Re: MUD essential features

From: Ben Cartwright (
Date: 08/30/00

>-- Scissors, Paper, Rock
>I'm sure you all know the game. In an overanalytical, bad martial-arts movie sort of way, it is a commentary on life. The scissors defeat paper, yet are brought low by the rock. And yet, the very same paper can defeat the rock! (forgive me, folks. It's 2:00AM. I should be in bed.) This sort of situation would work well in a MUD, (IMNSHO) as it would basically force players to co-operate, and would contribute to game balance. Whether the scissors-paper-rock effect is in terms of weaponry, races, classes, or the 'combat style' mentioned above is something I could go into at length (even by my standards) but I'd rather save wear and tear on my optic nerve and my keyboard by letting you guys worry about it.

   I've been coding a battle system that goes along those lines.
Hit, bash, dodge, parry, kick, flee, cast... start out with the basic
actions, or techniques, you could use in a fight, get those balanced
against each other, and then add more techniques, and then factor in
race/class/equipment/skill aptitude.  It takes a lot of time and
planning to get such a system of counter-balances to work right,
especially in a multi-user environment.  For example, look at - basically a multi-user paper-scissors-
rock game; in their recent updates they've tweaked how the 'cower'
technique works.

   The point I'm trying to make is that you've got a royal mess ahead,
if you're going to develop a system of checks and balances from
scratch.  I'd say at least 10 times more work in balancing than coding.
Such a battle system is high-maintenance; imbalances will arise.

   I'm not discouraging it at all though, I for one think it beats
the stock battle system hands-down.  Slower, less spammy (read: no
triple-attacks + haste ;-P) battle systems in which actual strategy
is involved, are refreshing.

   Also, it opens the door wide for NPC "AI".  Most NPCs inhabiting
hack-n-slash MUDs are limited to WIMPY, AGGRESSIVE, and NOBASH flags;
and the rare spec proc or DG Script if they're lucky.  Instead, all
NPCs could have a function pointer to a certain fighting style.
e.g., in pseudo-code:

function NPCAI_fanatic_guard
  // ignore my own safety, I care only about protecting my lord
  if lord is being attacked, then
    rescue him
    attack an opponent

function NPCAI_coward
  // self-preservation above all else!
  if my Hp are low, then
  else if someone is attacking me, then
    dodge their attack
    if there are guards to call, then
      call the guards
      attack an opponent

The actual code would probably be more involved... a mob could
react differently if 1 player was attacking it versus a group
of 10, differently if it was blind, differently if it had
allies to work with, and so on.

--Ben C

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