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Alter Aeon FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

FAQ Section 15 - [advanced] Building a new area on Alter Aeon

Question 15.1 - Introduction Alter Aeon is a very big game, with a very large world. It got to be that big by having a lot of different people with different ideas work on it. All of those people were at one time also players. Would you like to help out? You might be able to, but keep in mind that it's a lot of work, and that you might not be able to build what you want. There are two ways to become a builder: 1) You might be able to become another builder's helper. This means you do grunt work and help another builder put together or finish one of their areas. You'll be credited on it when it's done, but it will be somebody else's area and they have the final say on whether or not your work can be used in it. 2) Find an area that needs to be built, join a building team, and build your own area. The second way, building your own area, is harder than it looks. More info on it is later in this FAQ.
Question 15.2 - How can I become another builder's helper? You must find an existing builder who needs help, and see if they will take you on to help out with their area. You need to be prepared to work on only the things that builder gives you to work on. If they only want you to write long descriptions, then that's what you'll be doing. Be sure that you understand what your job is when working for another builder.
Question 15.3 - How can I find an area that needs to be built? If you want to build an area, you can't just propose the first thing that comes to mind or the first thing that sounds cool. New areas need to meet several criteria: 1) Your area must be needed, and it must have a purpose. For example, your area may fill out an empty place in the world map, or your area may provide low level experience for players on an island without many area options. If you just want to build an area because it would be cool, that's not good enough. 2) Your area needs a place to live. This means that you have to know where it will go, or reasonable places where it can go, on the world map. If you're blind and having trouble with that, another builder or sighted player may be able to help. Remember that your area may have to be different levels depending on where it is placed - areas on the islands may be limited to below level 30, while the same area placed on the mainland might need to be level 35 to fit in a specific location. 3) Your area has to make sense in it's new home. You can't put an ocean in the middle of the ash mountains, and you can't put a vast desert on a newbie island.
Question 15.4 - How do I know if an area is needed? This is up to you, but remember that the world builder who you end up working with will need to be convinced that your area is needed. If you're working with Dentin, odds are good that what he needs are low and mid level areas for the newbie islands. If you're working for one of the other world builders, they may need different things. In short, you'll have to talk to and work with the world builders to decide which of your ideas are most needed and which ones can be reasonably built. This may take several weeks. Keep in mind that most often, a world builder will 'need' an area for a certain geography, in a certain location, at a certain area level. These are actually your best option: all the hard work has been figured out, and you just need to come up with something appropriate to put there.
Question 15.5 - How do I find a place for my area? Usually, the world builder who looks over your ideas will help you figure that out. Often, a world builder only has a few places to put areas, and you'll have to figure out something that could go in those places instead. It might also help to look at world maps on the web site, or explore areas that seem to be lacking good areas or that have a lot of empty space between different pieces. Be sure to think about the geography of the area - if you want to put an area between a mountain range and a desert, it probably shouldn't be a swamp.
Question 15.6 - What kind of creatures can I build? You'll have to build things that are in theme for your area. Don't expect to do anything complicated in your first area - if you get it done at all, you're ahead of nearly everyone else who wants to build. You can build complicated creatures in your second area. Do not use any copyrighted material or names. This includes things like harry potter, specific names or significantly derived work based on stories such as Wheel of Time, etc. Generally, small tributes and obscure references would be fine under fair use law, but avoid anything bigger. Ask Dentin if you have questions about a specific topic.
Question 15.7 - What kind of equipment can I build? When planning out your equipment, you should keep in mind the names of the items and what they would look like. Don't plan out your equipment stats, because you won't be allowed to set them. Don't plan out your equipment levels, because you won't be allowed to set that either. Don't have your heart set on building a powerful item, because you won't be allowed to. What you are allowed to build will be automatically determined by the game after the area has been properly located and the levels have been worked out. You won't know what kind of equipment you're allowed to build until after the area has started construction.
Question 15.8 - Can I build equipment for my own characters? No. If you do this, you'll be caught, and your builder will be deleted. Depending on the severity, your mortal characters may be penalized or deleted as well.
Question 15.9 - Can I build unkillable monsters? No. There is no point to an unkillable monster.
Question 15.10 - Can I build room mazes? No. These are stupid.
Question 15.11 - Can I build catrub puzzles? If you don't understand this question, please read 'help catrub'. The short answer is no - every puzzle you make should be fairly simple to figure out and have a ton of obvious clues.
Question 15.12 - Can I explore other areas with my builder? No. You probably won't be able to go anywhere to explore even if you try, but it's best to just stay in your area when you're using your builder. If it looks like you're just using your builder to get information for your mortal characters, your builder will be deleted.
Question 15.13 - Can I have other players look around and playtest my area? No. Do not bring other players into your zone for any reason. You'll have plenty of time to show off your area when it's done, and it's not fair to other players to give some people an early shot at it. Note that playtesting of mobs and objects is pretty much not required due to the way that the building checks are set up. If you actually do need to have your area playtested, your mentor will make the final decision.
Question 15.14 - What should I keep in mind for my first areas? If you're planning on building multiple areas, start simple, no matter what your experience level is: First area: just build very ordinary things. Maybe set up one or two simple specps, possibly a quest or two. You want your first area to actually be completed, which means keeping it simple enough that you'll actually get it done. Second area: build another ordinary area, then if you need it, add some complicated stuff on top, as a second layer. Your second area will probably need tons of tuning and fixup over time as you discover that those great ideas you had don't actually work that well. Third area: now you're ready to actually make a complicated area from the start, instead of a simple area with some bells and whistles. Very few people make it to a third area.
Question 15.15 - What order should I build things in my area? Dentin's recommended approach to building areas is to do most of the room layout first, using between 50 and 70 rooms. This gives you a rough idea of how big the area will be, and where you can put things. Once you have the basic layout, start setting long descs on the rooms, and create a handful of the more important mobs in various places Don't bother to set stats on them unless you really know what you're doing. Over time, start adding decoration objects to the rooms as you're describing them. When you get to important mobs, start creating generic equipment for them. Don't bother to set stats on this stuff either. As you keep filling out the rooms, mobs, and objects, you'll notice that you can put extra, interesting rooms here and there to expand out the area. Use some of your unused rooms for that to give it more flavor. Try to always leave at least ten rooms unused in every 100 room block. Once you've got all the mobs described and created, use the 'rack mcheck' command to check their levels. Adjust the mob levels so that you've got between one and four boss category mobs, and try to keep everything else as exp or decoration. Some of your boss mobs might also be fame if the area is high level. Use the 'mset overall' command to set the stats and level on your mobs. Similarly, use 'rack ocheck' to check objects as you're setting stats and levels on them. Finally, before your area can be released, make sure that you take care of all the errors, and understand all the warnings on the 'rack check' command. If your rack check has more than a few warnings, the area will be rejected outright. Good luck!

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