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Old 01-24-2003, 10:49 AM   #1
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Of late we have had a bit of restructuring in theory on our builder's port. We have around 250 areas being worked on, and about 200 in play, but there are a TON of geographical inconsistencies in them; rivers popping up in the middle of nowhere and then stopping, mountains springing up out of nowhere, roads that make no sense, references to things being near that are across the continet, etc.

So, our latest plan is to actually plan out areas in rough form, or at least things that we'd like to see, and making a big list, and as people need/want new areas, they get something from the list which is planned, instead of just building whatever, and then getting it "plopped" into the world nad making it fit, instead of making sure it fits in the first place.

Have any other muds started doing this (or always done it), and how's it working in general?
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Old 01-24-2003, 12:18 PM   #2
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While I almost always prefer “planning” over “plopping,” a lot of it really does depend on your game and its mechanics.

a) Is your world a place where area after area is just another jumble of useless text where players go to mindlessly kill mobs and max their characters out to oblivion?

 If the answer is yes, then your players are probably not paying attention to anything more than the string of directions they need to enter an area with good-exp mobs. Chances are they are not even bothering to read your room descriptions and hence, are clueless to the discrepancy in your world geography.

b) Is your world a place with an emphasis on character development and role play, where areas are not just a few room descriptions duplicated into hundreds of rooms that are best for leveling? Do they contain detailed descriptions, hidden objects, extra descriptions, progs, and things of that nature? Are they meant to be read and appreciated?

 If the answer is yes, then you probably want to be working your hardest to weed out inconsistenties in your world layout. Unfortunately, in a world with multiple builders, there are always going to be differences in building style from area to area (personally I prefer a consistent world with one or two like-minded builders providing a consistent and worthwhile world; or, one in which builders are responsible for separate continents [if a world includes such] which helps to explain away differences in building styles within a single Mud --while diversity in a world is good, oftentimes a multitude of builders working on a multitude of different projects lends itself to creating the type of problem you explain) having a world where the geography is consistent, where things described in the rooms are actually there, and where cliffs and oceans don’t just drop off the face of the earth is paramount to me. As a player who actually reads room descriptions, inconsistencies can make or break a playing experience for me.

It all comes down to how you want your world to come across to your players.
While having a set world geography or world map or “list” of things that need to be built might be a turnoff for some builders who wish to implore their own ideas and fancies solely into an area… in the end you must decide what is best for your game, and your players.
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Old 01-24-2003, 12:33 PM   #3
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Honestly bro, I think you need both. Have your group of people that does the planned stuff. They meld inconsistent areas. They build onto already established trade routes and waterways, they build new cities atop the old, etc.

Then you have your group that handles the plop-ins, not all people have eyes for details. Some people simply cannot follow another's schemes.

Lastly, and totally optional, you can have a "brush-up" team, that goes along and fixes up the older areas of the game, the ones that need a bit of a boost, or simply the ones that you feel may have changed over time and over constant pillaging by maurading adventurers.

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Old 01-24-2003, 01:21 PM   #4
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We are doing something related, but I am going about it in a different way. I let my Builders create whatever zones they like, because people always produce a better job when working with something they have chosen themselves and really feel for, rather than having been assigned a task.

Then I take it on myself as Head Builder to ensure that the zone fits into our overall world. If it needs a ‘travel zone’, like for instance a forest, a mountain range, or a long road, to fit in, then I build that travel zone myself. Or I provide a large grid, which is like a basic world map, where the new areas can be fitted in the appropriate slots.

It is always a good idea to visualise the world for yourself and your builders by making maps of the world; both global maps and more detailed ones. It makes it easier for the Builders to refer to other zones, if they know the general location of those zones on the map. Also this often makes them more interested in the general layout, and consequently more liable to work those references into their zones. And last but not least, the maps are much appreciated by the players, since it makes it easier for them to find their bearings.

There are of course several ways of producing these maps, personally I use the simplest of all tools, Paint, that comes with the Windows package. It’s easy to use, easy to update the maps as new zones get added, the map files don’t get overwhelmingly large, which makes it possible for instance to share them by mailing them to your builders, if you don’t want to put them on your Website. And the maps look amazingly good for such a crude tool.

There are some examples here if you want to check them out.
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Old 01-25-2003, 04:28 PM   #5
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I agree with Molly on this one. Giving the builders a bit of free reign helps keep them interested in the area. As my mud is in development still and no areas are linked yet we are focusing on getting various geographical type zones built (i.e. swamps, grasslands, Mountains, coastal areas) Either myself or my co-owner will be doing the actually travel zones that link the areas to one another. We have a conceptual map of the world set up that we are using as a guideline. We also have a history in place to give our builders a frame of reference when building to keep them in with the overall theme of our realm.

But as you already have areas in play, Chapel had some good suggestions. Break your building staff into teams and have some generate new areas, some do as I put it "clean up" , and others work on areas to blend the inconsistancies. Be flexible enough to allow people to switch what team they are on as clean up can be boring, or maybe they have a good idea on how to blend things.

Just my opinions on the matter.
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Old 01-28-2003, 10:08 PM   #6
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Woo, lot of RP-based people posting on this one...

I'm just getting started rebuilding the world for the I'm redesigning, and I'm just getting a few builders to come back and give the place another shot. I've always given the players free reign over whatever they want to build (mainly because my MUD has always been based on very complex combat structures rather than anything even vaguely looking like RP), and even though the Mud has no coherent design that really EVER makes sense, the players love the challenge of figuring out how to take out that mob on the other side of the mud that has that gun that might or might not be rot-death that always kills them in one shot, and being alive or with a portal ready to take them back to that Mob to snatch their new booty and high-tail it out of there before he respawns and kicks the #### out of them.

So I like haphazard building. No, it's definitely not going to follow a storyline. But it's hilarious to watch the players scream about the inhumanity of the world

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Old 02-09-2003, 03:24 AM   #7
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Planning definitely goes a long way if you're building for a PK mud, since rooms affect the skills, and the way they're joined affect escapes.  For example, if you use a lot of sector air, and you put that area near the main hometown, the flying races get cheesy escapes - if you put a river in the town, its also going to be easy as pie to sit on it and screw up the fighters who can't dirt kick on it, and give thieves the advantage of able to steal boats off people on them.   The problem with long, samey roads and rivers is they make tracking difficult, especially when you have things leading off the sides (my mud has a crossroads on the eastern road at the moment ..and its very easy to lose people there).  So planning is necessary right down to the rooms themselves.  As for the overhead view of the lands, to please the RP-ers you want everything fitting nicely together, so you got a cleverly designed little world, example would be, drows being pretty far demographically from the elves I guess, and mountain ranges, swamps in the east...  I don't think a pkiller really cares about the general map much, as long as he knows it and it doesnt severely hamper him with stuff like tons of straight spamfest runs.  I don't know if this is the kinda thing you're looking for but. did mention your game is based on complex combat structures.

edit: bah, responded to the wrong person i think
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Old 02-09-2003, 04:22 PM   #8
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Builders need freedom- you can't give them really precise guidelines on an area and then tell them to build it. Their building comes from the picture of an area that they hold in their head, and if you try and superimpose your image onto them, it won't work. It's like seeing the movie before you read the book.

However, you can give loose guidelines. For example, you could draw up a map and then say "Alright, this area here is mountainous, so we want areas to fit accordingly- high hills, underground caverns, and so on. This here is a forest, so areas have to have trees. This is between some mountains and the sea, so if you want to put in a river, you can." And so on. That way, the builders have their creativity, but you can still plan areas.

Assigning teams is a good idea too- you could give each team a sector to work on, and suggest that the builders talk to each other to sort out continuity. If it was a forest area, the team could discuss tree types- oak trees suddenly cutting to maple wouldn't make sense, because of climate, etc.

Above all, make sure your builders talk to each other! That way if there are any inconsistencies they can be sorted out before the areas are released.
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Old 02-09-2003, 08:27 PM   #9
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I would suggest creating a map with rivers, mountain ranges etc already included then let your builders build whatever they want as long as it fits theme (if you have one). It is then up to the head builder to put it into the world in the correct place. I wouldn't 'plan out areas and assign them', rather just ask them to keep the terrain in mind. I've been on two muds that use this method successfully and one that just plopped creating a rediculous world (although there has been some effort to fix it).

For an example of a comprehensive map look at the labelled mat at

Building Manager
Legends of Karinth
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Old 02-10-2003, 05:54 PM   #10
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Here this may help it's written by the IMP of Adentures Unlimited, ( we had problem liek that mostly hen we wne t from stock to a mor orignal layout (we still have work to do to clear up the rest of the stock areas though.

A Useful Article About Infrestructure
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Old 02-18-2003, 01:12 PM   #11
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An awful lot of good suggestions and it really does relate to the type of Mu* you build for. If perchance, your focus in on player interaction with the world then you do need to do a reasonable amount of planning for the purposes of "consistency and context" between areas. By reasonable I mean there is some coordinator who has a good image of the whole world and oversees zonal placement and can provide guidance to others for context.

In explanation:

--I oversee our whole world (similar in size to yours) and it's divided into 4 continents plus some extraneous areas. I use maps, zonal review, feedback from proofers and builder wishes to guide zonal locating to keep context.

--We have 4 continent managers to do the maps, provide advise to builders and do the connections as needed. Each has a team to work with OR evaluates and selects zones based on new builder's wishes for a location.

--Both the teams and senior builders are increasing size either by proofing or looking for neat zones to add and incorporate into their respective continents while they are in progress.

With a "world interaction" focus, a zone can't be just "plopped" down anywhere but there are numerous opportunies to guide the builders so the end product fits where itended or needed. Our builders have free reign to do the zone of their dreams and interest with the only unusual oversights being will it fit contextually or balance-wise near where they wish it to be placed. If not, the zone is modified by the builder or it goes elsewhere if at all.

While I think a "mob interaction" or "pk focus" Mu* doesn't need to deal with these issues as much as a whole, as a builder, the idea of "unplanned plop" bothers me. A zone sets a stage, the room defines progression within that stage and the tone of it sets the mood for the final encounter with the boss mob. World exploring progression from one zone to the next should never be snow-covered instantly to the depths of #### just as you shouldn't find it reasonable for a newbie zone to be adjacent to an expert zone as a the result of plopping.
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