[OFF TOPIC] [LONG] Patches, Mega Bundles and Newbies

From: Phillip Tran (witpens@optushome.com.au)
Date: 07/17/01

Since the list is quiet atm, I think I will start a debate that should
liven things up.

I have noticed that in the spirit of collaboration, there are numerous
contributors to the code base, in fact, there seems to be a need for
help in finding the right patches and mega bundles. I have been out of
the mailing list for six years (I think, Dark Realms II is still up and
running based on patch 8 - how long ago was that??) and I have been
reading the latest stuff for several months and have noticed a trend.

I am generalising here but bear with me so I can justify my comments. I
have noticed that alot of requests from newbies indicate lack of coding
experience (no problems here), lack of understanding of the Circle code
base (no problems here either) AND pure laziness (bad). The following
examples illustrate what I mean (I will change specifics to keep the
culprits anonymous as it does not serve a purpose to demonise people):-
  * I want to change my mud levels to level 50 or 100 blah blah. How
many times have we had this question? Personally, if you dont know how
to change the max levels, I think you should stick to adding spells and
skills that are similar to existing stuff before you address this issue
because it indicates a total lack of understanding of the code base
mechanics and dare I say it, it even hints of not even peering under the
hood (yes, you should look at the code some day). Please note: this is
different from saying, I am trying to change max levels and have changed
the xp table and saving throw tables but the mud still crashes. (This
question shows that you understand a bit about the code, and are looking
at the right areas but may be missing something. In this case, for older
patches anyways, you need to also change the titles as well, and of
course, the LVL_IMP etc.)
  * Please help me. I have been running my mud for a few muds and have
thought of a new wonderful skill I should add to the mud. I was
wondering where I can find the patch for it. OR I was wondering if
someone can tell me how to do it (Unbelievable, you might as well ask
someone to code your every wish for you). Things like:- multiple
attacks, affects spells (ie. AFF_SMELLY, AFF_ITCHY, RESIST_NEWBIE),
damage spells. I truly believe these stuff are basic if you took time to
study similar skills/spells - you can do this by using grep for example.
grep ARMOR for affect spells, FIREBALL for damage spells etc and study
where the entries are made, and eventually you will understand the
structure. Again, this is very different from: I have added this
powerful spell but it only causes damage to one mob instead of being an
area spell.
  * And my pet hate - newbie admins asking how to add a certain feature
that is obviously way over their head. One, they should be attempting at
adding features that are basic hacks of the existing codes (I used to
cut and paste alot in my early days). Two, search the archives etc to
see if there is a patch - if you absolutely must have that feature.
Three, understand the mud code before attempting anything complicated -
Rome wasnt built in one day.

I know the mailing list is designed to assist all admins, but there has
been alot of outcries of "read the damn faqs" and "search the archives".
These are in responses to questions that indicate a lack of a genuine
attempt at coding what the feature you want - how else will you ever
learn? (Teach a man to fish...) Again, can I stress that I applaud those
that asks questions like:-
  * I want certain skills to be taught by special mobs/items only and
cannot be pracced by gms. (this indicates an understanding of how skills
and spells relate to gm spec_procs and how they are assigned to
classes - even though you may not think of it in this way)
  * Questions that ask for debugging. Obvious.

On a positive side, there have been many helpful people on the list -
much more so now than before, which is surprising considering the amount
of things on the Internet that can lure talented people away from muds.
This has lead to a proliferation of patches and bundles, to the point
that I think newbies are being spoilt a bit.

My aim of this post is to ask what your thoughts are on the trends that
the new questions are taking? Do you agree/disagree with my thoughts?
And finally, I hope I have passed on some knowledge through the examples
I have provided (and I hope I have not chosen any examples that may
denigrate anyone as that is not my aim).

Brief background, I started Dark Realms based on patch 6 without knowing
a single C command (I only knew how to program in C64 Basic woohoo!). I
was delirious when I worked out how to add second attack, and I was
almost on top of the moon when I worked out how to change max levels :).
Finally, I decided its time I took the plunge into the dark side and
bought a book on C programming. Of course, I added heaps of spells and
skills before I even bought the book, but after the enlightenment of
actually learning C, I could change spec_procs to add nifty features.

We are developing a mud from scratch based on Visual Basic. (Why, when
.NET is coming soon!!) It requires a unique interface, however, it
allows pictures to be attached to each room (No, we are not doing a full
blown Everquest - we dont have time or money). And because we love
CircleMUD so much, it is compatible with existing zon/wld/obj files.

Dark Realms II

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