Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Sun Jun 22 23:13:29 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Sun, 22 Jun 1997 11:07:43 PST8PDT, Nathan Yospe <yospe at hawaii.edu>

>On Sat, 21 Jun 1997, Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:
>:GUI interfaces are not generally a good idea for a text-based MUD.
>:There's too much text entry required, and the mouse/keyboard switching
>:is ultimately a pain and a slowdown. If a particular command in the MUD
>:building interface is easily automated by a button, it is also either
>:easy to type or should be simplified in the MUD design. 
>I do use an arrow-key interface.... similar to Lynx or Gopher interfaces.
>For example:


This sort of interface is what I would call more a 'visual' interface
rather than a GUI. When I think of a GUI, I tend to think of something
mouse driven... if it's driven from the keyboard, I tend to find it much
more usable. However, it's difficult to do this sort of interface these
days, with variable-width fonts and whatnot... I think I'd be more
comfortable with a number driven interface, myself, but then that's more
because my personal choice of client doesn't really support the various
terminal emulations that I once took for granted on character terminals.
I do have other clients that handle them well, so if all else failed I'd
just use one of those.

It's also worth noting that these sorts of visual interfaces only really
work with a character-buffered telnet, and a line-buffered client makes
them pretty much useless. 

>:There *are* places where a GUI can be useful, for example a series of
>:checkboxes that graphically illustrate the locations of exits -- these
>:checkboxes could be turned on or off, and then a single button could
>:make and destroy exits as appropriate through something like this:


>Little hard without rooms or directional exits, no? Few of us, IIRC, have
>either of those things.

Yes, there are a lot of concepts that this just isn't applicable to; but
it *is* an area where a GUI could be useful, and some sort of example
could be constructed for nearly any design scheme.

>:Likewise, there's an associated difficulty in people who want
>:to do EVERYTHING in one command line; resulting in commands like
>:	setexits s=A long tunnel/5321|This long tunnel leads off 
>:		into the darkness.| n=A dimly lit room/4231|The dimly
>:		lit room appears to be uninhabited.|

I'd just like to clarify that this command is something I consider a Bad
Idea to put into an interface. It tries to do too much at once, and ends
up being cryptic and difficult to work with.

>Personally, I would have found all of your examples, as a builder,
>intolerable. And it doesn't leave a lot of room for programmability. 

Well, I wasn't necessarily saying 'these commands belong in every MUD',
as much as I was saying 'here is an example'. While it's certainly true
that there's more to an exit than which direction it leads, my command
line above was intended to demonstrate that trying to do everything in
one shot tends to be a really bad idea and confuse the issue greatly.
There would certainly be additional features and commands that deal with
exits, just as there would be a different set of commands for something
that didn't really have the current structure of rooms, objects, and

I'm actually a little mystified about how you can find a simple atomic
command to make an exit and another command to make several exits an
intolerable interface; not to mention the 'lack of programmability'
doesn't quite seem to follow. I guess if that was the only thing you
could ever do with an exit, it *would* suck.

>Not saying a GUI would come out better, though I have been thinking of a GUI
>interface for building in my client... just, with an IDE built in.

I think I may be using the term GUI where you use IDE, actually. IDE is
probably a better term for it, as 'visual' interface has certain
connotations that aren't appropriate, while GUI does seem to fit in both
the way I intended it and the way I think you intended it... it's
probably more correct the way you're using the terms, if I'm
understanding your usage correctly.

-+[caliban at darklock.com]+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-
 I am here to grind your eyes harder into the miasmic bile of life; to 
 show you the truth and the beauty in the whisper of steel on silk and 
 the crimson scent of blood as it rises to meet the caress of a blade. 

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