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OasisOLC and Deaths Gate script reference


Are you ready?

Do you own a dictionary? Can you write in complete sentences? I expect everyone to be able to write decent descriptions. I feel like the kettle calling the pot black saying this, after all my grasp on the English language is mediocre at best, but we will not implement zones that are grammatical nightmares. Our goal is to develop a perfect mud, part of this requires professionalism. If you think you can't do this then either go to a mud that has no standards or feel free to play as a mortal and submit ideas.

Writing an area requires inspiration and imagination before all else. Ideas for areas often come from literature; for example, Dante's trip through the Inferno.  Areas should always start out on paper long before they reach a computer; a general map of the region can help to solidify the idea and a specific map of each individual room is absolutely required so that the rooms can be linked together in a way that makes sense geographically.  Taking notes on ideas for which monsters should be encountered in the area, their descriptions, and in what location the monsters should appear can also help when planning an area.

Do you know the mud you wish to build for? Do you know how the environment of the mud is? Have you looked at the zones others have built? I would suggest playing a mortal before attempting to build anything to get a feel for the realm. Most importantly have you read the background story? Now I was amazed at how few people read the background story. Most muds have a theme, and it will have to be followed.

Now, to prove to us that you're worthy of the title builder, you should propose a small (about 5-20 rooms) addition or modification to the mud. Examples of a small addition might be: a new street in one of the cities, a multi-story inn in a popular city, or a new scenic path on a mountain trail. The idea is to propose something simple and low-key. Don't try to add or modify a popular, complex, or important set of rooms for this test. Projects like these will come later. If you are serious about becoming a builder read this entire document. It will help immensely.

Draw upon your extensive knowledge of the existing mud world to come up with an idea for your modification or addition. Send a note to the head builder or one of the implementers explaining your idea and your intention to become a builder. Once your idea has been approved you're *almost* ready to start implementing it. Before you get your feet wet with builder commands, however, we need to make sure we're all on the same planet. What you have to do now is send email to Rumble with a copy of the room descriptions you plan to use. Your descriptions should be edited and contain no spelling or grammatical errors, and should explain where in the world they are supposed to go (either which existing rooms you intend them to replace or where you plan to add a few rooms). It is not necessary, but you should completely read this document to avoid making all of the common "new builder" mistakes. Your room descriptions should be in a normal text format.

We'll review your room descriptions and may make suggestions to rewrite parts. This is perfectly normal and should not in any way be interpreted as an insult. The comments you receive may include a lot of nitpicky details but once you're a full builder we won't be going over your work and editing it as closely. Try and learn as much as you can from this test-review process and keep it in mind as you work on future projects; it's the most direct and concrete way for us to tell you what we're looking for in terms of area writing. If your work is approved, do a dance and proceed to the next section. If for some reason it isn't approved try and figure out where the problem is and how you can fix it next time around. If you still want to be a builder wait at least a month and then propose another test. We do want builders, but we need standards as well. We would rather have one good area than ten mediocre ones.

The remaining part of qualifying to be a builder is not as difficult, but may take more time. At this point in the process your character will be given OLC (On-Line Creation) privileges and you will be expected to implement your addition/modification proposal in a reasonable amount of time. When you finish constructing your test proposal let the immortals know that it is complete.

 When it is approved let this document be the first to say, "Congratulations! You are now a full-fledged qualified builder!" Where do you go now? You now know how to tackle revisions or minor additions to current areas, but most builders want to build a new area. If this is what you're interested in, the rest of this document will explain how. 

There are many, wide-ranging mistakes builders can make when starting new areas. We find that areas work out best when they are planned ahead of time. The point of writing up an area proposal is so that we can catch some of these mistakes early on, before you've spent weeks working on your project. Believe us, this situation is no fun for anyone involved. An area proposal consists of a simple mud mail to the head builder or implementers of the mud. 

The mud mail can be informal, but should tell us six things: the location, level and alignment design, concept, plot, and size of the area you would like to create. Detailed descriptions of these items and some thoughts on how to avoid common traps follow below.

It's very important to know where an area is going to fit in with the world before it is written! This may seem very obvious, but it is a painful truth that many people make areas without regard for where they will be placed on the mud. A character shouldn't be walking around in an idyllic happy forest and suddenly come upon an arctic wilderness. Likewise a character shouldn't venture a couple steps outside a main human city and find themselves in an ancient elven homeland. What is the moral here? Figure out where your new area is going to go and make sure it doesn't grievously conflict with surrounding terrain, climate, politics, mythology, and races. Of course a simple portal can make location unnecessary.

If it's a city, the main gates probably aren't going to open out onto an existing road or in the middle of a forest. Give some thought to using a few rooms to link the "main" part of your area to a spot that's already in the mud (be creative - as well as roads and pathways, there are waterways and other means to reach places ...) If it's more of a wilderness-type area, then the way it links might be a bit more vague, and it might link in more than one place - when was the last time you saw a forest, field, or desert that could only be reached in one way?

As important as where the area should begin is where it should end. A city or even a village might have walls and a logical "edge," but if you're working with wilderness or even just the surroundings beyond the city itself, it's hard to know where and how to draw the boundaries. Natural formations seem like the perfect answer -- rivers, mountains, and so on -- BUT (and I think this is a huge but) the problem with these is that they are extremely prominent geographical features and are not a good "throwaway" solution. If you're writing forest room upon forest room and think you'll never get to the end, don't just write in an insurmountable mountain range or a gratuitous river. That'll lead to questions like, "What's on the other side of the mountains, and why can't I approach them or even see them from anywhere else?" or "Why did this river suddenly come to an abrupt end as soon as I left this forest?" Far better is to do something on a smaller scale -- the trees just get too dense to move on --.

Even better, of course, is to integrate your area seamlessly with the rest of the world, rather than allowing for one connecting point and sealing the area off from its surroundings in all other directions. It's not easy to do this, of course, and it's not always even possible, but it's worth spending some time working on the rooms that link the "area" as you first conceived of it with what's around it.

If you haven't noticed by now, this is a particular obsession of mine, and not only will I be especially impressed by a proposal that includes thoughtful, innovative suggestions on the area's place in the world, I'll be sure to get on your case if, after all this, you write a gratuitous river into your area. Be forewarned.

Give us an idea of what levels your new area will be geared for. Many good areas stick to a defined range, such as 10-20, 35-45, or 5-15. Don't try and make your new area cover the entire range of levels. Every area should have its moment in the sun. Conversely, it would be nice if there was something really unique and challenging to do at every stage in a character's history. 
Don't build areas for levels higher than those you've actually attained with your character(s). Your area might be the most successful if you can gear it for a range of levels that people believe is otherwise "boring".

Tell us whether your area is mostly good, neutral, or evil. If it's mostly good or mostly evil, is it strongly good or evil or just weakly aligned? In any case try not to make your area completely homogenous. In neutral communities there's going to be some evil and good elements, and likewise with other communities. To some extent this goes along with the question about area level; consider what seem to be "gaps" among the areas in the world as far as good or evil aligned areas for a particular level range, and try to fill those needs.

People's first tendency is to make extremists--The ultimate evil hell area, or the blindingly good paladin fortress. Keep in mind that there are many layers in between, and these are often more interesting.

The "concept" for an area is its reason to be. This is where you tell us what's so interesting about the place. A concept can be a simple statement like "I want this area to be the homeland of a few loose-knit families of storm giants." or "This area is a part of the sea where a merchant ship from Anon is engaged in battle with a pirate ship". Concepts can also be much more elaborate and include insight into the history of the area, how its society and economy work, current plots or conflicts going on in the area, and how other people in the world view the place. The more work you put into the concept the better it will be, and the better other areas will be that build off of it.

Feel free to discuss concept ideas informally as well as other aspects of your proposed area before handing in the full area proposal. The immortals will be glad to help you out--you might even get some ideas you hadn't thought of before.

The size of an area is measured by its maximum number of rooms (also called vnums). One of the most common mistakes a new builder makes is to misjudge the amount of time it takes to build. What typically happens is that the unsuspecting builder starts a grand project only to find himself over his head with work after two weeks. The result is almost always a sloppy, hastily finished product or a perpetually unfinished one. Either way the builder ends up discouraged and their area is unusable.

Don't let this happen to you! If this is your first area, keep it under 50 rooms! You'll soon see this is a fair amount of work and gives you quite a bit of room to accomplish what you have in mind. Once you've completed something of this size and are proud of your work, you can always add on to it or make larger areas later. In your new area proposal tell us how many rooms you think you'll need (a preliminary map or sketch of your area idea may help you figure this out). Even if you have a 500-room center-of-a-thriving-civilization concept in mind, try to divide it up into sections and work on them one at a time. A cluster of small areas that get phased in gradually is much better than one gigantic area that never gets done. Trust us when we tell you a 500-room area will never be finished without Herculean effort of which most of us are not capable.

Some numbers to give you an idea of area sizes, these are only suggestions: 
Temples  20-30 rooms
Villages, forests, mountains about 50 rooms
Towns, deserts, plains, oceans about 100 rooms

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