[MUD-Dev] Mudschool

Ling K.L.Lo-94 at student.lboro.ac.uk
Tue May 12 16:16:58 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Mon, 11 May 1998, Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:

> When I turn on my computer and start a game, I want to play. Yes, I want
> some sort of way to learn my way around. But the last thing I need is some
> condescending, fourth-grade level tutorial. Think about it; you go out and
> find a mud, and you log on expecting to play an exciting, immersive game.
> And you get "Welcome to Avilard! Avilard is a MUD. MUD stands for
> Multi-User Dungeon. Avilard is a place that lets you take the role of blah
This is one of the tidbits that annoy me with current muds.  No one likes
to be patronised but because muds aren't quite mainstream, they have to be
just in case a complete and utter newbie accidently type in telnet <random
numbers>.  Maybe upon login, a mud should have a little query to see if
the player is an outright mud virgin, a seasoned 150 wpm mudder or
something inbetween.  (This is where some sort of universal mud player
database be handy. ;)

Recently, I've been playing computer games instead of revision.  Most of
those games have some sort of tutorial but unlike mudschool, those
tutorials are *fun*.  The latest batch of games I've doodled on have all
been 'nuke the outies' orientated but I think some techniques could be

All the tutorials I played dropped you into a setting comparable with a
full mission, so maybe a mud could create a standalone area for each and
every trainee logging in.  Tutorials took the form of training or an exam,
not a 'force knowledge down yer throat'.  There was often an instructor
involved who gave feedback with a non-patronising tone (with the exception
of one game but that was intentional).  Tutorials could be played in any
order.  Tutorials often gave you a rating.

This could take the form of something like:

  Welcome to the Tutorial Menu.
  1. Finding your way round
  2. Parrying in combat.
  3. Hotel management.
  X. Exit
  Please pick one.
  > 2

  [Flashback to when you were training at Northwest Point]
  Boffo instructs, "Today, you will be sparring with Bubba, he will
                    teach you how to parry.  Go Bubba."
  Bubba nods.
  Bubba draws his sword and wields it in his right hand.
  Bubba looks at you.
  Bubba says, "Hold your sword."
  [OOC: wield sword]
  > wield sword
  You draw your sword and wield it in your left hand.
  Bubba says, "I will attack to the left and right in that order,
               parry me."
  [OOC: Type in parry left then parry right]
  > parry left
  Bubba slashes to your left, you barely block it!
  Boffo nods in approval.
  > parry
  You are parrying to your left.
  Bubba slashes to your right, ow!

  [Back to real life, you did 53% in that last tutorial, best score is

Personally, I think there should also be a 'drop them right in the middle'
option on muds to improve the hook.  This could take the form of plopping
the player into a pre-made character in the middle of a skirmish or some
other adrenaline situation.  Admittedly, I don't have a clue how to do the
same for rp muds, they seem to grow on you gradually (esp as rp = social =
other people).  Though having good rp logs available is not a bad idea.
Rp school will probably be shunned by those who aren't interested in the
first place.

[stuff about academy which I've never encountered]

> Obviously I'm thinking of the way things work in the old-style muds that I
> tend to like. The newer things a lot of people are doing these days just
> annoy me most of the time. There's an awful lot of innovation that doesn't
> really do a whole lot for the player in the end, it just makes things
> difficult. 

Kinda like 'interactive movies'. :)

Another small random tidbit of information:  Microsoft Word has an 'Office
Assistant' interface to its helpfiles.  This pops up with suggestions for
helpfiles to look at.  It is actually context sensitive, I've just been
fooling around with it trying to figure out where the .5 symbol is and
called up help brought up options relating to my latest horsing around.
There are also rumours that this interface has a learning algorithm of
sorts - typing in a search for 'doodah' and then selecting 'making doodah'
would encourage the assistant to put 'making doodah' on the top of the
search results next time 'doodah' is looked for.

  |    Ling Lo of Remora (Top Banana)
_O_O_  Elec Eng Dept, Loughborough University, UK.     kllo at iee.org

MUD-Dev: Advancing an unrealised future.

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