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OasisOLC and Deaths Gate script reference



Most people underestimate how much work it takes to build a good area. Don't expect to finish everything to perfection in one week! Here we have listed are some steps you can use to keep your project going for extended amounts of time.

Try and build in a mini quest into part of your area so that characters can do something active rather than feel like aggressive tourists. If you're building a wilderness area, perhaps include some kind of hidden/trapped treasure one can find. If you're building a populated area, think about having some mystery that a player can uncover. Built in quests make a good area great.

"Game Balance" is a term that brings a different thing to mind for every person that hears it.  What is most important about game balance is to keep in mind for whom each area is designed. For example, high level players, newbies, or small groups.  The objects and monsters found in the area should match the level, abilities, and needs of the players expected to use the area.  Most players do not like to be given vast treasure with no difficulty in getting it, but on the other hand, nobody likes to fight the most difficult mobile on the MUD and get nothing for doing it.  Areas should not be impossibly hard or absurdly easy.

Understandably, builders want their zones to be popular, but they sometimes attempt to achieve this goal by purposefully making their zone unbalanced, adding powerful weapons or armor with no harmful side-effects or mobiles that are easy to kill yet give massive numbers of experience points. Such zones are destined both to become very popular and invariably to bring about the death of our mud. Every zone, every room, every object, every mob, will be checked before being implemented into the game. Do not waste everyone's time (ours for having to recheck your zone, and yours for having to fix any problems we find) - keep the balance.

Keep it interesting

An interesting area will always attract more players than a bland one. There are many ways to make an area interesting.  Try to be as descriptive as possible; don't hold back on writing extra descriptions.  Players are so accustomed to not having richly described areas that finding an extra description can often be a real treat.  Also, one oft forgotten thing to describe are the door exits. Describing all of these can give a feel of standing out in a field and looking off to the north and seeing something like:

The fields stretch off towards the large hills on the horizon. Far to the north you see what appears to be a plume of smoke.

With door descriptions like these, an area will feel more fleshed out to the player.  Many players (both experienced and first timers) read the descriptions carefully the first time they walk through an area, and having many extra descriptions helps them fill out their idea of what things actually look like.

One thing that should never be done is to have generic room descriptions like "You stand in a big room.  It is very dark." Descriptions like these detract in general from the rest of the world, and if they are found room after room can bore a player to tears. Such a description could be changed to:

You stand in a room of very large size. Shadows cower along the walls and almost seem to be moving as you look around yourself. The floor is made of heavy stones which are very dark in color. The ceiling is quite some distance above you, but you can still make out objects hanging from it, ruining the smoothness that is characteristic of the rest of the room.

Another way to make an area interesting is to create some sort of plot line for it, or a coherent theme, rather than a collection of haphazardly related rooms.  The plot can be complex like infiltrating a castle to garner the war plans of the evil Lord Zygol, simple like ridding the caves of goblins, or anything in between.  Often the plot in an area can be advanced by some fairly simple puzzles or descriptions.  With the help of special procedures written in C by the MUD's coder or the use of scripts.
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© 2005 Thomas Arp (Welcor). All rights reserved.