Ok, since we're already addressing weather issues currently, I was thinking that while smaug already supposedly takes into account neighboring areas for weather patterns it really ought to also take into account seasons.
Of course, that'd mean fixing the calendar and such too, but Remcon's already done that for his LoP so it can certainly be done easily enough. The calendar should probably be at least sort of persistant and time should flow universally in-game rather than the time command reflecting an hour's passage every 5 minutes real time but each character aging at a rate of one year for every two hours real time.
Anyone else have any thoughts on this, either theory or code?
For AFKMud, I did go to the trouble of stabilizing the calendar updates, introducing seasons, and even having them do something marginally cool. In winter time, freshwater bodies freeze over. Our calendar advances at a much slower rate than stock Smaug, and I think that's for the better even if you aren't looking to fix up the weather system.
Smaug's weather code does already factor in neighboring regions of the world ( areas ) and they do have an influence on weather patterns in game. The problem is that many Smaug admins don't realize what kind of power they have and that they can even set these things up. If all of the areas in the game are left with their default climate settings, then yes, there won't be a great deal of variety and an area which is supposed to be cold, wet, and miserable may actually have climate settings for Southern California: Sunny and moderate year round.
What would be really cool:
Seasons which influence the global weather patterns. If it's supposed to be the middle of summer, then even your mountainous region should show this. There shouldn't be blizzards howling away if it's supposed to be 90 degrees out. Moderate it some and turn those into thunderstorms.
Regions which have a more defined affect on other regions nearby. If you have high mountains, then the valley below should be affected by that. Terrain has a hand in weather as much as the seasons do. Smaug has already tried to replicate this for general climate, but it doesn't take terrain into account at all. Which could be quite difficult to do.
Actual environmental affects due to the weather. Rains alot? Then there should be floods. Dry alot? Then throw up some sand/dust storms. Is it moist and cold? Toss in some fog banks that make it harder to see. Does it snow alot? How about some avalanches. Rivers should be dynamic. If there's a dry spell, it shouldn't have as much water in it and the current should not be as strong. You could take this to extremes and include cosmic affects like sunspots and solar flares too if you have the desire. Maybe even have all of this tie in to some kind of magic system where the climate itself influences the spells.
Have the inhabitants of the world exert an influence back on the climate. Are there orcs burning down the forests? Over farming the valleys? Having an industrial revolution on your world? Gone nuclear? While it's unrealistic to think that man has any influence over the climate on Earth, this is fantasy we're talking about and in the right game such conditions might be appropriate to include.
I'm sure other people can think up some nifty things for weather to do beyond what it already does.
Other than the fact that I think man has indeed demonstrated a significant control over the climate on Earth (we have had an industrial revolution, we've deployed nuclear devices, we've caused volcanic eruptions, we've destroyed forests wholesale, we've …well, done lots of stupid things that have had both local and global impact on weather and many other factors of life on this planet), I think you've hit exactly on to what I'm talking about in this thread. :smile:
Why can't we clean up the weather system a bit so that it can influence our game world in an at least semi-realistic fashion?
Why don't we post, somewhere, a how-to to teach smaug admins how to use the weather system and the neighboring areas system so that not as many smaug admins would be ignorant of its existance and usage?
Why shouldn't we fix up the time/calendar system in smaug to be more practical and tie it into the weather system for seasonal influence?
Why not have magic impact the weather, or at least have weather impact magic and mundane aspects of the game?
As far as seasonal factors go, why shouldn't smaller bodies of water freeze during the winter and become sector type ice instead of sector type water, or areas where the game has deposited little precipitation eventually become dust bowls or even deserts, or mountaineous regions occassional be plagued with mud slides after too much rain, or perhaps dense fog reduce visibility until its had a chance to burn off or be magic'd away?
While I'm not certain what exact influences on weather or magic or otherwise we might incorporate for special "cosmic events" such as solar flares and sun spots and radiation storms and so forth, I don't see any reason to exclude them from the plan too, especially as long as we're taking into consideration that events of cosmic scale take place all the time, but those that might directly impact a given planetary system should be very infrequent indeed, adn we're fixing the time/calendar system to be more realistic and persistant so that the world isn't impacted by a giant meteor strike every reboot. :wink:
I realize that there are a lot of "why not" type questions stemming from this, and part of the reason that I posted it both here and on the forums for the FUSS Project is because I don't know how to do most of this myself and also don't see any reason that, if it got done, it should be to just a given mud rather than the whole FUSS Project or even other codebases too. At the very least, perhaps the theory behind it all can be explored here a bit and become a positive influence on coders for other codebases as well.
Weather adds an element of realism to the game that is almost always overlooked. Imagine how weather could affect players? Slowing movement when it's cold, increasing thirst when it's hot, reducing visibility during a whiteout, screwing with their emotional state during constant rain. Hell, one could even incur frequent lightning strikes because he or she is wearing a lot of equipment made of metal (or items with the 'metal' flag in the case of most SMAUG MUDs).
I remember looking at screenshots some years ago depicting a MUD with custom overland that displayed floods, hurricanes, tornados, snow and even volcanic eruptions and flash fires that took out entire sections of the map. The possibilities are numerous, but it all depends on how involved you want to get and how you want players to interpret their surroundings. Sure, they can read a description in a room, but it'd be neat to walk into a glade in the spring time and trigger MSP sounds of birds chirping and fishing in the stream by the room, whereas returning to the same room during the winter season, the stream is frozen over, but different seasonal mobs such as winter hares and other animals are loaded and available to hunt.
Personally, I find MUDs to be more enjoyable and immersible if the atmosphere is more um…tangible? After all, it's the little things that add the most flavor to the game.