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Alter Aeon FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)



FAQ Section 20 - [builder] Strings and naming standards


Question 20.1 - How and why should I format a long description? All long descriptions should be formatted to 78 characters in width or less. The default/lowest common denominator size for telnet windows is 80 columns, so if your descriptions are wider than that they will look like shit on regular telnet windows. You can format your description (after you are finished typing it in) by using the 'format' or '/format' commands in the editor. See also 'help editor format'.
Question 20.2 - What are the conventions for room strings? The 'short' description is the title of the room, the first thing you see when you walk in. The first word in the short description is capitalized, and the short description has NO trailing punctuation as it is usually a sentence fragment. For example: Before an ancient doorway Inside Ralnoth Central Bank Before a large glowing pentacle Room long descriptions typically are not indented, and are composed of (multiple) complete sentences. They range from 3 to ten lines long after formatting. More than occasional copying of room descriptions is heavily frowned upon.
Question 20.3 - What are the conventions for mob strings? Name string: Mob name strings are the keywords by which a mob can be targetted. Name strings should have NO capitals, and should only contain valid handles to call the mob. Words like 'a', 'an', and 'the' are ALWAYS incorrect and will be posted as an error on 'rack check'. Fight/inventory string: This is the string seen when a player is fighting or attacking the mob. It is also called the inventory string because it is shown when a mob is carried. Fight strings should ALWAYS start with a capital letter, but other words in the string should only be capitalized if they are proper names. A fight string is NOT a complete sentence. Fight strings often start with an article such as 'A', 'An', or 'The'. Ground string: This is the string seen when a player 'look's in a room and happens to see the mob. Ground strings should be complete sentences with punctuation. If the ground string exceeds 78 characters in width, soft returns should be used by inserting '%n' into the string. Long descriptions should follow the same rules as for rooms.
Question 20.4 - So what is an example of a mob with 'good' strings? Note the capitals on the fight string - this is a unique, special mob with a proper name, so he gets capitals. Name string: 'beastlord chaos' Fight string: 'The Chaos Beastlord' Ground string: The Chaos Beastlord lets out a spine-chilling howl and attacks! Long description: The Chaos Beastlord is smaller than you would think. He doesn't stand more than five feet tall, but makes up for size with number of appendages. The two hairy arms are covered with thick black fur, and wield a long black longsword. The front two legs look more like a tarantula's legs, and the back two legs make the body look like a four-legged spider. The beastlord lifts it head up and utters an inhuman howl, then charges quickly toward you on all four legs, his speed and dexterity unmatched by anything you have seen.
Question 20.5 - A second example of a mob with 'good' strings Note the lack of capitals on the fight string. While this is a powerful and uncommon mob, it has a generic name that should not be capitalized. Name string: 'ice elemental greater wall intangible death' Fight string: 'A greater ice elemental' Ground string: An intangible wall of cold and icy death stands before you. Long description: It hovers before you, large and majestic. The vague blue glow of cool magic fuzzes the appearance of the ice crystals swirling in its cast mass. Cold and death seems to radiate from it, and you get the feeling that it is quite intelligent, and is watching you.
Question 20.6 - What are the conventions for object strings? Name string: Object name strings are the keywords by which an object can be targetted. Name strings should have NO capitals, and should only contain valid handles to call the object. Words like 'a', 'an', and 'the' are ALWAYS incorrect and will be posted as an error on 'rack check'. Inventory string: This is the string seen when an object is used, or when seen in a players inventory. Inventory strings should almost always start without a capital letter, the ONLY exceptions being objects with a proper name. An inventory string is NOT a complete sentence. Inventory strings typically start with an article such as 'a', 'an', or 'the'. Ground string: This is the string seen when a player 'look's in a room and happens to see the object lying on the ground. Ground strings should be complete sentences with punctuation. If the ground string exceeds 78 characters in width, soft returns should be used by inserting '%n' into the string. Long descriptions should follow the same rules as for rooms, but can be shorter for generic objects.
Question 20.7 - What is an example of an object with 'good' strings? Note the capitals on the inventory string. This is a unique weapon with a precise proper name, therefore it is allowed capital letters. Name: 'sword chaos rune runesword' Inventory: 'The Chaos Runesword' On ground: A black, rune-covered sword floats at your feet. Long description: This long, black blade vibrates with power in your hand, and as you move it slowly through the air thin streamers of dark fog trail behind it. The weapon radiates an evil and power that is quite unique. The handle is big enough for both of your hands, which is good because it would be too heavy for you to wield otherwise.
Question 20.8 - Another example of an object with 'good' strings Note the lack of capitals on this generic objects' inventory string. Name: 'diploma mud' Inventory: 'a mud school diploma' On ground: A mud school diploma is just lying on the ground here! Long description: This is what you have to show for your time in Mud School. It will give you knowledge and physical strength when you need it. Most people, even fairly powerful adventurers, prefer to have their diploma in hand when they level, sometimes even two!
Question 20.9 - Addendum - why are 'a', 'an' and 'of' bad in name/insult strings? Because people will be able to use those words as the name of the item or mob. If you have a sword with a name string 'sword of truth', you can do commands such as 'get sword', 'wield sword', or 'drop truth'. You can also do commands like 'get of', 'wield of', or 'drop of', because 'of' is part of the name string. The same problem also arises for mobs.
Question 20.10 - Addendum - why are mob and object inventory strings treated differently? Primarily tradition. Mob fight strings should always start with a capital letter, simply because the game was written under the assumption that this would always be the case. Object inventory strings should always start with a lowercase letter unless the string is a proper name that requires it. Again, this is tradition, because the game was written under this assumption. If you do things differently, your area will look 'weird' and broken when compared to the rest of the game.
Question 20.11 - Addendum - why don't we just autocapitalize mobs in the code? This (and something similar for objects) has come up repeatedly over the years, but the game is so heavily based off the current system that it would take literally thousands of lines of code changes for very little total gain. Further, a lot of things cannot be easily handled automatically, similar to pluralizing sentences automatically. In short, there are multiple bad options for handling it, and currently the least bad is to leave things as they are and force mob fight string capitalization by the builders.



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