Greetings

Koster Koster
Thu Jun 5 10:16:41 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


Hello everyone,

My name is Raph Koster and I was invited to join the list by J C 
Lawrence, who suggested that I post a brief hello and introduction 
with some (lengthy) background.

I've been involved with muds and online gaming since late 1992 or 
so... As Ptah, I run LegendMUD along with my wife. 
(http://mud.aus.sig.net or telnet://mud.aus.sig.net:9999) It was one 
of the first classless muds, and also (I think) the first historical 
theme gaming mud. My job there is essentially as creative director 
now, though because of job pressures I have been less and less able to 
participate actively--fortunately, we saw that coming and moved to a 
new organizational structure with a staff capable of handling things 
without much supervision.

It's based on the template-style architecture of Dikus, but has 
evolved considerably since then (scripting languages, greater 
configuration of the game from the database, etc) and is currently 
sort of evolving into a weird hybrid of LP and Diku. We run a lecture 
series which has often had topics of interest to the mudding community 
at large, so we post frequently with ads for the lectures, which you 
may have seen. There are probably some design choices in Legend that 
may be of interest to the list.

As those of you in the professional online gaming community may know, 
LegendMUD was the mud raided by Origin for talent when it began 
development of Ultima Online. (Origin beat Mike Sellers and his 
Meridian 59 project to hiring me by about two weeks). Our original 
head programmer, myself, and my wife (and for a while, Legend's head 
builder as well) all work on Ultima Online. My title on that project 
is "Creative lead" and I have been responsible for the design of the 
ecological simulation layer or "resource system" as it is termed by 
the press, much of the game economy, the AI systems, most of the 
skills system, coding of most of the skills proper as well as all of 
the NPC AI scripting, writing the libraries for UO's script language, 
and some town layout and the like.

Obviously, especially since Ultima Online is not yet publicly 
available (soon, soon), I cannot discuss too many details about the 
architecture and algorithms because of confidentiality--especially 
since some of our direct competition is on this list (Hello, Jeff 
Kesselman, nice to meet you). But what I can discuss, I'd be glad to. 
I've been posting regarding the "state of the art" in mud development 
for years, but have fallen silent in the last year or so, and welcome 
the chance to participate in a list with low noise and high interest 
factor.

-Raph Koster




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