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1  Santharian Game Projects / RPG Development Scheduling / Re: Area Design on: 28 September 2002, 10:25:00
Glad I could be of help.

I've actually gone on 'long-term leave' after the completion of a 5 year project to recharge my batteries but I would like to offer my help with editing/proofing areas if it's needed and I'd be happy to give suggestions and share ideas with a view toward area development once I'm not feeling so burnt out and I have a better understanding of what you're working with and toward here :)

Please feel free to email me at the address I gave above if you want credentials/samples/references or further information.

2  Santharian Game Projects / RPG Development Scheduling / Area Design on: 27 September 2002, 16:38:00
Hi all,

I hope I'm not imposing here. I stumbled across your site and have been poking around and really like what you have going here.

Having built and developed areas extensively for the past 8 years I thought I'd offer a few words of advice when writing room descriptions so I hope that they're taken with the good intent in which they are given.

1. Remember that someone isn't always coming, sometimes they're going. They're not always entering the forest because at some time, they have to leave right? They aren't always heading up the road and through the city gates. Sometimes they're really sitting when you're telling them they're standing. Whipping your head around at a sharp snapping sound is just going to give you whiplash. Jumping in surprise or screaming in terror because of a little goblin is going to make you look downright silly when you're 6'5, 280 lbs and a noble warrior. Present the scene and allow the viewer to absorb the details they find important and to react in keeping with their character. Even though light reflects from the surface of the river that lies just beyond a dense hedge of brambles, it may not be something the character 'sees' or takes particular notice of.

2. If you are writing descriptions for rooms outdoors, take into consideration that it won't always be the middle of summer on a warm clear day. Try to include varying descriptions on how 'During the day, the sun filters through the tangled canopy overhead to cast a dappled pattern across the path. In the depths of winter however, the trees are skeletal and the skies above...' etc etc. All of this of course is irrelevant if you are developing the MUD with varying room descriptions depending on weather/daylight conditions :)

3. If you're writing indoor rooms, again remember that someone isn't always coming through the front door into the entrance hall. They could be on their way out. Take into account the feel of a room and how that might change between day and night, keeping in mind that you can portray the feeling of a room without telling the reader how they feel. Using simple descriptive words such as cold, dank and shadowy can be more effective than 'You're filled with a sense of dread as you enter this dungeon cell.'

4. Give an idea of what lies beyond exits to the current room, referencing the exits by their mapped direction or in reference to something else in the room. 'The front door lies to the south, solid oak and reinforced with bands of iron. Through a doorway at the other end of the room lies a stairwell.' I've found that people are more likely to read a room description if it's going to give them an idea of what is in the next room, especially if you provide a hint of possible danger ;)

5. Most MUDders have short attention spans and rarely take time to read every description of every room they walk through but don't let this discourage you from writing detailed descriptions. I have always taught my builders to write at least 3 full lines in length minimum and try to keep anything important at the beginning or end of the description. These are the parts that players are most likely to read at a glance. If you want to reference an important item, make it an object to go in the room as opposed to just part of the room description. Same goes for people and creatures.

Anyway, I could ramble forever on the subject. I hope what I've said is even a little useful. If anyone has any questions or comments on building or anything I've said, please feel free to contact me: kiahrin at hotmail dot com.

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