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Old 11-03-2006, 10:31 PM   #1
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When you're writing a zone, do you prefer heavy guidance from a head builder/IMM, or would you rather be given general guidelines to work off of? Or would you prefer no guidelines at all?

To me, heavy guidance is when they would say something like: "I want a forrest area between 400-410 rooms. It should be made of small silver-barked trees, there needs to be an abandoned village in the north-west corner, and in the south-east corner you need to include a graveyard. The graveyard should take up 25 rooms and is made up of large headstones, and tall statues of various mythical beasts--don't include dragons, though. The Village needs to take up 50 rooms at least, but not more than 80. I want two quests involved in the area, and they should tie into the history files that involve the elf/goblin wars."

general guidance is along the lines of: "I want a forrest zone that's about 400-500 rooms, two quests involving the elf/goblin wars and a little graveyard. The forest is made up of short, silver trees."

No guidelines: "I want a forrest of silver trees. Run with it."

My personal feelings are that I'd rather have the general guidelines, and I dislike having no guidelines more than the heavy guidance unless I'm -really- familiar with that MUD.
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Old 11-04-2006, 10:02 PM   #2
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A general set of rules I've used for building departments I've managed in the past:

1. Give them the brief synopsis. Example: A large forest with several different animals (example of animals would be those found in South America. Research those found there). Possible room for growth in the southeast parts of the forest. The trees are all very huge, as it is an ancient and very old forest. Try to incorporate a few fallen shrines and temples throughout the forest.

2. Allow the builders the chance to be creative. Example: Don't set everything in stone. Give them a brief synopsis and slowly manage them as they work through their areas. Read behind them as they go.

3. Enforce good grammar and literature professionalism. Example: Make sure they aren't using rooms from their previous places of employment/volunteer work. Praise them for good work as constantly as possible, and if you find a mistake, tell them where it is and how they can fix. Say this only once.

4. Encourage the use of a dictionary and a thesaurus. I typically enforce both. Even though it is okay to see the same descriptive word throughout the given area, there should be at least a 10 room split between them.

5. Make sure they are rewarded for their good work. If workers are not rewarded, they tend to disappear. And make it possible for progression through a series of rewards for each project they finish (large-scale only).
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Old 11-05-2006, 10:29 AM   #3
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I would say a medium level of guidance for the first area or two, if you're starting a fresh game.

If you're game is running and you just "promoted" a player(which one would assume that means they understand your storyline), or it's a new game but they've already done a couple good areas, then I would let them design their own areas and then approve(tweak if needed to fit in) the design and let them goto town.
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Old 11-06-2006, 11:12 AM   #4
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I hate doing a project, getting done, and having to do it again, or have someone else start mucking with it because it doesn't conform to what they expected or what they would have done had they done it themselves.

Therefore I want a lot of guidance at the beginning and positive feedback at the end. I want to be set up to succeed.

Step 1) I want to have samples of my work looked at before I come on board, so it's a given that my abilities and style are a good match for what the project requires.

Step 2) I want to know exactly what it needed, what to do, how to do it, and how much time I have to get it done. I want to have a discussion, shoot ideas back and forth, make sure we're all on the same page.

Step 3) When I turn in my work, unless I went crazy and completely forgot what we agreed on the only changes I want to hear or see done are technical editing, like wayward commas and tense agreement.

The most frustrating experience I had as a builder was working with someone who found rewriting other people's work more fun than starting from scratch, and someone who while they liked and appreciated my work, had very specific expectations they weren't communicating.
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Old 11-06-2006, 04:47 PM   #5
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Heh - I was the one who frustrated Fifi (poor girl, but she was a very good sport about it), unless I had a twin somewhere she worked with and I don't know about that!

I LOVE rewriting. Love it. I love it more than writing from scratch. I get some kind of morbid, macabre kick out of fixing the mistakes of others. I would rather fix them, than tell the writer how to fix it themselves. It takes less time too, because there's no discussion required.

Because of my personal preference (which I admit is very strange), I prefer very specific guidelines and even a map of the area already done in Excel or similar. Give me a map, show me where the mountain cliffs rise from the forest's edge. Tell me where on that map you want to see a lake, and tell me the shape of the lake, and what swimmers or boaters or fishermen will find in it. Tell me what kinds of animals live in the area - at the very least, direct me to a site of animal listings and let me pick from that list your very specific number of types you want.

Basically, what I like, is for the director (head builder) to tell me the story and show me the map, and I will turn the story and map into rooms. But really, I much prefer rewriting someone else's stuff. It's just one of my little quirks - with apologies to Fifi for making her life miserable for a few months <hug>
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Old 11-10-2006, 12:01 PM   #6
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I love building, so when someone gives me a detailed concept of an idea, i can totally just go after it right away... the only issue is when i do get those particular guidelines, it generally means my interpretationof them wont be good enough and ill have to redo everything from scratch, which is a PITA! (because when someone has such a clear image of what they want, its rarely the same image that i get when i see it in my head)

So, i really like to have a general guideline in there and the freedom to express my own creativity a bit too, without having to worry about it getting gutted right off the bat!
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Old 11-10-2006, 12:14 PM   #7
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In addition, when i get asked for a project, i would really like a few adjectives that describe the FEEL, the ambiance, of the area... a silver-treed forest with a graveyard can be a thousand things:

a softly lit realm of subtly luminescent trees, fireflies and peacefully quiet tombstones

a forest filled with twisted, gnarled trees glistening silver from the toxic fumes that waft from the thousand mucky sinkholes that have developed from the improperly buried dead in the decrepit graveyard nearby

a lively forest of silver birch and aspen filled with the joyful cacopony of birds, squirrels and other small game as they skitter about the ancient tombstones, looking for food.

so if someone isnt very specific about how they want their forest to feel, it can suddenly turn into something completely unexpected just because of a change in ambieance
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