Building moments that you’d like to share

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Molly O'Hara

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 99
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2005 2:22 pm    Post subject: Building moments that you’d like to share Reply with quote

The greatest kick for any Builder is to watch their zone being unravelled by a really skilled player. That is basically what keeps us building, however tedious the work can feel at times. No matter how rewarding the creative process sometimes can be in itself, it’s only when the zone gets played, and the world you created starts to interact with the code, that it really springs to life.

This thread is meant for those who’d like to brag a bit about their achievements as builders and share some of their best moments with the community. The purpose is to share ideas, methods and tricks, and by getting feedback from others improve the general standard of Mud building.

I know that advertising is generally frowned upon in these Forums, so to balance this bragging opportunity a bit, I also started another thread, titled ‘Building moments you’d like to forget’. So let’s share our experiences, the good and the bad, and by doing so add to the general knowledge and awareness – and hopefully ultimately also to the respect for the work of us Builders.
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Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 37
Location: Southern Hellinois

PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2005 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I purposely designed an ether mob with an area spec on Sloth 3 so that
anyone with dagger throw could dagger the mob to any other mob in the
zone and kill any mob in the zone with it. (which is against their policy:
as players arent working for their exps). As I understand it, they fixxed
it 2-3 years after Id left. The key was that aggro/non sentinel mobs could
be daggered still, and I had to work with that.

It did how ever, max out alot of characters on levels before it was taken out.

Daggering was made absolutely useless there after that.

Rolling Eyes Cool Laughing
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Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 88
Location: Prague

PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2005 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am an expert at making areas nobody ever finds and items nobody ever learns to use, except for the most clever players. So if somebody actually does figure it out, the warm fuzzy feeling is so much better. Laughing It also gives me a chance to tease the players who think they've seen it all. I recoded one of the oldest areas in the game and tied all the loose ends and unfinished bits into a miniquest, which lets the player access a new subarea. Being able to tell players that only 4 people found the subarea in two years since it's been introduced was precious. Quite a few more people found it since then, but it still remains one of the "secrets" that the explorers can brag about.

The same area, a drow city, always had a house of ill repute, but you weren't able to enter it. I opened the place and populated it with orc prostitutes, giving them some terrible wigs and revealing dresses - and sometimes also a lipstick, which you could use to paint your lips (and leave lipstick marks on whoever you kiss for a while). One of the strongest players on the mud, a lady archmage, took such liking to the lipstick that she would get it at every opportunity, and it was among the first few items she would go for after reboot (on Midnight Sun, equipment does not save between sessions or over reboots, so you need to reequip yourself every time). So everybody would be running around, trying to secure the best equipment for the boot, but Lady Elvira had to get her lipstick, because no lady can rule the world without proper makeup. That was a lot of fun too.

Not exactly related to building, but I also got a lot of warm fuzzy moments when I redesigned the webpage. Some of the comments I got still bring a grin to my face:

Wow. I just felt that I had to tell you personally, and since I'm not logging in to MS anymore this is as personal as it can get, how beautiful the new website you're working on is. I've always thought that the website has been a bit plain and dull, albeit practical. But I haven't seen any other MUD with a website that was really great either. But with this you're working on I seriously think that MS will have the best freakin' website around, since looking at it gave me goosebumps Wink


Yeah, these moments make all the pain worth it.
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Joined: 29 May 2005
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2005 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too have spent many long evenings building away, creating nooks and cranies all over the world that no player is likely ever to see.

My greatest building achievement, however, was a swamp area on the MUD I'm currently working on. Having finished some 300 rooms with all sorts of fiddly hiding places and a maze-like setup with routes of dry trail running above dank marshes filled with evil spirits, it was put to one side as it was an expansion the Boss thought the game didn't needed just yet.

A few months rolled past, and another admin informs me he wants to run a quest through my swamp, and asks if its ready, is it all well, and so forth. I nod, and proceed to reveal the glory of my swamp, and tell him it'll be right for his event in a week's time. Two days out, he asks me once again, just to make sure, whether the swamp is good to go. I nod, and then the thought strikes me - "Oh, yeah, but there's another two hundred rooms of heathland between it and the grid I haven't done yet. It's going to be hard to get your players to the swamp without that!". Chuckle from me, look of anguish on the face of the other admin.

This presented a problem. So, tightening my belt, locking the front door, and conscripting every admin I could find to do room names for me (something I simply cannot do on a mass scale with limited time), I built those two hundred rooms in under 24 hours.

The event happened marvelously, and I think to date perhaps a dozen other players have entered my swamp.

Lessons learned from that;
* There's nothing like leaving all your work to the last minute to make you really, really, really productive.
* When you manage to do all your work in the last minute due to heavily enhanced productiveness, you'll receive a lot more kudos than if you had simply done it intelligently a month ago.
* The more hidden places and secrets to find, the harder players will look for them, and the more enjoyment they'll get out of your area. You'll also get more enjoyment when the players spring your carefully constructed traps in said secret locations.
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Molly O'Hara

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 99
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2005 2:05 pm    Post subject: A gallant knight... Reply with quote

Heh, it seems we all prefer those nasty zones that are both hard to find and hard to get through. Perhaps because they are such fun designing. Here is one of my favourite moments as a Builder and Mud Admin:

One of my hardest zones, situated in ancient Egypt, is called ‘The Valley of Kings’. The main Quest in that zone is straightforward enough; just to figure out how to find and enter the Grave Chamber in the Tomb of Seti. But to do this you need to first get past a large number of man-eating crocodiles, collect about 20 different keys, fit the right key into the right lock and avoid all the death-traps and other traps built into the tomb itself, in the fashion of the Pharaohs.

To get the keys you not only needed to search through two pretty large areas meticulously, including finding your way into two other tombs. You also need to solve a number of mob-run sub-Quests, some of those being rather hard in themselves, and all of them needing plenty of legwork. And having come that far you also need to figure out the final password that will get you into the actual grave chamber, where you of course also need to kill the mummy and its Ka.

The zone had been in the Gameport for about a year, and nobody had been even close to solving the task, most of the players being afraid even to go there, after having been eaten by the crocs a number of times. Then our two top players started to work on it very determinedly almost simultaneously. Both of them kept me updated about their progress over notes and tells, with triumphant messages every time they got past one of the numerous stepping stones. And both were very aware of the other’s existence, and jealously guarded every piece of information they found, each of them determined to be the first ever to solve it.

After a while I got so interested in the outcome that I actually snooped them whenever I was on line with them - something that I very rarely do. They were both aware of it of course, and they used to try to wheedle some information out of me or just curse my name over tells, when they got stuck on some particularly tricky problem or killed by some nasty trap. And I used to smirk back at them and tell them to ‘just read the descriptions’, which is our standard reply to all players that are fishing for Quest information.

Step by step they worked their way through the zone, sometimes one slightly in the lead, sometimes the other. Then an extremely unlikely situation occurred, where they both made a major breakthrough in the Quest almost simultaneously. And then, even more unlikely, both of them logged on at almost the same moment the next day, ready to perform the last step needed and claim not only the Quest reward, but also the Extra Prize that I had promised for the first player to solve the Quest.

There was a race to the Valley, and one of them beat the other with about 2 minutes. And then there they were, both in the antechamber, both ready to utter the password and take the final step into the Grave Chamber with the treasure. In that situation the player who had arrived 2 minutes too late, courteously bowed to his rival, congratulated him on winning the race and left the area, asking only to be told when he had finished the Quest, so that he could come in and do the same himself. It was pretty impressive.

Needless to say both of them got the ‘Extra Prize’. And needless to say none of them ever blabbed about the solution to anyone. And it took over a year before the next player solved that Quest.
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Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 4
Location: Davis, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2005 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yea, nothing can beat snooping during the unveiling of a cherished zone. For me my favorite has been Lava Tubes, a high-level zone deep in the Underdark. After players run a gauntlet of back-sassing fomorian giants, they have to squeeze through Fat Man's Folly, a tunnel so narrow that it forces chunkier adventurers on a mini-quest to find weight-reducing magic.

Beyond the bottleneck, the danger grows. Some of the challenges are fixed, like a cat-of-9-lives that resurrects into progressively tougher mobs each time it is killed. But many of the obstacles change, so that players never know, for instance, what demon is going to emerge from the summoning chamber (and whether they will have the charisma and class-skills to control it long enough to pry it for information). They never know what beastie will pounce from beneath the blankets when its cage is "unlatched". The passwords (solutions to a word-find puzzle) rotate based on time of day. And when players pass by a pile of corpse objects, and the objects transform into zombie mobs to block their retreat, they never know what level those zombies are going to be.

Many of the varied actions players can take are only allowed once per zone reset. For instance, players can make their own potion by finishing a soup recipe, choosing from among 17 different spices. So, some players return again and again to try new things.

I'm sure I'm not the only builder to get a perverse pleasure from seeing a cocky player waltz through a zone, assuming he knows it inside and out, then suddenly scream like a school girl and flee in terror when the unexpected happens. As long as the variability makes sense within the context of a larger plot, I say the more a zone varies from play to play, the better.

On the minus side, one problem with this approach is that play-testing it 20 times is not enough to catch all the ways that players will try to take advantage of the triggers. They're a damn sneaky lot, as we all know. But I think, with lots of troubleshooting, the end result is well worth it.

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Joined: 29 Jun 2005
Posts: 134
Location: Emily's Shop

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The area of my university MUD that I was responsible for creating was rather surreal, full of islands floating through the sky, weird, mutated trees, and impossibly high, jagged, twisted spires of rock. It included a shop, and a lizard-man settlement (complete with hatchery, blacksmith, and tribal shaman).

And also... there were wombats.

You'd find various wild types wandering about grazing - small wombats, large wombats, shaggy wombats, green wombats, orange wombats, giant wombats and relativistic wombats (which were hard to kill as they never stood still for long enough). But the real jewel in the crown was the Wombat Farm where a player could purchase various types of wombat that would aid him in his adventuring.

Available types included:
  • Pet wombats (small enough to snuggle on your shoulder, and ever so nice to stroke).

  • Communications wombats (which had limited teleportation ability, and could be used to send messages to other players, or unexpectedly bite their ankles).

  • Advertising wombats (which would keep moving randomly from room to room once every two seconds, while announcing a specified message in a loud voice).

  • Luggage wombats (large but dimwitted beasts of burden).

  • Battle wombats (which could fight hostile monsters alongside the player, or act as a bodyguard).

  • Armour-plated wombats (similar, but better protected).

  • Yubi-Jutsu wombats (skilled in martial arts).

  • Elite Battle wombats (the de luxe model - and I defy anyone to say the phrase "Elite Battle Wombat" out loud without smiling. Smile )

  • Spy wombats (equipped with a stealth mode, they could either remain in one location and report telepathically on what they saw, or follow another player around and let you know what he did).

  • And then there was the fantastically expensive, top-of-the-line, world famous NUCLEAR WOMBAT.
These combined the abilities of battle and spy wombats. They could also glow in the dark (thus eliminating the need for torches or lanterns). They were capable of picking up and using any equipment that players could use (such as armour and weapons), were fearsome fighters, and could also follow commands at a long distance and report on what was happening. So you could remain outside a potentially dangerous area, and send the wombat in to look around. You would then "see" whatever it was seeing, and could tell it what to do accordingly, including picking up objects, opening doors, etc.

You have to bear in mind that all of this was done in what was a barely modified LP 2.4.5 mudlib, so there was rather a lot of hacking around the limitations of the library....
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