Wednesday, 6 June 2007 Distance-based descriptions

Link: Distance-based descriptions.

This is just a summarisation of the first part of the thread. There are some interesting posts after this point by shasarak.


Long ago Alayla and I discussed the concept of having multiple descriptions for things based on how far away they are, and I've now come to the point where I could really do with the support for a centaur camp, which is only visible as a camp when up close, but can be spotted from a distance by smoke rising above the treetops.

However while thinking about it's usage for the centaur camp, I've come to realise that perhaps it'll need more flexibility than simply a handful of descriptions based on distance - I think it may require support for the sense of smell as well, which in turn may need to take into account wind strength and direction.
Sound, too. Because there's necessarily a wind shear as you move away from the ground, sound headed upwind gets deflected into the ground after a certain distance, while headed downwind it gets deflected upwards. See this page, for example.
Good point, I hadn't considered that - although arguably there should be an overall "sound pollution" of which wind is only one factor. Other factors might include rain or nearby noises (eg if you're standing in a noisy town centre, you might not hear the distance sound of mine workers).

Although come to think of it, the same argument could be made for smell as well. Tracking someone by scent through a sewer or during heavy rain is going to be pretty hard, even for the most gifted of werewolves.

Could these all be handled through the combination of two generic factors though, I wonder? Weather (rain, snow, wind, etc) and Local (sound/smell/etc polution in the current area)? Light and dark could possibly be extensions of the same system, too.

Thus light rain might give a minor sound penalty and a medium smell penalty, while heavy rain could give a medium sound penalty and a major smell penalty, and a thunderstorm would give a major sound penalty and an extreme smell penalty. Equally, a rushing river might give a minor sound penalty, a sewer might give an extreme smell penalty, and so on.

You'd then just combine the two to calculate the overall penalty for each sense, which would then apply as modifiers to the PCs personal senses (adjusted based on injuries and such).
Well, you've got a computer, might as well use it. If you're already coding a wind/smell interaction then it's minimal extra work to do sound.

It's actually a real effect, I have noticed it when shouting - it's not just that the sound gets dampened, if someone is far enough upwind - not even all that far if the wind is blowing hard - they absolutely cannot hear you no matter how loud you shout, but if you climb up a tree and shout then they can hear you just fine.

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