Re: 3 dimensional world arrays

From: Patrick Dughi (
Date: 06/27/01

> > basically do you think it is even worth it??? or could it be
> > worth it?
> I thought about it extensively quite a number of years ago.  I eventually
> abandoned the idea because I was not convinced that it would make the game
> more playable.  The problem with a coordinate system that I kept running into
> was that it resulted in a lot of vanilla movement through areas that don't
> have very interesting descriptions (You are in a forest).  In a text-based MUD
> I couldn't come up with a good way to avoid this.
> I had some ideas, but like I said, I decided in the end that the game was just
> as playable with a room-based system.

        Actually, this is the same conclusion that I came to a while back
as well.  I tried to envision the games that _did_ have dead space that
people still played... but all of them were graphical; diablo 2 sprang to
mind as the most intolerable, but only because you HAD to walk around and
kill hordes of identical things because it followed the old D&D
experience/level system, and you needed those levels.

        At least muds allowed speedy typers to fight the next monster
right away.

        Anyway, Trying to focus more on text games that I _DID_ enjoy, and
of them; zork series, some BBS door-games, muds... none of these had an
abundance of dead space. (Well TW2040, but that's eventually why I quit;
one of those games where after 2 months no one has found the 'special'

        Don't get me wrong - it was there, but it was usually either an
intersection-type of room, or a room required for a semi-logical layout of
the area.

        Yet, this dead space is EVERYWHERE in graphical games.  Heck, it's
the majority of every level/screen in most circumstances.  People dont'
see it as dead space though, because there's motion.  Your character is
walking through it.  That's all it takes, some graphical feedback.

        Why graphical?  I dunno. It's a gut feeling.  Try this example,
watch one of those ever-present sports illustrated clips of someone
running 80 yards to make a touchdown.  Now, in the same timeframe,
describe the actions in a 'generic' way (ie, as you'd have to if you
programmed something to describe movement).

        He's at the 30.
        He's at the 40.
        He's at the 50.
        He's at the 40.
        He's at the 30.
        He's at the 20.

        That's right... it's suddenly boring.  You may get a text update
every 1/4 of a second, but it's not enough to keep interest.  Perhaps in
some situations, that's even TOO much information.

        Now, remove the excitement of a football touchdown, and apply it
to walking across the continent.  Keep in mind that realistic
distance/scaling implies realistic movement rates.... How do you get the
2-3-4 minute walk from town to town appear interesting?

        I can't think of any way.  Either it's boring because it's just a
rewording of a previous statement, or it's got 'detail' statements like
'A bluebird warbles from the forest to the west', which you automatically
ignore because they have no value.

        A picture is worth a thousand words?  Sounds like you're off on an
order of magnitude or 5.

        Now... on the other hand, if we had a nice
circle-mud-standard-client.  Perhaps, should I dare to wish, a
client-server which was made for something like an isometric style of
gameplay (ie, tile/2-d based - think diablo, starcraft, baldurs gate,

        The downside to this, of course, is an increased move _away_ from
text-only systems.  It's not that you couldn't support them, but that you
wouldn't want/need to.  Imagine playing quake with a text-command based
interface.  No one would play it, if a graphical environment was around.
Not that people wouldn't try, but they'd be loosing so bad that it
wouldn't be fun.  Frankly, a graphical interface can be made to convey
information more quickly, whether that info is 'kill this monster', 'cast
this spell' or 'drop this bag of swords, throw my armor to the ground,
grab an axe from my backpack and cast "painful explosive flatuation" on
everyone in the room.'

        That'd be something like 5-6 clicks and a menu selection for a
graphical interface.  The mud commands would probably take even a fast
typist a while to punch out.

        Is it a paridigm shift that would leave text-only players
stranded? Yep.  Would it attract a zillion more players on the side...very
probably... It's been an idea that's been clunking around for a few years.


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