Monster builder

 
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:00 pm    Post subject: Monster builder Reply with quote

Quite a while ago I implemented a customisable shapechanging ability, and I've found myself using it more and more frequently when creating new monsters, simply because it's so much faster than designing a monster from scratch. The ability isn't very generic though, and isn't really designed to be used that way, but it's got me thinking...

One of the (few) things I really liked about Spore was the creature builder, which allowed people to design and customise their own creatures. Although it was graphical (and sadly almost purely cosmetic), I think the same general underlying concept could also work for a text-based game - a simple tool which allows people to quickly and easily design their own monsters.

The basic idea is very simple. The user is provided with a selection of pulldown menus (if done via the website - something else if done completely within the mud), each representing one part of the creature's anatomy. Each menu choice then has various characteristics associated with it. For example:

Appearance: Muscular, agile, cunning, etc.

Skin: Scaly, slimy, furry, feathered, etc.

Head: Horns, large ears, feelers, etc.

Mouth: Fangs, tusks, beak, etc.

Eyes: Glowing, eyestalks, empty sockets, etc.

Wings: Feathered, batlike, protective shell (instead of wings), etc.

Arms: Clawed hands, pincers, tentacles, no arms at all, etc.

Legs: Goatlike legs, lower body of a horse, lower body of a spider, etc.

Tail: Club-tipped, venomous, none at all, etc.

You could then pick various cosmetic options such as eye, skin and hair colouration and patterns, and select from various pieces of equipment suitable for the shape of the monster.

The various options would be used to determine the abilities of the monster, as well as to generate a description for it (for muds which prefer to write their own creature descriptions, this could just be treated as a placeholder). Thus a creature with glowing eyes might gain nightvision, a creature with wings could fly, and so on.

You'd need to spend some time building up a decent library of characteristics, but once in place this would allow builders to design complex monsters extremely quickly. Furthermore, as long as the characteristics were reasonably balanced (perhaps by assigning point values to different options) it could also serve as an excellent tool for player generated content.

It's not uncommon for builders to request special functionality for a new mob they're designing, to make it do something special. That would also fit in well with this approach, as new functionality could be turned into additional options for the monster builder.
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Deadsoul



Joined: 29 Dec 2007
Posts: 42
Location: Southern Hellinois

PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

after the random equipment generator ive been tinkering with a random critter machine. but due to working as much as I do, i only get time to sleep, shower and drive back to work (usually).

it only works with generic mobs. kobolds, hobgoblins. orcs. something nondescript that you could literally find any where, randomly of course.

what can one find in a cave. any number of things.

really all your doing is changing the stats to fit a certain area; while you retain the ability to draw from descriptiveness variations upon the same thing.

whats more, is the variations this has upon the mud itself as a whole.

dynamic > static.

and if you do it right, you will only have to use 1 mob file to retain every bit of it.

like using 1 object to make everything random you'll ever need.

computers are funny like that.
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose there's no reason why the same tool couldn't also be used to generate random mobs. But the primary purpose I've got in mind is a tool for designing specific monsters (thus the reference to the Spore creature builder).

Note that the idea isn't to create generic humanoid mobs, but to create a wide range of different body shapes - you could select wings and birdlike legs to create a harpy, or snake hair and petrifying eyes to create a medusa, or select the lower body of a horse to create a centaur, etc. Randomly generated mobs would therefore end up looking like pretty bizarre magical mutations.
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Deadsoul



Joined: 29 Dec 2007
Posts: 42
Location: Southern Hellinois

PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

your way is a bit more configurable to what you want, and what you want others to see.

mine is a void filler.

virtual tailoring.
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Delerak



Joined: 17 May 2005
Posts: 49
Location: Tampa

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There have been many a time at RPI muds where the sneaky underworld types have requested a disguise skill. It's always been shot down for one reason or another but I think your shape shift system would work great. There would have to be certain limitations and the disguise would only work for so long until make-up started to come off from sweat, or mustaches fell off accidentally. Or if your character is running then things start falling off, revealing the true short description of the character.
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