Re: 3 dimensional world arrays

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

> >         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.
> You explained things in much greater detail than I did, and I am generally in
> agreement with it except for the idea of creating a graphical client.
> Text-based MUDs fill a niche; creativity and imagination give them life rather
> than pretty pictures.  There are plenty of alternatives for people who prefer
> graphics-- I wouldn't want to try to compete with them.  Or perhaps more to
> the point, I wouldn't want Circle to try to compete with them.
> If there is a good way to do coordinate-based movement without doing graphics,
> I'd be in favor of it.  In fact, I already draw ASCII maps of my rooms to
> provide visual clues when characters are traveling around.  I find that it
> speeds movement tremendously without compromising compatibility.  I haven't
> really thought about how easily it could be adapted to a coordinate system,
> but it might be a viable option.
        I agree, i'm looking at a major change, and really we may not need
all that yet.  But certain things like world-realistic 3-d behaviors do
require graphical descriptions.  I mean that too; they _DO_ require it,
for a mud.

ex: i throw a rock on a parabolic arc.

result:  fixed-size rooms, people see random traffic if they're in an
area.  Without perfectly accurate information (direction, angle, speed,
mass, etc) they can't figure where it's from or where it will land,
without sitting down and doing a whole CRAPLOAD of math.  For non-fixed
sized rooms, you'd have the same problem, since you'd have to determine at
which point you can see the rock and at which point it falls from view.
Throw in randoms like light, terrain, other people, etc...

        Automation of the above (ie, throw rock at 3'd goblin from the
right in the second batallion of goblins which are just over that ridge),
is more than just a little complex, both for parsing and targeting, while
at the same time preserving information hiding (ie, i could know where to
throw the rock if I had snuck up on the ridge and looked down, came back
and threw it..but you'll have to save that info, or anyone can throw a
rock over a ridge and hit something.)

        For simple self-affecting situations, it may be fine, like falling
from a mountain or cliff, but as soon as you have to describe something
that does _not_ affect you...well.. problems.

        Granted, these things are no longer problems when you allow a
visual representation of your system to be the interface.  Once again, try
playing a barely-interactive 3-d game, like quake, via text commands, and
a text interface. What an ass-pain!

        Now, make it quake, with items that can fall or be held or thrown
or put inside other objects, and doors that swing, and creatures that fly
and swoop, fog and rain, and flowing water....

        Yeah. That's going to happen in text?

        Text isn't the greatest medium for conveying a mass of
information.  At the same time it is boring (and therefore wrong) to write
20 pages about how a river is flowing, it's never enough to say "the river
flows.".  The 'medium' depends on what the single person is looking for.

        One person might be looking for depth of the water to find a place
to ford it. Another might look at the direction, and current speed, and
still another may want to know if the water is silty or recently stirred
up (because someone else crossed here or upstream perhaps?).  How do you
know what someone is looking for? can't.  You can have what
their character may be looking for - which is a difficult feat in and of
itself, but to do that accurately, you also have to take into account
recent events and learned knowledge through experience.

        The alternative - and this is what most muds do now - is to let
the player make all active decisions, from what to look at, to who to
kill.  Doesn't seem like too bad a problem there, though, if you're going
to have skills like 'detect secret door' or any of the other character
knowledge/sense based skill - perhaps you have on screen indicators
(glowing wall patches, etc).  The latest N64 zelda game had a mask you
could put on, which caused the player to see smell lines coming from the
ground where special mushrooms were growing.......


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