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',
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'
The Chaos Beastlord lets out a spine-chilling howl and attacks!
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'
An intangible wall of cold and icy death stands before you.
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
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'
A black, rune-covered sword floats at your feet.
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'
A mud school diploma is just lying on the ground here!
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.