Author Topic: Sanvean's Building Hints  (Read 3048 times)


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Sanvean's Building Hints
« on: November 29, 2005, 02:57:42 PM »
Today's hint is about descriptions, particularly short and long ones.

There are three kinds of descriptions for an object or NPC: sdesc, ldesc, and desc.

The sdesc is the short description, like "an obsidian short-sword".  Try to keep it relatively short; remember that it may have state words, such as "dusty" or "bloodied" attached to it at times, depending on the circumstances.  

The ldesc, also known as the ldesc, is what you see when you look at the room.   For example: "An obsidian dagger lies on the ground."  

Things to keep in mind about ldescs:  
*Don't assume anything about that ground - might be a city street, or a sand dune, or even the interior of a house.  
*Bear in mind that people use keywords from the ldesc when trying to target the object.  Seeing "A heap of cloth has been dropped on the ground" and getting "You don't see that here" when trying 'get cloth' or 'get heap' frustrates people.
*Things lie or are lying on the ground after you lay them down.

The desc, also known as the main desc, is what you see when you look at the person or thing.


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Words to Avoid
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2005, 01:03:02 PM »
Today's hint is about words to avoid when writing descriptions.

Anything that fits in this group: very, rather, quite, somewhat.  Most adverbs, if you're being strict.

If you feel the need to qualify an adjective or adverb with one of those, you probably don't have the right word.  Make something "razor-edged" instead than "very sharp", make that shadow "ebon" or "inky" instead of "rather black".  Instead of telling the reader something is "quite ornate", provide a detail that shows the intricacy of the ornamentation, the tiny insets of opal and bone or the delicate dots of garnets laid across the surface of a bracelet.


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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2005, 03:41:55 PM »
Today's hint is about thesauruses.

I can usually tell when someone's used one in writing their description: it'll be full of sentences where the words -almost- make sense, but which are jarring in that many of the words are used incorrectly.  The approach here seems to be to substitute archaic words for common ones, mainly adjectives, in an attempt to make the description unique.  Personally, I'd rather see simple words used than complex ones mis-used.

If you're using a word you're never encountered before, take the time to google around and see it in context a few times, so you can use it in a way that feels natural, rather than trying to jam it into a sentence hole that may be the wrong shape.


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NPC extras
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2005, 01:53:09 PM »
Today's hint is about adding richness to NPCs with scripts.

Armageddon's got a rockin' script language, thanks to the efforts of Tenebrius, Xygax, and others.  If you submit an NPC, there are some programs available that can be used to give them more depth.

The talk program allows them to respond to different keywords.  For example, in response to the word "name", they might say "I'm Joe, stranger.  Pleased to meet you."  You can attach the same say to multiple keywords.  If you want to include this in a submission, the best format is keywords the say triggers on, then the say itself.  You can attach a speech emote to a say, so they can say it quickly, or slowly, or as their eyes flash fire, or whatever.

If an NPC has specific equipment, we can attach a program to make sure whenever someone loads the NPC, that equipment appears on them.

Remember that NPCs can have tattoos and scars, just like regular folk.

It is possible to create NPCs with schedules, where they go to one room when ready to sleep, another when ready to go to work, and another when they want to take their evening meal.  To include this information, tell us where they would go for each period, and include the ldesc that the NPC should have when in that location.

It's also possible to include emotes for the NPC to fire off at random.  Important things to think about when including those is that they should apply whoever's in the room, and that there needs to be a variety, so they don't get boring and predictable.

An NPC can scan or perform other skill related commands at intervals.

You can set a specific scent on an NPC that provides a unique message when someone sniffs them.

They can sell a particular kind of liquid (or be a shopkeeper of any kind, but I'll save more on that for another post.)

Ideas for scripts are welcome, but may not be implemented with blinding speed - althought you never know when one of the skillful scripters may get fired up about something.


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Why Material Types Matter
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2005, 09:05:05 PM »
You may have noticed that we include the material type as part of an object submission.  Today's hint involves some of the things that are affected by the material type.

Crafting messages:  If it's a craftable item, the message someone gets when crafting it, along the lines of "You spread out the cloth and begin to sew", is determined by the material type.

Cost: Items vary in cost from shop to shop, but they also are affected by the city's location: tortoiseshell and wood, for example, are more costly in the south than the north.  

Whether or not a fire will consume it: some things can burn up, others can't.

Material types that I feel comfortable listing on this board include: bone, ceramic, chitin, cloth, dung, duskhorn, feather, food, fungus, gem, glass, horn, isilt,  ivory, leather, metal, obsidian, paper, plant, salt, silk, skin, stone, tortoiseshell, and wood.  You can also use material type none if the item should not be affected by those things.


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Lie versus lay
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2006, 01:38:27 PM »
I've cribbed this from a proofreader's site, because it's such a useful explanation of lie versus lay:

Here's a little exercise:

One of these is correct. Can you tell which one?
A) We lie the silverware on the table.
B) We lay the silverware on the table.

Do you know which is correct in this example?
A) I have lied to you before.
B) I have laid to you before.

And, what about this one?
A) She is lying on the floor.
B) She is laying on the floor.

Not sure? Let us help you solve the mystery behind the lie/lay verbs!

lie1: to say something untrue in order to benefit
lie2: to recline, or to be in a horizontal position
lay: to place, which is always followed by an object
        **Tip: If you can replace the word in question with put, then use lay.


lie1 (to fib), which is a regular verb:
The present tense is conjugated with lie/lies/lying, depending on the subject.
The past tense is simply conjugated with lied.


lie2 (to rest oneself), which is an irregular verb. Note: if you (or some other person) is resting, then you use this form, lie2.
The present tense is conjugated the same as lie1.
The past tense is conjugated lay or have/had lain, depending on the subject.


lay (to place or put something), which is an irregular verb. Note: if you put something down, the object is what completes the meaning of this form, lay.
The present tense is conjugated with lay/lays, depending on the subject.
The past tense is conjugated with laid or have laid, depending on the subject.

Think you have it figured out?
Let's go back to the beginning. The answers are: B, A, and A. Revisit these rules a few times, and soon enough, you will realize there is no mystery at all.

                    LIE       LAY

present:       lie         lay

past:            lay         laid

participles:   lying       laying

Here are a couple of helpful links regarding lie/lay:


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Sanvean's Building Hints
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2006, 01:40:34 PM »
And another, from the same source:

Misused (and Mistreated) Words
accept: to receive; to answer positively
except: not including; everything but
affect: to pretend; to influence
effect: a result
assure: to make certain (such as with a person)
ensure: to make sure (such as with a thing)
insure: to provide or obtain insurance
beside: at the side of
besides: in addition to
between: two items that are related
among: three or more things related
compliment: to praise
complement: something that completes
farther: literal or physical distance
further: to a greater extent
fewer: comparative with plural items
less: items that are singular
imply: to suggest
infer: to deduce
its: possessive form of it
it’s: contraction for it is or it has
nauseated: not feeling well
nauseous: disgust
As per Merriam Webster: nauseous = causing nausea or disgust.
The difference between nauseated and nauseous is in the part of speech. Nauseated is a noun and nauseous is an adjective.
Nauseated means “experiencing nausea,” whereas nauseous means “causing nausea”—in other words, offensive or loathsome. If you feel a queasy sensation in your stomach, you are nauseated; only if you cause other people to be ill are you nauseous.
set vs. sit:
In general, set refers to an object ("Set the materials down on the table") and sit does not ("She sat for an hour, waiting for the bus").
that vs. which
--"Which" is frequently used to introduce a nonrestrictive clause, a phrase that isn’t necessary or supplies additional information and is usually set off by commas.
For example: The burned CD, which she received from a friend, was of a lesser quality than the original from a music store.
--"That" is used for introducing restrictive clauses that refer to things, phrases that ARE essential to the meaning of the rest of the sentence.
For example: The CD that consists of all of the band’s top-ten singles is her favorite.
their: possessive form of they
there: in or at that place
they’re: contraction for they are
whose: possessive form of which, who
who’s: contraction for who is
your: possessive form of you; belonging to you
you’re: contraction for you are


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Sanvean's Building Hints
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2006, 04:26:04 PM »
<cough> Nauseated is not a noun. It's an adjective, and can be used as a transitive or intransitive verb, depending on the context.


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Sanvean's Building Hints
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2006, 12:58:45 PM »
You're right, and I should have caught that when skimming before copying and pasting.  Nonetheless, there's a lot of good information in there.

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Sanvean's Building Hints
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2006, 03:24:42 PM »
Some great stuff here, Sanvean. Is there any chance this can be stickied/archived for future reference to the community?



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Commas, commas, commas
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2006, 06:04:14 PM »
Some explanation of commas that might be handy:

Serial Commas: There is much confusion over the proper use of serial commas. It is generally accepted in today’s writing to include the final serial comma before the conjunction and the final word or phase in the series. For instance:

"My favorite colors are purple, yellow, and pink."

"I like to get up early, walk on the beach, and collect shells."

This rule is cited in Chicago Manual of Style and The Gregg Reference Manual. The purpose of including this final comma is for clarity and to give each word or phrase equal weight in the sentence. There is a story which illustrates this tenet. A man wrote a will leaving his estate to his three children, "Richard, John and William" (note the absence of the final serial comma). The judge interpreted this will to divide the man’s estate leaving half to Richard and the other half (or one-quarter each) to John and William. Their father intended to divide his estate into thirds; however, the absence of the final serial comma gave John and William together the same weight as Richard. Had there been a comma included before the "and," each of the sons would have received a third of their father’s estate.


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Sanvean's Building Hints
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2006, 05:08:43 PM »
(more from the proofreading newsletter)

Confusing Words


Ability refers to the power to do something

Capacity refers to the ability to hold or contain something


Acclamation refers to an oral vote or praise of some kind

Acclimation refers to adapting to a new climate or environment


Adhere means to stick fast, to be devoted, or to carry out a plan

Cohere means to hold together as part of the same thing


Adverse means difficult or unfavorable

Averse means opposed to


Bad is an adjective describing nouns or pronouns (Joe had a bad feeling about leaving.)

Badly is an adverb (I think he paints very badly.)


Callous refers to having an unfeeling attitude

Callus refers to a thickening or hardening of the skin


Hoard refers to a hidden find or cache

Horde refers to a crowd or throng


Liable means legally responsible or likely

Libel is damaging someone’s reputation in print or other media

Lible is not a word

Slander is an oral statement that damages someone’s reputation

ade     fruit beverage
aid      to assist
aide    an assistant
altar    raised center of worship
alter    to change
arc      portion of a circle
ark      vessel
ascent  the climb
assent  to agree
boar     wild pig
boor     a person with rude, clumsy manners and little refinement
bore     not interesting
breach  to break through
breech  lower/rear portion
forego   to precede
forgo     to abstain from
lightening removing weight or darkness
lightning   static electricity from the sky
palate     taste
pallet      a platform for transporting goods; bed
pallette   a selection of paint
pincer     claw-like gripping action
pincher   one who pinches
pinscher  terrier
vain     worthless
vane    flat device that moves with the air
vein     blood vessel
vial     narrow glass container
vile     despicable
viol     stringed instrument
yoke    oxen harness
yolk     yellow center of an egg