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Currently our world is made up of areas with hard-coded links between each room and adding a new area involves linking exits with an existing area.

The disadvantage of this approach is that there is no guarantee that the scale of adjacent areas are anything like similiar, or that you can't appear to have 2 rooms on top of each other. Eg start in area A, east into area B then south, west, north. You are not back at your starting point in A but rather in some room in B.

A second disadvantage is that you MUS follow the path as designed by the area coder. Now when you are travelling down a tunnel underground this is acceptable. Walking across a plain it becomes much less so. Consider Tolnedra. There is mention of the town walls, you can see them as you walk out the gates to the town. You can't walk around the outside of them tho - why not?

An alternative mechanism is to develop the world backbone as a massive grid of rooms and to place areas onto the grid. Then when you leave an area you are back in the world backbone and can walk around in any way you like. Enhancements include terrain, terrain altered movement, auto-generated descriptions based on terrain and features and varying scale for different areas of the grid.

I think we have a fair support for this concept so lets get a decent definition of the features we'd like and then actually produce a design rather than wishing :)

-- FantoM - 17 Jan 2003

You walk a mile to the south, then one mile eastwards, after having walked another mile north you are back at the point you began - what color are the bears?

ElffyGridProp - Have a look into what Elffy dreams of at nights...

-- PumaN - 18 Jan 2003

Some things that needs to be decided:

Technical difficulties:

-- PumaN - 18 Jan 2003

Here is one example map that I'd like to be able to design as a grid.

A basic farmyard, couple of buildings which you'd be able to enter and then probably be coded as normal rooms (these would be like normal areas on a world map, fences you can only pass through at certain points and features around the rest of it..

-- FantoM - 19 Jan 2003

New technical problem if you want such, how do we describe the buildings in surrounding area? -- PumaN - 19 Jan 2003

No idea, I just wanted to see what issues get raised by offering a possible map. If we can get a system design which supports that map we've got a damn good system ready to code -- FantoM - 19 Jan 2003

The way that I thought of it, you need a large library of files (building blocks), then you insert those into a map, the building blocks holds all data needed to generate the appropriate descriptions/actions. -- PumaN - 19 Jan 2003

I'd seen the map as being a grid which you work out the scale of with features placed upon it. Some attributes of these features could be close description, close location, distance description, distance location.

In this I am presuming that the definition of close as when you are near enough to an item to be able to make out detail, distance is when you can see it from afar. Each grid should be able to define these differently. Location is similiar to our current phyisical location - allowing more interesting descriptions of the physical placement of a feature.

Other attributes which I'm presuming but not bothering to mention - area (yes/no), obscuring - and there will be many more.

So. Presuming the following feature definitions:

feature close desc close locn distance desc distance locn
house1 large stone house with a thatched roof has been built large building  
house2 long wooden building with no windows has been built building  
tree1 oak tree with a swing hanging from its branches has grown tree has grown
path well kept paved path that winds it's way across the lawn path winds it's way across the lawn

We can make the following descriptions.
When standing at the gate: Presuming we are close to building 2 and on the path.
You stand on a well kept paved path that winds its way across the lawn to the west. A tree has grown to the west, partially obsuring the view of a large building. A long wooden building with no windows has been built to the north.

When standing under the tree: Presuming we are on the tree and close to building 1
You are standing under an oak tree with a swing hanging from its branches. Close by to the west a large stone house with a thatched room has been built. To your north a path winds it's way across the lawn. To the northeast is a building.

Other thoughts:

  1. We might like to be able to suggest preferred ordering of features in the description.
  2. I implied that we could use some attribute of a feature to tell the description generator that we could be standing on/under/in/beside it. Eg on the path and under the tree.
  3. I implied that the absence of a location cause a slightly different sentence structure (To the northeast is a building). Not sure that this applies in all cases.
  4. In this case I might like to be able to say that the building has an exit (call it enter or something) that can be used as long as the person is nearby the feature on any side. This is slightly abnormal and we could argue that you just have to put up with an exit being tied to a particular grid location (note that the building would cross many grid locations).

-- FantoM - 19 Jan 2003

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Revision r1.8 - 19 Jan 2003 - 10:45 GMT - FantoM
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