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TriadCity
TriadCity



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homepage: TriadCity
statistics: TriadCity
vote: TriadCity
browse: player reviews
submit: player review
client: TriadCity uses a proprietary HTML5 Web browser client; no plug-ins required; works with all browsers.
tmc rank: 537
updated: April 1, 2014
created: October, 2001
codebase: [Custom] server currently in beta
site:
email: info (at) smartmonsters (dot) com
theme: socially relative concepts of good and evil in a large-scale urban environment

Location: USA
Primary Language: English
Minimum Players: Under 10
Multi-Play: Limited
Player-Kill: Restricted
Mapping: Graphical
Crafting: Custom Crafting System, Players can modify existing items
Custom Server Type
Equipment Saved
Character Approval Unnecessary
Roleplaying Is Encouraged
Newbie friendly
Skill & Level-Based Training System
Skill & Level-Based Equipment System
Detailed Character Creation
World is all original
Huge World (15,000+ rooms)
Generally Adult-Oriented
Mud is open to players for testing
Mapping: Graphical
Crafting: Custom Crafting System, Players can modify existing items
Custom Server Type
Equipment Saved
Character Approval Unnecessary
Roleplaying Is Encouraged
Newbie friendly
Skill & Level-Based Training System
Skill & Level-Based Equipment System
Detailed Character Creation
World is all original
Huge World (15,000+ rooms)
Generally Adult-Oriented
Mud is open to players for testing
TriadCity is an acclaimed virtual world made of words. It's blind-friendly, has more women players than men, and is cited by The Cambridge Companion to Postmodernism as a new form of literature.

Where many games focus on "kill the monster" style adventuring, TriadCity explores themes which have been central to Western culture: good and evil, personal versus collective identities, violence and nonviolence, matter and spirit, freedom and slavery.

TriadCity differs from much of the MUD tradition by being set in an urban environment. It's a city where all of historical time is simultaneously present: you'll find astronauts, hoplites, cowboys and Friar Tuck together on the same mag-lev subway. And, it's big: currently pushing 18,000 rooms, of 100,000 projected.

Unique to any "game" we're aware of, TriadCity imposes various forms of subjectivity on players, presenting highly individualized views of the world to characters depending on their attributes, skills, and histories. This means that two players entering the same room simultaneously may see it differently. These differences can be subtle or radical, depending on the intentions of world authors. We know of no other virtual world where this level of individualization is possible.

Also unusually, TriadCity offers multiple paths to character growth in addition to standard hack-and-slash. Violence is possible in TriadCity but not privileged; in many circumstances it's the worst possible choice. In TriadCity death is permanent: characters who die don't respawn. This means the choice to use violence needs to be carefully considered - rather more like real life than traditional games inspired by, say, DnD. In TriadCity characters gain experience by using their skills; by contributing to the game world; or simply by exploring. This offers a far richer player experience than typical for the MUD genre.

Although huge, the game world is highly detailed. Room descriptions and contents vary by time of day, creating very different feels by day or night. NPC behaviors are highly individualized: nearly all NPCs have homes to go to, jobs to perform, and hobbies to engage in, the goal being to fill the city with constant movement and variation. NPC AI is based on concepts from robotics and is far more advanced than AI we're familiar with from earlier games. There are multiple thousands of NPCs and more than one hundred thousand Items in the game world at any moment.

An example of "advanced NPC AI": certain angry NPC critters have the ability to coordinate with each other strategically to defeat player attacks on their strongholds. For instance, they might allow a player group deep into their territory, then attack to close the invaders' escape route; and while the invaders are isolated from help, deliberately target players with the weakest constitutions, or the weakest armor, or some skill or attribute necessary to the survival of the group - perhaps the "pack tank" carrying the group's water or ammunition. Or they might pursue a different strategy altogether. The point is that they're able to intelligently analyze the situation and respond adaptively. There are AI robots based on the personalities of Oscar Wilde and Douglas Adams' depressed soul Marvin. Human NPCs can be assigned personality matrixes based on the work of Carl Jung. Even the pigeons will look at you crossways if you try to steal their crumbs.

Similar AI innovations can be applied to player characters as well. Character subjectivity was mentioned above. Characters can also become ill; can experience hallucinations, blackouts and fugue states; can find themselves conversing with people others can't see and who may or may not "really" be there; can be drugged; can fall down drunk; can froth with epilepsy. There may or may not be treatments available. Depends.

The code is all-original, written by senior technology professionals with decades of experience. It's robust, bug-free and extremely stable. Play is via browser-based clients which encrypt network traffic and work happily through company firewalls; players can choose between a plugin-free HTML5 client or a "classic" signed Java applet with identical functionality.

Commands are free English, typically but not necessarily in the imperative mood, e.g., "show me what's inside the second box" is just as good as "look into the second box", or even "what's in the second box?" The parser also speaks canonical DikuMUD, so you can "look in 2.box" if you like. You can create arbitrary command aliases which are saved between logins: you might prefer "gcc" to "get the coins from the corpse".

Player-stealing is not allowed. Player-killing is allowed only in an Arena entered by choice. Much effort is made to keep the game newbie-friendly: there's an introductory tutorial for new players, and all the veterans are extremely friendly and helpful. The web site includes a rich guide for players, written in part by players themselves. There's an online Help robot who successfully answers about 80% of the questions asked. Extensive online Fora contain gold mines of player lore.

Player houses are completely customizable; new player houses are build-able from ground up. Equipment and other Items are customizable.

Although the world is ginormous, no automated mapping system is provided. This is deliberate. Instead, interested players can acquire the Cartographer Role, and receive experience and game bucks in return for the maps they contribute.

Unusually for an Internet RPG, TriadCity has as many women players as men, an accomplishment the authors are extremely proud of.

There's a feast-and-famiine cycle to TriadCity: sometimes you'll find a couple of dozen players on regularly, other times only one or two, or even none. Please change that by coming and staying and bringing your friends. The developers promise to begin formally marketing "real soon now".

TriadCity is free to play. There's a concept of "premium" items which can be purchased via Zynga-like Reward Points; but these points themselves are given away, for instance as thanks for recruiting new players. Impatient players are welcome to buy them but this isn't really emphasized. Premium items include player house customizations, safes, grow lights and other "add ons" interesting primarily to higher-level players.

So what's it all about? Largely it's a satire, focusing as satires do on greed, laziness, stupidity, shallowness, believing what you're told, conforming to social norms, and generally not thinking enough. The developers say it's intended for "smart grownups". Up to you to decide whether it works, or not.

Resources:

The TriadCity home page: http://www.smartmonsters.com/TriadCity/index.jsp.
TriadCity on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TriadCity.
TriadCity on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/TriadCity/295456477228706?ref=hl.
TriadCity on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TriadCity
The TriadCity authors' blog: http://triadcity.tumblr.com/.
The TriadCity developers' blog: http://triadcitydevelopers.tumblr.com/.

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