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Old 06-30-2002, 05:06 PM   #1
Neranz Laverani
Join Date: Apr 2002
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I am curious what steps builders take in creating an area.

Here are my steps:
1. Develop storyline.
2. Map area on graph paper.
3. Make the backbone of the area (rooms without descriptions).
4. Make the room descriptions, mobs, objects, shops, scripts and loads room by room.
5. Walk through the area. Refine any of the above as necessary.
6. Print out the area descriptions. Refine any of the above as necessary.
7. Ask someone else to review the area. Refine any of the above as necessary.

Please share the steps you take.

Neranz Laverani, Seeker of Knowledge
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Old 06-30-2002, 05:45 PM   #2
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1) think up an area idea
2) grab my book of graph paper, some writing utensils, and my fiancee. Brainstorm up possible parts to this area.
3) lay out the rooms on graph paper, along with mobs and objects.
4) See if there's any story that can be woven into the area
5) Start to lay out the area offline. This usually includes layoing out small portions, getting the room descriptions done, and then layout out another portion.
6) Make the mobs and objects
7) reset them
8) put the area up on our test mud and refine any screwed up resets, mobs, or room descriptions
9) put up area on the real mud, ask staff (if there is any) to go through area if they get a chance and give feedback
10) wait for feedback, make changes based on feedback
11) open the area
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Old 06-30-2002, 11:22 PM   #3
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I prefer building offline, so this is a lot less structured than if I were building online.

1. Think of an idea for the area.
2. Examine the world as a whole, then consider possible areas that would border the new area.
3. Find a suitable place for the new area, and start from there by smoothing from the existing area into the new area as well as possible.
4a. If area is urban or settled, conceive of basic map - streets, shops, houses, etc. Doesn't happen too often.
4b. If area is wild or unsettled, map mostly randomly, being careful to stay within certain bounds. Happens more often than not.

Here it gets messy, because then I start doing all of this at once ...

5. Write room descriptions, noting "special" rooms beforehand - a glade in a forest, a strange shrine in an otherwise featureless plain, etc. Spontaneously think of creatures and objects to put into the world; rooms lead to objects or creatures, creatures lead to objects, objects lead to creatures. Not all objects will be "useful". Think of some basic scripts for creatures. Place resets for objects while writing room descriptions; a flowery patch in the woods will have flowers that can be picked.

6. Look back over every description to make sure there aren't any spelling or grammar mistakes, and to possibly make clarifications, additions and deletions.

7. Write full scripts for creatures.

8. Grudgingly place resets for creatures and their equipment while grumbling and moaning.

9. Load up the area on the test port and walk through it with someone else to get their impressions, making changes as necessary, while checking for any bugs in scripts.

10. Link both areas, altering the old area to smooth into the new one.

11. Load up the area on the main port and watch player reaction, paying particular attention to players of the intended level for the area to see if it is too difficult or easy, making changes as necessary.
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Old 07-01-2002, 12:34 AM   #4
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I prefer building on-line using text I have created in Word and can copy over. Building on-line sets a standard and gives you the opportunity to actually provide oversight and guidance to others you are training as well as learn their behavioral characteristics.

1. Decide a theme, either needed from experience with the world or purely a flight of fancy.
2. Develop ideas of characters in the theme, objects etc on paper as notes, brainstorming, whatever.
3. Map the zone on graph paper.
4. I do room descrips first and usually advise all to do in sets of ten. I do sometimes modify the map as I go, so it's not wise to preload all the rooms first unless it's considerably less than 100 and has spares to use randomly. I'll add my mobs to first ten, extra descrips, directional looks, objects, shops, just about anything necessary to work the theme. THEN I go to the next ten. I do usually recommend a proof by a second party at this point, but I typically don't need one.
The worst thing in the world is think you're done then have to go back and add extras cause you made an "oops."
5. When all mapped rooms are finished, I go back and make sure my grammar, spelling and "fleshing" is finished and the goals of the overall theme are met as well as testing playability from a mortal perspective.
6. I review mob levels and object stats to meet the needs of whatever area the terrain and context fits in the world. Usually making the object stats has this predetermined for you by this time.
7. I create a transition zone between an implemented zone and the new zone that flows smoothly.
8. If a really complex zone, I ask another senior or even junior admin to review for me and at the very least a script expert since I'm lame with them. I also submit to our Balancer for making sure I'm not out of line with stats on objects.
9. Implementation to the players port and frequent oversight to verify playability and balance until it's not a novelty anymore.

My technique, though I wouldn't say I follow it 100% every time.
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Old 07-02-2002, 03:56 AM   #5
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I prefer writing offline in a plain text editor with a spell checker, so I can take advantage of the spellchecking, and still keep my descriptions formatted the way I want to. Then I paste the descriptions in.

My process varies slightly depending on what kind of area I am building. I will relate them in two groups, urban and wilderness.

Urban area development:
1. Brainstorming, noting ideas, sketching out maps.
2. Do in-depth research on the theme and era of the area, and write down any relevant information found.
3. Summarize the ideas and the research information.
4. Make the entire road grid map in a mapper or on graph paper. I prefer a mapper like ASCIIMapper for PC, or Mapre for Macintosh.
5. Log onto the building port, create the new zone, then map the road grid with dig, set all the room flags and such to reflect a city area.
6. Survey the map, walk around in it to see that players can easily travel in it.
7. Create all needed doors and set their state.
8. Start writing room descriptions, usually in batches around three to five descriptions per day.
9. Think up locations and establishments in the area, such as shops and their primary trade, inns and taverns, weave them into the descriptions. (Overlaps 7)
10. Once the rooms are finished, proof read.
11. Make mobiles and write any scripts necessary.
12. Load/reset the mobiles and make sure they don't spam the place with odd loads.
13. Create objects for shops.
14. Create equipment objects for mobiles.
15. Test all scripting.
16. Run the zone through zone-check and see if anything appears out of the ordinary, if so, adjust it.
17. Release it to the game port.

Wilderness area development:
1. Brainstorm and think up ideas.
2. Map a rough outline of the area in a mapper, leaving room for more rooms if needed.
3. Think up ideas for locations, such as wayfarer's rests, or whatever might be there, if it is a larger structure, the first method applies.
4. Dig the area on the building port.
5. Add in the special locations where they seem most appropriate, alter the map accordingly.
6. Start writing descriptions offline in an editor. Often begin with the rooms around the special locations, and the special locations, then write the connecting rooms last.
7. Proof read.
8. Make mobs and objects.
9. Load/reset all objects and mobiles.
9. Write scripts.
10. Check exits, room sectors, and such.
11. Run the zone through zone-check.
12. Release it on the game port.

Of course, I might not entirely follow these methods every time, especially not if I am doing other things and have to break the work up in patches.
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Old 07-02-2002, 04:11 PM   #6
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I actually just got into building and have a very different style, not only cause I'm dutch and write in English.

I like to work offline, and this is better since the mud I write a zone for doesn't use online building nor has a building port where I have access too. They do have their own editor, called muditor which is easy to easy for making zones and walking through it.
Btw I use textpad, a rather advanced editor.

What I do:
1. I think up something (preferably at a strange time
2. I draw the area (yes draw). Two sides and top.
3. I make up the history. (if necessary)
4. I make a vnum map. I don't make this on graph paper, I do this in a text file, cause the areacoordinator wants a copy.
5. I write the rooms, walk through it a few times while doing it.
(here textpad comes in handy, I can easily move to another text by ctrl-tab, so I can check my vnum map easily, so I keep alt-tab free for the mud or something else)
6. I make the mobs, set resets for them.
7. I make the objects, set resets for them.
8. Add specials, triggers etc
9. Run through it.

Whereever I'm writing I have to put the whole area in Ms-Word for spellchecking, just cause I'm Dutch and tend to make some grammatical errors. Most get out.

Greetings Dre
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Old 07-02-2002, 04:52 PM   #7
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Like many of you here, I too. start with an idea for an area/zone. I then brainstorm what kinda of area it will be, city, rural, etc. and what kinds of mobs and objects would/could be found.
I then map things out on Arcanum Editor (has a very nice mapping feature) and upload the mapped out rooms into the game and use olc for creating my mobs, object, and scripts or mprogs (we use a ROT codebase on both muds I build for).
Before getting a copy of Arcanum I would map things out on graph paper.
If I get stuck on the detail things, I do research on the net under the general theme I am working with to kickstart my brain
I think we all a general method of building that you start with and modify to suit your style.
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Old 07-03-2002, 03:14 AM   #8
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I do about 95% of my building directly in file, and am very methodical about it, always doing things in the same order. While working on a zone I get into a sort of manic state of mind, with the area in the back of my head at every spare moment around the clock. My procedure is as follows:
1. Decide on a theme and plot and do some research about it. Decide on a number of built in quests that fit the theme.
2. Map the zone on graph paper.
3. Write ALL descs in Wordpad, format the lines, trim the descs to about the same length in all rooms (it looks nicer when you move about) and spell check them in MS Word. I do this with all rooms, mobs and objects and scripts, before I even open OLC. (I have an off line Port, where I do all building). During this stage I often modify the descs, to co-ordinate the rooms, mobs and objects.
4. Make a few ‘pattern’ rooms in OLC. Then I go off line, and work in the file, copying all rooms with the same sector and roomflags to new vnums, so that I can just change the descs and exits and add extra descs when required. I set all descs first, using cut and paste, then link the rooms and add the exit descs at the same time.
5. Same procedure with mobs and objects. For instance I make one food object, one container object, one hidden portal etc, then just copy as many as I need to new vnums and change the descs. This saves a lot of work, because I don’t have to bother setting the flags on each similar mob/object.
6. Make the pattern scripts in the same way, copy to new vnums and change the command lines. Add the scripts to the mobs/rooms/objects, while at the same time I do a final check that everything is complete.
7. Make the resets. This is the only thing I usually do in the OLC, although I make some repetitive resets in file.
8. Walk through the zone, check the connections and resets (usually I have mis-linked some of the rooms).
9. Check all scripts with a mort in the off line Port.
10. FTP the files into the Game Port, and get some good player to playtest it. Occasionally I playtest with my own mort. Fix any remaining bugs and errors in the linking or scripts.
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Old 07-07-2002, 01:07 PM   #9
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I follow pretty much the same routine as everyone else. Before I even put pen to graph paper I have a clear idea of what my area will contain. Afterward I categorize the area with a particular theme or mood. To understand why I do this you must understand how I go about building.

I can't build without music. The music I choose depends on theme of my area. If my area is haunting, I'll slip on the soundtrack to Sleepy Hollow, Chillers, etc. If I'm creating another trollmoot or ork scorcher village nothing beats Conan. Once the CD begins, the music flows through my mind and released through my fingertips as I type.

Since my CD collection (450+) has nearly surpassed my video collection I'm never at a lost for the proper mood/theme music.

My all-time favorite soundtrack is Conan, but running a close second is Air Force 1 and Gladiator.
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Old 07-14-2002, 10:59 PM   #10
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I've been building for about almost two years now and I've been head builder of two differnt MUDs (one of which I currently own). Along the years I've developed a few methods of building.

When I first started building I would just think up an area then start building with random directions. This turned out to be pretty futile cause I would often find myself lost in my own areas . When it came to resets it was often hard to decide what to put where, not to mention how hard descriptions where.

Now a'days I do what most builders do:
1) First I try to think of a theme of for an area.
2) Next I get some graph paper and start figure out a design for the area and section it off into differnt parts of the area.
3) After that I map out the area on the MUD.
4) After mapping it out I put the descs in for the appropriate places.
5) I work on the MOBs next thinking which level of MOBs the MUD needs next and start to work on them.
6) I do the resets for the areas then I link the area somewhere depending on the type of area it is.
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Old 07-23-2002, 02:55 PM   #11
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I start by envisioning a cool feature or item that I can use with my own player characters, and then I create it. Then I sort of squeeze it into some non-descript location of mine, preferably hidden, so only those in the know can get it...

Seriously, no I don't do things like that. Unfortunately, too many people do.
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Old 07-23-2002, 04:16 PM   #12
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I feel so evil compared to all of you *mutter* I dislike off-line building, I like having access to any files or information I want to incorporate in my area (especially things like world history or inter-linked little questy stuff).

My steps seem a bit short too....
1) Pick one of dozens of ideas that have been floating around in my head since I decided to build or find out what needs done.
2) I rarely graph things anymore... I generally do research and dig up some ideas on things to do with web searches on topics relating to the area theme. As I dig out the rooms I have a mental map to keep me from over-lapping. It just sort of flows.
3) I also like to fill everything in as I dig and spellcheck it right away (man I love our coders for adding that feature *hugs!*). I'll go back and add more or touches here and there but generally the layout is already in my head so I pop it all in at once
4) Go incog or wizi on a few rare occasions when my muse is tickled so I can work without interruption >.< I'm impossible to tear away from work once I dive in sometimes.
5) During all this, think of wicked things that will make players hate me *cackle* erm actually, just think of neat secrets or puzzles to add for those die-hard explorers
6) Erm, add it in.

Actually, three of those steps are one and the same but look pretty all by themselves hehe. And everyone knows what a fiend I am for researching, it's the first thing I do before I create anything in my area. Some of my most evil conceptions have arrived while staring at a sinister picture
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Old 07-23-2002, 09:11 PM   #13
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Shhhh, Kyrene. Don't give away our really EVIL secrets! The youngsters who read here will think they can get away with it too!
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