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Department Structure | GM Policy | Projects | Information | Basic Training


The entire gaming environment is made up of four primary chunks of data:

Objects / Items
Rooms / Zones
Players / Characters
NPCs / Mobiles ("Mobs")

We also have other data records, such as accounts, but this is irrelevant to how the game operates (subscriptions are handled by an external system and are beyond the scope of this document).


Objects / Items


A sometimes misunderstood topic, items should more carefully be called objects (because the same type of data is used for items which players cannot see nor interact with), but because we also currently use the word 'object' to describe all data records from a generic perspective, it makes things less confusing to call these 'items' instead, even though some items can't be touched or seen by players.

Items include anything that is not a creature / NPC / player / room that you can interact with, including weapons, armor, clothing, and treasure. It also includes furniture in homes, tables, food, trash bins, etc. Items, like anything else, can be customized by special programming data (called 'scripts') to extend their functionality or prohibit certain use. For example, items can be associated with a script that allows them to 'COMB' another person's hair with the item. Scripts can also cause items to randomly display messages, cause healing or harmful effects, or prohibit characters of a specific race from using the item. Items that use a script are refered to by 'having a script' on them and should be treated differently than other items.

** IMPORTANT **

You should never experiment with scripts. Even accidently attaching a script to an object, room, etc. can be devastating to the game and will VERY LIKELY cause the game to crash (system failure) within minutes to hours. Such game crashes are difficult to recover from, so please exercise extreme caution with any field that requires you to modify the script. Setting the script value to '0' (zero) on any item, player, room, etc. clears the currently-active script, removing it from the data record.

Like all live game data, item creation should be approved by your department manager. If you have a container-type object located on your staff character (in your staff office doesn't count, you have to be wearing it), you may be permitted to create items and store them in your container for later approval.

All items should be given appropriate properties and are manipulated using on-line creation (O.L.C.) commands. For Windows users, we have developed a program that automates the generation of O.L.C. commands -- all you have to do is fill out the fields, click on the checkboxes, and select the options you want. The program is called OLC-helper and is available here. Note: the OLC-helper refers to items as 'objects'.

Field descriptions:

Article
The article is what describes the kind of item we're referring to and should be one of either 'a', 'an', 'the', or 'some'. There are generally no other situations where we use anything else. The article is limited to 4 characters of text.
Descriptor
This is the primary describing word (adjective) of the item and is used in commands to specificly reference the item. For example, if we had 'a red ball', the descriptor would be 'red'. If we had 'a blue steel shield', the descriptor could technically be either 'blue' or 'steel'. In situations where we have more than one adjective describing the noun, we have two rules for deciding which is the 'better' one to use:
  1. which adjective is closer to the noun?
  2. which adjective is more unique compared to the noun in general?
In our example ('a blue steel shield'), 'steel' is closer to the noun, but 'blue' is more unique (how many blue steel shields are their compared to other colors, like grey, white, etc. -- being blue makes it unique in the category of steel shields). Since both rules apply to different adjectives, we will go with rule #1 (because it's listed first and has better priority over the second rule) so our descriptor for 'a blue steel shield' is 'steel'. Technically, in this example, we may want to change 'a blue steel shield' to 'a steel blue shield' so that our descriptor can be 'blue' (which makes more sense). Every item must have a descriptor. The descriptor is limited to 15 characters of text.
Name/Noun
The item name is often also called the item noun and it is the word used that describes the basic substance of the item. If the item is 'a fluffy white couch with pink painted roses', the item name is 'couch'. The name is limited to 19 characters of text.
Short description
Also called the 'TAP description' by players, this describes the 'from a distance' description that players will identify this object by. For example 'some steel boots decorated with spider leg laces' and 'a wooden quarterstaff' are both short descriptions. Short descriptions should never contain punctuation other than apostraphes and sometimes quotation marks. For example, these are bad short descriptions: "A steel longsword.", "gloves", "some boots: ultimate power". Short descriptions are limited to 115 characters of text.
Full descriptions
Also called the 'LOOK description' by players, this is the description that is added to an item's short description when a player 'SHOW's it to another player or when the item is 'LOOK'ed at. Full descriptions should have full and complete sentences, including proper capitalization and punctuation. Full descriptions are not necessary (and most items don't use them). Full descriptions are limited to 315 characters of text.
Read descriptions
This is the description that is shown to a player when they 'READ' the item. Read descriptions should have full and complete sentences, including proper capitalization and punctuation. Read descriptions are not necessary (and most items don't use them). Read descriptions can contain newlines (to force blank lines). Read descriptions are limited to 395 characters of text.
Value (gold pieces)
This is the gold-piece value of the item. See your department manager for estimations on value. If this item is not going to be owned by a player, value is not important, so set it to '0' (zero).
Weight (in American/English pounds)
This value indicates how heavy the item is by estimation of pounds. This is a very important value because it determins roundtimes and penalties of armor and weapons as well as encumbrance factors (which affects a lot of vital player characteristics). Weight is also a factor in bulk and thus which items (and how many) can fit into containers. Weight should almost never be set to '0' (zero) for example, unless the item is not carryable by players (furniture? invisible?) or the item is for staff use only.
Script
Mentioned previously, a script is a custom game program that is attached to an item to customize it. Please do not set scripts on any items ever without the full approval of your manager. Inappropriate/accidental use of scripts can cause game damage including data corruption and system-wide failure (crashes).
Charges
Used for some magical items. In general, leave this field blank (same as '0' (zero)).
Altered (flag)
This is a flag (a checkbox meaning 'on' or 'off' like a flag that either is or isn't raised) that represents whether or not the item was specificly modified for a player to be unique.
Data 2 (8 fields of values numbered 1 through 8)
These are special values that have different meaning depending on the type of item this is. If this is a weapon, these values control damage factors. If this item is armor, these values control armor properties. Shield properties are stored here too, etc.
Data 3 (8 fields of values numbered 1 through 8)
These are special values that have different meaning depending on the *extended* type of item this is. Extended items can be used in conjunction with regular items (of any type) to produce certain effects. Extended item codes are used in field 1 of the Data 3 fields to identify what extended item type this is. Extended items can be keys, medicinal herbs, etc.
Wear Flags (19 flags numbered 00 through 18)
These flags identify whether or not a player can pick up an item and where it can be worn (if anywhere). Generally only one wear flag is ever used per item, even on items that cover more than one area. For example, a suit of chainmail armor covers the chest, back, and arms, but it should only be set to use a 'chest' wear slot. We decide to use 'chest' over 'back' and 'arms' because the 'chest' is the most significant area of the three areas it covers. Here is a list of all worn locations including examples of what is worn in each area:
                Worn area/slot  Examples of items worn in this slot
                --------------  -------------------------------------------------------------------
                Head            Helmets, hats, caps, turbans, masks
                Eyes            Spectacles (glasses)
                Neck            Necklaces, pendants, chains, charms, amulets
                Back            Quivers, backpacks, cloaks, shoulder packs, shoulder sheaths
                                *NOTE* since shoulder packs/sheaths are taking up room/bulk on the
                                player's back, they count as a back slot
                Chest           Armor, shirts, tunics, robes, dresses, gowns, sashes, vests, bodice
                Arms            Bracers
                Hands           Gauntlets, gloves, brass knuckles
                Finger          Rings
                Waist           Belts, sashes
                Belt            Various tools and nick-nacks that *hang* from a belt
                Legs            Pants/trousers, breeches, stockings, skirts
                Feet            Boots, shoes, socks
                Anywhere        Pins, brooches, buttons, small arm pouches
                                *NOTE* general rule: if you can wear 3 or more of an item, it
                                may qualify to be worn 'anywhere', such as small bracelets (not
                                the big ones), smaller earrings, etc. except for rings, which
                                should always be set to 'finger'
                Ear             Earrings, ear cuffs, ear muffs
                Shoulder        Shoulder spikes, any armor that prohibits bulk in this area,
                                crossbows, shields
                Wrist           Bracelet, wrist-worn weapons (like hand crossbows), wrist purses
                Thigh           Thigh quivers (medium-to-large), thigh pouches (any size)
                Ankle           Ankle bracelet
If the 'Pick up' flag (flag #00) is not set, the item cannot be picked up, though if it is already in the player's hands, it does not prohibit them from interacting with the item such as wearing it, removing it, dropping it, using it, or putting it in a container. This can be disasterous if the flag is forgotten on altered items because the item will appear to function correctly until the player puts the item away somewhere and then attempts to 'GET'/'TAKE' it back out.
Item type
The item type is a generic category describing the item's basic features and should be generally straight-forward. If an item falls into more than one category, the more significant category should be used. For example a suit of chainmail is both armor and misc. worn object but should be set to armor. Some item types have special Data 2 values that must be set. The OLC-helper assists in setting these values by using the large button on the 'General' page of properties.
Weapons have these categories (EQUIPMENT SYSTEM 1.0)
Size
This is the size classification of the weapon, which describes the general bulk of the weapon. This has a direct modifier to combat based on the race and ability scores of the player using the weapon.
Type
Each weapon belongs to a category of weapons and each weapon feat belongs to one and only one of these categories. Consult a list of weapons to use the appropriate feat. *NOTE* feats are now called abilities
Damage type
Each weapon predominantly causes a certain type of damage. Either it slashes (side-to-side attacks with a cutting blade), punctures (jabbing motion with a sharp end), or it bludgeons (smashes with force of impact). For ranged weapons, damage type is based on ammunition. Slings use bullets and stones which usually bludgeon and bows and crossbows uses arrows, quarrels, and bolts which usually puncture.
Damage
This is measured in XdY+Z where you take X dice that have Y sides, roll them, then add the total to Z for a final amount of damage. This produces a range of damage. For example, 1d6+0 (1 6 0 in the three fields) will produce a damage range of 1 to 6 (with no player bonuses), which is the standard damage range of a regular short sword. Consult a list of weapons to use the appropriate values for each weapon type. No weapon should ever be set to more than 99d99+999 damage (99 99 999) and if one is, it better be staff-only.
Critical damage
This measures the chances of the weapon inflicting critical attacks based on a chance roll of 1d20 (a twenty-sided die). The lowest this can be set to is '0' (zero) which means that only a 'roll' of 20 on a 20-sided die will qualify as a critical hit. The best value this can be set to is 18, which means that 'rolling' anywhere from 2 to 20 will result in a critical hit (a 'roll' of 1 is always a failure of some kind). Players do not actually get to roll dice nor do they get to see the outcomes of simulated dice rolls; the system randomly chooses a number as if it were rolling a die. Critical hits generally cause damage produced by the damage range of the weapon to double. Some weapons triple damage (depending on feat/ability required).
Feat/ability required
This sets the weapon to a specific weapon class and identifies exactly what feat/ability is required to use it efficiently. This field also controls what combat techniques are most effective when used with this weapon.
Armor have these categories (EQUIPMENT SYSTEM 1.0)
Type
Armor comes in three flavors: Light, Medium, and Heavy. A different ability is required to use each type of armor and it can be generalized that the heavier the type, the better protecting it is, the more it weighs, and the more distracting it is to cast spells while wearing.
Armor rating
This is the direct bonus to the player's armor rating that this armor provides. Consult a list of armor for appropriate values.
Spell failure
This is the base rate chance that a spell will fail while wearing this armor.
Armor check penalty
This is a penalty to skills that require you to move with agility because the armor is bulky, unflexible, etc.
Max. dex bonus
Bulky armor also prevents you from moving fast which impedes a player's use of Agility (previously called Dexterity) as an armor rating boost. This number represents what the player's maximum Agility bonus they should be able to have while wearing this armor.
Shields have these categories (EQUIPMENT SYSTEM 1.0)
Armor rating
This is the direct bonus to the player's armor rating that this armor provides. Consult a list of armor for appropriate values.
This button also modifies the properties for containers (capacity in weight tolerance) even though there is no item type of 'Container' (since some containers are worn and others are not). Since containers can never be armor, weapon, or shields, this is okay though and so the two should never conflict.
Containers have these categories
Capacity (weight in American/English pounds)
This represents how much weight the container can hold before it is full and can no longer hold any more items.
Object type flags (18 flags numbered 00 through 17)
These flags mark an item with having special properties. Each property has a unique feature as described below:
00 Container
The item is a container and may hold/store other items. Set capacity using button on the 'General' page and other container properties using the 'Container info' flags.
01 Not Sellable
Prevents the item from being sold at a pawn shop, furrier, etc.
02 Not Enchantable
Reserved for future use.
03 Invisible
The player cannot see the item. Unless 'Manipulate while invisible' is set/flagged, the player cannot interact with the item either.
04 (no name)
Reserved for future use.
05 Cursed
Reserved for future use.
06 Blessed
Reserved for future use.
07 Manipulate Invis.
Allows the player to manipulate and/or interact with an item even if it is invisible, such as doors and chairs that are invisible because they are mentioned in the description of a room or candles that are part of a puzzle.
08 Janitor Proof
Prohibits the item from being deleted by the game's automatic cleaning system (called the 'Janitor').
09 Temp. Janitor Proof
Acts like flag '08 Janitor Proof', but the flag turns off as soon as the item is picked up to temporarily protect treasures like gold, treasure boxes, etc.
10 Janitorize
Overrides room settings that may be protecting all items in a staff room or player home room from having any items deleted (janitorized) and causes the item to be deleted anyway.
11 (no name)
Reserved for future use.
12 (no name)
Reserved for future use.
13 (no name)
Reserved for future use.
14 (no name)
Reserved for future use.
15 (no name)
Reserved for future use.
16 (no name)
Reserved for future use.
17 GameMaster only
Prevents players from picking up an item. Sends a special message to any player that tries. For example, it may be used on a weapon that a GameMaster Player Character (GM PC) may be wielding, thus the weapon would be flagged with the wear flag 'Pick Up' and also flagged with 'GameMaster only' to prevent players from taking it. Note that although this flag specifies 'GameMaster', it includes all staff (such as GameDirectors and GameAssistants).
Container info (5 flags numbered 00 through 04)
These flags control how a container may be used and are defined as follows:
00 Can be opened and closed
If this flag is checked, the container can be open and closed (like a backpack). If this flag is not checked and the item is open, then the item can not be closed (like a trash bin). If this flag is not checked and the item is closed, then the item can not be opened (like a table or desk that you can put items ON but not IN).
01 The lock on this object cannot be picked by natural means
Reserved for future use.
02 Currently closed
Whether or not the object is opened or closed.
03 Locked (see EAXOLC004.DOC for reference on locked objects)
Obsolete flag. Should not be used. Document does not exist.
04 Contents are protected from theft
The items in this container cannot be stolen by other players.

As always, if you have questions about field descriptions, item creation, or require further item creation instruction, please don't hesitate to ask other staff, especially your department manager.

A final note on items: some items should never be touched.. not picked up, not altered, and especially never deleted. These kinds of items are called critical items and may be hard to recognize if you aren't familiar with them. They will almost always have a script # on them and be used for a specific function. Here is a short list of items you should never modify without proper training and/or just never:

  • Animal companions (data3/value1=24, do not modify, delete, or pick up)
  • Graves (do not modify, delete, or pick up)
  • Any item with a Data 3 / Value 1 set to 9 (do not pick up)
  • Trash bins (they have a specific script # on them)
  • Any items found in room 599 should not be picked up, but may be deleted if necessary

Improper handling of these critical items can cause system failure and loss of data.


Rooms


Room data is likely the most recognized data. Every time you move to another room, it is very clear that your character is there. Rooms are identified by a particular number, called a Room Number or Room ID. Each room has its own number and they start from 1 and range upwards. There are currently over 6,000 rooms created, though not all are implimented in the live game (some rooms are in development, some are temporary rooms, some are staff-only areas, some are quest rooms, etc.)

Rooms can be created, linked to other rooms by regular exits (north, east, southwest, up, out, etc.) which are called 'cardinal exits', linked to other rooms by 'GO exits' (also called 'portals'), and have a various number of other properties applied to them. The most important pieces of room information are the room name and room description. Rooms cannot be deleted (because doing so would cause problems with how rooms are numbered and linked to each other), but instead they are recycled.

Room descriptions are not in text size, but try to keep descriptions under 600 characters. Room names also do not bear a limit, but try to keep them under 75 characters, where a character includes letters, numbers/digits, punctuation, spaces, etc.

Rooms can be entered immediately by using the 'GOTO' command. For example 'GOTO 83' will relocate your staff character to room number 83 immediately. A quick view of the room you are in, including properties of the room can be viewed using the 'SHOW_ROOM_DATA' command. You can also get a brief summary of a distant room (room you are not currently in) using the 'WHEREIS' command, for example 'WHEREIS 83'.

It is generally not appropriate for our staff to interact with players on an unofficial basis, including just "dropping in to say hello". We do allow for spontaneous role-playing events with authorization from your manager -- (sometimes we may have other events in mind, think it may be counter productive, or that you may require further training before running an event). Therefore, staff should never 'GOTO' a player without a good reason, however 'WHEREIS' is completely acceptable. The only exception is when answering a player request for assistance or under stealth/invisibility mode, but never for the intentions of spying on players.

Room creation and modification is moderated by the Area Department manager and no game rooms should be created or modified without his/her expressed permission. This includes your own staff area (as it's very likely other staff and even players will be exposed to its content). Some rooms are an exception to this rule and your department manager can let you know if and which rooms those may be.

Room O.L.C. fields:

Name
This is the room name which is displayed for every room. Rooms names should generally have each word begin with an uppercase letter and be descriptive including the general area the room is located at and the specific area. For example, if you were outside in Semanri, you may be at "Semanri, South Town Square". Areas in a room name should be seperated by commas. Room names are limited to 75 characters of text.
Description
This completely describes how the room looks to the player and should be given consideration to general and specific circumstances of each player. For example, the room description should be neutral regarding which direction the player has arrived to this room from (and whether they're arriving or just taking another 'LOOK'), if the player is male or female, or whether or not the player cares for a particular color, aroma, etc. We need to be very careful to rarely tell a player that they smile at a passer-by, that they're frightened by the design of a scorpion, or that a particular scent makes their mouth water. It's only okay to do these things in room descriptions on rare occasion, which makes the task of writing room descriptions so much more difficult. Staff rooms are always an exception and can impose these 'forced emotional responses' on players. Room descriptions are limited to 1,000 characters of text. As with all descriptions, we appreciate a conforming standard of spacing and ask that you use the following spacing rules:
  1. After a colon, exclamation point, question mark, or period, use two spaces.
  2. After all other punctuation (comas, semiclons, parenthesis, etc.), use one space.
Other fields
Other fields are described in better detail in How To Build Rooms.

Some room numbers you should learn to memorize as you will likely spend a lot of time going to those areas. For example here is a list of numbers you should learn to recognize:

            Room Number  Location
            -----------  ---------------------------------------------------------
            1 & 2        System rooms (never WHEREIS or GOTO these rooms)
            17           Lock-out/time-out room
            18           Character Management System
            83           Staff conference/meeting room
            100 - 102    Janitor rooms (of cleaned/trashed items)
            145          Semanri, South Town Square
            599          Object effect room
            3023         Lost items
            4500         Animal sanctuary (where animal companions are stored)
            5660         Alteration claim area



Players


Players have a lot of data fields and very little in the way of O.L.C. support (most of their data is handled by and manipulated by the game engine), but it's important that you understand the basic nature of players. Since you were very likely a player yourself (if not in Eaxia, surely somewhere), then you already understand that every bit of information about your characters are part of a record stored in a database.

Players are created through the well-known process of logging into an account and so their creation is not specificly discussed here.

While we typically do not have new staff checking the data of players, it's possible to get a lot of information about a player using specific staff commands. Listed below are the commands you can use to get information on a player and when it is appropriate to use those commands:

            //UTILITY SHOW_PLAYER_EXP     Any time is okay.
            //UTILITY SHOW_PLAYER_INFO    Any time is okay.
            SHOW_PLAYER_DATA              Only if answering a request for staff assistance
                                          or at other very necessary times.

New staff should never try and answer requests for staff assistance and should never appear 'on duty' until you have been specificly trained on staff-and-player interaction and problem resolution.


NPCs


Non-Playing Characters (NPCs), also called 'creatures', 'critters', and 'mobiles' ('mobs'), are what gives Eaxia artificial life. NPC data is established through Systems and although there are few utilities used for modifying NPCs from within the gaming environment, you can get information about a particular NPC by using the '//NPC INFO' command.


Communication


Communication between staff and players should be kept to a minimum (except for role-playing events with authorization) whenever possible. However, sometimes players need to be contacted and it's also important to know how to communicate with other staff. Below are a list of commands that help you communicate:

            SEND                Sends a message to a target (type 'SEND' in game for full usage).
            THINK               Broadcasts a message to all online staff.
            PLAYER_THINK        Broadcasts a 'thought' message across the player channel. (NOT to be used without permission from a GameDirector or Exxy!)
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