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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 the atmosphere.

Here are some things you might want to consider when writing descriptions:

Rooms 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 with mudprogs.

Area List
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

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