OLC interfaces, portability of binary files, spooking the NSA...

From: Pink Floyd (floyd@south.mit.edu)
Date: 12/14/95


  I have been thinking about a design for the OLC I will eventually
put into me mud, and I wanted to get some opinions.  The two ways I have seen/
heard of doing it are a) a menu driven interface, where the builder is
not in the state CON_PLAYING but in a state similar to the ones at the
menu, etc.  In this case, you are not in the game when building, and
I would have to code in a whole slew of CON_states for all the different
states you could be in for OLC.  This would make for easy OLC, and I
could use it to make a separate, offline editor with the exact same interface,
that could be run on builders' home computers.  (An optional extension
to this is to start the process with a question and answer session where
the mud prompts the builder for various base stats of the mob, and then
they are presented with the menu to fine tune or make adjustments.)
Bad points?  They are not in the game and can not ask questions, look 
at objects, or just shoot the shit with the other builders (which is a key
aspect of enjoying building a mud!).  

The second way is to use commands such as medit, oedit, etc.  Every facet of
building an object would be some subcommand of the oedit command, and the
builder is in the game, playing, whatever, and uses the command at his
convenience.  I kinda like this method a lot more, it seems like it would
make building more fun, but less productive.  It doesn't seem like it would
be as fast as the menu method, and since I couldn't have a series of
questions and answers, its possible that they could forget to set something,
whatever.  (I could probably put in safeguards for that, though.)

Does anyone have any suggestions or experience for what makes a successful,
appealing OLC?

On to the next topic..  since my world will be built from scratch, and since
I'm changing so much stuff anyways, I have considered storing the world files
in binary format, so that the only way to make/edit them is through a front
end program I design (like the menu thing I mentioned above).  But if all the 
world files are in binary, can they be made portable somehow?  Can I give my
builders a DOS version of the offline editor that will save binaries and 
then expect to read them in to the mud running on Linux? Or is there a way 
to convert them?  
advantages of binary format:  faster bootup, perhaps easier to deal with 
coding for writing them in OLC, keeps them proprietary (if I want all my 
world files to be used only on my mud...)
disadvantages: that portability issue, can only edit them with editing 
programs, they're proprietary so they can't be used on any other mud...

Any other advantages or disadvantages?

And for my last topic, (sorry for this lengthy message), there are suspicions
among some people that the National Security Agency scans all email in the
U.S. on a grand scale for subversive ideas.  That sucks.  To undermine these
efforts, the creator of Emacs (Richard Stallman) has added a command for
emacs that you may wish to use.  The command is M-x spook  and it inserts a 
list of incendiary words into your messages.  The more people who use methods
such as this (PGP is another good example), the more difficult it will be
for the government to monitor and control us.  

On that note, I leave you with a sample of the M-x spook feature... have a
nice day.

Ortega FSF North Korea terrorist Marxist Khaddafi Ft. Bragg PLO CIA
cryptographic Waco, Texas Serbian [Hello to all my fans in domestic
surveillance] plutonium Honduras

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