[MUD-Dev] [DGN] Creating a MUD

Edward Glowacki glowack2 at msu.edu
Mon Jun 3 10:03:44 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


On Thu, 2002-05-30 at 18:24, Richard Krush wrote:

> and I have no exposure as a developer whatsoever. In addition to
> that, I am only a beginning programmer without any experience with
> medium-to-large size programs.

[snip]

> in. Right now I am about to finish High School and will have more
> time on my hands, so I thought that this might be a perfect time
> to at least start writing my own MUD. I also tend to believe that
> working on a big programming project that I am interested in will
> improve my programming skills. On the other hand, I still have
> doubts whether such a big project would be possible for me to
> complete without considerable programming experience and other
> people to help me.
 
> Considering the above, I would like to ask people who have a lot
> of experience with MUD development or general programming whether
> I should do what I planned or postpone it until I get a degree in
> CS.

In a nutshell, start learning and building your skills, but wait on
the serious development until after you have the computer science
degree.

IMHO, a CS degree is a minimum requirement to be the core
designer/builder on anything but a small project.  It's not that
non-CS people can't write code (far from it), but that the CS degree
provides a real solid foundation in a variety of fields that
drastically increase your chances for success in leading a large
project.  Looking back on what I wrote or worked on in my early/pre-
CS days, the stuff worked but it was ugly, inefficient, and didn't
scale very well.  Even after CS, you still have to go back and fill
in the holes.  For example, we learned a little bit about using
Makefiles to assist in compiling, but nothing about revision control
(RCS, CVS, etc.) to manage our source code.

The most important class if you're going to build a MUD is probably
software engineering, i.e. how to design software the "right way".
In the software engineering class I took, we learned things like
modularity, abstraction, modeling, model checking, requirements
analysis, testing, etc.  Personally, I wouldn't ever want to tackle
a large project without the knowledge I gained in that class.

Also pick up on an open source development project that interests
you. You'll learn a lot about what's needed in the way of
infrastructure (mailing lists, website, documentation, etc.) for
your own project as gain an understanding of how to build your stuff
so that other people can help (assuming you do want other people to
help code/document/build/etc. at some point...).

Finally, if you are going the graphical route (EverQuest, Ultima
Online, etc.) and want to be successful, learn and/or team with
someone who knows something about user interface design.  My pet
peeve is good software that has a bad interface... =P

-ED

--
Edward Glowacki			glowack2 at msu.edu
Michigan State University	
"...a partial solution to the right problem is better than a complete
solution to the wrong one." (http://uiweb.com/issues/issue14.htm)

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