[MUD-Dev] Graphic MUDS.

Adam Wiggins nightfall at user2.inficad.com
Tue Jul 29 02:33:30 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


[Matt C:]
> On Mon, 28 Jul 1997, Jeff Kesselman wrote:
> > >Ah, but is it a MUD? I've heard claims on newsgroups that although it is
> > >very pretty, it doesn't make for a very good MUD, in terms of the kind of
> > >flexibility, language input, etc. that people expect from MUDs. Can you
> > >tell us anything about that?
> > 
> > Okay,we a re abotu to have the "what is a MUD" debate...
> 
> Hmm. Not sure if anyone has it to hand, but a few posters (me, the
> Keeganish one, and a couple of other people I don't remember) ended up

I stuck in my two cents at one point...

> with what we thought was a pretty good definition of this in r.g.m.a some
> time ago. IIRC, It ran along the lines of interactivity between objects
> and persons as well as NPCs in the game world. You can probably argue a
> multi-user version of Ultima into that definition.

The main point of the thread was asking whether Quake or Diablo qualify
as muds.  I said no, because they are missing a very important aspect
of a mud: permanency.  (The artificially low number of participants per
server is also a factor, IMO.)  What makes a mud a virtual world instead of
'just' a game is that there is an ever-changing world which the player
can enter, interact with, and leave.  When they return at a later time,
effects of their previous visit are still in place: things they have
interacted with stayed that way until changed by another character; their
own character's skills, attributes, scars, and whatever else are all saved.
Characters age independant of play-time, but instead in terms of game-time.
The difference boils down to, I think, that a 'game' is a player-oriented
world, whereas a mud is just a world.  When any given player or set of players
leaves, the world continues on its merry way.  When all players leave a
'normal' game, the game ceases.  This is simulated in D&D by having
the DM say, "Well, while you were gone..."  In a mud it's for real.

> > Let me just say this:  Its a game with a ver primitive and simpel combat
> > system, a detailed world full of lots of little "toys" to learn to play
> > with and manipulate and rpetty good charcter-customization features.

I hardly think a combat system is necessary.  Perhaps a better phrase
would be a world full of internaly consistant systems, the most
common of which are combat, spells, and guilds.  The 'toys' bit strikes
upon a deeper point - level of interactivity.  Matt covered this (below)
anyhow, so I've not much more to add.  The last bit - character customization
- is also important, although I'm not sure what a really solid guideline
would be.  At the very least you need something where you can choose
a lot of options to personalize your character, then have that character
use those abilities to grow, change, and learn new abilities, all of
which are 'remembered' by the game.  This can include anything
from your skill with long blades to scars to your character's birthday.

> Well.. thats not what makes it a mud, IMHO. Its the level of interactivity
> between players (and NPCs), as well as manipulation of static objects -
> quake would be a mud, were it not that the scenery is only 'cover' - you
> can only manipulate very, very limited parts of it, in absolutely set
> ways. This is quite an interesting point to explore in a more civilised
> environment than usenet.

Yeah.  I'm tempted to say, "Many muds aren't much better than Diablo.."
but actually that's not really true.  Even stock ROM has a lot more
widgets to tug on than that.  Ultima Online I've yet to actually play, but
I've heard very good things and of course I have every confidence in our
friend Ptah, since he was the creator of one of the best muds to ever
grace the internet.  (IMO, of course..)

> > How GOOD a MUD it is i wont address, but the goal abnd work was clearly
> > fuocused on building a world ratehr then a game, whcih is why I consider it
> > a MUD but not NWN or DSO.
> 
> This is probably another qualification towards the mud side - although
> plenty of muds are 'just games' (read: Lots of stock muds are this way,
> and many never get changed significantly). The goal of 'building a
> world/environment' is something that appears to have evolved amongst the
> readership here (not that its a bad thing by any means! Its a huge
> conceptual step forwards, IMHO).

I've always thought this way.  It was more a mistake than anything I guess;
when I logged onto my first mud, saw the way I could interact with the
environment and actually have things *stay* the way I put them; heard
the immorts talk about building their zones; heard all the stories of
the incredible happenings (most of which were no doubt greatly exagerated)
I got this picture of this horendously complex, completely consistant
and self-maintaining world.  Of course, that was hardly the case - as I
recall that mud crashed not less than every five to six hours, and was
about the furthest thing from consistant there is.  Still, that's the
feeling I got when I first played it, and that vision has stuck with
me ever since.  So to me it's actually kind of amazing that others
play the game and consider it just a big game of Zork with lots of people
around to talk to.




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