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Old 10-17-2003, 05:41 AM   #21
markizs
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That, at least, is general in all codebases. The examples, I’m afraid, will have to be at least partly code related. But most muds are based on different Diku derivates, and at least those are pretty similar. And if enough Builders from different codebases share their ideas, there should be something in it for everybody. Just skip the parts of the discussion that doesn’t relate to the code you are working in yourself. And maybe it would be a good idea if we all stated our codebases. Mine is Circle, heavily modified.
well thats the problem. our mud iz lpmud and cos that lots of things that is considered tricks are very common in lpc. ofc there can be opposite too, like things u cant make in lpmud but they can be very easy in diku derivatis. maybe. i dont know :)

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The inventive players, the one that like to read, examine, test, experiment, fiddle with the objects, climb things – (the ones I call the ‘good’ players) - are the ones that will cherish those little extras. The rest, which of course are in majority, will just play the mud like any hack’n’slash. But the beauty is that it works for both types. It just gives the smart ones a bit of an advantage – and the Mud an extra dimension.
well that is only possible kind of players for us, those hack n slashers prolly get bored and leave veyr soon, becouse you cant advance levels until you complete quests in our mud, and quests are filled with things u need to fiddle and experiment with. well maybe thats why we dont have huge amount of players. dunno. but those who stay, stay for years :)

so what i meant for more non-technical things is: like what is best size of area, what is easiest way to make area enjoyable, eg what is middle way between having almost no desc or having every thing examinable in every room and every thing pullable climbable and pushable :)
and maybe - what is best way to kick yourself out of lazyness and finish those areas in time. maybe there is a way to somehow motivate yourself better? i sometimes got problem with that ;)
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Old 10-17-2003, 11:16 AM   #22
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well that is only possible kind of players for us, those hack n slashers prolly get bored and leave veyr soon, becouse you cant advance levels until you complete quests in our mud, and quests are filled with things u need to fiddle and experiment with. well maybe thats why we dont have huge amount of players. dunno. but those who stay, stay for years :)
What can they do when they have done all your quests? Do you have anything to entertain the "top" players that have gone through every part of your game? If not, try fiddle up something fun for them to spend their time with :) Doing all the quests over again might not be a very attractive option :p
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Old 10-17-2003, 05:45 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by (Hephos @ Oct. 16 2003,17:49)
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The next thing we added was CLIMB, DESCEND and JUMP Objects, which also are Portals, but with different messages and commands. So now we can climb rocks, descend stairs or jump ravines. These things may or may not show up as objects in the room, dependant on how obvious you want the exit to be. A funny addition to our Jump Objects is that if you are riding, you have to first order your horse to jump the obstacle. Otherwise the mount just refuses, and you fly over the hurdle on your own, landing quite painfully on the ground on the other side.
Hmm this type of feature is better implmemented IMO with a "real" system. Ie, you build a shaft, ravine, or stair with rooms having special flags. And then you can use commands like climb, jump etc in connection with that.

For example imagine a shaft that is 5 rooms high. You start at the bottom and "climb" your way up using a climb skill. If you loose your grip and fall (no floor in these rooms) you fall down through the rooms eventually hitting a room with ground, and taking damage based on the speed you have accumulated during the fall.

Much more fun. (We use this system at Sharune btw).
My own thoughts on this was to check to see if the players remembered to attach a rope or the like. If they did, then all rooms exits are available. Otherwise no exits are shown and an item is added to their inventory. This item is responsible for 'moving' the player object down each room and since it can track how many rooms they have fallen past, it can shorten the time available to attempt to grab the ledge or the like. Since the idea was to make it an infinite fall, where they 'fall' past the same 3-4 rooms each time, damage result from failed attempts, success will slow them down, but not stop the fall, unless they are slow enough to dive towards the opening. If they manage that, it could either seriously hurt, or even kill the player.

Now put a mob that follows you around, is aggro and which may chase an unprepared player into the drop... Bwahahaha!

The advantage of this method is that you can literally have 3-4 players stuck falling in the drop and passing each other as they try to get out, as well as dropping out of sync, so they may not stay in a room long enough to discuss how to rescue themselves.
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Old 10-17-2003, 08:32 PM   #24
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I tend to prefer areas that are detailed, because I think they are part of the overall story, and tell the player something as well as providing atmosphere. There's a lot of good writing that I feel is part of our game's experience.  We tend to put the most detail in places that people use a lot: the Main Bazaar in Allanak, the Trader's Inn and other bars, busy streets, etc.

I'll throw out some things that we've used to add more details to the world, in the hopes that they might spark ideas for other people:

Individual tracking messages, as well as specialized items "skinned" from mobs, which can be set by race, or by npc. Mount animations as well as the ability to give your mount a name to distinguish it from all the other mottled purplish kanks in the world

Animation echoes that go off randomly - generally I try to err on the side of too slow rather than
too fast on these, because spammy, repetitive mob progs are one of my pet peeves. Some busy rooms have these as well as a few less habited places.

Weather messages and equipment status changing as a result - getting sweaty or dusty from travel, bloody from combat, etc.

Molly includes about a bajillion good ideas - we added various taste/scent/eat messages to Arm and they're fun. Players have enjoyed supplying a lot of them. We also began using dawn/dusk/assorted time checks to echo something to the room

We added a lot of sectors and the objects for which you can search on them vary according to the type of sector: one set for heavy forest, another for silt shallows. You can forage for roots/stones/salt/artifacts. Sector can also affect messages/effects from magick spells, travel messages. etc.

Scripts, scripts and more scripts for items and npcs, including things like:
being able to break bottles and turn them into weapons
being able to battle to be the Giant's Fist Champion of Allanak
the ability to seal a scroll with a signet ring
ability to have pepper-eating contests
npcs that walk regular patrols
Scripts can be written and tested by any staff member and we include web utilities for uploading/downloading them, which encourages people to do a lot of these. I have seen some just plain amazing scripts since we added the javascript capability.

Tattoos and scars that can be gained through the course of play and which can be set on individual NPCs, as well as a talk program that allows builders to set npcs to respond to keywords.

examples of animated npcs:
a snake charmer who dances with her snakes, which are objects that are referenced by her emotes and says
various dancers and jugglers throughout the game
npcs who react to specific events

We are roleplay required - so  for most of the players, roleplay comes first and foremost, -  they want that atmosphere, that richness of detail, that helps them live the story - it's a vital part for them.
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Old 10-17-2003, 08:43 PM   #25
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A lot of tricks for LPMUD's depend heavily on your mudlib. On the other hand, it's much easier to add a feature to rooms in LPC than it is in a Dikurivative.

I'll give you one tip though, Markisz, that will go a long way to improving any area: use proper and grammatical English, or whichever language your mud uses.
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Old 10-18-2003, 06:00 AM   #26
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Here’s something simple for all codebases. MAZES. Most players hate them, but we all use them, to add some space between other zones, and also to torment them a bit. But not all new Builders know how to make a Maze right, so here is a crash course:

Basically there are two types of mazes, linear or grids, representing the winding tunnels in a Dungeon or a seemingly endless prairie or forest. Mostly they are created in the same simple way, by linking the rooms back in circles, and here’s where inexperienced Builders quite often go wrong.

Linking in circles is fine, unless you do it on a straight line with too short distance between the back-linked rooms. The minimum distance is the number of rooms you can see other chars in, when looking in a direction. Otherwise you are going to see yourself, and that immediately gives the trick away. So the smallest functional maze you can make is 4 rooms, linked in a square, like this

ab
cd

To make a maze out of this you just need to link a to d both north and west, and then link the three other rooms after the same principle. Even a mini maze like this can keep some players running around in circles for ages, but of course the more rooms you use, the harder it gets. And the room descs don’t HAVE to be all similar either, even though that’s the most common. A maze can be just as confusing - and a lot more interesting - with individual descs.

We have a 100 room desert, that is a grid maze, where the rooms are all individual. The desert has a definite topography with ridges, depressions and a couple of waterholes, and because of the circle linking it gets repetitive in a certain rhythm, but basically you can wander around there forever. The desert code makes it a nasty place, where you mostly need to find some shadow during daytime, and move only at night. And it has had several players begging to be let out, because the exit is quite hard to find, and we made the entire zone !recall, !teleport and !summon-out too.

The exit from a maze is of course the funny thing to make. It can be something as simple as a closed or hidden door, but it can also be something subtler, like an invisible portal or some mob letting you out in return for a favour. Or it can be a nasty trick. Below is an example of the latter. (This maze is in our Mud School, so I am not giving any big secrets away).

----
Before they enter the Maze, the player gets the following information:
‘When you go east from this room, you'll enter a maze. It is not very large, but it can still be pretty confusing. The rooms look all the same, so it will be a bit hard to figure out where you are. The Quest is simply to find the way out of the maze. Apart from the obvious solution of just going DOWN to Recall and dropping out, of course. *snicker*’

The maze itself is only 6 rooms, linked after the principle in the example above, and each room looks like this:

In A Large Forest [ Exits: n e s w d ]
The forest is large, the trees tower above your head. Very little light penetrates through the dense foliage, not even in the middle of the day. Although there is no undergrowth blocking the view, this forest is still confusing, since every direction looks the same. The ground is covered with sparse grass, and there are several rabbit holes here, so watch your step. Occasionally you catch a glimpse of one of these cotton-tails, scampering away at the sound of your footsteps.

You can go in all cardinal directions in all rooms. Looking in any direction gives the same info: ‘All directions look the same in this forest.’

Looking up, only shows the sky above, so that is no option. Climbing the trees doesn’t work either.
Looking down gives this info: ‘A small rabbit hole leads down.’ And also shows up the usual lazy crowd of players squatting at Recall.

There are no hidden doors or portals anywhere. So how do you get out?

Easy. You go down.

One of the six rooms is different, the exit down leads to an extra room, which in turns leads down to Recall. The attentive player would notice this because of the message about the players down there. Instead of ‘You see Soandso immediately to the down’, in one of the rooms it will say ‘close by to the down’ instead.

But since this Maze is in the Mud School, we want to teach the new players to use the not-so-common options LISTEN and SMELL, and therefor we put the main clue there. So in 5 of the rooms you get the Listen message ‘You hear the wind in the crowns of the trees’ while in the room with the exit you get ‘A rustling sound is coming from the rabbit hole below. Wow, that hole is really uncommonly big!’


That's one if the things you can use the extra descs for.

----
On a side note:
There are some coded or scripted ways to make mazes too, and at least one of them is downloadable from the net. Exits get opened and shut randomly as the zone resets, so it’s never quite the same. But I really don’t like those options myself. To me it makes sense that once you have mapped a maze, you should be able to follow the same path next time you enter it. We do have one Maze however, which is scripted to give an individual path for each player who makes it through. For each individual player the path is always the same, but no two players get the same route. This was made to stop the blabbering among some players who told each other the directions, and was of course very effective. But it also took a pretty long and complicated script to set it up, and even though I am fond of scripts, I prefer things to be simple.
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Old 10-18-2003, 01:19 PM   #27
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One of my favorite mazes that I created was a mysterious town that would trap unwary players. What I did was create two identical towns. One town was a ghost town, apparently devoid of life. The other was brimming with life (mobs) who mysteriously had never heard of the wider world around them.

Players enter the "ghost" town and upon entering any of the buildings would actually be entering the "trapped" town (through one way exits). Of course players had no way of knowing they were entering a different area since they looked identical. However, they soon realize that the town is suddenly filled with citizens. However, all roads that lead out of the "trapped" town lead back in. The trick is finding the one exit in the "trapped" town that leads back to the "ghost" town, and staying on the roads to exit out (as entering a building would put them back into the "trapped" town).

This is a rather insidious maze and most players will never figure it out. (Thinking about it, I'm not sure if it even qualifies as a "maze" but it's a neat builders trick anyway.) I've found that those who do figure it out guard the secret proprietarily (probably because of all the hours of trial and error it takes to crack the puzzle). Also, I should point out that since it is so difficult, it should be put in a place where newbies can't get to and the players who do have the connections to call for help from other players to get summoned out. Even so, some will still wander in then call on the gods for help to get out of this "impossible" place. Muhahahaha!
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Old 10-18-2003, 01:51 PM   #28
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Another way to do a scripted maze is to dispense with the notion that players can solve the maze by finding a room path.

Create a scripted object with a value, and have movement – enter room – update this value via room scripts. Another way would be to set the value to the player instead of using an object. Moving north = +3, south = -3, east = +2, west = -1, up = +1, down = -1.  As the player moves the value is changed and when it reaches a specified value the object transports the player out of the maze. The formula can be made as mathematically complex as the builder wishes, for example north = x2, south = reset to 0 and so on.

In this way the players aren’t attempting to find a specified path they are trying to attain a pre-defined number. Obviously they need some help in doing this, so it is necessary to scatter clues throughout the maze, such as room extra descriptions that provide details of the various movement affects. The strange scratches upon the north wall form an identifiable pattern,  + 1. If you wish to add a random element then you can simply make the value for the object random with each load.

A second trick is to create two virtually identical mazes, but with something different in the second. Perhaps a disguised exit, perhaps a mobile, perhaps an object. Within the first maze is something that permits transference to the second and obviously within the second is something that returns the player to the first. It is an extension of the looped maze principle on a grander scale. From the players perspective they are in a single maze but in reality they are being transferred between two mazes, or more.

Both of these maze variants can be extremely taxing on the trial and error type of players, they could easily wander forever. However, with room extra clues or mob given clues – things players need to look for, their solutions can be fairly straight forward and simple. The hallmark of a good maze is when a player wanders aimlessly for ages, getting more and more frustrated, and then when they find the solution their first groaning thought is – #### that was so simple to solve.
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Old 10-19-2003, 04:29 PM   #29
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I really hate coming into good conversations late but oh well, I sort of feel obligated since it's this forum.


Esterra

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What does it feel like (texture, maybe viscosity)? What psychic impressions are felt (foreboding, delight, queasiness, etc.)? Psychic impressions (the "sixth" sense) should be used sparingly.
Sparingly is too simplistic here.  We can't predict how they'll feel unless they've chosen the activity.  A good example is fear, how do you "force" a feeling of fear on anyone using text.  Few react in expected ways so it's best to stay away from "forced" feelings unless as a direct result of their actions.
Most of your recommendations are seriously valid and I applaud them for what it's worth.

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A lot of things can be added to the OLC, to make the zones more varied and fun, and to give the Builders a much larger set of tools to work with.
Unfortunately that's a double edged sword.  It's wonderful to supremely enhance olc options but it also makes teaching a newbie extremely difficult and time intensive for seniors.  I personally prefer the olc as intricate as possible but I have to point out the shortcoming.

Molly

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Erdos is quite right that many things are easier made in code than scripts. Builders and Coders also tend to think differently, and produce very different solutions to the same problem, because they attack it from different angles. But it is when a Coder and Builder work closely together, that the best solutions come up. So, work WITH your Coder - that usually produces the best results.
Oh sooOOoo true!  Even if you have a chain of command so to speak, working with someone to make new things possible is expected of a builder.  Builders work the interactive aspects, coders make it possible and a meeting of the minds is the only way to enable this.  I would suggest also that this process include multiple functions for the same code.  An example would be something like <stay_terrain> which forces a mob keep to specific types of terrain which really decreases the ability to find a fish swimming about in a city terrain but also eliminates <stay_zone> and the necessity for <!mob> blocks.

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The next thing we added was CLIMB, DESCEND and JUMP Objects, which also are Portals, but with different messages and commands. So now we can climb rocks, descend stairs or jump ravines. These things may or may not show up as objects in the room, dependant on how obvious you want the exit to be. A funny addition to our Jump Objects is that if you are riding, you have to first order your horse to jump the obstacle. Otherwise the mount just refuses, and you fly over the hurdle on your own, landing quite painfully on the ground on the other side.



Hmm this type of feature is better implmemented IMO with a "real" system. Ie, you build a shaft, ravine, or stair with rooms having special flags. And then you can use commands like climb, jump etc in connection with that.
Pardon, but that IS a real system.  The level of complexity of context is how you discern a 'good' construct as opposed to a 'passable' one.  The more you can put into it, the more your players actually 'feel' it exists and can get into the roleplay.

the_logos

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And if you seriously think that intelligent and sharp-minded tie directly to "read descriptions", well, that's your problem I guess. Personally, I rarely read room descriptions because I don't care what that section of highway, that section of field, that section of forest look like in particular.
While I do agree the "intelligent and sharp" turn on <brief> when going over often trod landscape, it's exactly those types we cater to when we write descriptions.  The more intensely designed the area, the more often they actually read everything.  You seem to be making a presumption that connecting areas are immaterial and that's dangerous and unrewarding in a well built world from a player perspective.

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The fact is, almost nobody wants to read endless descriptions of a forest or an ocean. You can quibble with me if you like because I know that you're mainly concerned with arguing rather than truth, but that's just the way people are.
Exactly, so you answered the age old debate of should duplicate rooms exist or automagically code created rooms exist.  I know it's tedious, I know it's unrealistic, but I also know of you really want people to READ, you gotta do it.  A plethora of inane dupes breeds briefers and that voids the whole purpose of having competent builders.  I recognize the disclaimer you posted afterwards showing the difference between *filler* vs *activity_zones*  but my statement still applies.

*pant* sorry I'm so long winded guys, but this overall topic is important to me and I was dumb enough to jump in late.

Molly

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I am afraid that most examples of Builder tricks will have to be at least partly based on specific codebases, Markizs, because that is what the tricks really are. We manipulate the codebase to get an effect, that the average player wouldn’t expect.
Isn't the issue more the idea itself?  I mean regardless of what codebase you use, the idea of something like timed teleport battle mobs replaced by duplicates or composite mobs with invisible body parts that battle are just good ideas.  It's up to each individual's coder ability to enable the concepts as they envision it, but the ideas are sound and why this forum exists.

Well, too much posting in one response for the likes of my ancient buns.  Perhaps I've learned my lesson and will check this place daily, but only time will tell.
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Old 10-19-2003, 07:02 PM   #30
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Hephos

Quote  
The fact is, almost nobody wants to read endless descriptions of a forest or an ocean. You can quibble with me if you like because I know that you're mainly concerned with arguing rather than truth, but that's just the way people are.



Exactly, so you answered the age old debate of should duplicate rooms exist or automagically code created rooms exist.  I know it's tedious, I know it's unrealistic, but I also know of you really want people to READ, you gotta do it.  A plethora of inane dupes breeds briefers and that voids the whole purpose of having competent builders.  I recognize the disclaimer you posted afterwards showing the difference between *filler* vs *activity_zones*  but my statement still applies.

*pant* sorry I'm so long winded guys, but this overall topic is important to me and I was dumb enough to jump in late.
Hey i didnt post that. Someone else posted that...
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Old 10-19-2003, 08:51 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by (Iluvatar @ Oct. 19 2003,16:29)
A good example is fear, how do you "force" a feeling of fear on anyone using text.  Few react in expected ways so it's best to stay away from "forced" feelings unless as a direct result of their actions.
I may be in the minority, but personally I enjoy reading feelings or "vibes" in a room and haven't had any complaints (what I call the "psychic" sense). For example, you walk into a sacrificial pit for a dark god and read as part of the description "Despair and fear vibrate in the air." I've never heard of anyone feeling "forced" by this. Or even: "The statue of the ancient god makes even the most hardened heart flutter at the majesty." (Note: I don't mean things like "You walk into the room and feel fear." I never use the first person.)

In any event, I've heard arguments about never forcing the players what to feel (though I could indeed force them by progging a fear affliction upon entering the room, but that's another story). But, in my opinion, this view taken too far leads to missing out on some descriptive fluorishes which enhance the atmosphere of areas.
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Old 10-20-2003, 03:46 AM   #32
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I love the way you can sometimes make bad building work to your advantage. A badly linked maze from one of our less skilful Builders inspired to this room – the one-room maze:

The Mirror Room
[ Exits: n e s w u d ]
You are in a room completely covered in mirrors. All the four walls, even the ceiling and the floor are covered in those mirrors. Looking in any direction you see yourself staring back at you, reflected over and over in the looking-glass... As much as you enjoy looking at your own face in a mirror, this mass effect is getting kind of unnerving. What if suddenly your own reflection jumps out of the mirror and stabs yourself in the back?

Looking in any direction naturally produces the exit description:
You see your own reflection in the mirror.
You see Molly immediately to the west (or whatever)

For once this nonsense makes sense, hehe.

To get out of the room you naturally just ENTER MIRROR

And eeeew... I used the dirty word YOU... several times...
And I told the player what to think too...
(To tell the truth, I do that a lot. I always thought rules were meant to be broken)
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Old 10-20-2003, 06:50 AM   #33
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Oops, sorry Hephos, it must have been the_logos along with your comment and I get confused over which is which often.
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Old 10-21-2003, 06:42 AM   #34
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This was made to stop the blabbering among some players who told each other the directions, and was of course very effective. But it also took a pretty long and complicated script to set it up, and even though I am fond of scripts, I prefer things to be simple.
there is one very good salution for those kinds of problems.
to make puzzle little different for different players, turn theyr name into ASCII values, sum them up, and then split players into groups using those sums. then when player enters maze you check his ascii sum, and provide exits depneing on group he is in. if there is like 10 groups players will never figure out where is the difference that splits players :)
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Old 10-21-2003, 02:55 PM   #35
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md5 hashes are much more unique
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Old 10-21-2003, 07:19 PM   #36
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md5 hashes are much more unique
How can something be much more one-of-a-kind? Either something is unique or it is not unique.
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Old 10-22-2003, 08:26 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Iluvatar @ Oct. 19 2003,16:29)
I know it's tedious, I know it's unrealistic, but I also know of you really want people to READ, you gotta do it.  A plethora of inane dupes breeds briefers and that voids the whole purpose of having competent builders.  I recognize the disclaimer you posted afterwards showing the difference between *filler* vs *activity_zones*  but my statement still applies.
Nah, it's not having duplicate descs that breeds 'briefers', it's having a lot of rooms with no important or pertinent information. It doesn't matter how good a writer you may be; if I'm just trying to travel through a forest, I am not going to stop to check the shimmering morning dew upon the leaves every time I pass through. When travelling or hunting for opponents, all the extra descriptive text becomes background noise and the player often chooses to get rid of it, looking for the signal, which is usually the room name and the exit list, plus any objects or creatures in the room. For this reason, standard Dikus should probably stick to very short descriptions except in important rooms, so that players know when they're seeing something significant. In more advanced muds, you might have a level of detail system that reveals more information about a room the longer you stand there.
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Old 10-22-2003, 10:24 PM   #38
Derk
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Whats wrong with making important things stick out as actual items for once?

You see: A large tree.

While you are at it, why not have some sort of analyze command...

>analyze tree
You see a tree
You can push it
You can climb it
It looks like you can burn it

Heck, whats wrong with making mobs you can analyze?

>analyze jewler
he appears to be looking for an item
he wants to talk about beer

snicker
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Old 10-22-2003, 10:57 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Derk @ Oct. 22 2003,22:24)
>analyze tree
You see a tree
You can push it
You can climb it
It looks like you can burn it
I'd prefer that players have to figure out what to do with the tree rather than having an analyze command that tells you all possible manipulations. What if you have to thump the tree to make a bird egg drop to the ground that's needed for a quest? I'd prefer players figure that out for themselves or find clues rather than just having them analyze a tree and get a message "You can thump it."

Quote:
Originally Posted by (Derk @ Oct. 22 2003,22:24)
Heck, whats wrong with making mobs you can analyze?

>analyze jewler
he appears to be looking for an item
he wants to talk about beer
Ugh. I think its much more interesting to interact with a mob to find out his motivations or any quest. Wouldn't this be more fun:

>greet jeweler
Jeweler says, "Hello, mate! Hey have you seen a mug around with a picture of a big ole moose on it?"
>say what about the mug?
Jeweler says, "My moose mug? It's my favorite drinking mug! Beer seems to taste better in it. If you've seen it, I'll pay ye for bringing it back to me.
>say so you like beer?
Jeweler says, "Beer! It's my favorite beverage. If you find my moose mug, I'll pay you for bringing it back, but I'll pay you even more if its filled with beer!
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Old 10-23-2003, 04:03 AM   #40
Derk
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That is exactly my point.. thump tree? What if I tried kicking the tree, punching the tree, hitting the tree with a sword, running into it with a jeep, grabing a bull dozer and smashing it, shooting peas at it... or ####, climibing it and grabing the egg myself.

...gave up and quit your mud cause of all the possible commands I didn't try thump? I knew there was an egg.. I wanted it so I could get my +3 sword to go kill someone.

Not everyone really cares and wants to read, examine, try every possible thing on every mob/item/hint in a room description in the entire world.
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