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The MUDzilla Simulation System

MUDzilla Power System

"The power of simulation participants is determined by their hard work and dedication. The power of a simulation administrator is always imagined by the administrator." -- Executive Committee, TMOA

The Separation of Earth and Water
The Mantle of Omnipotence

With your ideas in one hand, and MUDzilla events in the other, you will wield absolute power within any simulation you create. This is a mighty responsibility, as you will become master of as many universes as you care to create or destroy. Such an awesome role often demands privacy to be effective, where you cannot be seen fiddling with the controls which guide the Multiverse. Or, you may decide your simulation requires your august presence among the simulation's participants to convey the underlying story. Whatever your manifestation, you will have total control of all simulation objects, including your participants. Fortunately, MUDzilla contains many elements, both systemic and political, to help you become an effective simulation administrator, and avoid the primary pitfall of absolute power, that being the tendency to corrupt absolutely!

The Rite of Assumption

In terms of power, MUDzilla divides all avatar objects into two camps:

Administrators. By default, administrative avatars are empowered with complete and total control over all aspects of the simulation. They can be visible or invisible to the simlation's other participants, depending on your exact needs. Your own presence within the simulation will be contained within an administrative avatar.

The Rite of Assumption Participants. Non-administrative avatars represent most simulation participants. Anyone you invite to participate in your simulation will take on the role of their non-administrative avatar, ready to encounter the fate you have defined for them.

The simulation enforces a strict separation between administrators and participants. With the flip of a switch, you can render all your administrative avatars completely and utterly invisible to the simulation's other participants. Not all avatars within the simulation will have a human presence behind them. So-called non-player characters (NPCs), these avatars function as automatons, robots configured to act in accordance with your underlying story.

By virtue of your administrative avatar, you gain the power of assumption, the ability to assume the role of any non-administrative avatar within the simulation. While you are assuming another avatar, you gain all of the avatar's abilities, while retaining your administrative authority. This allows you to enter the context of the simulation without disrupting the flow of the underlying story. To a simulation participant, the assumption process is completely invisible.

Multiversial Security

In a place the size and scale of a Multiverse, anything can happen. Being prepared for anything is perhaps the greatest challenge, you, the simulation designer, must face. Among the possible outcomes of running a simulation is that your simulation's data may become compromised by some outside, uncontrollable force in a fashion which does not match your vision. Unfortunately, this pattern of behavior follows an axiom which governs computer data networks of all types:

The Cosmic Balance

"There exists no computer data network that stays up 100% of the time, nor does there exist any computer data network that cannot be hacked."

This bitter truth, though often hard to swallow, is easy to understand, as every web site on the internet is open to hundrends of millions of users. We regard user action as perhaps the most unpredictable force in nature, and the sheer numbers of internet users, combined with the Sound of Silence axoim, indicates a balanced approach to managing simulation security. With this in mind, we have developed four main types of security management for MUDzilla simulations:

1. User Access. To access a simulation, a participant must enter a valid userid and password. Long a staple of computer security, passwords work fairly well, right up to the point where a user divulges a password, or some ingenious hacker manages to obtain a list of passwords. Frequent, mandatory password changes can circumvent this, but forces users to manage numerous passwords over the long haul. Using MUDzilla, you can configure account password behavior to include minimum lengths, maximum number of password retries, and password expiration.

The Explusion from Paradise 2. Network Access. You can control from which internet networks you will allow access to the simulation. MUDzila tracks the source internet protocol (IP) address of each user when they log in. If you determine a hacker is originating from some IP network, you can block access from that entire network, along with blocking the offending userid as well. Such site bans can also be instrumental in dealing with so-called troublesome users, individuals you have identified as disruptive to your notion of how your simulation should work.

3. Object Access. For participants, access to simulation data is controlled through events, so all non-administrative object modifications are completed within the context of the simulation. Where object access becomes important is on the administrative side of the equation. If your simulation supports many designers, each will have, by default, absolute access to all aspects of the simulation. If you wish to establish some sort of security such that a designer's work remains protected from other designers, you can use MUDzilla's object security. While we include a robust mechanism for shielding objects, we estimate that simulations will likely have few administrators, allowing simple trust to become perhaps the best form of object security.

4. Security Policy. Before you open your simulation, even to other administrators, we highly recommend you establish a written security policy, and follow it. Security policies exist outside the simulation, and include such things as intent, identifiying proper access to simulation data, and specifying the consequences of breaching the policy. Let everyone understand from the outset what you are willing to tolerate, and state it with authority. Your security policy will likely evolve as your simulation grows, so it should be treated as a living, breathing entity, able to adapt to changes in its environment.

A View of Infinity

Mana From Heaven

Creating something the size and scale of a Multiverse is an ambitous undertaking, without doubt. Managing such a tremendous cosmos once you have it up and running is a monumental task. As your simulation grows, you will become futher removed from the objects you create, just from sheer numbers alone. An ideal management infrastructure must therefore include the following elements:

1. Multiversial Scope. Any simulation management scheme must be usable across the entire width and breadth of the Multiverse, and provide a consistent methodology.

2. Participant Invisibility. Simulation participants must be unaware of any attempts to manage them, or your underlying story could be compromised. An example of this comes from The Wizard of Oz, in which the man behind the curtain was discovered.

3. Depth of Meaning. The best way to disguise a management scheme is to conceal it within the context of the underlying story, where its invisibility is assured, following the old axoim the best place to hide something is in plain sight.. Such a system would reflect the meaning of the objects it manages.

Click the Image for Additional Detail To meet these challenges, we have developed the MUDzilla Power System, a mana-based object management system that lets you control the flow of power through the entire simulation. All the people, places, and things within a MUDzilla simulation are imbued with a mana pool, a container which represents the life force of an object. A single point of mana is the smallest unit of measure of this force. MUDzilla uses mana to quantify measurements associated with avatars, rooms, and items, such as experience, skills, and alignment. The characteristics of mana contained by a mana pool influences how the simulation treats the owning object, and participants remain unaware they even possess a mana pool, much less how it affects them.

To connect these mana pools together, MUDzilla specifies a special object called a conduit, a pipe for passing mana in one direction from one mana pool to another. Mana conduits have no direct manifestation within a simulation, they only exist within the context of the simulation's database, rendering them completely invisible to the simulation's participants. By creating events which depend on the flow of mana, you will regulate power withinin the simulation in a manner that cannot be detected. Mana itself cannot control the behavior of simulation participants, but it can help you limit the scope of the consequences derived from participant action.

The Hindu Deity Durga One application of mana involves the implementation of so-called magic, which is simply technology whose function and purpose remain shrouded in ignorance. By requiring users of magic to gather and manipulate mana, you can control their access to mana by managing the conduits connecting the magic user to the rest of the simulation. The magic user will only perceieve changes within the context of the magic itself, remaining oblivious to the underlying mana conduits. Another use of mana applies to the creation of a deity, a god-like being which may possess a number of worshipers. By linking the deity to its followers through mana conduits, a deity can expect to manage its worshipers. By linking yourself to the deity, you can expect to manage the deity!

The MUDzilla Power System is designed to be flexible, scalable, and invisible. However, if you cannot determine a use for mana pools, and the conduits which connect them, within the context of your vision, you can shut the entire power system off with a single switch.

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