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Old 10-19-2002, 05:27 AM   #1
Molly
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Recently I've added some graphic maps to our website. Not ansii maps, or the kind of directions that you see in some muds; '2n, e, e, 3s, e, n etc', but real maps, multicoloured and pretty accurate.

This is something that I've been wanting to do for a very long time. What held me back was an argument with my co-imps. We don't often disagree, but in this case our opinions clash.

I'm a map-freak myself, mainly because I am slightly dyslectic, and tend to mix east and west a lot in texts, whereas I have no problem to read a map. But also because I like to have some clue about the layout of the terrain when I explore, to create a visual picture in my mind and know that I am going in approximately the right direction.

Now, my fellow imps say that maps make exploring too easy, and that it takes away the challenge from it, so that the players will not bother to do it any more. That's where we disagree. I think that having maps will actually ENCOURAGE people to explore more, since once you get an overall image of the world, the incentive gets a lot stronger to investigate the details.

Naturally the maps don't show any secrets in the zones, (like hidden portals or secret doors), they just give a layout of the terrain, with roads, cities, forests, mountains, rivers and lakes. They show in what direction to go to find a certain zone, what roads and paths to follow and which other zones you need to pass on the way. This also gives a general impression about risks and perils along the route, since roads are mostly safe, whereas forests tend to contain both wolves and robbers. Also as a rule, the more distant a zone is located from the 'heart' of the Realms, the less accurate the maps become. It stands to reason that a big city would be mapped more accurately than the distant elven forests far off to the west.

I'd like some input on this; in YOUR opinion, are graphical maps a good or a bad idea? Do players appreciate the feature enough to make it worth the effort? Or are my fellow imps right about maps making mudding too easy, and that nothing should be visualised in a mud?
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Old 10-19-2002, 09:33 AM   #2
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I'm not really sure what your post has to do with Advanced MUD Concepts, but I'll try and push it in the right direction.

Personally I like the idea of maps, but I also like the idea of dynamic environments.  A concept I've seen done a few times is a graphical map on the website which is generated by the mud depending on the landscape.  I've also thought about the idea of implementing a system which allowed players to automatically draw their own maps as they explore, perhaps with the option of selling those maps to other players or (if they're the first person to discover a location) choose the name for the place themself (with certain limitations to prevent place names that are too silly).

Some combination thereof would be very interesting, I think.  It would be nice to go to the website and see which parts of the world have been discovered so far, and to be able to click on landmarks and find out who discovered them and at what (mud) date.  Utilising a player accounts system (whereby your mud name/password can also be used to connect to a private section of the website) you could allow access to the map only to players who had purchased a copy from a map shop (or perhaps those who had paid for membership to a library).
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Old 10-19-2002, 10:10 AM   #3
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I'm not really sure what your post has to do with Advanced MUD Concepts, but I'll try and push it in the right direction.
Excuse me for posting in the wrong Forum then. The subject has to do with Advanced MUD Concepts in the aspect that you don't seen graphic muds on many websites, except for the big P2P and a few longtime free muds. But if that is your feeling, why not move the entire thread to the Blue Hand Tavern? I'd really want to discuss maps in a broader relation than just the code aspect, so if this board is restricted to strictly code discussions, I'd prefer to have the thread moved.

As for generating mud based maps on the website, this could be done pretty easily by linking the map function in for instance the Wilderness Grid to the website, I suppose. Then the maps could grow as the world expanded. But a drawback might be that those maps might be a bit TOO accurate to make exploring fun.

I like your idea about letting the first player that discovers a landmark name it, but I think I'd prefer to name the landmark after the player instead (i.e. 'Buffo's Peak&#39. It shouldn't be very hard to implement using a script (I suppose even easier by using code, but since i am a Builder, I'm a script type of person).

The idea of giving access to the maps on the website only for players that paid for it might be a good idea for P2P muds, but I am not so sure about free muds. After all, the main idea in having the maps at all, would be to visualize the world for old and new players.
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Old 10-19-2002, 12:32 PM   #4
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You don't have to discuss coding issues, just design issues. However the idea of this forum is to discuss new directions (and advanced concepts) within muds. Many muds have maps on their webpage - so it doesn't really achieve much by just asking "are graphical maps a good or a bad idea?". Don't think in terms of what has been done - think in terms of what could be done.

Naming landmarks after players works, but I think it would be nice to expand the concept somewhat. For example, it would be nice to see "Skull mountain", then to click on it and see that it was named by Bubba the explorer, who found a pile of skulls lying skattered around there.

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The idea of giving access to the maps on the website only for players that paid for it might be a good idea for P2P muds, but I am not so sure about free muds.
I'm not talking about paying real money - I'm talking about mud money. Maps were not cheap in the middle ages, and many people were not familiar with the world outside of their village. By connecting the mud account to the website account, you could allow the players of characters who had purchased maps in the game to view the graphical website map. You could even allow character who discovered new parts of the world to receive in-game royalties for each map sold. It would provide a major incentive for people to explore the unknown.
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Old 10-19-2002, 01:13 PM   #5
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Question

A player/role-player's view:

I, like the original poster, need a map.  This is not to necessarily say that my 'character' will have complete knowledge of an area, but it keeps my player frustration to a minimum.

Especially in a perma-death situation, I will rarely (if ever) explore a game that doesn't provide me-the-player with some sort of terrain map.

Often times, building terms are very general.  In a recent game, I came across a sentence explaining about a cliff to the south.  I-the-player don't know if that cliff is one move south (close), two moves south (a bit of a jaunt away), or more moves south (on the horizon).   Especially when one 'move' can mean a single step, a city block, five miles, whatever.

In my opinion, not having a map also limits many role-play choices.  Because of my lack of OOC knowledge (or my-the-player's inability to 'visually' see directions and where they may lead) I can not role-play that hermit who has lived over yonder in those woods since he was a wee laddy (and would technically know them pretty darn well).

Let me decide how much of a challenge I want.  If I want (or need) a map to enjoy your game, let me have one.  People play MUDs for different reasons, and feel challenged in many different ways.  For me, spending two days trying to find my character's way through some winding city is NOT enjoyable.  It just makes me want to throw my keyboard at ye ol' monitor.

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Old 10-19-2002, 01:51 PM   #6
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I like graphic maps as they give me an ooc overview of what the world is like. I'm not sure how much detail the original poster has, but in the maps I've seen the accuracy has not been high. In fact I find ascii maps to be more helpful for actual exploration, it's just that graphics of any kind on a web help me visualize the world more.
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Old 10-19-2002, 02:35 PM   #7
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I love having maps! It in NO way harms my adventuring spirit; on the contrary, for me it encourages me to adventure. Wandering aimlessly around a new city or creature area, or getting hopelessly lost is not fun for me the player. Although if my character did get lost, I'd rp it out if someone came around her... regardless of whether ~I~ had a map or not. I can see the map - my character does not.

As for IG maps being rare, or something my char could obtain, make or buy from other adventurers... that sounds like a really nifty idea to me.
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Old 10-19-2002, 03:05 PM   #8
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From the perspective of a player, I love graphical maps.  The ascii maps just don't do the trick for me.  If anyone is interested in checking out a great set of maps for inspiration on how to go about building your own for your favorite game, you can visit http://www.rangerrawb.com/ranik/ and take a gander at the maps to the game I play.
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Old 10-23-2002, 05:13 PM   #9
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Heya everyone,

I'm not sure if it fits in this forum either, but I must say I got some ideas cause of this thread.

Previous named ideas are good, but especially the map selling and the landmark idea are great. At the mud where I play, people get into the explorers society if they are the first to discover a new zone.

The map idea could go a bit further then automapping. Just make a map editor mode where you can make maps and then sell them. This would cost quills and ink or something, but you could ask a lot for hardly known areas. Of course, if more people are making or copying maps they'll soon devalue. Of course a person making a map could make good money if he made correct maps, and not just someone who makes simple maps which show no secrets and stuff. As a player you can then decide if you want those maps or not. Like this threads show, some people like to have maps and some don't.

An answer on the original question: I love graphical maps, if done correctly. They don't have to show everything, just the basic things. Like towns, rivers forests perhaps one or two castles that are placed somewhere. I wouldn't put all zones entrances in it, leave that for the people to find out. They can tell each other that the entrance is in haon'dor forest and they can then look that up in the map.

Greetings Dre
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Old 10-23-2002, 06:43 PM   #10
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Well, neither automapping nor the kind of maps Nevynral has in her mud is really what I was talking about. I can see how both options might be useful for players, but to me they are not really maps.
Here's an example of the kind of maps I mean:
http://www.4dimensions.org/MAPS/medieval1.html
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Old 10-23-2002, 06:56 PM   #11
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I think graphical maps are a great addition to a players resources. While I speak only as to the feedback I've received from my players and results I've witnessed myself, it definitly seems to encourage players to explore and seems to up the "jazz factor" of it all. There's an element of satisfaction involved, I think, in seeing how the world is layed out visually (even if it doesn't always match every person's vision of it). I think mine is a little more what Molly is talking about, it's still in progress and [intentionally] doesn't show the more "elite" and secretive areas. Eventually what will happen is (and this will make more sense if you look at the map) when moving your mouse over the areas, it will not only tell you the name of the area (like it does now) but also some general storyline information. Map is at http://www.aethar.com/maps.php

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Old 10-24-2002, 05:41 AM   #12
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nor the kind of maps Nevynral has in her mud
That's HIS mud...  
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Old 10-24-2002, 02:41 PM   #13
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This may have been mentioned, but in my glance through all this I didn't see it so give me a little slack

I am the most avid explorer of the MUD I play, and I can't believe anyone would want to know what there is there to discover. The joy of finding news things would be ruined by predone maps viewable to players. As well as if you are an RP MUD, that would be cheating. How would your character know that this was out there unless he had been there? I suppose you could RP not knowing, but there are enough bad RPers out there that it would be abused. The bad RPers would have a step above the good RPers. In the MUD I play IC and OOC is vigorously maintained.

Also mine has different type of wilderness showing than most.

Sample of a 'survey' in the wilderness:
*Note: In the game the symbols are all of equal size, this looks a little distorted on the forums here.

ttttttttttTT
ttttttttttTT
ttttt*::tttt
tttttttttt^^
tttttttt^^^^

tt = light forest
TT = dense forest
:: = Prairie/Grasslands
^^ = hillands

It depends alot on your distance vision stat and race, but generally you cannot see far in dense forest or hills, a little more in light forest, and pretty far in grasslands.

Getting lost is quite easy, but it is realistic. In RL people get lost all the time. Not to mention the 6 million+ rooms. For one, a map for everyone would be HUGE. But also, no player could ever learn the terrains of an entire world. In a large world of this type it would be rediculously unrealistic to be able to know where areas of interest were.

Now as I said before, I know that most MUDs aren't like this, smaller, or not of this type of wilderness, but if your MUD is RP at all I don't think predone maps should be shown to just anyone.
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Old 10-24-2002, 06:31 PM   #14
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As well as if you are an RP MUD, that would be cheating. How would your character know that this was out there unless he had been there?
Simple; Your char would have bought the maps in a map store. People have been making maps since the beginning of history, more or less accurate, and usually those maps are meant to be used by someone else but the person that made the map.

Our mud isn't strictly RP, but we do have map stores, and the maps sold there are ansii versions of the ones shown on the webpage. The latter just have a bit more colour and cosmetics. I don't really see how that culd be defined as cheating? Sure, the idea presented by someone about only being able to look on the maps on the website, if you actually purchased the same map in the mud is neat, we might try to implement that.

As for the wilderness code, we have it too, and those online maps are neat, especially the feature where your view is blocked by trees in a forest or by mountains, unless you are on the top. But even in the real world, which is a lot bigger than any mud, there would be maps of the more interesting parts. I don't really follow your line of reasoning there either. It seems obvious to me that the more civilized parts, like cities and their surroundings, might be mapped, whereas the most remote part of a jungle or desert might not. So, even though the main part of the wilderness grid would not be available as map in a shop, the cities definitely should be.
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Old 10-24-2002, 08:28 PM   #15
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As well as if you are an RP MUD, that would be cheating. How would your character know that this was out there unless he had been there?
When I first connect to a mud, I will start wandering around after (literally) a few seconds. However my character is generally assumed to be around 15-25 years old.

In the real world I am 27 years old. I know the "areas" around me like the back of my hand, and also have a pretty good idea of the general layout of the different countries throughout the world.

When I start playing Mr X, from a RP point of view does it really make sense that I can't even find my way to the local pub, let alone to the next village?

A good roleplayer never uses OOC information IC. However it's a too-way street - if someone is roleplaying a swordmaster, you wouldn't expect them to have to demonstrate amazing sword-fighting skills in real life in order to use those abilities in the game. The same applies to all aspects of IC knowledge, including the world layout.

It is not "cheating" to know something that your character *should* know.
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Old 10-24-2002, 09:29 PM   #16
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I opened a thread, long ago, on this topic looking for advice on what type of software or tools to use to go about creating the style of maps that I believe that folks are thinking of here. Several folks helped me at that time, and I would like to return the favor with the benefit of my research.

Personally, I feel that a good graphical atlas of your world would be a powerful tool in the way of making your MUD an "advanced" placed.

The tool that I use is called Campaign Cartographer 2 Pro. Taking a look at the publishers site (www.profantasy.com) gives a great idea of what this can do for a fantasy world of almost any theme. Basically, they offer a real Engineer's CAD program that has been broken down into a user friendly format for would-be designers. Onto that frame they have added a zillion features and pre-made items all geared towards the gaming industy.

The pre-programmed features allow me to build maps in short time.

The pre-made graphics are all customize-able....thus insuring that my work will not look like a cookie cutter version of the next guy's work.

The CAD feature of "layers" provides the key component....control of information. With a simple hide/show you can toggle cities, terrain, political boundries, hidden areas, secret stuff, north-lands, south-lands, in-the-middle-lands.....basically, the same map produces a pile of tools:

A vague geographical map open to the public on the website.

A shadow-box map that shows political boundries...I can update this depending on almost real-time clan wars.

"blow-ups" of regions that can be e-mailed to players when they join the clan that rules over that region.

A master mack-daddy map that the admin and build staff can use to plan and coordinate world changes and future expansion.

I do not mean to sound like a paid ad, but I find the tool to be something that definately can help boost a game world to a higher level. With the right tool, you can better address the issues many have mentioned in this thread.

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Old 10-25-2002, 03:30 AM   #17
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Our mud isn't strictly RP, but we do have map stores, and the maps sold there are ansii versions of the ones shown on the webpage.
What about poor players who cannot afford a map? How would they buy one? Simple, they wouldn't bother, they would look at the website.

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But even in the real world, which is a lot bigger than any mud, there would be maps of the more interesting parts.
I don't know about your world, but mine has continents seperated by many many miles of water. Think Christopher Columbus. Whole new continent that most of the world was ignorant of. You wouldn't have maps of cities there most likely.


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In the real world I am 27 years old.  I know the "areas" around me like the back of my hand, and also have a pretty good idea of the general layout of the different countries throughout the world.
Well, if your MUD is medeival at all then you yourself would have a much much better education than was possible in your MUD world. You have been given a 21st century education. And even still, could you find your way from Paris to Rome afoot without road maps?

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When I start playing Mr X, from a RP point of view does it really make sense that I can't even find my way to the local pub, let alone to the next village?
I'm not talking about a distance of once side of a city to the other or even a trip a few days off. I'm talking about trying to find your way across entire countries and continents. Most people in older times never went farther than a couple weeks from their place of birth. You may if your an accomplished explorer, but you still wouldn't start out having a really good grasp, or even more likely one at all, of the next country over (and I'm talking lil European countries here).
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Old 10-25-2002, 02:24 PM   #18
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On one mud I am head builder on, we came up with an alternative to maps. We have a tourguide.

To encourage people to explore we ran a quest for the players to submit directions to areas in the mud. First person to give accurate walking directions (which were verified by the staff) for an area, were rewarded with realm quest points.

We found this encouraged players to seek out places and to explore the realm. Since many players use zmud or other advanced clients to autowalk this helps players seeking new places to explore at least get to the area.
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Old 10-25-2002, 02:37 PM   #19
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Mandrake;
The tool you describe sounds awesome, but it has one major drawback - the price. I sure as heck couldn't afford it, and I bet most of the people running free muds couldn't either.

So I use Paint. The crudest of all graphic tools, but it comes with the Windows package. No download and totally free of charge. And the maps I can make with it are good enough to fit my purposes.

Quote:
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I don't know about your world, but mine has continents seperated by many many miles of water. Think Christopher Columbus. Whole new continent that most of the world was ignorant of. You wouldn't have maps of cities there most likely.

My mud has oceans too, but you're missing one rather relevant point. In the old days water wasn't a barrier, it was the main way of transportation, the main route for all kinds of traffic and trade.

Think Old Greeks. Or think Vikings and Crusaders, if you want medieval period.

There are maps of seas too, those are called nautical charts. It stands to reason that those charts would be for sale in all harbour towns. They might not have been very accurate, but they would show the main location of continents, islands, harbour cities and known reefs. The seafarers of those periods knew well enough where they were going. They also knew how to navigate by the sun and the stars.  And no captain in his right mind would set out to sea without nautical charts.

Christopher Columbus sure didn't. The sea route to India was well known in his days. What he did was trying to find a faster sea route there, since by that time they'd realised that the world was round. Not a bad idea either, only America lay in the way. Why did you think the natives were named Indians by the explorer?

Sure serfs and peasants generally stayed their entire life in the same place. But how many of your players roleplay serfs or peasants? I bet most of them play the role of knights, noblemen, aventurers, high class clerics or thieves and Brigands. And those people got around. They were also most likely smart enough to check some maps before rushing headlong into danger.
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Old 10-25-2002, 02:56 PM   #20
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My mud has oceans too, but you're missing one rather relevant point. In the old days water wasn't a barrier, it was the main way of transportation, the main route for all kinds of traffic and trade.

Think Old Greeks. Or think Vikings and Crusaders, if you want medieval period.
True, but their maps were generally pretty inaccurate. It might be an interesting twist to give people access to the maps for their race, with each map being inaccurate in different areas (but really accurate close to home).

Of course, in ancient times you didn't have wizards teleporting around, seers who can see everywhere, or people sitting on dragons and drawing birds-eye-view maps of the world. Such magic could probably result in better maps than we're capable of today, even with all of our technological advantages.
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