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An infobar question.

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Posted by Shaun Biggs   USA  (644 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Mon 05 Feb 2007 02:55 AM (UTC)
Message
This is kind of an odd question, but is there any way to make part of the text in the infobar clickable? I would love to have a quick bar popping up that I can click on that's out of the way instead of having a messagebox like I have been using.

It is much easier to fight for one's ideals than to live up to them.
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Posted by Nick Gammon   Australia  (21,322 posts)  [Biography] bio   Forum Administrator
Date Reply #1 on Mon 05 Feb 2007 08:38 PM (UTC)
Message
No, that is not supported, sorry.

- Nick Gammon

www.gammon.com.au, www.mushclient.com
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Posted by Shaun Biggs   USA  (644 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #2 on Mon 05 Feb 2007 09:58 PM (UTC)
Message
Personally, I would find it to be a huge help in being lazy. Should I post this to the suggestions section, or just leave it here?

I'd love to be able to click on the health section to quaff a healing potion and the mana section to quaff a magic potion and things like that. Or have the last URL posted on a channel listed in the bar so it doesn't change the channel text at all.

It is much easier to fight for one's ideals than to live up to them.
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Posted by Nick Gammon   Australia  (21,322 posts)  [Biography] bio   Forum Administrator
Date Reply #3 on Tue 06 Feb 2007 04:18 AM (UTC)
Message
Personally when I am in the middle of a battle, if I am low on health I don't want to be groping for the mouse, and trying to click on a small part of the screen.

I suggest in this case that you make a function key (eg. using the Macros configuration), and display a suggested key to (say) quaff a potion.

eg.


Health: 10/800 (F4 for health) Mana: 200/600 (F5 for mana)

- Nick Gammon

www.gammon.com.au, www.mushclient.com
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Posted by Shadowfyr   USA  (1,783 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #4 on Wed 07 Feb 2007 02:42 AM (UTC)
Message
Actually, its a matter of focus. If the focus staid with the input window, then clicking on a button isn't that bad. For example, its quite common, in the graphical client for EQ2, for me to have 5 seperate icon bars up at a time, clicking them to initiate combat commands, while using the arrow keys to direct where I am looking.

And as much as people would like to argue that its not the same thing, the fact is, a graphics based MMORPG is just a MUD that uses BSD tree distance functions to figure out what you "can" target and some stuff to keep track of which direction you are facing. The underlying technology and messaging is so similar to muds that DikuMUD threatened to sue the creators of Everquest, based on the theory that they ***had to be*** using DikuMUD code in their servers.

Yeah, macros are best if that is what you are used to, but icons are just as effective, if you are used to using them. Now, if something the size that will fit on the info bar is *really* that useful is another question. lol
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Posted by David Haley   USA  (3,881 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #5 on Wed 07 Feb 2007 03:41 AM (UTC)
Message
A graphical MMORPG is not necessarily a MUD with stuff stuck on top of it. It happens that you can extend a MUD server to use graphics, like what Everquest basically did, but you don't have to.

BTW, you meant BSP tree, right?
Binary space partitioning is just a technique to organize space; you don't have to use BSPs, either. Some people use trees with more branching (e.g. TSPs, QSPs); and there exist completely different techniques.

I think your point about icons being ok relies a lot more on a question of habit than any potential underlying similarity between MUDs and MMORPGs. I agree with the point; I just think you made several odd statements on the way to it. :)

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 #6 on Wed 07 Feb 2007 06:26 PM (UTC)

Amended on Wed 07 Feb 2007 06:30 PM (UTC) by Shadowfyr

Message
Picky, picky, picky...

Seriously:

1. I am reading a book called "Designing Virtual Worlds" right now, and technically, if its a multi-user environment, its almost certainly on some level very similar to a MUD, MUCK, etc. There are a *lot* a variations on just *how* muds and MMORPGs work, and most parallel each other heavilly, even if the MMO people are often too unaware or arrogant to admit it and learn from MUD developers mistakes. Instead people constantly reinvent the wheel. In fact, its one of the authors complaints in the book (He is one of the handful of people that developed the **first** MUD driver and library). Its one thing to invent new ideas, another to be completely ignorant of everything that came before, so that you ignore all of it. Acheron's call, for example, uses/used a load balancing system. Very few MUDs use that *ever*, but a few really big ones do. It was vastly superior to EQs method of "zoning", since there was no apparent delay when moving from area to area. However, Acheron's ignored damn near everything else ever done previously, thinking they where some sort of geniuses, and several *critical* flaws in the game design and management of the game world effectively killed it. What do we have now? Not Acheron's Call: We Finally Got it Right!, we have EQ2: Better Graphics And Now With More Zoning!

Techinically, EQ never "extended" anything. They built the entire framework for the system they use from scratch, then got sandbagged by people in the MUD community that tend to be sue happy and noticed the major similarities between the systems. That this is a bit like Ford sueing a new car company on the grounds that they accidentally, and entirely on their own, developed a nearly identical under carriage and suspension system...

2. Yeah, couldn't remember the precise name, BSP tree. In any case, its a fairly well known method. Point I was making is that 3D environments need to sort out "where" something is in relation to you. You can't click on something that is, in game terms, 10 miles away. You probably can't even see something like that in most of them. The better your GPU and cooler your system can run, the more likely that you can at least "see" some stuff, but there is still a limit to how far away user interactive objects will appear, since they are very small compared to the rest of the scenery. Probably 80% of it is pre-loaded, but even then, locations of NPCs, other players, and movable objects "all" have to be determined as you approach them, which means the server is "still" determining what you "should" be able to see, even if your local client setting can't see that far with your hardware. On the server end, there is still some class of sorting going on which says, "Given the direction and viewing angle of this player, what objects are in that field of view and which ones are close enough to bother showing. The only thing the client does is, "Given the info I got from the server, how many of these things it says is in front of the character are close enough to interact with?"

It might not be BSP trees. Other methods exist, but that wasn't the point I was making.
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Posted by Shadowfyr   USA  (1,783 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #7 on Wed 07 Feb 2007 06:35 PM (UTC)
Message
Oh, and your are right in one way though. Macros can "technically" be far better, but that depends on the system. Something like EQ doesn't let you "script" a macro, so something like the combo attack I recently got would require I either reorganize my icon bar so that I could quickly do F1, F2, F3 and F4, or learning to click the sequence. Both are imho, equally annoying solutions when you are used to text clients that will let you do:

F1 = do punch, kick, jab, combo
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Posted by David Haley   USA  (3,881 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #8 on Wed 07 Feb 2007 06:39 PM (UTC)
Message
You're reading Bartle's book, nay? That's a book about game play design, not game programming design. (In fact, he hardly even talks about actual programming.) Your first comment was about the programming design -- referring to BSPs and whatnot -- but your new comment is about the game design. I agree with what you just said, but your new comment is a different conversation from the one that had been started! :-)


As for the BSP point itself, well, of course the server needs to have some notion of spatial configuration. That still doesn't mean that an MMORPG is basically a MUD with coordinates tacked on top. If the point you were trying to make is only that graphical games need spatial configuration then of course, granted. But the way your first comment was written, it appeared to me that you were trying to make a much stronger claim about the relationship between graphical MMORPG engines and text MUD engines.

David Haley aka Ksilyan
Head Programmer,
Legends of the Darkstone

http://david.the-haleys.org
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Posted by Nick Gammon   Australia  (21,322 posts)  [Biography] bio   Forum Administrator
Date Reply #9 on Wed 07 Feb 2007 07:15 PM (UTC)
Message
Quote:

I am reading a book called "Designing Virtual Worlds" right now ...


You are reading that? Excellent, if there was one book I would recommend to MUD and MMORPG game designers to start with, it would be that one.

I mentioned it a while back in this post:

http://www.gammon.com.au/forum/bbshowpost.php?id=5959

In that post is the exact name and ISBN number, if anyone wants go grab a copy.

Quote:

That's a book about game play design, not game programming design.


It doesn't discuss programming in detail (that is, algorithms are not mentioned) however he discusses in general terms programming pitfalls, such as letting important decisions (like, did a player hit a mob) being made at the client end.

He also discusses things like:


  • game economy
  • zones
  • customer support issues
  • management of newbies
  • management of experienced players
  • player vs player, and "problem" players
  • "in-game" death (character death) and how to manage it
  • players extending the game (eg. building homes)


Obviously there are points of similarity between MUDs and MMORPGS, for one thing they both construct fantasy worlds that players inhabit.

It would seem from his descriptions that some of the early MMORPG games didn't learn from the experience of MUD designers. This is not a particularly new phenomena, it happens in many fields, where designers do not take sufficient account of earlier developments.

However when they get it right, as I believe they have with World Of Warcraft, it is very good. A game like that seems to have learnt from earlier problems encountered by other games, and also has a continuous process of refinement (as do MUD games of course), so that if an issue is shown to be annoying, or unfair, it is fixed in subsequent patches.

Not everyone agrees with having to pay for fantasy-game access (eg. pay MUDs, pay MMORPGs), however the point of paying is that you fund programmers and support staff, who work full-time to improve your game experience.

- Nick Gammon

www.gammon.com.au, www.mushclient.com
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Posted by David Haley   USA  (3,881 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #10 on Wed 07 Feb 2007 09:02 PM (UTC)
Message
Yes, it is a fascinating book. I think it's obviously a great read for designers, but also for programmers, because it opens eyes to the kinds of game design decisions that can dramatically affect the code architecture. Even though Bartle never discusses how to go about implementing the designs (aside from very general considerations about where the game logic should be computed) the need to be aware of the design is something that programmers often miss (and not just in the game field).

I'd definitely recommend the book to anybody even thinking about designing a game, and also to coders in general, even those who aren't actively designing. (An example of why that is important is to realize if and when you are subtly changing design by making certain programming choices, or, what architecture choices you make will affect or limit future design choices.)

David Haley aka Ksilyan
Head Programmer,
Legends of the Darkstone

http://david.the-haleys.org
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Posted by Shaun Biggs   USA  (644 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #11 on Wed 07 Feb 2007 11:46 PM (UTC)
Message
Well, although this is an interesting progression of a conversation, it doesn't have terribly much to do with the point I was trying to make. One of the options I listed for what to do with a clickable link on the infobar was for URLs, which you would have to click on in the output window anyway. Having the link on the info bar also means less mouse movement to click on the link and then the input window. Also, the chance of the link moving while text is scrolling by would be negated.

Again, all just a matter of preference. I was just kind of surprised to see that there wasn't an option for this considering nearly everything I have wanted in a client has already been implemented for MUSHclient. Generally, if I can't find an obvious option, it just takes a minute of scripting to get the results I was looking for.

It is much easier to fight for one's ideals than to live up to them.
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Posted by Nick Gammon   Australia  (21,322 posts)  [Biography] bio   Forum Administrator
Date Reply #12 on Thu 08 Feb 2007 05:13 AM (UTC)
Message
Unfortunately, the Info Bar is implemented by using a standard control supplied by the (MFC) libraries with which MUSHclient is built. Adding extra functionality, like clickable URLs is non-trivial.

- Nick Gammon

www.gammon.com.au, www.mushclient.com
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Posted by Shaun Biggs   USA  (644 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #13 on Thu 08 Feb 2007 10:11 AM (UTC)
Message
Fair enough. I thought it was just a mini output window that popped up. Rewriting that would probably be more trouble than it could possibly be worth.

Thanks for the information.

It is much easier to fight for one's ideals than to live up to them.
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Posted by Shadowfyr   USA  (1,783 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Reply #14 on Thu 08 Feb 2007 03:33 PM (UTC)
Message
One additional note in this subject. The reason I consider the differences *slightly* more trivial than MMOs being "completely" different than MUDs is that I had a discussion with someone not long ago about designing a MUD that used a 3D space to generate content. In other words, the "room" would be a combination of general information, like the terrain you can see, based on where you are, what you can see in the near distance and what objects are in your immediate vacinity. In other words, almost exactly what you would expect the underlying design of an MMO to use, but implimented in text. The main reason this isn't done is that its a monumentally complicated design, while graphics doesn't require that you "describe" what is being seen, just that you place the object in the correct location to appear where you will see it when you get to a particular place.

Yes, there are differences, but the more I think about it, the more similarities exist, and the more the differences are about client side implimentations and how you "see" the things in the game, not in the scripting used to make all the pieces fit together, and only in the server end, in so much as needing to support how the client "shows" what is going on.

But yeah, as Nick said, MFC controls require some tweaks to do anything other than what they already do. Not sure how non-trivial it is to do though. That may be more a matter of perception from someone that hasn't tried to figure out how to extend them, than actually difficulty. But then, what do I know, I haven't even used MFC. lol
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