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Old 10-03-2002, 11:46 AM   #1
Burr
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Could we do for descriptions what Whitney did for machinery?

1) Every creature is essentially composed of a set of parts from a predictable, larger set: abdomen, neck, head, arms, legs, wings, horns, hair, hands, tail, etc.  An amorphous blob could at least be said to have a body.  A walking tree could be said to have legs (roots), arms (branches), abdomen and maybe a head (face).  A snake has a head, neck, abdomen, and tail.  Mud creators have already developed this concept somewhat by distributing damage to particular parts of the body rather than to the body as a whole.

2) Descriptions are easier to follow if they follow some sort of logical progression (often from most obvious to least obvious and, related to that, from top to bottom).  This progression is also fairly predictable.  It generally goes from part of the body to part of the body, starting with the head and descending, often with the addition of an indicator of general size and/or color near the beginning and a conclusive statement of how the character looks overall near the end.

What I'm thinking, then, is that instead of taking you to a blank editor, the "description" command could take you to a series of description editors for each body part, one by one in the predicted order, with the option of skipping those parts that are uninteresting.  Parts that a particular character can't have would be automatically removed from the series, since they will have already chosen their race and whatnot.

The most widly applicable benefit of this is that it would likely improve the quality of the average description in the game.  A series of questions will encourage a more detailed description than a single question.  Furthermore, the standardized progression will make it easier to quickly figure out what a character.  True, it would slightly restrict the freedom of your better description writers, but only in terms the progression.  And if they are so creative, they should be able to work around that much.

Also, a player could 'look eyes Timaki' or 'examin arm Gwendolyn' to get specific information, rather than rereading an entire description.  For those creative description writers, you might even allow them to create longer versions of each body part description for when the part is examined closely.

But the most interesting benefit, IMO, is that you could have interchangeable body parts that maintain an individualized description.  You could look at the severed arm on the ground and see something other than "A severed arm lies here in the dirt."  A knowledgeable player could possibly tell WHOSE arm it is, or at least what race of creature it came from.  With the help of a good healer and some shady dealings, a player could possibly buy himself some wings or new arm to replace his severed one or whatever.  Rather than simply raising zombies as is, necromancers could build them to their own aesthetic or mechanical specifications.  This would also make coding more flexible for shapeshifter, transmuter, and (some) psionicist classes.  Rather than 'shift wolf' a shapeshifter could 'shift wolf head'.  Rather than spending 50 mana to reinforce their entire body's cells, a psionicist could use 30 in total mana to concentrate on their head, abdomen, and arms.

Anyhow, I've seen some muds that ask multiple-choice questions about eye and hair color.  And I've mentioned muds that distribute damage to particular body parts.  So I wonder if maybe they were originally thinking along the same thoughts as I but ran into problems or something.
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Old 10-04-2002, 03:18 PM   #2
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So you are talking about a dynamic Description for the character?


Instead of having players type up a description of the player themselves just have the system determine it by what they are wearing/have adjusted on themselves.

If your characters are into tattos then have a tatto shop where they can buy tattos and then add a tatto slot on the player and draw the description from there.

This is how I imagine my system working, it is rather similiar to one that has been discussed by KaVir rather often...

You see a (sex)(race) in front of you. (he/she) has (color) hair, (color) eyes, and is looking (mood). (name) is wearing; (equipment/clothes check). (weapon Description).

So it would translate into something like this:

You see a male human in front of you. He has blonde hair, blye eyes and is looking surprised. Ashon is wearing a hat, a tan colored jacket, blue jeans, and brown shoes. Strapped to his waist is a sheathe with a long weapon in it.
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Old 10-05-2002, 05:06 PM   #3
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*cries*  I just spent about 5 hours writing out everything that could possibly be outputted during the description process, with comments, as an example of how it might work.  I always thought it wouldn't take much longer, so I didn't put it in word and save it.  And now it's gone.  Gone.  Gone...

Anyhow, the long and short of it was that it would be more flexible than dynamic descriptions, because there wouldn't be standard phrases like "You see a" or "in front of you."  Rather, it works like a set of text editors, one for each feature and major section of the body.  The full description is constructed by slamming the end of one bit of text to the next to the next.

On the other side of being more flexible than a dynamic description, it would also be more work for the user.  For instance, the author of the description would have to write descriptions for his legs generally, and then one for each leg in case it gets severed off or attached to someone else, since in the first case you'd want to refer to the rest of the character, and in the latter cases you would have to talk of the leg like it was a separate entity.  However, given that all this makes the player think more about their character, and it improves the detail of the world, I don't really think that extra work is necessarily a bad thing.

Oh yeah, in the process of writing That Which Is Now Gone, I decided that it wouldn't work very well to let people choose to skip questions (though some questions might be skipped automatically; humans don't have wings, for instance).  Rather, at the end of the process, they could choose to remove answers ('descrem <description type (such as arms, head, wings, etc.)>&#39 from their full description by way of making them invisible unless someone looks directly at the body part.  (They could still give that part cursory mention in another area of their description.  For instance, they might mention their horns when describing their head.)
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Old 10-07-2002, 12:00 PM   #4
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Hmm making them write descriptions for every body part?  Now *I* for one think this is almost rediculous.  A players _race_ is what will determine these body parts so you should leave it up to your race object fill in default descriptions of what a player generally looks like.  If i'm looking at an elf the description should not mention that his ears are pointed unless i specifically look at the ears.   ALL elves ears are pointed.   Even if i _do_ look at his ears the only thing it should return as a description would be mentioning jewelry or such.

The way i see it is if every player has to have these 'extra' descriptions you are wasting a lot of memory by having it mandatory.  Also to simplify your look code you might want to do

>look <target>  <bodypart>

That way you can have any such 'extra' descriptions just in a linked list of description objects much like diku does for rooms.  This will also keep

>look ear

from looking at the set of earrings on the ground rather at bob the elfs ear.
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Old 10-15-2002, 01:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Burr @ Oct. 03 2002,10:46 am)
...

What I'm thinking, then, is that instead of taking you to a blank editor, the "description" command could take you to a series of description editors for each body part, one by one in the predicted order, with the option of skipping those parts that are uninteresting.  Parts that a particular character can't have would be automatically removed from the series, since they will have already chosen their race and whatnot.
...
What it sounds like to me is that you mean this more for the builders and not for each player.  If you mean it for just the builders it might be a kewl idea.  I don't see much more use for it other than making the descriptions a little more entertaining to read.  But, if you mean for every player to go through such a process of writing descriptions for every (or even most) body parts, I think you will lose a lot players during creation.

But, that's just my opinion.  
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