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Resource Database > Coding for Alternate Lives
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Coding Basics | Coding and Framework | Codebases | Artificial Intelligence
Alternate lives; one of the greatest draws of virtual reality systems. Coding to create those is slightly different from coding for the rest of VR as there are some additional concerns: Experience systems, progression, crafting a world to not just entertain but to sustain. Borrowing from games, from gameworlds, chat spaces and research, we also delve straight into the heart of GURPS and D&D rule systems, to come up with ways to maximise the immersion and the enjoyment of an alternate life.


Setting Up (5)

How can you be sure that you have set your world up in the best way possible? How do you ensure that your players are content, that unforseen problems are kept to a minimum, and that your team is geared for any and all challenges ahead? How you gear up your business and outline your policies right from the launch determines much of how your world will fare in the business world. These resources are geared towards helping you give your world the best start possible, in the highly competative, and cutthroat business world.

First published in 2000, book one of this series set one of the primary standards for game programmers. As a logical extension of this, simulation designers benefit tremendously as well. The book essentially argues a need to use standards to help an industry take off.

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MUD Pies: Part 1 - Let's make a MUD server
If you've ever contemplated making your own MUD, but never knew where to start, this article is for you. Designed around making a MUD (or MUSH, or MOO, or whatever you like) using the Windows operating system, it employs a clear, easy to follow approach, and copious source code.

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MUD Pies: Part 2
Part two of this series takes you through everything you need, to turn your initial code into a functional chat server ? the bare-bones basics for any world.

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Nuts and Bolts
Much of the work in launching a new world, is spent on creating the fundamental technologies that lay under the surface: Databases, daemons, graphical APIs, you name it. All of these have been written before, and continue to be written, improved and perfected now. Why write your own, when great ones are available, pre-made, and ready for you to build from?

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Why Standards?
Recently, IBM's VP of Technical Strategy and Innovation, Irving Wladawsky-Berger expressed the need for the makers of virtual worlds of all types to develop and embrace standards.

MUSHes (6)

MUSHes, or Multi User Shared Halucinations, are a form of Text-Based Virtual World. Descended ultimately from TinyMUD, one of the original codebases, this is still a popular form of virtual world. MUSHes come in three flavours: TinyMUSH, PennMUSH, and MUX.

All three are similar, sharing many of the same features, and the same base codebase. However, like all siblings, the closer you examine them, the more differences become apparent.

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Coding by Example: +where
This companion article to MUSH Code: looks at implementing a listing function of players / administrators, and where they are.

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MUSH Code: What It Is and Where to Get It
This fairly short introduction to MUSH coding, includes the key facts needed, some excellent references, and a companion article, Coding by Example: +where.

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MUSH Reference Manual
This reference manual, designed for PennMUSH, but suitable for all MUSH codebases, provides an excellent grounding for familiarity with MUSHes. Note: File size is in excess of 130k.

Complete Website: MUSH Warehouse
The MUSH warehouse is a general-purpose repository for all things MUSH. Their resourcees range from advice to new players, to coding help, examples, and much, much more.

Complete Website: MUX 2.2
The homepage, and development central of the MUX 2.2 codebase. All versions can be found here.

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What is a MUSH?
This short article attempts to define what a MUSH is, for the completely uninitiated. By it's very nature, this article lacks any depth, but serves as an excellent grounding for those just entering the sphere of virtual worlds.

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Physics (12)

Nobody ever said coding wasn't mathematics-intensive, but there are some areas that require more specialised mathematical knowledge. Physics is one. Physics is the study of of force upon substance, even if that substance should be virtual. In order to lend believability to the more graphical worlds, you need to understand at least a little of this fascinating subject.
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Binaural Sound Synthesis
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The Trials and Tribulations of Tribology
This fair-size tutorial takes a good, solid look at friction, starting out with the scientific overview, then moving on to how you go about coding the use of friction into your engine. Well illustrated, includes code. A very good article.

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C++ Data Structures for Rigid-Body Physics
A worthwhile look at the benefits of using C++ over C for complex tasks, such as physics.

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Large Image Display: Animatrix: Beyond: A Broken, Glowing Light
n a broken part of the ruin of an area of heavy file corruption, a light flickers. Upon closer inspection, it's a broken light bulb, hanging from a rusty chain. Yet every so often, the ghost of an intact bulb, shinning brightly, overlays the broken one perfectly.

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Large Image Display: Animatrix: Beyond: A No-Physics Zone
The Matrix distorts when a freak corruption of data creates a no-physics zone in a thin layer paralleling the floor. An advanced replication of gravity warping accidents that happen in ActiveWorlds and Second Life, today.

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Large Image Display: Animatrix: Beyond: Arriving On Scene
Whilst it is true that an administration vehicle in a heavily natural laws based VR would have to obey those physical laws or risk damage to the simulation wherever it traveled, it is also true that it can bend the rules to a degree. An invincible construction material is impossible within those laws, but a fantastic material that can absorb almost every blow, and can smash through a wall at 70mph, without taking a dent, is theoretically not impossible. That's good enough to avoid breaking the rules.

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Large Image Display: Animatrix: Beyond: Fixing a Problem
An image from Animatrix, of Agents driving a truck full of supplies to seal a glitch in the matrix, and a reasoned explanation of why they had to drive there, rather than just appearing. This likely has implications for actual, highly complex VRs as well.

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Large Image Display: Animatrix: Beyond: Indoor, Cloudless Rain
Like most of the screens from Beyond, this one shows an effect of what happens when the laws of a virtual environment become too complex, and interactions go a little ca ca. In this case, a torrent of downpour, inside, on a sunny day.

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Large Image Display: Animatrix: Beyond: Status Update
A sample of the logging routines from Animatrix: Beyond, signaling all the data the machines need to keep a perfect record of what transpired in the system. It serves here as a reminder that when creating your own simulation, you do not have to go overboard and be verbose on the system logs. All it needs is the basic, bare bones information.

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Large Image Display: Animatrix: World Record: Overcoming the Simulation Limits
Is there a danger as brain-computer interfaces become more and more complex, interacting with systems in ever more convoluted and intricate ways, that we could indeed open up our worlds to subconscious hacking? One for the mid term future, this.

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Lone Developer Physics Simulation
Good paper by lone game developer Jeff Lander on creating a physice simulator.

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Food (1)

The creatures of a virtual world are no different than those of a physical world - what goes in determines what they are. Or at least it probably should. The use of food, drink, and other intakes are an area of virtual world design which has never seen much in the way of development.
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Eating and Drinking in MUDs
Food in virtual worlds. It is not required to sustain a physical body, yet we often find our characters have to eat it, to 'sustain' their virtual forms. No balanced diet, eating is all that is required. What would happen if our characters' health was directly affected by what they eat? What if foodstuff could be combined by some core set of values to bring the cooking skill to a whole new level?

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Maths (2)

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3D Matrix Math Demystified
This article assumes some knowledge of matrices, the above article would be enough, and proceeds to show some better ways of utilising them for 3D use.

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Matrix Math
This short tutorial looks at matricies, and their use in 3D transformations. Serves as a worthwhile introduction to matrices.

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Designing Interfaces (2)

For any VR or AR project, designing the basic interface can be a hip-deep challenge. The human-computer interface (HCI) is the single most important element, and forms the bond between the participant and the world.
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Schubert Triangle
The Schubert triangle was first proposed in a CGDC Presentation: "The Rules of Online World Design" which looked at the various rules and laws that are true for all online VR environment projects.

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User Interfaces
A fairly long, and quite detailed look at creating interfaces, for all sorts of applications, from worlds to web sites. What should you be looking for, and the pitfalls to be wary of.

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In-World Economics (3)

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MUD Character Behaviour & Economic Theory
Previously hosted on "The journal of virtual Environments", this brief but pointed article shows how economic theory can be used to explain the behaviour of player characters. Thought provoking.

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Mud Money
A detailed, and interesting article. Whilst now somewhat dated, the situation hasn't really changed a great deal since the worlds mentioned, attempted their own, failing virtual economies.

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The In-game Economics of Ultima Online
A paper describing how Ultima Online's current economics system came to be, covering all the mistakes they made.