Found this log on my disk, thought it might be interesting. (I'm Marn.)
Marn says, "<monologue>"
-- KevinReid - 30 Mar 2003
Marn says, "thoughts on mud design"
Jon [to Marn] asks, "What sort of monologue?"
Marn says, "specifically the notion of not immediately knowing the name of every object"
Marn says, "the problem: how to handle both naming of a kind of thing (chair) and the naming of an instance (Jon)"
Marn says, "and how to tag objects such that they can be recognized, and also confused"
Marn says, "solution: multi-level tag on the object"
Marn says, "each level is an ID for the general class/subcategorization / instance"
Marn says, "then the player character can remember that this kind is called 'human' and this instance is called 'Jon'"
Marn says, "but have multiple levels"
Jon refers Marn to OntologyMan! (secret identity Bruce)
Marn says, "a constructed object...say an axe"
Marn says, "there is the basic shape of an axe, there is the specific design, and there is the individual axe"
Marn says, "even...there could be eg a pair of axes of the same design made at the same time with the same piece of wood for the handle...so they look unusually similar and could be confused for the other; that's another layer"
Jon ponders the Platonic Ideal Axe.
Jon says, "Ooh. That's a complication."
Marn says, "thus one might name that layer, not knowing - then find the other axe, confuse it, till one names them separately"
DNA . o O ( While Jon is pondering this axe, I'm using a reasonable facsimile to eliminate developers who are making my life difficult. )
Jon hands DNA the Unnatural Axe.
Jon stored it with the other munchkin-ish things in case DNA needs it again.
Marn says, "so this is a complex problem..."
Marn says, "the hardest part is the UI for naming things; how do you specify you want to name a thing's design, not the instance nor the category...without revealing that "here are all the possible levels of naming for this object""
Marn says, "perhaps it might be possible to have a fixed set of levels, then let the user pick one, without revealing whether the object has that level"
Marn says, "oh, and consider identical-twin humans"
Marn says, "as you might have concluded, I like the model of the player controlling the character at a symbolic level - thus the character must be in charge of recognizing people/things, etc."
Marn decides not to touch the disguise issue other than mentioning that it can be done by changing the appearance tags at whatever level.
Marn says, "</monologue>"