[MUD-Dev] linked worlds (was: On Lockless Threading and X/Open XA)

Bruce bruce at puremagic.com
Thu Aug 3 22:20:28 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

KevinL wrote:
> claw at kanga.nu wrote:
> > What if the arbitrarily distributed form of InterMUD and portals
> > were as ubiquitous and well defined as HTTP?
> Sadly, every time this sort of thing has come up, world balance
> issues have killed it - at least, in every forum I've seen.  
> How do you mix (drawing three examples from mid-air) Arctic,
> Legend, and Archaea into one globule of a universe?  What exactly
> would be worth carrying from place to place - characters?  items?
> gold?

My depressing set of thoughs for MUD-Dev for the week (but at
least it won't be as eye-glazing as the original locking post):

While the higher levels are interesting and difficult, I question
whether or not it could ever come to pass as a result of problems
at a much lower level.

Would such a project be successful without more than one
implementation?  Would it be possible to get multiple
implementations from a community of private individuals and
hobbyists?  Or would issues of ego and a desire to do it from
scratch get in the way?  And who's to say that even if it were
done, that someone would use it, rather than go on and just
decide to implement their own version?  Would that new version be
interoperable?  Would it add anything new, or would we just see a
repeat of much of the MUD history of the last decade and more?

Discussion with Jon Leonard and Dominic on DevMUD, brought up the
wide presence of systems allowing for communications between
 * InterMUD3
 * SunNet
 * Millenium
 * Something in Cold
 * IMC (Inter-MUD-Communication)
 * MUDWho
I'm sure there are plenty of others.

It seems that systems for connecting servers for communication
are common and easy to write, while a system that would allow a
user to wander from world to world is much more difficult and
just about entirely missing.  (I know of one that shouldn't count
that was done in Cold.  It shouldn't count because it solves none
of the problems involved with making it secure or safe.)  (Does
Cynbe's Micronesia stuff fit in here?  What state is that in? 
Does it provide a protocol and data structures that aren't Muq
specific if it does?)

Also, what does the user/player gain from a more comprehensive
server-linking system?  What do they gain from the current
variety of server-linking systems?

I can see lots of places where more cooperation among
implementors would make things nicer.  Among those would be to
lower the amount of repitition in discovery of new systems,
collecting a lot of the knowledge of systems and their
implementations, creating a better client-server system to allow
for better clients, etc.  Not coincidently, a lot of those same
things would probably be very necessary for a more comprehensive
server-server system to be successful.

> Actually, my take on this is intermud communications - both
> instant and stored - would be worthwhile (ala "darius at moebius"
> for chat or mudmail).  I've got a further theory, of providing
> clients the ability to specify an identity, such that you could
> recognise that your friend bubba on Arctic is actually biffo on
> Legend (Bubba seems to be a very busy player, btw? ;), if bubba
> felt like giving you his identity.  But that's not a fully
> thought-out idea yet.  A proper mud protocol would be a good
> start on that one, then you could define standard items that
> servers expect of clients.  Basically, BXXP + a mudXML, or
> something along those lines.  Without a standard client-server
> protocol, I don't think you can develop a standard set of info
> for servers and clients to share, tho.

Great to see people paying attention to things like BXXP. :)

But does any of this need a new protocol that is MUD-specific?
mudmail sounds like SMTP.  Chat sounds like any of a number of
things (IRC, Jabber, IMPP (if that ever goes anywhere), etc). 
ColdCore (and other systems I'm sure) has support for SMTP, POP3,
finger, HTTP, and so on.  It is nice to check mudmail with a
regular mail client.  It's also nice to send someone mudmail from
anywhere, without having to login. :)  At any rate, the re-use of
code and protocols is good.

 - Bruce

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