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Old 06-12-2008, 11:21 AM   #1
Lescha
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Question Adding New Features to Games

In all my time playing MUDs, I have never encountered a game which allowed new features (like: abilities, or character classes, or monsters, or items) to be added. The closest I can think of, is NetHack because its source is available and you can change/recompile it or create new games based on it. But that requires programming skills.

Am I wrong? Was there a game like this?
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Old 06-12-2008, 12:59 PM   #2
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Re: Adding New Features to Games

You mean like a PC game? Well... There are ones like Never Winter Nights I & II, which are meant to allow it, since its a simulation of AD&D. And there may be some others, but yeah, for the most part the idea of user modding is fairly recent, with most older games having been designed to play through once, then that was it. There are exceptions, like I think there was an early game from the era of Ultima I, II and III that "allowed" development of your own games, but it was pretty damn limited, and you couldn't substitute graphics too easy.

As for needed programming skills... Its kind of hard to do it without that, unless you limit what you can do by a rediculous amount. In general, if something is to be truely unique, you kind of have to be able to adjust its behavior, which may mean something like what ProjectEQ and the EverQuest I emulator does (databases and code), or something like GameMaker, where you start entirely from scratch.
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Old 06-12-2008, 05:05 PM   #3
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Re: Adding New Features to Games

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lescha View Post
In all my time playing MUDs, I have never encountered a game which allowed new features (like: abilities, or character classes, or monsters, or items) to be added.
What kind of MUDs have you played?

In all my years playing MUDs, I have never played a game which DIDN'T allow new features to be added. I cannot even imagine a MUD that wouldn't allow new features, nor can I imagine how such a mud would have any players.
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Old 06-13-2008, 06:13 AM   #4
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Re: Adding New Features to Games

I'm wondering if the OP didn't mean -player- added features. He did say MUD, and I've never played one that didn't at least sporadically if not constantly add features.

I can't even being to imagine the admin nightmare, though, if players were allowed to mod a MUD as a standard feature.
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Old 06-13-2008, 10:38 AM   #5
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Re: Adding New Features to Games

A pretty basic example of this would be crafting. Don't IRE games let you create new item templates?
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Old 06-13-2008, 12:06 PM   #6
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Re: Adding New Features to Games

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Originally Posted by Disillusionist View Post
I'm wondering if the OP didn't mean -player- added features. He did say MUD, and I've never played one that didn't at least sporadically if not constantly add features.

I can't even being to imagine the admin nightmare, though, if players were allowed to mod a MUD as a standard feature.
Not sure that would be any worse than GMing an RP area in Second Life. Seriously, they ban use of badly scripted weapons, only allow those compatible with "their" combat system, which includes things like restrictions on how many bullets they can fire and how much damage they do, and don't allow certain classes of shields and other "tricks", due to script overhead, more than anything else. Everything else goes, since it doesn't directly effect the combat elements that are used. The only real requirement being that you RP to the theme of the area.

The only real issue with a mud is that its "way" bigger, you probably have more than 40-50 people average in it at a time, the theme is "way" more strict, and there is no direct "visual" means to detect of the weapon in question is simply wrong for the area. I.e., you have to be in the same room to see it and what it does, where in SL you can be the equivalent of 10 rooms away, see something really odd, and go, "Wait, that doesn't look right..."

Wonder though. Since everything in muds, usually, get fed through a sort of command buffer, couldn't someone make a mud with a kind of watchdog system, where all effects, commands and results, etc. get funneled both to the rooms they happen in, and a sort of "security" account? That way a person could "watch" things happening in any place where large numbers of people are congregating, without "going there" and missing something some place else. Someone uses some user made item that does 10,000 points of damage and instant kills, that could throw a warning up through such a system, along with where the person using it was, etc.

Servers, unless your running it on something *ancient* should be able to handle something like that in this day and age, and from there, one of the "watchers" could pop into the normal mud traffic and have a direct chat with the offender.

Anyway, just speculating on how you could get the same, or better, sense of "overview" of what is really going on in a world than a full 3D system could provide, so you could keep track of items a player made.
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Old 06-13-2008, 03:50 PM   #7
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Re: Adding New Features to Games

I'm a little surprised by the question as well. My understanding is that most MUDs have always been in constant development. In RetroMUD, for example, where I play most often, players often, when they're ready to retire, become coders themselves, adding more and more features to the game, so we tend to see new areas come in almost twice a month at times, and new guilds, features, and the like pop up constantly. In the last year we've gotten caravan guard quests, capture the flag arenas, unique weapon mods, and a number of new secondary and tertiary guild options, to just name a few and ignore all the expansions of areas and things of that nature.

Other online games, besides MUDs, will also update regularly, often by periodic patches, and non-online games will often release expansions and such things for sale to add to the game after the original release. If you want direct modification, many non-online games have MOD communities of people who create their own adaptations to the games, while MUDs may in some cases have ex-players or current players enlisted as coders in order to expand their content. MMO's and such, however, typically don't enlist their player bases for anything more than just testing of new content.

So. . . yeah, I suppose a little clarification in the question maybe? Thanks.
-Kereth
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Old 06-14-2008, 07:18 AM   #8
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Re: Adding New Features to Games

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lescha View Post
In all my time playing MUDs, I have never encountered a game which allowed new features (like: abilities, or character classes, or monsters, or items) to be added.
Many muds allow a certain degree of player-built content, but such content obviously has to be carefully restricted to avoid upsetting game balance. Of course this isn't true of all muds; I once played a MOO where I was able to add a whole variety of new content - but because there was no combat or competitive gameplay, balance wasn't a concern.

But for those muds with hardcoded mechanics, there are still a variety of ways in which player-built content can be introduced, and most modern muds include at least some of these.

Crafting systems (as mentioned by Ide) are a good example. These obviously vary greatly from mud to mud, but they typically allow players to design (or at the very least customise) their own equipment.

Another example would be the spellbooks in GodWars1, which allow mages to design their own spells. I know other developers have worked on similar approaches, although I'm not familiar with their solutions.

Many muds also allow a considerable amount of character customisation, effectively allowing players to create or customise their own class. The character creation system in ROM is a fairly typical example.

You may also find the following related discussions of interest:
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