[MUD-Dev] Text MUDs; in need of an (r)evolution?

John Mauney montyculligan at gmail.com
Mon Nov 14 18:21:38 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005


This topic is for the discussion of the current state of text MUDs,
and I am posing the question, do text MUDs need some kind of
(r)evolution? I was of the mind that, before Everquest was released,
the text MUD community had been benefiting from a kind of evolution;
many new MUDs were being released all the time, many of them with
new approaches to the genre. Of course, most of them fail, but that
has almost always been the case. However, after Everquest, and the
subsequent slew of graphical MMOs, this text MUD evolution never
seems to me to have had lasting results to breathe new life into the
genre. I am writing under the assumption that text-based games have
inherent, priceless quality to them, and that the situation they are
in right now is not because "their time has come". I think it is
possible for the text MUD genre to snatch some of its previous
players away from so many of these low quality graphical MMOs (which
are themselves in need of evolution).

A few, key ideas I have are these:

  - Text MUDs must no longer be limited to Telnet based. For one
  thing, the Telnet protocol has not evolved. Another reason I
  believe Telnet is holding the genre back is because text MUDs
  ought to be just as easy to get started on as any other game
  downloadable from the net, or purchasable from the shelf. Also,
  Telnet is very limiting in terms of text formatting and
  presentation.

  - Text MUDs should no longer require any kind of previous
  knowledge with the genre. As a new player, I should be able to
  start the game instantly and never feel as if I'm lost in some
  arcane activity of which I have no clue where to go next. MUDs are
  notorious for having poor help files, or help files that must be
  read entirely out of context to the situations of which the
  documentation describes.

  - Text MUD creators should consider implementing gameplay concepts
  he/she has seen in non text based games. For most people, the lure
  of the text based game is not the total lack of color, art, or
  even those nifty little text based compasses. It is simply the
  world being presented in prose rather than graphics. It leaves
  much up to the imagination. This does not mean that combat
  systems, quest journals, mapping systems, etc. must be purely text
  based. Of course, mileage will very per the creator's preference,
  but I think there is a lot of unexplored territory in the realm of
  melding classic textual presentation with modern graphical UIs and
  tertiary systems.

So, do any of those who enjoy text based games agree? Do you see
other things the genre needs or could benefit from? I will assume it
has been discussed in this forum before the concept of including
graphical MMO concepts to the text MUD worlds, since that has been
attempted before.

-- John M.
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