays invalid tags without processing them anyway. So someone like Nick Gammon comes along, implements an actually error checking system for MXP and people start complaining because some mud they log onto doesn't correctly show room titles like <This room>. Why? Because they tested it with zMud, didn't bother to look at the specs for MXP and 'assumed' that zMud's behaviour is correct. Ok..., if so, then why not specifically state in the spec what 'should' be done with invalid tags, instead of explicitly stating that you must changed non-tags to &lt and &gt, then not bothering to do anything if they are wrong anyway?

It is possible, since MXP is Zugg's spec that you could assume that it is the correct one. However the specification still makes no sense then and it isn't the first thing in zMud I have come across that literally failed to work according to Zugg's documentation.

Now you are saying that apparently the standard gray color that 99.9999% of all muds expect to be gray is green by default? Wonder what else is screwy with the latest version. lol
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Old 09-30-2003, 04:29 PM   #40
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Kavir: I never said that the owner could control 100% what the players see. In fact, I said several times that colors and such could be changed by the clients, and that was to be expected. I don't think that because you can't control 100% of what the client sees that you shouldn't try - if you don't want to try, why have color at all? Additionally, while you can't guarantee that the client will see everything, you can come pretty close for the majority of your users. And again, if clients can change the colors easily, why bother having redundant code in your game for players to do it there, too? I'm not saying that I agree with this, just that you don't seem to be considering ANY of this when making your statements - there are other points of view besides yours. Your argument doesn't make any sense in context.

I have been trying to present an alternate point of view (to the absolute one presented earlier), but this is going nowhere. You do it your way and I'll do it mine, and we'll just agree to disagree.
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