[Fwd: Re: [CIRCLE] MUD essential features (fwd)]

From: Chris Gilbert (chris@buzzbee.freeserve.co.uk)
Date: 08/30/00

Ack, there's a 200 line limit on the mailing list so I've had to go
through and cut out lots of the quoted stuff from tring to send this

(Ahh, it's nice to have a thread about the design/details of a mud, it
feels like a breath of fresh air after all the talk of this don't
compile/that don't compile :)

"Fredfish (E. Harper)" wrote:
> >        I wouldn't worry about memory requirements, so much as how you
> >intend to display this.  Wouldn't you need an update every time something
> >in your combat theatre moved?
> Yeah, this is another big problem with the map system.
> Really what I want is a way of representing the effect of ranged weapons on combat. Try to imagine Crécy if the English longbowmen had no stand-off range from the French... kinda puts it in perspective.

Ranged weapons are always a problem, quite a few muds don't have them
for the simple reason that they're a pain to deal with.

> >        How do you code/balance it?  Well, there's no one formula for
> >balancing everything for every mud.  You have to find your own balance.
> >If you want a combat to take 5 rounds, and it takes 10, you're unbalanced.
> >Other people may want that 10 rounds.
> I don't mean 'balance' in terms of 'combat should take x rounds'. What I mean is this:
> Let's say we view combat as a 3-d map with peaks and valleys. (I'll leave N-Space out of this, both for clarity and because I really don't know what the hell I'm talking about :)) The 'best' combinations are the peaks, and the 'worst' are the valleys., and the x and y co ordinates are two style/stance factors.

I'd expect the skill in the weapon etc would effect it, things like
handedness as well, there's lots of variables that could effect this
table, closeness of combat as well, eg a person with a long sword will
do well at a certain distance, but when someone moves very close with a
dagger they have to fall back to hand to hand combat (so many

> The key here is making sure the terrain isn't too horibbly skewed in one direction - having Olympus Mons at one point, and the Scotish Highlands everywhere else. Once the highest 'peak' becomes common knowledge, you lose the benefits of the system because everyone's sitting up there on top, and woe betide the poor fool standing atop a 100-metre hill. This ties into the 'scissors, paper, rock' deal pretty well...

Well with your idea of hiding stats this does become easier to do, it's
harder to tell which way the hill really is, if most players start in
the dip of a valley they'll slowly shift around looking for the spot
that seems best.

> >In anycase, the coding itself is
> >pretty simple.  The hard part is explaining what you are going to do.
> >I'd sit down for a long time and write out the exact definition of each of
> >the styles (some call them stances; defensive, offensive, etc).  Play with
> >it on paper and get a good idea from that first.
> Definitely. Wouldn't do it any other way. Why do you think I currently have about 20K on my hard drive and in my notebook? :)

I'd say balance is one of the most critical parts of a game, if it's too
easy everyone is a walking brick wall, if it's too hard players get
bored and leave.

> >        Then, what happens when 4 people attack one?  Where does
> >experience or skills come into play?  How does this make people cooperate,
> >or balance the game?  I understand what you're saying, but I don't see
> >immediate applications for any combat design which is immediately usable.
> When 4 people attack one, he's probably screwed <g>

I'd think certain factors would alter this, eg if a human is attacked by
4 dwarfs wielding normal axes, but the human is carrying a bonecutter
longsword (it breaks bones easily)  he stands a chance of making a swing
and hitting a dwarf on the side of the neck, pretty much killing
stopping the dwarf (they're either dead or badly injured)  however in
that time 2 dwarfs have flanked him and have charged in and knocked him
down...   oh the possibilities...  (on top of the stance stuff, you
might have positions when in a group, eg you have a group of 3, one
charges in, the other 2 try to flank, and attack from behind/the sides.
of course you could bring in a ranged weapon here, a player could hang
back unless needed to do close combat.

> Magic, in my opinion, should always be somewhat - scratch that, HIGHLY obscure. To make a bad real world analogy, the exact bonuses and penalities of sword 'x' should be as obscure as the exact workings of your typical obfuscated C program. Your typical layman can't make any sense of it, the novice (me) can only begin to grasp its wonder, and only the true master can grasp its workings in all their elegance.

Nod, perhaps it depends on the spell/skills system.  One idea I had for
spells is that they're grouped in a tree like way, you start of by
learning fireball, as you use/improve in it, your understanding of fire
magic improves you start to get ideas on how to fire more than
one/ability to attack a group of enemies with fireballs.  Perhaps as you
improve in other skills, eg you get better at judging threats so you
target the fireballs at the most dangerous, eg you're in a group of
close combat fighters, you fight another group with some ranged
fighters, you could judge the ranged fighters as the threat and take
them out.

> The last sentence, the bit about 'learning what an item does', can I think be adressed by simply adding a measure of uniqueness to both descriptions and bonuses from a weapon - jade dagger one might do nothing, jade dagger two might be the ultimate weapon.

I'd think it'd be more interesting if they actually looked the same, eg
you have 2 daggers, one is magic and can do extra damage ogres, the
other is a plain simple dagger, they just look the same, perhaps there's
some sort of markings that mean something?  bit like hall-marks indicate
where silver/gold was made, but you have to know what you're looking

> >        Simply switching things to things like "beat-up" when you're at
> >20% of your full life, and the sort is one of those one-step forwards,
> >two-steps back sort of move (IMHO).  This setup works well for hitpoints,
> >mana, mv, etc... but others like strength, dex, etc...
> I was hoping for something with a little more depth to it, suggestions?
> It would be a bit of work, but why not implement a system whereby individual hits cause individual wounds? Whether you leave hitpoints on in the background and use this as a 'front end', or completely eliminate the concept of HP, is up to you.
> In other words, instead of '67/442 hp', or even 'you are severely wounded' you get, 'you are bleeding profusely from a nasty gash in the shoulder. Every breath causes a lance of pain in your ribs. You also have a  great many cuts and bruises.' Sound good?

perhaps you introduce limb/parts combat, and then equip protects
paticular parts, however some areas are more critical than others, eg
finger chopped off is surviable, however arm chopped off is more
shocking, and much more critical.

other advantages to using limbs, is that clothing can be fitted better,
eg clothing can overlap, and you can also force carrying capacity, the
idea of people running around with 40-50 items always seemed mad to me.

> >One mud had a fair with games, each one was stat dependant
> >mainly.  Your score/ability in the game showed up over time pretty well.
> >If you got a cupie doll from the hit-the-mallet-to-hit-the-bell test, you
> >were damn strong.  Normally though, a person would only know how good they
> >are by comparing their actions to those of another person, and evaluating
> >over the set of all people in the world :)
> Agreed. It's a real task to ensure characters can't find out too much, and you just KNOW some enterprising fellow will come up with a perfect method and spread it around.

But to what gain, just cos they know they have lots of dexterity, to
what level does it go to, eg you've seen those wire games that you more
a loop around, simple ones anyone can do, but if they're only to a
certain complexity (or are set levels) they only know that they're
incapable, basic, advanced or expert, but that range could be 0-1, 1-14,
15-17 18+   IE most will find that they're basic, and learn little...

> Wow, what a response! I really appreciate all the help here, good to know I'm not the only one driving myself crazy with all the possibilities... anyway, thanks.

There's always so many possibilities, it's a matter of find the line to
draw and say this is what I want, and no more (even if that does sound
really cool)


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