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Graphic mapper

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Posted by Sirius096   (12 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Wed 08 Feb 2006 01:42 AM (UTC)
Message
Was just wondering if there are any plugins that generate a an actual map (picture) through MC's mapping system? Like zMud's mapper... I have a very basic one that a friend gave me, but I would like a more complex one...
Sorry if this has already been asked.

-Siri
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Posted by Nick Gammon   Australia  (21,321 posts)  [Biography] bio   Forum Administrator
Date Reply #1 on Wed 08 Feb 2006 07:37 PM (UTC)
Message
There are none that I know of. Graphical mappers are notoriously hard to write, since MUD layouts are not necessarily "real". That is, going west from room A does not necessarily lead to you somwhere that, if you go east, takes you back where you come from.

- Nick Gammon

www.gammon.com.au, www.mushclient.com
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Posted by Robert Powell   Australia  (367 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #2 on Thu 09 Feb 2006 09:25 AM (UTC)

Amended on Thu 09 Feb 2006 09:34 AM (UTC) by Robert Powell

Message
And on top of that, how many builders actually build map friendly areas. Still the best way i find is to map them on either paper or in a program like mapmaker by henning koehler. Which i really like because it outputs rom area files that i can convert to smaug. Its the RAB(tm) (Rapid Area Building).

Seems that the page is now defunt. I have it if anyone wants a copy.

Just a guy having a bit of fun. Nothing more, nothing less, I do not need I WIN to feel validated.
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Posted by David Haley   USA  (3,881 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #3 on Thu 09 Feb 2006 09:35 AM (UTC)
Message
It seems that you could draw a MUD map if you were willing to have the map look odd at points. You'd also have to run it through a layout manager of sorts to minimize the criss-crossing of exit lines.

It might be an interesting project to have an auto-mapper generate input for the DOT program, that draws directed graphs. It'd take care of all the layout and formatting, given the right input. Some parts might look weird, but at least it'd all be connected the right way.

David Haley aka Ksilyan
Head Programmer,
Legends of the Darkstone

http://david.the-haleys.org
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Posted by Zeno   USA  (2,871 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #4 on Thu 09 Feb 2006 02:08 PM (UTC)
Message
Quote:
And on top of that, how many builders actually build map friendly areas.

*raises hand*
All of my builders. ;)

Zeno McDohl,
Owner of Bleached InuYasha Galaxy
http://www.biyg.org
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Posted by Shadowfyr   USA  (1,783 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #5 on Thu 09 Feb 2006 03:49 PM (UTC)
Message
That's great Zeno. Do you allow botting? lol Seriously, one reason muds "don't" design such things is to confuse bots. Other reasons being simply that sometimes an area might call for one way paths, etc., in places that where designed by the occupants to be confusing. Then there are teleporting rooms, teleporting mobs, etc. as well. All of these things give anyone trying to design a mapper a head ache.

From a purely practical standpoint though, it shouldn't be impossible to make one that can be designed to use "key" rooms that are unique to determine where some displacement happens. It might just take it a bit to figure out where it is, during which time it won't link anything right. It just needs a simple AI in it, able to make rough value judgments about "if" and "how" things got turned around. Alternatively, the user could manually merge duplicate rooms too. The logistics are just so complex that most people are unwilling to try it and the result would practically be as large and complex as Mushclient itself, with a similar development period.
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Posted by David Haley   USA  (3,881 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #6 on Thu 09 Feb 2006 05:34 PM (UTC)
Message
Quote:
Seriously, one reason muds "don't" design such things is to confuse bots.
I'd never heard that before. As far as I knew, the main reason most people didn't make "grid" areas had to do with laziness and not wanting to actually go make a grid.

There are also issues of scale and the like. You might not want the closet east of the room inside the house to force the road around the house to be one room longer. But anyhow...

I highly doubt that such a program would be as complex as MUSHclient, though. I proposed a rather simple way of taking care of the problem, as long as you can uniquely tag each room. In fact, you could simply compile in the DOT routines, and avoid the extra application entirely.

And uniquely tagging each room isn't *that* hard, either. You proposed one very simple solution which is to just let the user do it themselves. Writing a whole AI to take care of it seems a little excessive.

Now, if MUDs were to output a unique identifier with the room name...... :) As far as I can tell, the only reason *not* to would be if you really wanted to be able to confuse players about what room they're in.

David Haley aka Ksilyan
Head Programmer,
Legends of the Darkstone

http://david.the-haleys.org
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Posted by Zeno   USA  (2,871 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #7 on Thu 09 Feb 2006 08:47 PM (UTC)
Message
I've never heard of that either. Map friendly areas or not, it doesn't matter unless certain exits do not lead to the same room everytime.

Zeno McDohl,
Owner of Bleached InuYasha Galaxy
http://www.biyg.org
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Posted by Shadowfyr   USA  (1,783 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #8 on Thu 09 Feb 2006 09:03 PM (UTC)
Message
Well. I have been told, at least on my mud, than one reason rooms "don't" all have unique names or some way to specifically identify them is to make botting harder. I have heard others say the same. Also, while some muds use databases and can provide a sort of index number to identify the room, for most its not practical, since no such index exists, and its hard enough to get people to code areas and quality control them, without demanding they are get tagged with a number and they tell you before hand how many numbers they will need, or some similar stuff. Simply most muds "don't" have a way to tell which room you are in and never will, save for short descriptions, which some don't even show along with the main description by default.

As for the user tagging which rooms are which. In a sense that is what I meant by key rooms, so if you know one is unigue, the software can figure out a reasonable configuration to fit things into. The only reason I would suggest an AI to handle it is simply because while a simple system may be able to handle 90% of cases, the other 10% will invariably be a pain in the ass for the user to correct. Something smart enough to make educated guesses might narrow that to 1% of cases. Hell, just call me lazy, but if I am not going to graph the dan thing on paper, then I don't want to spend twice as long fixing a map system that wandered off into insanity two hours earlier, before I noticed. I would prefer something smarter than that. ;)
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Posted by David Haley   USA  (3,881 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #9 on Thu 09 Feb 2006 10:08 PM (UTC)
Message
Quote:
since no such index exists,
Isn't the SMAUG room vnum precisely such an index?

Regarding the AI, you're correct that having even something basic would help. Still, I don't think it'd be that hard to put together something that can make basic guesses about which room you're in, especially if you could easily help it along from time to time.

David Haley aka Ksilyan
Head Programmer,
Legends of the Darkstone

http://david.the-haleys.org
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Posted by Nexes   (65 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #10 on Fri 10 Feb 2006 01:07 AM (UTC)
Message
See, the problem lies in outputting the map. It would have to be another program, because Mushclient doesn't let you draw much (that I know of). So that adds on a whole mess of code you'd have to write to make it communicate with Mushclient and syncronize the communications so it doesn't act crazy.

Then...for drawing, that would require an AI of sorts to put rooms places that make sense. I mean, you could run into a map that has an up exit, that leads to another room on the same level (by that I mean you wouldn't have to go through another up/down to get to the room where you initially moved up). How would you draw that? How would the computer draw that? If we assume everything is on a grid, it could look really ugly.

But if you don't want to output the map then yeah, I don't see any problem at all.
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Posted by David Haley   USA  (3,881 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #11 on Fri 10 Feb 2006 03:08 AM (UTC)
Message
Quote:
How would you draw that? How would the computer draw that?
As I said there are layout managers that take care of this problem quite nicely -- at least insofar as not having lines crisscross all over the place. What you'd end up with might not look like a mental picture of a map, though.

David Haley aka Ksilyan
Head Programmer,
Legends of the Darkstone

http://david.the-haleys.org
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Posted by Shadowfyr   USA  (1,783 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #12 on Fri 10 Feb 2006 04:38 PM (UTC)
Message
Quote:
Isn't the SMAUG room vnum precisely such an index?


Yes, but what is needed is a universal mapper, not one that only works with so called "modern" muds, which tend to trade simply databases for flexability. A lot of people still use pure LPC systems or entirely custom developed one, which don't have vnums. Point being, probably 30-40%, if I where to guess, don't.
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Posted by Shadowfyr   USA  (1,783 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #13 on Fri 10 Feb 2006 04:48 PM (UTC)
Message
Actually, the sort of "up goes to a room on this level" type thing could also be solved with a clever trick of using a 3D map, but that would take a "lot" more code to do. Frankly, I wouldn't mind seeing a mud with some sort of elevation data, as well as unique IDs, but that would imho require a GUI editor with its own map display to keep designers from screwing things up. lol Though the code for the designer could be re-used for a mapper then.

Still, it requires something smart enough to do decent layouts on its own, otherwise in the worst case you run into some nightmare like the path maps you would end up with when trying to draw all 10,000 sectors in Tradewars 2002. In that, you could start in the center, then just start drawing outward like a web, but by 50% of the way you start getting crossed paths all over the place. lol No one that I know of ever came up with a decent solution. In that case though, there where no logical paths, they where all basically random, so even if you tried to map them in 3D, with each new star from the center positioned according to how many jumps there where between, you still ended up with long jumps that logically shouldn't exist. At least not with some far more complex logical than I tried.
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Posted by Nexes   (65 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #14 on Sun 12 Feb 2006 11:11 PM (UTC)
Message
Actually I take back what I said about GUI's, it could probably be made in wxPython.
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