Monday, September 5, 2016

Light for Rooms and Areas in CoffeeMud

Once you get CoffeeMud up and running, you're going to notice that during the game's night (hour 5) you can't see anything. Even as the Archon, you can't see anything. The easy solution as an archon is to type:

cast light

That makes it so you, as the CoffeeMud Archon can see. This, however, does not make life easier for your potential players. Imagine a first time player of MUD's logging in and all it says is, "You can't see anything." That's a horrible user experience for the first time player, and you can assume that it is the last time they will log into your MUD.
Note: If you are new to MUD's, check out my CoffeeMud review for a gentle introduction to MUD's. Or, check out the list of CoffeeMud tutorials I've written. Expect more to show up, so keep checking back.

Usually for game balance, I like to make the initial areas lit areas, or at least have a few permanently lit rooms to explore while the player gets used to the text based MUD. The important thing is that the user experience needs to be good for the new user.

By default, new characters in CoffeeMud games have a torch in their inventory. However, for a new MUD player it probably isn't obvious what you need to do to light and extinguish a torch. Consider including hints in the area for the user to find, such as a posted sign that reads something like the following.

Hint: hold torch from your inventory to light it and see in dark rooms. remove torch and put out torch to extinguish it when you don't need it or it will burn out.

That kind of help goes a long way toward making the gaming experience good for new players.

Now for some of the not-so-obvious Archon Guide type information. If you want to make sure a room stays light all the time, move to the room with your archon character. Then follow these steps.

1. Type modify room. You will see a list of room options to modify, like follows.

1. Type: 'CityStreet'
2. Display: 'Starting Place'.
3. Description: 'At every turn, adventure awaits!'.
4. Behaviors: ''.
5. Effects: ''.
Edit which?

I have my room type set to CityStreet, but that isn't important. You can have your room set to pretty much any type for this example to work.

2. Enter 5 and press return. Now you see a prompt like the following, asking for a new effect to add.

5. Effects: ''.
Enter an effect to add/remove (?)

3. Enter prop_roomlit. Capitalization doesn't matter. I usually type it all lowercase.

4. You will see a prompt that says Enter any effect parameters (?). You don't need to worry about parameters for this room property. Just press enter repeatedly until you are out of edit mode for the room.

Now your room should have the Prop_RoomLit effect set. That means, the room should never get dark even at night.

If you are designing a whole MUD area for low level characters, then you probably don't want to set every room's effects individually. It makes a lot more sense to set the Prop_RoomLit effect for the whole area.

To add permanent light to the whole CoffeeMud area, enter modify area as an archon while in the area you want lit 24-7. You should see a list similar to the following.

*. Class: StdArea
1. Name: 'New Area'.
2. Description: ''.
3. Author: ''.
4. Theme setting: 'Inherited'.
5. Climate: normal
6. Atmosphere: 'Inherited'.
7. Calendar: 'Default -- Can't be changed.'.
8. Parent Areas: 
9. Children areas: 
10. Area staff names: 
11. Area Blurb Flags: ''.
12. Behaviors: ''.
13. Effects: 'Prop_RoomLit'.
14. MXP Image filename: ''.
*** Area Economics settings: 
15. Currency: 'Default'.
16. Prejudice: ''.
17. Item Pricing Factors: ''.
18. Budget: ''.
19. Devaluation rates: ''.
20. Inventory reset rate [ticks]: '0'.
21. Ignore Mask: ''.
Edit which?

Enter 13 to modify the area's effects. Enter Prop_RoomLit as you did when setting the effects for your room, then press enter repeatedly until you are out of the area editing menu.

If you set Prop_RoomLit somewhere that you want it removed, just repeat the process as if you are adding the effect and CoffeeMud removes the effect that already exists.

One last note. If the time command shows it is daytime in your MUD, then use the ticktock command to advance the time until it is night. For example if the time is 0/5, then do the command ticktock 5 to move to night for testing of your Prop_RoomLit settings.

That's all there is to making an area lit 24-7 in your CoffeeMud MUD! Remember to check out my other MUD tutorials.

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