First Muds - newbie magic?

Nathan Yospe yospe at
Tue Jul 29 11:35:20 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Mon, 28 Jul 1997, Michael Hohensee wrote:

:Adam Wiggins wrote:

:> 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 felt the exact same way when I was accidentally initiated into mudding
:at DragonMUD.  While it was up, and running Merc2.2, the feeling stayed as
:strong as ever.  Sadly, they converted to ROM, and the magic seemed to die. 
:For whatever reason, I've become unable to become attached to playing any
:mud like that ever since.  Possibly because I then discovered that other
:muds were exactly the same. 

:I wonder, is this experience universal with all mud players?  And if so,
:is there anything we can do about it?

My own experience certainly supports it. I started... well, first mud was
an LP, Deeper Trouble, but the mechanics were _too_ raw on that one, and I
was introduced by a wiz, so saw the mechanics before the game. I didn't
get into it, quit after an hour. Second mud was a Rom. No biggie. Played
for a few hours, seemed reasonable... the puns on that mud were awful
(most powerful weapon of type sword at the time was a pen, for example)
and the game was minorly altered stock - but after a short time, I got
into the social aspect, and then introduced to the clans. I chose a clan,
spent many wonderous hours exploring and participating in clan wars,
gaining levels... and then they shut the mud down, reopened it with a
guild system based version, all sorts fo things changed, and players down
2/3 of their levels. I would have quit mudding altogether, but I had built
a few areas, and a guy from the mud wanted me to be head creater (theme
and builders chief) and I agreed. Turned out he couldn't program, so I
ended up doing that too. Eventually got fed up with him (he had these sex
games with these honorary admins of his...) and left. Bout the same time,
started Singularity, trying to make it everything I thought, at the time,
a mud should be. Used Rom code, worked with one of the guys I was doing
the GURU project with (you know, at that point, I _still_ hadn't made the
connection between my massively multithreaded/distributed database based
graphical world server and the dinky text muds I was doing for kicks? Go
figure.) and built a decent world and theme. Eventually, it struck me
that, with all the alterations I was making, the underlying mechanics (the
control loop and fixed objects especially) of the system I was using were
going to hang me up. Started REALLY programming an engine. It never really
sank in that the magic had gone out of the game, but I suspect that
happened somewhere along the line. After a few months on that first Rom, I
had started other muds... TF2005 (a MUCK), A battletech game, Discworld,
and a number of others... and eventually they all started looking
threadbare. Its sort of like the cinema or theater. Once you start to see
through the holes, the illusion is gone.

:> 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. 

:Well, in a way, any mud that runs for more than 10 minutes *is*
:horrendously complex, and *has* to be completely consistent (until it
:isn't, at which point, it crashes ;).  I mean, the data structures and
:the ways they are handled are fairly simple, but the sheer number being
:handled makes it feel big.  We coders have a different way of thinking
:about muds.  We view it in terms of the way the program manipulates
:things, only considering a handful of objects at a time.  A raw beginner,
:who doesn't understand the mechanism behind the mud, sees it as one vast
:conglomerate of objects and creatures with varying and mysterious
:qualities.  It's quite understandable to feel awed by a mud.

On the other hand, that original vision for me plays a large role in what
I am attempting with Physmud++... I am trying to create something that
really is totally self consistant, that doesn't have any holes to see out

:> 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.

:Those are the people who never got into mudding, or who, like me, have
:passed beyond the initial login experience, but have forgotten what it
:felt like.

Or they played on a mud _designed_ exactly like that. No offense to
Keegan, but Island had a huge element of that.

"You? We can't take you," said the Dean, glaring at the Librarian.
"You don't know a thing about guerilla warfare." - Reaper Man,
Nathan F. Yospe  Registered Looney                   by Terry Pratchett
yospe at           Meow

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