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Old 04-13-2003, 11:53 PM   #1
karlan
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Unhappy

Should the resposibility for "sanity" of an area be solely placed on a builder.

Some things definately should, For example: Exits should make sense, and except for VERY special occasions, if a player goes n, s it is reasonable to expect to end up in the same place, and there are other situations where it probably be trapped in code, ie: if an exit can have a type specified in flags (CLIMB, SWIM, CRAWL, FLY) is it reasonable to expect builders to exercise some judgment and not make it both? (this could be due to inexperienced coders who only add extra exit flags rather than an extra value, or just because it is a pain to add an extra value to a data structure and then have to translate any world files to contain this)

NOTE: this is a purely hypothetical(sp?) situation brought up in a discussion with a friend of mine, he wants to make some code idiot proof, while I agree in most situations, I also code all day at work so I am not going to go out of my way babysitting builders, who I feel shouldn't have been made a builder/admin unless you have some faith in their sense/judgement, plus I can easily think of better things to spend my time implementing.

Comments/Thoughts/Suggestions?
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Old 04-14-2003, 05:29 AM   #2
Molly
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I am not going to go out of my way babysitting builders,  who I feel shouldn't have been made a builder/admin unless you have some faith in their sense/judgement
The problem is that all Builders - even the best ones - have been new at some point of their career, and all new Builders WILL make mistakes, from sheer inexperience, if not from bad judgement.

Another problem is that the most promising and talented Builders often tend to make just as many and bad mistakes as the worst moron kind, (the ones that should never 'have been made a builder/admin' according to the above statement). The reason for this is that the most imaginative persons, (which are also the ones that potentially could make excellent Builders) like to experiment a lot. Being imaginative, they think of stuff that nobody - (sometimes unfortunately including the coder) - ever thought of before. They get this exciting idea how something could work in a zone, and then try to implement it, using skills that they have not yet honed to perfection. Simply speaking, they are using tools that they don't quite know how to handle yet.

With Builders of this kind you might end up with a totally amazing zone, that baffles players and staff alike - in the best case. Or, in the worst case, you might end up with something that crashes the Port a lot. (Most so called code bugs are actually caused by building mistakes, in particular bad scripts).

The problem is of course how tp separate the 'mad genius' from the moron. This is actually not as hard as it would seem. One look at some descriptions usually tells you if you've got a potential top Builder on your hands, or some totally useless schmuck, who'll create more problems than usable zones.

One of my own top Builders put a lot of 'cute' stuff in his first zone. 'Cheat' objects that were cheated in a much more imaginative - (and hard to detect) - way than the usual method of putting insane stats on them. Scripts that allowed a mort to use imm commands. And some other 'inventions', that I've mercifully forgot by now.

That zone had so much 'cute' stuff that I actually withheld the imm that our Builders usually get in the Game Port as a reward for finishing a zone. Even though the zone was one of the best I'd seen so far, I just didn't feel I could trust him as an imm. So I told him to come and talk to me when he felt that he had grown out of that irrestistible urge to cheat with anything that could be cheated with.

He took it quite well. He continued to build in the other Port, soon became our top expert on advanced scripts, and eventually matured enough to be trusted with an imm in the Game Port. He is now at the top level below imp, and has lately gone over to coding, to which he devotes as much imagination and energy as former to building. I guess he's well on his way to becoming co-imp. And I guess most Admin would have banned him at an early stage, for being an 'incorrigible' cheater and trouble-maker.

It just shows that the step between genius and villain is short.
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Old 04-14-2003, 03:04 PM   #3
enigma@zebedee
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At the end of the day you need some form of QA process for any form of Mud. It is really noticeable that our original ten year old areas are much lower quality than anything produced since the QA process was put in place.

In fact one of our current projects is the steady upgrade of the older areas, although that is a big job so its taking a while.

Yes, it is the builders responsibility to make all the exits link together and suchlike, but without someone checking it mistakes (both deliberate and accidental) will happen.

And don't forget the temptation to put the next biggest weapon/monster/item on the game in there...although that is less of a problem for some mud styles than others. The problem of builders putting in stuff specifically to use for cheating has already been mentioned.
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Old 04-14-2003, 08:45 PM   #4
Mahakali
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I have some suggestions to add when hiring a builder who is going to build a zone for you.

Have them map their zone as they go along to make sure rooms do not over lap (which is most important). You can map on paper, also in wordpad there are neat little boxes which you can connect to make a map of your zone. Also, when editing the zone (I'm not sure if you edit zones before they go in) have them show you their map and maybe get an unbiased mort to run the zone through a couple of times for you (you should do the same). This should help with making sure the rooms are attached correctly.

Also, there is the point of making mazes. Mazes are rather difficult to make.. Make sure that the builder has mapped the way through.

Builders should make mistakes and you should only let those who you trust build zones for your mud. What they do reflects on everyone -- I would much rather stroll through a well-described, tricky and not too confusing zone then something that looks like it came out of stock and someone was only concerned with getting to a number of rooms and not treating their zone like their own personal artwork.

Builders should experiement.. while being watched, if they are messing with code or triggers without much prior knowledge nor proof that they can handle it, well... they should work one on one with someone before being let loose.

Coders seem to be seperate from the writers -- it is rare to find one who shows skill in writing descriptions and building zones while still coding and being a master with script.

Also, we have a balancer who makes sure that there are no over-buffed monsters with amazing pieces of eq which will make one race/class way better then the rest... I think this should be watched closely, things should be kept fair... builders should be expected to avoid unbalancing the game, but mistakes do happen.

Mahakali
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Old 04-18-2003, 09:23 PM   #5
smadronia
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As a builder, I figure on one thing as far as sanity: If a person visiting one of my areas reads the room descriptions, they will have a heads up on any death traps, agressive monsters, and other things they wouldn't necessarily want to run into. They probably won't find any hidden treasure, neat items, or that little section I put in for people who read through room descriptions, but they will be able to make it through the area.

However, I've found most people never bother to read the room descriptions, and invariably end up in a death trap or slaughtered by a huge monster because they don't pay attention. I don't feel I'm responsable for those folks unless I did something foolish, like link a level 100 area off the smurfs, or something equally silly.
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