Monday, September 2, 2002

Weather and Time

In pursuit of Goal 1 for my IRC-based MUD, “A good toy,” I’ve implemented time, date, and weather systems for the world.

The time and date systems are fairly straightforward. The GM simply calculates the time based on the number of seconds since a set time, which is the compressed into game time. Game time is one-sixth real world time, so that two hours in the real world equals a full day in the game world.

The weather system extends this principle. After an hour passes in the game world (five minutes in the real world), the GM evaluates the current weather conditions, and changes them randomly. If it’s sunny, the weather might become cloudy. If it’s cloudy, it might begin to rain. And so forth.

Moreover, the room descriptions have been designed such that they can vary depending on the current weather conditions and the time of day. So, if the weather’s rainy, a street may be described, “The cobbles shine in the rain.” If it’s night time, a room may be described, “The moonlight casts ghostly shadows about the room.”

This increases the player’s involvement in the world, and provides for a greater variety of play. The only major drawback of these systems is that they only work above-ground; they are pretty much useless when the player is dungeon crawling.

I use the term “pretty much useless” because the game could take advantage of the time of day and weather in interesting ways. For example, certain undead may be stronger during the night time — whether aboveground or below — and the sewers would certainly be more full and be flowing more strongly during a rain shower.

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