Area Builders' Guide
Theme vs Idea
The general theme of your area should be medieval or fantasy (avoid
futuristic areas though). But having a theme and the name of a place
doesn't constitute an idea. Your area should include a storyline
if you want it to be engaging and unique. If the setting for your
area is a once-majestic castle fallen to ruin, you could weave in
a plot to tell everyone what happened to the castle and its inhabitants.
Have you done your research? Will the mobs and items in your area
disrupt the balance of HOTL3? Does your area plug the gaps (eg.
not enough low-level evil mobs, not enough neutral headgear)? More
importantly, don't even try to 'outdo' each other (to see who can
come up with the 'best' equipment, the meanest mob, etc). If in
doubt, consult Ops on acceptability standards.
How big is your area going to be? Think in blocks of 100s, because
that's the number of VNUMs (a 'virtual number' you assign to rooms,
mobiles & objects - the same VNUM can be assigned to a room,
a mob and an object) you get to start with. But this doesn't mean
you have to build a 100-room area with 100 mobs and 100 items! If
it's your first area, start small to get a feel of things. Also,
ensure that your area justifies the VNUMs you'll be getting. For
instance, if you're writing subterranean cave with many levels,
you'd want a few sets of VNUMs, but if you're thinking of a newbie
leveling area, you probably need less than 50.
This is the one process you should NOT skip. You can map your area
in two ways: using grids or connect-the-dots. Draw your compass,
layout out the rooms, and give them short names (eg. "a dark
stairwell"). You can later indicate closed or locked doors,
mobiles and objects to repop in the room, and so on. When you're
done, number the rooms with your given set of VNUMs.
When you've got the area map done, it's time to think about how
the individual rooms, mobs and objects look, and what they do. This
is where you get to be creative, but remember to stick to your original
theme and idea. You can play with colours and ASCII art. Be as descriptive
as possible. Also, despite the fact that this is a visual game,
player characters are supposed to have all five normal senses, so
you might want to pay attention to sounds and smells to enhance
Here are some things you might want to consider when writing descriptions:
||Swampy or sandy? Four walls or al
fresco? Cavernous or cramped? Sun-dappled or candle-lit? Freezing
or sweltering? Inhabited or deserted? Smells like freshly-made
soap or a midden-heap at noon? Littered with bones or strewn
with rose petals? You get the idea. But do try to have a reasonable
limit on the number of mobs and objects in the same room.
||Man or beast? Imposing or diminutive?
What's he wearing? What's he doing? Is he friendly? Is he alone?
Has he had a bath?
||Something you wear or use? It could
be anything from a weapon to a potion to a boat. What's it look
like? If it's blue, what shade of blue? What's it made of? Any
legend behind it?
||So mudprogs let you do cool stuff and make your
area more interesting and interactive. But spare a thought for
the IMPs who have to debug your area before releasing it. Read
through the guide to using mudprogs carefully and make sure
you know what you're doing. Most of all, don't be trigger-happy
For a complete listing of areas
Area Building Documentation
Online instructions on writing areas
Download Area Coders' Pack
Includes documentation & sample area
Back to Areas