[MUD-Dev] Web vs. Java client

Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes kamikaze at kuoi.asui.uidaho.edu
Tue Oct 14 19:02:41 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


Tue, Oct 14, 2003 at 09:09:26AM +0200 in
<000901c39222$1d60c390$0a00a8c0 at UNAHACLOSP>, Torgny Bjers
<artovil at arcanerealms.org> spake:
> From: Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes

>>  The MUD engine I'm working on is client-agnostic internally
>>  (though it does require images, sounds, fonts, and colored text
>>  to be possible).  I've so far been using it with a web interface
>>  running on Tomcat, but I'm facing enough hassles with that
>>  environment that I'm reconsidering it now.  My current options
>>  are: 1) Pure web browser.  The current model I'm using.

> Personally I don't really believe in this for a multi-user game
> platform. It sort of feels like settling for the second best or
> something, if you pardon.

But *why*?  Obviously, I have problems with it or I wouldn't be
reconsidering now, but I'd like more feedback than just gut
feelings.

>>    2) Java applet shown with the Java plug-in.  Pro: attractive,
>>    updates nigh-instantly, no installation unless the user has to
>>    click to get the Java plug-in.  Con: more work to develop and
>>    maintain (not really a problem for me, but it's time that
>>    could be better spent on the server), slow initial download if
>>    it gets big, some people (but how many?) don't like to use
>>    Java applets.  Java Web Start has the same virtues and flaws.

> I'd actually prefer Java Web Start over an inline web page java
> plugin.  Would it be possible to just have the client as a
> downloadable applet instead?

They're indistinguishable.  JWS is enough more convoluted and
unreliable that I'm not really enthused by it.  I don't need any
more permissions than an applet gets, so there's no added value to
it.

The applet would probably have a download as a very optional
advanced option, so people can "install" it if they feel like it,
and they'll just be told to reinstall if they have an out-of-date
version.  I don't intend it to get large enough that downloading the
applet every time is a problem, though.  If I can't make an applet
smaller than most sites' splash page image, I'm slipping.

>>    3) Other?  Are there any good cross-platform (a must) clients
>>    that already support everything I need?

> Flash could be a possibility.

Ah, no, it couldn't.  Flash is the most awful web design tool since
the <blink> tag.  It's fine for making little slightly-interactive
animations.  I would never use it for anything serious.  It's also
usually a version or two behind on Linux (I develop on Linux, and at
a minimum test on MacOS X and Windows), and development tools cost
money, which I'm really unwilling to give to Macromedia.

But that's really beside the point.  I guess I didn't make myself
clear enough: I was wondering if there was an *existing* MUD-like
client that supported images and sounds (think of the graphical
Infocom games for comparison), written in C or whatever.  If I'm
going to write a client myself, I've got Java.  I'm not going to pay
for an inferior tool to do the same thing.

>>  How much interface installation are players of a free MUD
>>  willing to put up with?  How much when it goes to subscription?
>>  > I'd say that they're willing to put up with a bit of >
>>  installation. Look at most new subscription games, they come
>>  with at > least one whole CD. ;)

That's for well-advertised, boxed, commercial products, though.
Does anyone know, preferably from before/after comparison of a
running MUD, if a download & install procedure cuts hugely into
newbie flow?

--
 <a href="http://kuoi.asui.uidaho.edu/~kamikaze/">  Mark Hughes </a>
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