Mason Status Report, 4 May 2001

Note: All the links in this document currently point to the old web site.

The game design and media are currently the areas where most work is taking place. No coding for Mason specific rule modules for STAGE has been started yet. The central parts of the design are starting to mature, but there is still a good number of areas that need to be documented, and some less central areas that need some more design. There has not been very much artwork done yet, except for Utas large collection of item models.

There is currently a need for more documentation writers. More artist and web editors are also welcome. See the Mason task page and the Mason Implementation page for more open tasks

Here's a list of different documents under progress, and their current status (Media and Web tasks at the end of the list.)

Game Design

Item Creation

The Item creation documentation is out of date and needs to be gone through, possibly splitting it up, and solidifying the design.

Material States

Various states for materials (gas, solid, liquid, powder, paste), and water/air/particle tight containers could use a few words of documentation, but in the first version of Mason we will concentrate on solid materials and leave detailed simulation of other cases for later.

See the Mason deign section

Item Piles

The documentation about piles of items is more or less complete. It could use some review, and then a more detailed implementation document about the API of the game module that implements them.

Digging Holes

There are many ways to dig in the landscape; small holes, vertical removing or adding of land mass, and free-direction tunnels. Of these, only holes in the ground will be implemented for the early Mason versions. They need some documentation. Holes in the ground act like containers. They are represented on the clients as simple sprites/textures pasted on the ground, things can be put in them, and they can be covered again. Buried items can be found again if you dig a hole close to the original hole. Optionally support different sized and shaped holes (acorn storage by a squirrel, hole for burying a treasure, a covered trap, a grave).

This is a fairly simple piece of documentation for somebody to write. It probably maps directly into a separate STAGE rule module too.

Information Objects

These are used to store all kinds of in-game info, from spells, scripts and blueprints to musical scores, lyrics, books and paintings. They are fairly simple objects used for storage of different types of data. They also implement the Component design pattern, meaning that a certain kind of information object (a document) can contain other information objects. They are used in various situations by other modules, for example a character with musical skills could play a musical score on a musical instrument. The goal is that they all should be editable in-game; each information object will need an own editor, preferably implemented in some portable way that allows it to be easily included in different clients, but without increasing the implementation complexity too much. The player should also have an option to select an alternative editor for a specific type of information object, where such are available.

This is also a rather simple and straightforward design document to write. Here as well there could be some thought put into what the rule module API should be like for the information object rule module.

See the Mason design section

Musical Instruments

This is a short document on how to implement musical instruments in-game. Could use a short review and a quick polishing.

A short and easy task for a newbie.

Building Houses

This document describes the process of building a house, and also lists some other thoughts about building blocks, materials and rotating blocks. It is one of the oldest of the documents, so it is a bit out of date. The rotating blocks section from it can be taken out, and discussed in connection with different attachments between containers containing building blocks (rotating, sliding, etc). That container documentation should be in it own document, along with a description of how the buildings rule module should work (Building Structure Module). The building houses document contains useful use cases and a description of the build process from a player perspective, along with some ideas about automating the process. This information probably only needs a bit of updating.

Some heavy editing, but nothing that needs to be designed. Just copy away the discussion about rotation and place it in a new document called "Building Structure Module" in the implementation section. Also update the descriptions of the texture templates and building shapes with the newer ideas from the Tasks page, and provide a link to the texture template and building shape pages.

See the House building document
Building block shapes
Building block textures
Implementation pages (STAGE rule module docs)

Structural Strength Calculation

Calculates the strain on each building block, depending on the weight, structural strength, attachment elasticity & strength, and other properties of the building blocks. Predicts when a building block crumbles, how it affects other building blocks, etc. Originally started by MathFox, but unfinished. The rule STAGE module will be called Vesta (ok to rename if necessary).

SpeedBump expressed interest in working on this.

See the structural strength document
Implementation page (with Vesta module)

Blueprint Editor

We need a good editor for creating designs for houses and other blueprints both inside and outside the game. This task is documented on the tasks page and on the design page.

Currently zzorn is creating an UI design for the editor, and planning a Java based prototype.

See the Mason design section

Garbage Collection

Abandoned and surplus items have to be removed from the game in some way. Some suggestions for doing this in a natural way include decay, scattering and thieving animals.

These short notes need to be tidied up just a bit, and put in a separate document. There would also be room for some other in-game ways to remove surplus items. A way to implement them could also be discussed. Decay and scattering could be implemented in one rule module, but thieving animals probably belongs with the animal behavior. An easy task with some optional design and implementation specification possibilities.

See the Mason design section

The Mason Mechanical System

One of the cornerstones of Mason, enabling the creation of systems of interconnected nodes for transmission of energy, matter and information. The nodes are a subclass of building blocks. This rather large document is still half finished, some sections could be split away to form node type lists and implementation documentation.

Assigned to zzorn currently.

See the Mason Mechanical System

Body Module

Document describing a way to realistically yet effectively simulate a character body. Handles health, energy, character stats and attributes, wounds, body parts, organs, effects of poisons, drugs, medicines, diseases, potions and the body's own biochemistry. Still unfinished, comments welcome.

Currently worked on by zzorn.

See The Body Module

Mason Media

Much of the Acorn graphics can be reused, but we will need the following models


The Mason website also needs some work.


Hans Häggström (a.k.a. zzorn)