An Opportunity to Help Build SojournIII

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Tempus
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An Opportunity to Help Build SojournIII

Postby Tempus » Sun Feb 18, 2001 8:55 pm

Note to wankers and choads: Cyric approved this.

Interested in helping us build Sojourn, but don't have the time to build a complete zone? Then listen closely!

We currently use an automated process for creating certain non "zone" areas of the mud, for example, maybe an open pasture. Rather than duplicate descriptions, the process automatically selects sentences from a description file, and puts together a somewhat unique description for each room.

As you can imagine it takes alot of time and effort to come up with quality descriptions. The more time we spend on stuff like this, the less we have to crank out zones for the mud. So, we would like to offer you the chance to make your mark on the mud by helping us build these description files. It should take a few hours of hard core creative burn.

There are five categories, and each category requires ten sentences. The name of the category tells you what the sentence should describe. You should make your file in a text editor such as Notepad.

Let's assume the following file is for an Arctic Wasteland. The file should look like the following.

Terrain:

Thick snow covers treacherous faults in the icy ground beneath, concealing potential crevasses.
Sentence number two goes here.
Sentence blah blah all the way to ten sentences about terrain.

Flora:

Black patches of mushrooms are slowly covering the old carcass of a caribou.
Sentence two...

Fauna:

A small white hare scurries behind a boulder nearby.
Sentence two...

Smell:

The moss that covers the stones nearby exudes a faintly sweet odor.
Sentence two...

Sound:

The howl of the wind is almost deafening at times, as it rips through the mountains of snow and ice.
Sentence two...

Thats it! This is the IMPORTANT PART!!! For now, we trying this as a test run. So, we are interested only in descriptions for HILL TERRAIN!!! Please send all completed files to stevo@bu.edu. Do not under any circumstances post the files to the BBS!! If this goes well, we will ask for more description files for other terrain types!

Temputz

P.S.-Anything you submit becomes the property of SojournIII, and by submitting it you agree to this, and release all right, title, and interest in the submission to the owners of SojournIII.

[This message has been edited by Tempus (edited 02-18-2001).]
Malacar
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Postby Malacar » Mon Feb 19, 2001 3:07 am

Hey Tempy.. You go to Boston university?

Heh.. We need to meet up again in rl sometime, so you remember me this time. ;p

Mal
namatoki
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Postby namatoki » Mon Feb 19, 2001 4:25 am

Cool, we have some BU people here! I went to BU from 1992-95 (didn't get to graduate Image). Go Terriers!!! Image

Nizrath
Kyos
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Postby Kyos » Tue Feb 20, 2001 2:09 pm

Ohh jesus,

What crap are you adding to sojourn?

You are talking about quality areas and stuff and then adding an auto generated desc thing, why not use a vmap instead then? Even better, WHO DO REALLY wanna read auto generated descs without feeeling and author creativness.

Migh aswell just write the room names and skip descs. I bet everyone will have tog brief when running through those areas, why read a desc when theres no point in it and you have seen the sentances all over the place...

C'mon, make original quality zones instead.

This auto crap would make sojourn quality decrease ALOT.

I'm a VERY old sojourn player and adding this crap would really blow :P

(A vmap does that job 100 times better. But than again, sojourn did not want that kind of stuff, so i don't see why you are adding auto generated descs. It is like going against your own goals.)
Malacar
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Postby Malacar » Tue Feb 20, 2001 3:02 pm

Kyos, have you ever designed a zone? If so, you'd know how utterly tedious it is to describe tens, hundreds, hell THOUSANDS of rooms.. Give them a little slack. The important rooms will still get handheld descriptions because the area designers(of which I am trying to join their ranks) take personal pride in making good stuff. But those 'out-of-the-way' rooms that noone is likely to be going in often, and only rarely serve a purpose... Well hell, why not give them a bumpy description. You'll still get the general idea.

Quality over quantity. Yes, I agree. However, when is quantity going to suffer down to zero because people have issues coming up with 'good' descriptions that will keep you entertained, and therefore won't be any new zones to explore.. Would you rather have maybe 2-4 in ten rooms generically described(i doubt it's even that much, at least for mine. More like 1-2 in ten if that... I prefer to do it in my own words, but not everyone majored in english and/or is really creative.), or no new zones to go and explore? Image

I know what I'd choose...

Mal
Cyric
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Postby Cyric » Tue Feb 20, 2001 3:37 pm

My official response to Kyos as the Areas Forger of Sojourn 3 (and 1 and 2 come to think of it) is:

Bite my big boney butt.

Want to mud somewhere with better room descriptions? I dare ya to find another mud. Sheesh...go trying to add something to make people happy and ya get pooped on...grumble grumble...

R
Kyos
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Postby Kyos » Tue Feb 20, 2001 3:56 pm

Heh,

I have written lots of areas actually.

Anyways, don't get offended...

Sojourn do not need those "crap" zones for extra space... (or am i wrong..)

Actually sojourn has probobly one of the largest !vmap worlds around mud community.

Just building out the world with "real" zones would be a MUCH better idea than adding auto generated rooms. It would still be one of the
largest muds around.

Anyways it was just what i think of it, and im sure alot of others think the same...
(If they really think about it.)

If ya looking for wilderness areas, what is the difference between a vmap and auto generated rooms? And why did you decide
against a vmap?

Also, this is NOT negative critisism, i hate that, im trying to give ya positive critisism, which means i think something is bad and i give ideas what would be better.

I don't think any player enjoys to read auto generated rooms... and if they do, please tell me Image

Wave!
belleshel
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Postby belleshel » Tue Feb 20, 2001 4:08 pm

Kyos are you telling me you bothered to stop to read all the room descriptions from WD to IC, or WD to CP? Most of the folks I knew ran it with aliases, or spammed directions (my favorite Image...why take up precious time that can be devoted to zones people do/enjoy?
I'd much prefer a few less then stellar 'attaching' areas if that means more high quality zones to play around in. I belive (correct me if Im wrong) the idea here is to free up coders/builders to creating awesome zones, rather than wasting that time with the nitty-gritty paths that lead to the zone, or surround the 'zone proper'
Budding in Image
Belle
Kyos
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Postby Kyos » Tue Feb 20, 2001 4:24 pm

Bel.. Those descs can be fun to read too, and
it adds alot of feeling if you stop by the
campsite and actually read the desc instead
of spamming by with aliases (which is way lame in my opinion).

The fun with real descs is that there is some point in it being there. It has a meaning. There might be useful information in it, and it should be... Even on roads and stuff. If
there is a meaning with the descs there is a meaning reading them. Giving hints on hidden
exits, giving information about the area and stuff like that.

If they are just auto generated, that meaning disappear, why read a desc when it has no point than describing a random forest room, when you proboly has read all the sentances a couple times before?
Some rooms need to be that though, but a whole area seems very wrong...

If instead, in the OLC, they had an option to choose..
5) Auto generation - None set
or when set,
5) Auto generation - FOREST WET DARK BLA BLA

And you can make "some" rooms in an area auto generated, (making large wilderness zones easier to build) it would be less robotic
rooms...

But, perhaps that was the way they doing it hehe...

Full auto generated zones do not seem very
appealing to me... but partially generated
forest rooms etc might be good. To keep the
copied rooms down... Generated rooms are bad, but copied descs are even worse Image

Kyos
namatoki
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Postby namatoki » Tue Feb 20, 2001 4:30 pm

What the heck is a vmap? Image

Just curious since I've built some areas on some small muds and I've never heard of that.

Nizrath
belleshel
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Postby belleshel » Tue Feb 20, 2001 4:32 pm

"We currently use an automated process for creating certain non "zone" areas of the mud, for example, maybe an open pasture. Rather than duplicate descriptions, the process automatically selects sentences from a description file, and puts together a somewhat unique description for each room."

Non-zone areas
An everyone agrees generates are better than copied rooms.
Happy now? Image
B
Yayaril
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Postby Yayaril » Tue Feb 20, 2001 6:39 pm

Actually, on several occasions I've read the descriptions to every room from Waterdeep to Icecrag. I normally didn't, but when that wind was blowing from the frozen north, I had no choice but to rest in each room.

Yayaril
Tempus
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Postby Tempus » Tue Feb 20, 2001 6:45 pm

Kyos,

Go back and read the post again. As someone else has already pointed out, the rooms created by this process are "non-zone". Meaning you probably won't even notice them, because you'll be to busy running through them on the way to a "zone".

If you would like to volunteer to create full featured road zones and open spaces, since you have apparently "written lots of areas" please feel free to email me and I'll get you started on a spiffy project Cyric really wants. A thousand room desert grid should be a good starting project, and considering Cyric's standards, I'll expect 10 unique lines of quality description for each room.
Aedarton
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Postby Aedarton » Tue Feb 20, 2001 9:09 pm

ROFL Tempus Image
Kyos
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Postby Kyos » Tue Feb 20, 2001 9:39 pm

So a 1000 room desert grid with auto generated rooms is something we will see on sojourn...?
Ragorn
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Postby Ragorn » Tue Feb 20, 2001 9:54 pm

If there's exp there, I'll go.

Room descriptions be damned.

Writing room descriptions is easy 90% of my zone writing time.

- Ragorn
Tempus
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Postby Tempus » Tue Feb 20, 2001 10:43 pm

Kyos,

I thought the following entry from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary might be helpful. Note especially the synonym at the end, though I suspect the circular beauty of this post may yet escape you.

Tempus -touché- Foehammer

Main Entry: sar·casm
Pronunciation: 'sär-"ka-z&m
Function: noun
Etymology: French or Late Latin; French sarcasme, from Late Latin sarcasmos, from Greek sarkasmos, from sarkazein to tear flesh, bite the lips in rage, sneer, from sark-, sarx flesh; probably akin to Avestan thwar&s- to cut
Date: 1550
1 : a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain <tired of continual sarcasms>
2 a : a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual b : the use or language of sarcasm <this is no time to indulge in sarcasm>
synonym see WIT
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Shevarash
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Postby Shevarash » Tue Feb 20, 2001 10:49 pm

Wait until you see these rooms to make a decision regarding their quality. They're actually pretty damn good - as all the sentences that combine to form the description are of the same high quality found in other Sojourn zones.

We are only using the room generator for zones that WOULD NEVER EXIST otherwise that we need to expand and connect certain parts of the MUD. They would never exist otherwise because NO ONE wants to write a boring zone like that.

Things like forest, arctic wilderness, small deserts, oceans - those are the kinds of things we'll be using the generator for - NOT real zones, which will consist of the same high quality descriptions Sojourn is known for. We are NOT using it to create huge tracts of wilderness from the Sword Coast to Thay, or anything like that - just for small wilderness areas inbetween zones and the like.

To sum up: It's cool! Trust me! Would Shevy lie to you? Image

-- Shevy
Sarvis
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Postby Sarvis » Tue Feb 20, 2001 11:18 pm

*whap Tempus* No giving Kyos work to do here, he's got other things he'd better be workin on. Image *peer Kyos*

Yes, he has built lots of zones... most of them pretty good. And well-written zones are definately better than generated/copied zones. But I guess we aren't talking about zones?

When I originally read the post I thought they were going to be sort of "mini-zones." Something like the buffs out by the goblin caves, justa place to go when you can't do anything better. Err... only buffs were pretty good... but I pictured the area sorta laid out like that.

Now as to the generation itself. IF you get a good sample of sentences (say 100 or so per terrain type) then they will probably look pretty unique in each room. But that doesn't necessariliy mean they will look good. Consider these possible forest sentences:

Tree-
A spruce tree is tall, with it's branches spread out over a wide area and shading the ground.

Pond-
There is a shallow pond here, with tadpoles swimming around inside.

Fallen leaves-
The ground is carpeted with fallen leaves from past autumns.

Now they could be combined to form a description that would go like this:

A spruce tree is tall, with it's branches spread out over a wide area and shading the ground. There is a shallow pond here, with tadpoles swimming around inside. The ground is carpeted with fallen leaves from past autumns.


Now that's not bad... hrm... might have to save that for one of my half-completed areas. Image But a good creative builder/writer might write:

The branches of a tall spruce spread out wide, casting a shadow in the pond that has formed at it's base. Fallen leaves from the past autumn drift on the surface of the pond, with small frogs jumping between them and tadpoles swimming underneath.

The main difference being that a write can combine the elements in the room so they have an affect on each other and therefore bring the description together as a whole. Whereas in the first version you can basically tell that it's just pasted together from several separate sentences.

Even for connecting zones maybe it would be good to give new builders the assignment to come up with 10 or so descriptions for each terrain type you want. Then copy those descriptions around... I know everyone says copies are bad, but if they are a low enough percentage (Ie. a copy re-appears every 10 rooms) I think it could be better than generated descs.

Hrm... guess I've rambled enough... hehe. To sum up: Generated descs aren't the worst possible fate for a zone, but a few well written descs can be far better even if copied.

Sarvis
Kajib
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Postby Kajib » Tue Feb 20, 2001 11:25 pm

I like the idea :P It's still personalized, because someone actually did write the sentences that are being used....
Hmm...take duris for example. On long roads and ocean, the descripts for the room were exactly the same..talk about boring heh. At least in sojourn there is variety in even "unimportant" areas.
Harthorm
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Postby Harthorm » Tue Feb 20, 2001 11:26 pm

Aight, I just gotta throw my opinion in here. I've resisted the whole artis discussion, but this is less controversial, so here I go!

Kyos, you say that when running from WD to IC you stopped to read the descriptions. How many times? Not more than once, I bet. I agree that not stopping and reading the description of the campsite is lame. Fine, but that room would not be generated by room generator. That steps outside the realm of "filler". At that point, the "zone" creator (although these are really just connecting areas as Shev points out) will make a special description, complete with whatever hidden exits, clues, and oddities they feel are needed.

I don't understand why this is a bad thing. Nobody wants to do a series of rooms on a road (or god forbid, in a field/forest) where every description is so intense as to merit unique effort. How many rocks, pebbles, blades of grass, and dead tree stumps can you describe?

The room generator will be a huge boon to those who take the time to provide us with quality zones, doing away with the monotony of creating meaningless descriptions that most people probably won't read. Now, if they do decide to read them, there will probably be something more than "The road continues northwards" since the generator is making the files and not some bored area maker.

*pant* Harthorm/Twiblin
Solonor
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Postby Solonor » Wed Feb 21, 2001 12:03 am

As the guy who wrote the BGR zone (black griffin road zone) I know a thing of two about writing Non Zone, zones. My BGR has 500 rooms with not one duplicate description or autogenerated description. Looking back at it, while it is true I am very proud of that zone, it is also true I could have easily finished TF2 in that time. Zone generation tools like the one Shev/cyric have mentioned are very good, if they descriptions feed into them are good. I have been an area god on 3 different muds and I can tell you for a fact that Sojourn/Toril has the best room descriptions, bar none.

Solonor
Note: There is going to be a new Zone Generation tool that will greatly expand what Shev put on the website.
Sarvis
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Postby Sarvis » Wed Feb 21, 2001 12:11 am

On the other hand, look at how much time people spend on BGR as compared to the road from WD to MH. Image
Solonor
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Postby Solonor » Wed Feb 21, 2001 12:24 am

Thanks!
But I suspect ppl spent time on my BGR because of the 300+ mobs and various quests I placed in that zone. Point being that a quality zone is not just good descriptions, it is also carefully thought out mobs,quests and playability for the target users of the zones. (ie can the level players who could benefit from this zone actually be able to play in this zone.)
Harthorm
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Postby Harthorm » Wed Feb 21, 2001 1:55 am

BGR is what I would call a proper zone (it's tiny, but it is a zone) as compared to a connecting area. There were maybe 5 mobs on the road to MH from WD. Not a zone.

Harthorm/Twiblin
Ragorn
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Postby Ragorn » Wed Feb 21, 2001 2:06 am

Solonor, I'm gonna strangle you. Those quests were rediculous hard for the items you got from them! :P

I had 2 out of 3 items for like, 10 BGR quests. *sniffle*

- Ragorn
Cyric
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Postby Cyric » Wed Feb 21, 2001 2:22 am

Hokay, with all of the above said, we return to Tempus' original message...ahem, if interested in contributing, email him.

R
izarek
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Postby izarek » Wed Feb 21, 2001 7:23 pm

hey Tempus,

Can you put an example or three of stuff generated from the garbage we send you?

Izzy
Tempus
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Postby Tempus » Wed Feb 21, 2001 11:01 pm

Thanks to Izarek for a fine set of descriptions! Great job! Will get back to you on the possibility of an example...

This does not end our search for quality HILL descriptions, so don't be distraught if your still working on a set! The more the better! Keep em comin!

Temp
Thurg
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Postby Thurg » Thu Feb 22, 2001 3:33 am

god i hate doing all those descriptions... especially when you have to redo the thing for one stinking thing wrong...
Vylare
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Postby Vylare » Mon Feb 26, 2001 5:08 pm

Belleshel,
Actually I don't know if anyone else stopped to read every room description, but I know I did. I often walked along the road from WD to IC and was so impressed by the descriptions and the amount of work that had gone into them. One of the things I always valued about Sojourn was the amount of detail in every zone, not just the "big" zones. I'm in agreement with Kyos that it would be a shame to lose that.
And yes, I know how difficult it is to build an area and how much work goes into it.
Alistra
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Postby Alistra » Fri Mar 02, 2001 9:32 pm

Well, maybe Kyos has the time (Since he's the one complaining Image) to take those generated descriptions and modify them into "good" desc's such as the example Sarvis gave?

"Tree-
A spruce tree is tall, with it's branches spread out over a wide area and shading the ground.

Pond-
There is a shallow pond here, with tadpoles swimming around inside.

Fallen leaves-
The ground is carpeted with fallen leaves from past autumns.

Now they could be combined to form a description that would go like this:

A spruce tree is tall, with it's branches spread out over a wide area and shading the ground. There is a shallow pond here, with tadpoles swimming around inside. The ground is carpeted with fallen leaves from past autumns."

Would cut down on the time it usually takes to come up with desc's... *shrug* Personally I think anything that passes in the imms eyes will be fine, especially since the rooms we're talking about are fillers.

Ali

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