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robert4818

Build (almost) Anywhere concept

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This idea (I know, I have alot of ideas. I want my dime...I'm surely at a dozen by now) is a compromise between allowing players to build anywhere, and still maintaining adventureing areas in an MMO.

MMO's that have a build anywhere syle of play suffer from urban sprawl. Much of the open land becomes clogged with player housing. Areas that were once prime hunting grounds become cluttered with buildings. It ends up being a mess, and tends to hurt the game. Games like Darkfall counter this by designating only certain areas for players to build in. Its an ok solution, but it cuts down on freedom a bit much for my taste.

My soulution is fairly simple, and works as a compromise. Players are allowed to build anywhere, but different areas on the map have a pre-set density cap. Players are allowed to build anywhere within that area, but once the cap is reached, no-more buildings can be built. This solution is rather simple programatically as well. (building density, not build anywhere.)

The idea comes in three flavors. Floor space per area, points per area, or buildings per area.

Buildings per area is the simpler of the two. The devs set an area up to hold only a certain number of buildings, and once that's met, its finished. One building can be a palace, or an outhouse though. Which could be a little odd.

Floor Space per area is similar, however, instead of number of buildings, the devs can set up a specific amount of floor space to be allowed within an area. In that case, the number of buildings can vary. An area with a small amount of floorspace might hold a small village, or a single palace.

Points per area is very similar to the floor space concept, however instead of checking floor space, each building is given a certain number of abstract points. A single house might be a few points, a black smith shop is worth more than that. The danger here is an urban sprawl of low point buildings.

When I say area though, I don't mean "zone" I basically mean something like X/mi^2. The devs are able to control this density to lay out city areas, village areas, and isolated areas. They can even set the density to 0 for areas they want absolutely NO buildings in. (though I don't recommend it).

A city might have 10000 buildings/sqmi (basically unlimited building) until reaching a certain point, and then it begins to drop off gradually, until it reaches the density of the surrounding area. A village might have a 10/sqmi area allowing for the construction of 10 buildings. A deep forest might have the density set to 1/sqmi.

As for setting density, the easiest way to do it, IMO, is using a terrain generator as you find for many engines. They have tools that use paint brushes that affect things like terrain height, texture, etc. This would be the area, IMO, to set build density. You can use a simple tool to paint the variable information.

What do you think?

(note, there are many things not discussed here that programmers would have to decide upon, such as whether or not to allow building destruction/abandonment, or how to get rid of buildings that are taking up slots)

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I really prefer the solution that a player's 'estate' is portable, and does not exist in the game world when that player is not logged in. So whenever the player wants to use their buildings for something they plunk them down in a good spot, then when the player is done using the estate it gets put away and doesn't clutter up the landscape.

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A density cap would encourage sprawl, not prevent it. It would have buildings spread further and further.

Also, the players are doing something they want to do. There are players who stay in the wilderness, and players who want to develop it.

I suggest adding more wilderness. Maintain a frontier.

You might also revise the game rules to add more to do in the developed land.

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Original post by JoeCooper
A density cap would encourage sprawl, not prevent it. It would have buildings spread further and further.

Also, the players are doing something they want to do. There are players who stay in the wilderness, and players who want to develop it.

I suggest adding more wilderness. Maintain a frontier.

You might also revise the game rules to add more to do in the developed land.


I think we may be having 2 different definitions of Urban Sprawl here.

If someone builds an inn in a very low density area that is not urban sprawl, especially if that inn ends up being the only building in an entire square mile.

What density planning does, is it allows for those players who might want to have an isolated cabin, lone wizard tower, or possibly even a forrested Palace, while still maintaining more than enough wilderness for adventuring in. It all depends on how you use the density planner.

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I would hate to build a house, planning to expand later, only to find some other player stole all the square feet usage for this zone, and I can no longer finish my house.

I would much rather each area ingame had something similar to these three variables:

1) Minimum distance between buildings
Examples:
A) City = buildings must have a minimum of 5 feet between each other.
B) Suburb = Buildings must have a minimum of 15 feet from each other.
C) Frontier = Buildings must have a minimum of 500 feet from each other.
2) Maximum footprint of each building
    A) City = Each building can sprawl up to 1500 by 1500 feet. 
B) Suburb = Each building is limited to only 100 by 100 feet.
C) Frontier = Each building is limited to only 50 by 50 feet.
3) Maximum height of each building
    A) City = Each building can reach up to 100 stories/floors/levels and 20 below ground floors.
B) Suburb = Each building can reach up to 3 floors, 2 below ground floors.
C) Fronier = Each building can reach up to 2 floors, 1 below ground floor.

And players can file "building permit" requests to moderators, with a rough blueprint of their building's structure and exterior design, to be able to break the hard limits given above.

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Original post by robert4818
What density planning does, is it allows for those players who might want to have an isolated cabin, lone wizard tower, or possibly even a forrested Palace, while still maintaining more than enough wilderness for adventuring in. It all depends on how you use the density planner.


So we do want some role playing here, then?

It's fine, I get all that, your post just got me brainstorming because it seems like an unnatural interruption to any suspension of disbelief.

We could think up a density cap that's more "in character"...

You could, for example, have lots of areas of very rough terrain that can't be built on, but there's just one spot with enough footprint for a wizard tower if some enterprising player grabs it first.

In other words, have land that is explictly build-on-able.

This is your density limit idea, but basically under an "in character" facade. So you don't run into the situation Servant mentioned where you run into a _surprise_ limit, and your wizard tower fantasy isn't interrupted with a game message about building caps. That'd feel bureaucratic, worse so than going to an in-game King to get a land grant for your wizard tower.

Knowhatimean?

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Quote:
Original post by JoeCooper
Quote:
Original post by robert4818
What density planning does, is it allows for those players who might want to have an isolated cabin, lone wizard tower, or possibly even a forrested Palace, while still maintaining more than enough wilderness for adventuring in. It all depends on how you use the density planner.


So we do want some role playing here, then?

It's fine, I get all that, your post just got me brainstorming because it seems like an unnatural interruption to any suspension of disbelief.

We could think up a density cap that's more "in character"...

You could, for example, have lots of areas of very rough terrain that can't be built on, but there's just one spot with enough footprint for a wizard tower if some enterprising player grabs it first.

In other words, have land that is explictly build-on-able.

This is your density limit idea, but basically under an "in character" facade. So you don't run into the situation Servant mentioned where you run into a _surprise_ limit, and your wizard tower fantasy isn't interrupted with a game message about building caps. That'd feel bureaucratic, worse so than going to an in-game King to get a land grant for your wizard tower.

Knowhatimean?


I know what you mean, but I'm trying to avoid pre-built spots to a certain extent. I do wish there was a way to "hide" the density limit so that it appears more natural. That being said, I would still like something akin to my system in games, even if the limit was immersion breaking... :(

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Original post by robert4818
My soulution is fairly simple, and works as a compromise. Players are allowed to build anywhere, but different areas on the map have a pre-set density cap. Players are allowed to build anywhere within that area, but once the cap is reached, no-more buildings can be built. This solution is rather simple programatically as well. (building density, not build anywhere.)
So, this is still building limit but there is an exception to first players who take all the tasty spots to themselves and no one else can ever grab them.
It combines worst things from both models.

Upkeep. In places near resources (hunting grounds) there is an upkeep cost, the upkeep cost increases as more buildings to max desired destiny emerge resulting in some players "going bankrupt" and being forced to move to city. Of course players will hate that solution :D

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Or why not make very large maps? or random generated like Daggerfall ? or expandable ? (generate a new patch of terrain where ever a player reaches a new zone)

Another way to limit the player's decision to build the houses is to enhance the AI of the critters, and NPCs. If you build a house in the middle of the forest, it should be frequently visited by bears, wolves and werewolves which can steal/demolish it, or kill the player in a night when he is sleeping, and so on. If it is in a wide open space, thieves and burglars can steal every thing from the house (or how much they can carry), if they know how to break the locked door, or to dispel the "Lock Door" spell the owner used on all the doors in the house.

Building, Castles and Palaces should also be destructible. Heck, i wanna destroy the noble's palace with a guild mate's catapult, because he built it on my land.

You can also make that houses build on a kingdom's land to be demolished, if the owner doesn't pay the taxes to the nearest bank which belongs to the kingdom. If the king sends his army to demolish your house, you can come with you own army too, defeat them, maybe make your own kingdom, and the land around your house to be yours (taken from the other kingdom's land).

(I wrote these examples, having in mind a fantasy MMORPG similar with Daggerfall, Darkfall and UO)

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I like xlad's idea.

You could also influence these factors. Like if you're powerful enough to build a wizard tower, maybe you can have raging hordes of monsters that keep people from building log cabins under you.

Designated safe zones would be home-destruction-free.

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