Saturday, November 28, 2009

Being a Female Gamer

I don't really talk about being a female gamer much on my blog, but I thought it might be an interesting topic for some people. I honestly don't address it much because I am an experienced gamer period. I would much rather be known as that then a female gamer. I've been gaming since I was young and to this day do so more then any of my brothers. I don't believe my gender effects my capabilities or aptitudes as a gamer.

The only thing that my gender seems to effect is how male gamers treat me in primarily two ways. Since I don't wish to be treated any differently then my fellow gamers regardless of gender it has been annoying to say the least.

One annoying attitude that I've encountered is some male gamers automatically assuming that because I have inferior skills. This certainly can and has been disproved in the past but it is no less annoying dealing with this type of male gamer. Over the years as more and more females have become gamers the younger generations don't typically carry this same attitude as much. Though some of my fellow female are not helping the issue by calling themselves gamers when they are more interested in being interesting to male gamers. Ladies, it is fine to chase male gamers, I've always had an affinity for them, but please do not besmirch the name of true female gamers everywhere by calling yourself what you are not. Trust me. Most will like you anyway!

Which really leads me to the other issue I've had. A true "gamer chick" is the male gamers dream girlfriend. She is someone that not only won't keep her man from gaming, but will join in the fun! Time and again male gamer friends have expressed feelings for me. Feelings that I haven't returned. It makes things very awkward! I've even had to break off friendships in some cases. Unlike some I take no pleasure in someone caring for me when I don't feel the same.

But being a female gamer is not all bad. It did lead me to the one that has captured my heart. I wouldn't change that for the world.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

In Search of RP on an MMORPG

I have to admit I'm not married to the idea of playing just text based games. I've played a multitude of computer and console games over the years from games on an Atari and a Commadore 64 computer to the newest generations of gaming consoles and computers. I like graphical RPGs. In the past couple of years I've happily played and "beat" many Final Fantasy Games, Kingdom Hearts I and II, and also Persona III. I've casually played many more. I have avoided getting dangerously hooked on Guitar Hero even though I found it immensely fun at a friends abode. The problem is I found it too fun and my days are packed as it is!

For solo gaming I prefer playing console games though I play graphical computer games as well. So why if I like graphical games do I still actively and happily play an online text based game with no graphics? The answer is simple. I have yet to find any graphical game with a good enforced roleplay environment. Not from a lack of trying either. In the MMORPG genre I've played Everquest, Ultima Online, and Dark Age of Camelot. My last experience was awful and has kept me from even trying World of Warcrack. Excuse me, Warcraft.

When I play an online fantasy game with other human beings I want them to enrich my gaming experience, not destroy it. I like adopting the role of the character I am playing, and if my fellow players aren't trying to do the same it severely detracts from the game for me. The big MMORPGs are trying to make as much money as they can. They aren't willing to spend the time or money to enforce a roleplaying environment. The most I have ever seen MMORPG creators do is designate RP servers but it is mostly on the honor system that those who join to serve whether or not they roleplay.

Several years ago I had completely given up on trying to find a good RP environment on an MMORPG so I decided on a different strategy. If the environment on the RP server as a whole wasn't good then maybe I could find a guild that roleplayed with each other. I spent days trying to research online what the best RP guild was on any Dark Age of Camelot(DAOC)server. I started a character, built them up, and devoted weeks to trying to get into the guild. When I finally did make it in I found that even they didn't roleplay.

That is the primary reason I still MUD. I've found game administrators of MUDs and MUSHs will create and enforce good roleplay environments. If I want to play a graphical game I fire up one of my game consoles and have a blast instead of paying a monthly fee to play a game online with others that actually by and large make my gaming experience worse. I haven't completely given up on MMORPGs yet, but I'm not holding my breath.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dealing with Disruptive Players

Whatever the type of environment that a game administrator wishes to create on their game be it RP (roleplay) enforced to a PK (player killing) game, it is important to protect it. If you are building a nice sand castle, the last thing you want is some bratty kid to come along and kick it down. Unfortunately there will always be individuals that take joy out of destroying what is valuable to others. A game admin can not completely keep all disruptive players from a game, but there are ways to minimize their impact.

Some games require that each potential player gets evaluated before they are allowed on the game. While this can definitely can keep more bad players from the game, it also just keeps players from the game period. Not many have the patience or desire to jump through a bunch of hoops for a game they may or may not enjoy playing. I wouldn't suggest this method if you want a larger and active player base.

One of the most effective ways to minimize the impact of a trouble player is to have a quick and easy way to isolate them from the rest of the players. If the game has public channels then there needs to be some coded mechanism that prohibits disruptive individuals from speaking on them. It needs to be something that can be done swiftly. It isn't pleasant for anyone to have to deal with a string of profanities or insults spammed over and over again.

Another important way to isolate disruptive players is to have a holding area that they are transferred quickly. It should be a room that they can not leave without being allowed. This would be a spot where a staff member could speak to the individual to see if some resolution can be reached.

A game administrator can not be around all the time. There needs to be a mechanism for other trusted individuals to isolate a trouble player from the player base. There should be enough people to cover this duty 24/7. I can remember once when I was a player helper a new MUD when the game admin went on vacation for the weekend. A disruptive player came on the game and started spamming every channel he could. The game admin had not coded any way for us to isolate the offending player so the whole game was held hostage by a moron until he got tired and quit. Thankfully the game admin coded a way for us to keep people from speaking on channels if we needed and we never had the same problem again.

Every game has a way to nuke, dust, or destroy a character. I've noticed from years of experience that for some people any attention is good attention. Many people that cause problems are waiting for a pay off. My best advice is to always stay calm when dealing with trouble players and give them as little attention as possible. The standard way that we deal with obvious troublemakers on the game I am a staff member on is to isolate the player and ignore him. We've found that if we destroy trouble characters they will often come back again and again. But if you give them no attention and you don't allow them to make you angry suddenly their little disruptive game doesn't become as fun for them and they give up.

With some planning and coding, you can easily keep trouble players from being incredibly disruptive.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Merchandising for Games

Game administrators are often looking for ways to advertise their game, encourage pride, and make some extra money. While creating your own merchandise may seem intimidating, it truly is very easy to do so. There are many online stores out there that will produce and sell the designs of individuals. With a graphic and just a bit of time, it is easy to create products such as t-shirts, mugs, and bags that can be sold almost immediately.

Merchandising Websites

There are several websites out there that allow individuals to place graphics on their items and place them up for sale in a customizable store. There are differences between sites, but once items are created, then the amount of mark up can be set. CafePress is the most well known site and has more potential for outside customers, but for most online games the player base is going to be the primary market.



Some of the other sites beyond CafePress will allow a better deal for customers because base prices are lower. If a game admin just wants their player base to just advertise their game, they might consider not adding any mark up to the products in their store at all.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Free Marketing Graphics for Online Text Games

Most games already have some sort of graphic that was created for them. If a game administrator doesn’t have a graphic for their game there are many public domain graphics that are free to use. Below are a few alternatives, but there is a lot of good public domain artwork out there.

Public domain graphic sites with Fantasy art

* Karen's Whimsy
* Clipart Guide
* Free Clipart Network

Any image might need some modification. There are fantastic graphic programs out there. If you are looking for a good free one I would suggest

There are a multitude of artists that would be willing to create game graphics for a reasonable price. Look soon for a post about fantasy artists!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dungeons and Dragons

Playing and staffing a MUD takes a lot of my time, but I still make the time every week to play Dungeons and Dragons. It is a past time that I have been doing on and off for about 23 years. (I was very young when I started!) One of the reasons that I got into online gaming was that I couldn't be in a consistent table top gaming group at the time.

Playing on an RP enforced MUD is the closest thing that I could find to replacing the Dungeons and Dragons experience. If you play on an online text based game and have never tried Dungeons and Dragons (D & D) I would reccommend giving it a go!

D & D Edition 3.5 was getting particularly complex. Even a veteran gamer like myself found it complicated! Dungeons and Dragons got a large overhaul in its fourth edition. While some old timers have complained it makes the game too simple for the novice it is still a lot to learn. I applaud the change because it makes the game more accessible to new players.

For those interested in playing, check with your fellow gamers to see if anyone plays. Most groups wouldn't mind someone visiting one of their gaming sessions to observe. There are plenty of different styles of gaming group so focus on the game play primarily. If the people in the group do not appeal to you there might be others out there. The old fashioned way of finding a gaming group is creating a flyer for your local gaming store and posting it up on their bulletin board. Those who run game stores can be good resources as well.

Playing D & D can get you out of the house and interacting with honest to goodness individuals, an important thing for reclusive gamers to do from time to time. The game play will be likely slower then you are used to, but roleplay can be more enriching.

There is a lot of information online at the Dungeons and Dragons website so if you are interested go take a look!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

5 Tips for Aspiring Staff for an Online Text Game

I've spent almost 6 years as a Staff member and sometimes builder on a MUD. We often have people ask what they can do to become a builder or a staff member. Having seen many people attempt to become staff and succeed or fail, I have a few nuggets of wisdom about this endeavor.

1.) Be patient and willing to prove yourself.
If you are generally inexperienced in building or other skills needed by those who work on MUDs, then you will likely need to spend some time on the game proving yourself. One that has lots of experience that can present themselves as being very valuable will likely be able to get a position much quicker. Otherwise an potential staff member needs to prove that they are reliable before they are hired. A player will likely need to play a game for some time before you will even be considered for a position.

2.) Be an active part of the game community.
Spend time playing the game that you wish to work on. Being a consistent player on the game will help to prove loyalty and reliability. If there is a forum for the game be an active and positive poster.

3.) Get a "lesser" job for the game.
When additional staff members are needed, a game administrator will often look to those who have already proven a desire to work on his or her game. Many games "hire" people to help out new players. Many games also have in character leadership positions. If you manage to get a position then do your best. If you do not present yourself well then you won't be considered for anythign else.

4.) Take initiative.
Look for chances that you can help out the game even if a task has not been assigned to you. Find a way to offer doing the tasks you feel would help the game without causing extra work for the existing staff. Don't expect to hear an answer back right away or at all. If you have offered something that is needed and they wish you to do it they will gladly contact you. Better yet, find tasks to do that do not require authorization.

5.) Put your best foot forward.
Show yourself to be mature, reliable, and level headed. Admins are looking for individuals that will make their lives easier and not more difficult. If you have an opportunity to do anything relating to the type of work you wish to do then jump at the opportunity. If you are given a task completely it swiftly and well. I have seen the majority of people fail at this point by either not completing the work given or doing it in a timely manner.

While you may believe that game administration would take whatever help they can get there are a lot of considerations. It takes a lot of time and energy to train staff and builders, the existing staff needs to know that this investment will pay off. I have seen far more people fail then succeed. Being a staff member is a lot of work and is not nearly as glamorous or personally beneficial as it might seem. If you don't seek to work on a game merely to make a positive difference for the game, then don't even try. If you are seeking to do it for personal gain you will almost always be unhappy or unsuccesful in the long run!

Good Luck!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Resources for Admins, Players, and New Players

If you reading this blog you are probably very interested in online text gaming. I've written quite a few posts and topics that would aid beginners, veteran gamers, and admins. Below are some articles and posted listed by knowledge and interest.

For New Online Text Gamers:
Just What is a MUD?
Why Text Based Games?
Selecting an Online Text Based Game
What is Roleplay?
Acclimating to a MUD Quickly
RP Classifications for MUDs

For MUD Administrators or Staff:
Making an Online Game Welcoming for New Players
Guide to Creating a Safe Online Game Environment
Survival of Online Text Games

For Players:
Top Five Mud Clients
Making your Mark on an Online Text Game
Pay to Play Online Text Games
Gender Bending on Online Games

Happy Reading!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hero by Day, Zombie by Night

In honor of Halloween coming up, I'll let you all know of another one of my other gaming diversions. (As if I don't have enough already!)

I've been playing a simple web browser game called Urban Dead for a couple of years now. Like most zombie themes the premise is simple some awful zombie creating virus spread upon the town of Malton. To protect the rest of the world Malton was quaratined by a large (apparently inpenetradable) fence and the remaining survivors were left to fend for themselves. The game pits zombie against survivor and at times survivor vs. survivor.

The game is a very simple turn based web browser game. Actions points limit the amount of actions a player can take in a day. The max action points a player can have is 50 and they reaccumulate at a rate of one per half an hour or 48 per day. Survivors defend their safe houses by barricading them up and killing attacking zombies. They can take care of each through healing and turn zombies back into humans with revive needles. Zombies shamble around the game trying to eat tasty, tasty brains.

You can play this game very effectively as a loner especially as a zombie and as a survivor as long as you learn how to find revive points. Survivors die a lot in the game so players get used to it! Some players chose to play characters that are described as being "dual natured" they adopt the role of the helpful survivor or the brain eating zombie depending on what side they are on at the moment. For the casual player it does not take a lot of time to play and can be a fun diversion.

More serious players a lot of times end up joining a group. There are plenty of different types out there - Pro-survivor, zombie, player killing, anti-player killing, roleplaying. Whatever your prefered playing style there is a group out there for you.

The community is very active in general. There is a lot of good information on both the game and groups at the Urban Dead Wiki.

If you want some extra help in game while starting I would highly suggest to contacting the Malton College of Medicine to discover where they are headquartered at the given moment. They are a very helpful pro-survivor group that is focused on helping new players. The best way to contact them is on their forums.

I would definitely suggest Urban Dead for a fun gaming distraction!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Six Advantages Text Games Have Over MMORPGs

I’ve heard many speculate that online text games will be extinct in the coming future. The truth is that those online text based games that are keeping for the same exact market of the MMORPGs and graphical web browser games are less likely to survive. If an online text game or the industry in general wants to survive then they need to focus on the advantages that online text games have over flashier graphical games.

Portability, Discrete Gaming, and Customization

Portability, discrete Gaming, and customization are three different advantages to online text gaming that tie together with the way that text games are played. Players can chose from a multitude of different clients for both PC or Mac including java clients and telnet itself (for the really desperate). Online text games are extremely portable. MUD clients can fit easily on and run from a flash drive. In most cases a player only needs an internet connection to play. This means that players can easily access their favorite games from the library, school, work, while traveling, or any where they can get a wi-fi connection. Online text games are much more discrete then any graphical game. If someone is playing a graphical computer or web based game it is very evident at a glance. While the scrolling text can look odd with the proper use of client features an online text based game can look very much like a text document at first glance.

Gaming for Blind Players

There are millions of people in the world that are legally blind or sight impaired. For those individuals that use screen readers to access the internet the only viable multi-user RPG are online text games. Blind gamers can be just as skilled and successful on online text based games. With slight game modifications in some cases and care in game design, a text game can be just as accessible to a blind gamer as anyone else. This is another reason why graphical interfaces should not be required to play an online text game.

Low Cost

Most online text games are free, a minority of games that charge a monthly fee or have a “pay for perks” system. Those text games that are free have an obvious advantage over the graphical games that charge hefty monthly fees. The developers of these “free” games have expenses and still try to make money in a multitude of ways many of which require players to pay to get the most out of the game. There are some gamers out there that don’t want to or can’t pay for those advantages and aren’t willing to play a game in which the playing ground is not even for them.

Gaming without Cutting Edge Technology

We have all been witness to the fast pace of technological advances, but there still will be for some time those individuals that have limitations because of the system resources of their computer or the internet connections that they use. The newer MMORPGs are in competition with each other on the cutting edge and that often means a player needs to have an upgraded computer and a high speed internet connection to play or optimally play a newer MMORPG. In some rural areas and parts of the world high speed internet connections are not even available. In some cases online text gaming is the only viable option for those who can’t get past the technical limitations of their connection or don’t have the resources to upgrade computers or internet lines.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gender Bending on Online Games

If you are unfamiliar with the term "gender bending" it is an informal or slang term for an individual of one gender adopting common mannerisms, dress, or behaviors of another gender. On an online game the term is used for players who decide to play characters of an opposite gender.

There are many reasons for someone to play a character of an opposite gender to themselves including roleplay challenges and experimentation, while some male gamers claim that playing a female character gives them a game advantage. Personally I don't have a major problem with players who attempt to play another gender, but there are some behaviors of gender benders that myself and other players find annoying.

The worst issue in my opinion, involves male players playing female characters on games where romantic or sexual roleplay is common or allowed that hide their "real life" gender. As long as a gender bender isn't engaging in romantic or sexual roleplay this is fine, but far too often we see these individuals actively seeking romantic relationships with individuals without divulging information about themselves that could be very important to their fellow players. From experience as a game admin, I've found this behavior far more common for males and when they are actively seeking out relationships with males and females. If you happen to be playing a character of another gender is simply a matter of common courtesy and respect that you divulge to other players your gender if you get any where close to romantic or sexual role playing.

The other aspect of gender bending that I find disappointing is when players create characters that are more like parodies of the other gender. As a female gamer it is particularly annoying to see a male playing a female with an over the top "sex pot" description or behaving in stereotypical ways. But because these descriptions and behaviors can be so over the top, it is sometimes a good way to identify a hidden gender bender. The female running around in a chainmail bikini with the over explained attributes is most likely being played by a male player.

Some games have rules against gender bending, in fact I read one article about a Chinese MMO called "King of the World" that confirms the gender players of female characters through webcam. These games are in the minority though. The bottom line for most games is that if players don't want to get in romantic relationships with characters that are being played by the opposite sex they need to go out of their way to ask. Even then that individual could be lying. (I've personally known of cases where a player has done so.) You would think that players would have the common courtesy to tell at that point, but the sad reality is that the majority won't.

Romantic RP - Engage in it at your own risk!

Courtesy of Penny Arcade - Click to Read!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Making Gaming Environments Safe for Players

I am a female gamer and I've been playing online text games for over 18 years. The internet provides many freedoms including anonymity to an extent. Because games are recreation, many players believe it gives them a license to do whatever they wish. Having held the job myself, game administration can be very busy working on online games and handling players issues can be frustrating. If the administration of a game wishes to keep gamers, especially female gamers, they do need to spend time creating and maintaining a safe environment for them.

The three main areas that are important to making a game environment safe for players is game design, rules, and rule enforcement. All do take some thought and effort but they are important to creating a safe environment for players.

Game Design

If admins want to make players feel comfortable, the game should not encourage any sexist or inappropriate behavior. The female gamer population is growing every day. If a game admin doesn’t want to alienate these potential players they need to consider what message the game is presenting to them. While the environment seems to be getting better with each passing year, females still deal with a fair amount of inappropriate behaviors in real life including being disregarded by male peers or being regarded for the wrong attributes. In our fantasy worlds, most women don’t want to deal with the issues we have to deal with in real life.

• Give female characters equal oportunity for success on the game.
• Make sure that NPCs are not designed in offensive ways nor model inappropriate

There should be clear rules of conduct on any online text based game. I can tell you from experience that while certain things should be considered common sense, that common sense is not common especially online. Players will do things inappropriate all the time. Online text games players come from a multitude of countries and cultures with varying rules of conduct. If a game has clear and specific rules of conduct then it is much cleaner and easier for administrators to deal with inappropriate behavior.

• Model good behavior by respecting your players.
• Create a no tolerance policy for disrespect in all out of character
• Don't allow sexual RP on games with underage players.
• Have clear rules on sexual RP on games just for those over 18.

Rule Enforcement

Rules are not worth anything if the game administration does not enforce them. There are many degrees of game rules. Some warrant tolerance and multiple chances. But if you do not catch and stop the disrespect and disregard of fellow players the problem can very easily spiral out of control.

• Be firm but fair with your players when enforcing rules.
• Don’t be afraid to delete the characters of players that are repeat offenders
and be prepared to ban certain IPs.
• Make it as equally evident that false accusations will be dealt with just as
• Game staff should be approachable about harassment issues and make the players
feel as if such complaints are taken seriously.
• Don’t get involved in player issues that happen outside of the game.

For a more indepth advice for making gaming environments safe -

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pay to Play Online Text Games

There are a lot of online text games or MUDs that can be played for free. There are some games out there that are still charging players to play.

Monthly subscription:
This model for making money on online text based gaming seems to be a dying breed but there are still a few MUDs out there that require a monthly subscription fee to play in the full version of the game. Many games in this model will have additional monthly fees for access to special features or areas. A few examples are:

DragonRealms: $14.95 - $49.95 per month
GemStone IV: $14.95 - $49.95 per month

Pay for Perks:
Some other online text games charge for either monthly or one time fees for "perks". Such perks can be experience points, coin, storage for items, extra or bonus items, higher quality equipment, player houses, access to premium areas, or inclusion in staff run events or roleplaying. Examples of these games are:

All of the Iron Realm Entertainment Games -

Per-minute or hour Charges: I don't know of any MUDs that actually require players to pay by the minute, but I am including this for historical reasons. Back in the 80's and 90's there were online text based games associated with online services. As examples Dragon's Gate was available first on GEnie and then on America Online (AOL), Isle of Kesmai was available on CompuServ and Gemstone II was available on GEnie. These games could be very expensive at $6 to $36 dollars an hour. That is more than what most MMORPGs ask for as a monthly subscription now a days. Times have certainly changed!

Most pay to play games have free trials and pay for perk games are free to play. It can sometimes be hard for a player to tell what type of game they are on. I would recommend talking to game staff in the first couple of hours of play to determine if they have any sort of pay systems in place.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

MUSHclient Review

There are may good MUD clients out there to use. I used GMUD for years until it stopped working well with the newer operating systems. (I can no longer recommend GMUD at this time because of it.) While I use ALclient occassionaly, I've been happily using MUSHclient as my primary client for years. While the program used to delay opening if you used an unregistered version, it has been changed so there is no difference between a registered and unregistered copy. I would still encourage everyone to donate to the developer if you end up using it often!

MUSHclient only takes up 11MB on a hard drive or flash drive. Having played MUDs before on telnet I would not want to do so again without a mud client again! If you like to MUD I would suggest carrying around a flash drive with a client, you never know when you may have free time. All mud clients I have tested will run right off a flash drive.

Aliases (command shorthands)
Triggers (auto-reponse to keywords)
Timers (send commands at intervals)
Keypad-navigation (use numeric keypad to go North, South, etc.)
Tab-completion (press to have a word completed from recent MUD output)
Speed-walking (quickly move by typing speed walks, like 4n 5w)
Auto-say. Having a long conversation? Let MUSHclient put "say" in front of everything you type.
Graphical bars (health bars, experience bars etc.) implemented by miniwindows

For those who are active scripters, MUSHclient supports JScript, Lua, PerlScript, PhpScript, Python, VBscript. It runs with Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/Vista and under Wine on Linux.

There is even a chat feature in which you can speak to others with MUSHclient and allow them to view your screen as well. I've played around with this feature but not used it much.

MUSHClient has a 500,000 line buffer. Depending on how active you are this allows for days of playing to still be accessible on the client. Coupled with the search text feature it can be incredibly useful.

I also enjoy the ability to change all the presented colors on the client. To avoid mistakes I change the color of my backgrounds for different characters and accounts.

I've enjoyed using MUSHclient for years and it meets my needs very well!

*From the MUSHclient website

Friday, October 23, 2009

Five Great Comics for Online Gamers

Every mu* player needs a fun distraction from time to time. One of the great things about online text games is that it is very possible to surf the web while doing so. Below is a list of webcomics that many gamers will enjoy.

In quasi- order of online gaming relevance:

1.) The Noob
A webcomic about a fictional MMORPG called Clichequest. It follows the
characters and the game staff. Not specifically about online text games, but many
of the humor still applies.

2.) Elf Only Inn
Elf Only Inn follows a group of individuals in a fantasy based chat room. At
some point in the strip the group moves to play an MMORPG. If you have spent a
good deal of time in a theme based chat room, MMORPG, or like to roleplay you
will find this comic particularly humorous.

3.) Looking for Group
A webcomic that follows an elven hunter and an evil warlock in an MMORPG. Filled
with onling gaming humor and fantasy and pop culture references, this comic is an
entertaining read.

4.) PVP (Player vs. Player) Online
PVP online is about a video game magazine and its employees. The webcomic is
about video games with other "geek" references to comics and RPGs. One of the
main characters, Jade, plays online roleplaying games.

5.) Order of the Stick
Order of the Stick follows an adventuring group playing Dungeons and Dragons.
The audience for this webcomic is D&D players (a must read for them) and table
top RPG players.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

ASUS 1000HE Netbook Review

After abandoning my laptop for classes because it was too heavy, I went on the look out for a netbook. After weeks of research I settled on the ASUS Eee PC 1000HE Asus 1000HE netbook. This is a great machine for portable online gaming! Overall, I have not been displeased with this netbook.

Processor: 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280
Hard Drive: 160GB 5,400rpm
Graphics: Mobile Intel GMA 950 (integrated)
Operating System: Windows XP
Memory: 1GB, 667MHz DDR2
Screen: 10 inch
Battery Life: 8 - 9 hours
Cost: Approx. $400.00

One of the main selling points on this netbook for me was the nearly normal size keyboard. While I do find that I fumble a bit more then on a full size keyboard, it is rare. My biggest complaint in that regard is that with the compressed area I accidentally hit the touch pad far more, but that is mostly because I am able to type at regular speed on this netbook.

The battery life on this netbook is very good. I regularly take it with me all day without the power cord and I have never had any battery issues. I use the computer for a couple of hours and have it in standby the rest of the time.

I was able to easily upgrade the memory on this netbook to 2GB. All I had to do was remove a couple of screws on the back panel and snap it the memory card. It only took a couple of minutes!

Because of the larger size (you can get netbooks smaller) and the extended battery this netbook is heavier than the average netbook at 3 pounds. After lugging around a laptop it seems incredibly light to me! I've been able to fit this netbook comfortably into my moderate size purse.

My only real complaint about this netbook is that it does not work very well with my home wireless network. Since I use it at home in the room with my wireless router I have opted for a hard connection, but I'm hoping to find a solution for the issue when I have the time. I have used it successfully on public wireless networks and my laptop works just fine on my wireless network at home, so I've determined that my netbook and wireless router don't want to play nice with each other.

With the Asus 1000HE all you need is a mud client and a wireless connection and you will be able to ready for gaming on the go!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

U.S. Military Targeting Gamers

Recently, I lost a good friend and fellow gamer to the conflict in Afghanistan. He was far too great a guy and far too young at 21 to be taken from us. It made me sit and reflect more about the fact that it seems like a much higher percentage of the gamer population vs. general population ends up in the military. There are many things that could account for this, but one fact that I've discovered is that the United States Military is heavily targeting gamers for recruitment.

For years the military has had TV commercials targeting gamers by equating the games they play and their fantasies to life in the military. Just like the video below.


Commercial directly targeting video gamers

In July of 2002 the U.S. Army launched "America's Army: Special Forces" a free video game specifically designed to influence and recruit young gamers into the armed forces. Millions of people have downloaded this game to date. The free game comes with sacrificed privacy. The military tracks and stores game statitistics on each user. Avid players that do very well are even sent e-mails asking if they wish for more information on the Army.


Trailer for the Game America's Army: Special Forces

The last recruitment tool I will mention is the Virtual Army Experience. VAE is a mobile exhibit with a lifesize version of America's Army video game. To be able to participate individual's must give their personal information to recruiters. After a mock briefing, game participants sit in replicas of army vehicles and Black Hawk helicopters shooting game automatic weapons at 180 degree screens.


Wall Street Journal Report on the Virtual Army Experience

Ironically enough these gaming experiences are even less realistic then the plethora of military games on the market. While the military claims to be giving gamers a "real" experience they are only showing the side of war they want participants to see.

Please don't get me wrong. I have great respect for those who join the military. I recognize that our country needs an armed forces. I just strongly believe that the military shouldn't sugar coat military life with inaccurate and flashy depictions of war. I greatly worry for my fellow gamers that have joined the armed forces for adventure.

For those that are out there already, my prayers are with you every day. For one soldier I held dear his adventure is over. Rest in Peace, James, we miss you dearly.

My thanks to the following sites for information:

The Kool Skool Blog

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

RP Classifications for MUDs

In an earlier article I've defined what roleplaying (RP) actually is. Understanding what roleplaying is is key to understanding all the different game classifications. Roleplaying is adopting the role of a character. Roleplay classifications determine how much a player needs to stay "in character" while they play.

Non-Roleplaying game

If a game is listed as non-roleplaying then they do not wish their players to roleplay at all. Being in character or adopting a role is not wanted on the game. Most of the time players speak very openly about the game and its mechanics in speech, over channels, and via tells. Talking about the "real world" is not normally restricted as well. Anyone who tried to roleplay on one of these games could likely be ridiculed by the player base, so it is good to know what type of game you are on!

Role-playing Accepted
Roleplaying is accepted on these games but not really expected in any way. But if a player choses to develop a character a bit and RP being someone in the role that their character is it wouldn't be discouraged. In an RP accepted game pretty much any playing style is accepted. Players can interact with the game and play as they wish.

Roleplaying Encouraged

If a game is classified as RP encouraged then the game designers want players to RP and adopt special roles for their character. Encouraged means that RP is not strictly enforced. There are more restrictions to how players communicate with each other and likely distinctions between modes of out of character (OOC) and in character (IC) communication. But some players may chose not to spend much time developing their characters or acting out a personality that is different from their own.

RP Enforced or Mandatory
On a game that is RP enforced or RP mandatory it is expected and required to roleplay. Not only is it expected the staff (and sometimes players) will take measures to make sure the rules surrounding acceptable communication and game behavior are followed. The game will also be designed to facilitate roleplay. It is important to learn the rules on such games so that the integrity of the game world is maintained. Players are encouraged to immerse themselves into the unique game world through their game play.

Understanding the difference between different types of games will help you find the game environment you will particularly enjoy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Acclimating to a MUD Quickly

I've talked about how to make a MUD newbie friendly for administration on a game. But if you are a player you might be interested in how to acclimate to a MUD quickly. After all you want to make the most of your game time!

The first thing you should do when trying out a game is to check and see what online web resources are for a game. Information can be sketchy in a game itself but the information on the web is always accessible. The game staff may have even created an extensive new player guide for their website.

Another good online resource are game forums. Sometimes those forums are accessible to the public and full of answers to questions from new players. If the players are passionate about a game they may have information about their favorite game on their own sites. Sometimes that information may even be more helpful than what is on the game site, so taking a few minutes to see what is out there on the web can be very worth it.

Once you have information from the web it is time to start the game proper. Sometimes the creation process can be very extensive and you will be happy you have all that information available. You may be excited about getting into the game proper but make sure you use the creation area to its full extent. A well designed creation area will give a player a lot of valuable information.

While looking for information on the web for the game and going through creation try to determine what way you can directly access help from a live player. Sometimes things are so confusing a player will need that extra help and attention. Just don't overtax the individuals that are there to help you. Try to discover as much on your own if you can. Most of these people are volunteers!

Don't be afraid to ask your fellow players for help. A brand new player to a game is going to make mistakes just accept that. Existing players a lot of times have a wealth of information. Just try to determine the appropriate way to ask another player for help. It will vary on different games. Don't worry how you might appear to others, everyone was new to a game at some time! If worse comes to worse you can always start over with a fresh new character, but with a lot more information.

Getting acclimated to a game does not have to be a frustrating process. Just find and use the tools that are specifically built for you!

Good luck!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

5 Tips to Making a MUD newbie friendly

With so many games for players to chose from, the first couple of hours they play a game could well determine whether they decided to keep playing the game. That is why it is important that a game is "newbie friendly". There are many things that the staff and administration can do to help make a game friendly for new players.

1.) Design a helpful creation area. As a player goes through creation they should be taught very basic MUD commands if they need them. It should be very clear to players what needs to be done to progress. But don't force players to input a multitude of basic commands, if you don't make the learning optional then you might frustrate those veteran players out there.

2.) Make game information readily accessible. Some players like to learn by doing or wish to be taught by another player, but there are plenty of players that like to learn independently. Appreciate these players because they will take up less of the time of those who help new players. To keep these players happy information should be available both in the game and on a game website. I would suggest extensive help files or systems in the game itself. It is a good idea to create a new player guide for the game website with valuable information for players to reference when they need.

3.) Appoint trustworthy, active players to specifically help new players. There should be a group of knowledgeable players that are willing to devote their time to answer questions of new players and guide them. Have game information accessible can reduce the need for a group of newbie helpers but even the best designed help system has gaps. New players should be able to send questions to these helpers at any time. Since players from around the world MUD it is important to diversify your helper staff so that someone is always available.

4.) Create some means for the new player to directly ask questions. One good way to do this is to create an Out of Character (OOC) channel that new players can ask questions on. This could be a channel that is accessible to all the game (to ensure coverage) or just to the helpers and staff of the game. Another way to facilitate this is to allow new players to send messages directly to the helpers or staff. If this method is used then the means by which a player accesses the staff should be intuitive, mentioned in creation, and mentioned again in some way in the new player areas.

5.) Create new player areas. Have areas of the game specifically for new players to progress and learn the game. These areas should reinforce the skills that will be needed for the player to become successful. They should also give a good feel of the atmosphere of the game and what the player can expect in the future. I highly caution against completely isolating new players in an area by themselves. If you isolate them from the player base how are they to truly know if they will like the game? MUDs are interactive games after all.

Players leave MUDs all the time so the survival of a MUD depends on getting and retaining new players!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mud Resource Website

I've gathered together some valuable information on MUDs at my website MUD Adventures. The website like this blog is meant to be a resource for the new and veteran online text gamer. At MUD Adventures is a number of longer and more substantive articles on MUD topics. There is an extensive list of resources to aid those seeking more information on online text gaming.

It is a work in progress, but I hope you find it very useful!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Making Your Mark on an Online Text Game

At some time or another, players often find that just playing an online text game is enough for them. They want their characters to be famous or make a significant impact on the game. I've successfully been able to gain leadership positions on three different MUDs including gaining a staff position. I'll warn you, my advice is not for the faint of heart!

1.) Be considerate of your fellow players. If you are playing a roleplay enforced game and your character is a jerk that is fine, but in all out of character interactions treat your fellow players well. Some people may find it interesting to play with or against a confrontational character, but no one likes to be treated poorly out of character. If you markedly different than your character's personality you will get a lot of respect from your fellow players. If it is not an RP enforced game then just be nice. It is game. People are there to have fun.

2.) Be mature and consistent. The administration of a game or the player base are going to want to place someone inconsistent and selfish into a leadership role. Consistency will instill confidence in others and create trust. People who evidently have more than their own desires on their mind get more respect then those who don't care about others.

3.) Work hard. This is probably one of the most important things that will allow you to get and maintain guild positions. You simply need to be willing to work and contribute to the game organizations or the game itself. I have seen many staff, builders, and leaders come and go very quickly because they were not willing to put hardly any effort it. Positions are not just about fame, they have a price. If you don't enjoy or aren't willing to do work then you aren't going to be very happy in a game position and no one will be very happy with you!

4.) Create an interesting character. In a sea of gorgeous or buff characters, dare to be different! Find an RP niche that honors the consistency of the game world, but is unique. If you can pull off an outlandish character all for the better. People will remember you and enjoy RPing with you if you add something special to the game. But don't try to play a character that possesses qualities you don't have in some degree. Most people have a horrible time roleplaying what they are not.

To be truly influential on a game and popular, you truly need to be considerate, mature, consistent, and unselfish. Players that are brash and selfish may make a mark only for a short time. You don't want to be a flash in the pan!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What is Roleplay?

There seems to be a bit of confusion in among the MUD administrator community of what is roleplay (RP). Even RPGs (roleplaying games) can be devoid of what is real roleplay. The term RPG seems to classify these days any game that has a storyline and is played from a first person perspective. For instance MMORPGs are mostly devoid of any form of RP.

So what is roleplay anyway? RP is simple adopting the role of a character. An apt way to define roleplay on an online game is cooperative improvisational acting. A good roleplayer will take their character's motivations and temperament into account with every word and action. If a player is truly roleplaying they are setting aside their own motivations, wants, and desires for their character's motivations, wants, and desires.

An important step to aid in roleplaying is to develop a character properly. The character's family and friends, history, past occupations, social and economical status, and nationality or race are all important factors to the way they look at the world around them and how they interact with it. Well developed characters will fit into their game world. Don't forget the vision of the game creator! Good characters compliment not clash with the world for which they were created.

Just as we evolve and change from our experiences, characters on games should as well. A good roleplayer will let a character change based on what happens to them during game play. Sometimes characters can even evolve in ways that are unexpected or not originally envisioned.

To maintain a true roleplay environment it is important for a player to stay "in character" at all times (unless there is a means to out of character (OOC) conversation.) Just like an actor would not begin talking about the latest ball game during acting in a play, someone who is roleplaying while playing their character.

It is important to those active in the MUD community to understand what "roleplay" (RP) means when classifying, choosing, and playing on a game.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Mud Connector

The Mud Connector (TMC) is without a doubt one of the best MUD (text gaming) resources on the web. TMC provides an extensive MUD list, articles, game reviews, discussion boards, and a robust resource list.

TMC likely has the most updated MUD listing on the web. They keep track of both permenant and temporary closing of text games. Better yet, you can check the connection to a game directly from their website in its listing. Text games can be found by name, catagory, or through advanced searching.

The advanced search features allows for the user to search over 40 game features to find the game they are looking for. Some of those features include code base, country of origin, language, player killing options, world size, size of active playerbase, roleplay options and a multitude of more specific game features.

The directly on the MUD listing is links for checking connection, official game website, player reviews, and even connecting to the game itself. Included in each game listing is an brief explaination of the game and a detailed listing of its features.

The Mud Connector has a top 10 mud list. Honestly, the best use of such lists is to see how active and passionate is the player base and game administration.

The Mud Connector has plenty of resources for the gamer including articles, list of MUD and programming books, and an extensive listing of websites on MUDs and gaming.

The community at TMC is active with forums and reviews. TMC has the most updated and extensive player reviews for MUDs. Knowledgeable members post on a daily basis.

Whether you are just getting into the world of MUDing or an experienced player, the Mud Connector has something for you!

Keep up the good work, TMC!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Developing a Character

Whether a game is roleplaying enforced or not, fully developing your character can enrich your playing experience. There are two main ways to develop a character - working forward or working backward.

Working Backward
Once you have decided on a game what class and race you wish to play or what type of character you wish to play, then you can decide on what would motivate an individual of their race or background to seek the life that they did. Is it a traditional path for your character's background or non-traditional? Did their family influence them in some way to take the path by direct encouragement or indirect action? Was there a significant event that occured that led them to become an adventurer?

Working Forward
If you have an idea for the background or race of your character then you can consider how they were raised. What was a typical life for a person of that particular race or region? Was your character's life different in some way? Based on their experiences and temperment what course would they take in their life? Depending on the game, it could be possible to enter the game without knowing what path your character is going to take. Sometimes it can be very rewarding to let the character development evolve based on their most recent experiences.

Either way the more time you take in considering character development the easier and more instinctive it will be to play your character well on a text based game. The game play on multi-player online text games happens quickly. Knowing more about your character's background and motivations helps you to decide on what they would do in any given circumstance.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Selecting an Online Text Based Game

There are a hundreds of MUDs and online text based games. Sometimes the process to finding a good game can be overwhelming at times. Having tried more than my share of new games, I know that can be it can be overwhelming at times. But every game has an ideal type of player it is suited for. There is a perfect (or near perfect) game out there for you!

The first key to finding a new game is to determine what is the most important things you look for in a game and what are your "deal breakers". (This may change in time as you try out new games.) Both Top Mud Sites and The Mud Connector have advanced search options that allow you to eliminate the games that don't fit your criteria. Some of the main catagories on both sites are world size, average online players, RP environment, if player killing is allowed, how a character "levels" on the game, and whether it is a free or subscription game.

Please keep in mind that the game owners and admins chose what areas that they game fits into. You won't truly know if the game fits the bill until you try it. I personally keep the search criteria fairly broad and add more until I get a manageable list.

After get a manageable list begin to read the player reviews. Personally, I believe the best place to read reviews at this time is The Mud Connector (TMC) though you can read older reviews at Top Mud Sites (TMS). You will get a much better idea of games from what players say about them. I tend to take the overly glowing or overly critical reviews with a grain of salt, but you can gain some valuable information from player reviews.

If an active playerbase and/or game administration is important to you then a way to confirm this is to see what the ranking of the MUD is on both TMS and TMC. If the game administration is active and wants to see their game promoted they will regularly encourage their players to vote for their game. If the playerbase is active and passionate about the game they play then they will vote for it.

Using this information will give you a good idea of what games might be a good fit for you. But like a lot of things, you don't really know until you try!

Happy Hunting!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Top 5 Mud Clients

Your personal needs and system requirements will determine what MUD client is best for you. Though there are a lot of great MUD clients, below are the some of the best clients out there. The good news is that all the clients below are free or offer at least a free trial!

Best Free Client
MUSHclient is one of the best free clients out there. It is full of a lot of special features such as client side aliases, timers, and triggers. It has an amazingly long searchable buffer which helps you keep track of past gaming. MUSHclient is also extremely customizable. MUSHclient works on operating systems from Windows 95 to Windows Vista.

Best Pay Windows Client
If you plan to do a lot of scripting, CMUD is the client for you. CMUD is designed for fast and easy scripting with the functionality to share them with others as well. It has one of the best automatic mapping systems of any MUD client. The full version of CMUD presently costs $29.95 with a free thirty day trial. If you don't need or use many special MUD client features then I would recommend trying a free client, but if you want to compete on a MUD that allows scripting CMUD is likely the choice for you. CMUD works on Windows XP and Windows Vista. (For a good scripting client for older systems check out ZMUD from the same company.)

Best Mac OS Client
Atlantis and Savitar
I couldn't help but give a tie in this catagory. There are much older Mac OS clients out there, but unfortunately they are either not very user friendly or out of development. I've read a lot of good things on these clients from Mac Users. Both are worth a try!

Best Linux Client
KMuddy is reccommended by many Linux users as the best MUD client on these machines. This client is relatively new but is growing in popularity. It has many regular MUD client features such as timers, triggers, speedwalking, and client side aliases. Many of the clients in this catagory can be difficult to use, but KMuddy is touted as being much easier to use than most.

Best Client for Blind Gamers
Vip Mud
Vip Mud has a lot of the features of other clients including vibrant scripting capability, but aslo a lot of special features for the blind gamer. It is designed to work with most screen reading software right out of the box. There are also voice features such as silmultaneous voices and the ability to program different voices or even screen readers for output. Vip Mud has the functionality to gag both spam and ASCII art. Vip Mud is $30 and has a 30 day free trial.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Top MUD Sites

Traditionally one of the best MUD resources out there in the world wide web has been Top MUD Sites (TMS). Hundreds of MUDs have registered with Top Mud Sites and a potential player can search Top Mud Sites database and control the results through advanced searching. There is an active community on the TMS forums. Many of the members are MUD administrators, staff, or veteran players. This is a good place to ask for general help or to search more specifically for a game you like. There is a MUD article database with topics on roleplaying, storytelling, and building MUDs.

One of the most useful tools I have used when trying to select a new MUD to play is TMS's top MUD list which is located on their home page. Honestly, this is not an indication of the best built MUDs on the web or the best environments. It is more of an indication of how active and passionate both the administrators and players for a MUD are. From my experience, a MUD will not even get listed on the front page for the top 20 MUDs without having an active and larger player base. There are still many MUDs out there that have few players at all. If a MUD is not within the top 40 on TMS it is a good indication that the MUD has a very small player base, likely too small for robust interactive play.

Unfortunately, what I deemed one of the most useful features of Top MUD Sites has gone inactive. TMS has not been accepting new MUD reviews from players since September of 2006. While the old reviews are still there, I had found it historically useful to read what players liked or hated about a game. It is true that some disillusioned players could write scathing or untrue reviews or admins could write over glowing reviews for their game, but the discerning reader can weed through both extremes to find some semblance of the truth about a game. I hope that this is a feature that they reinstate soon, though with the amount of time it has been down I'm not holding my breath.

Even with this inactive feature, Top MUD Sites is still one of the best MUD resources out there today. I've enjoyed many years of researching, writing, and reading on the site.

Hats off to you, TMS!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Roll play vs. Role play

I’m borrowing a bit from old table top gaming terminology to make a point. What I will be addressing in this post is the long time dispute between gamers who like adopting a role and fleshing out a character and those who like to bash down doors and hack other characters into bits. Are you the type of gamer that likes adopting a role or do you prefer the roll of the die?

I’ve played in many gaming groups and on many games in my time and had plenty of experience seeing players on all ends of the spectrum. On one end of the extreme enters the hack and slash gamer. It is all about the game mechanics for him. The kill. The win. He wants to spend his time fighting monsters, solving quests, and gathering phat loot and gear. He wants that next level, that next shiny new object.

On the other end of the spectrum enters the roleplayer. His main focus is on developing his character. He will spend a lot of time on character histories, descriptions, and mannerisms. He prefers spending his time interacting with other characters or the game master (as the case maybe). He may even roleplay when no one is around. (I’ve really known people like this!) He is the master thespian.

Deities help you if you have both extremes in the same gaming group. Ultimately no one will be happy!
Most players are a combination for these two extremes, though sometimes it feels like roleplayers are a dying breed. Maybe they have just given up when they haven’t found others of their ilk. If you are among this endangered species I encourage you to try out “roleplay enforced” MUDs. There are still some roleplayers alive and kicking out there. Flee from “roleplay encouraged” games true RP is not to be found in these dens of RP mediocrity. Not all “RP Enforced” or “RP Mandatory” games live up to their name I fear, but they are out there!

There is an environment for everyone out there. Are you a “roll player” or a “role player” or a happy combination of the two? I’m personally a happy hybrid myself and won’t settle for a game that doesn’t have a combination of both strategy and roleplaying. There is a game out there for us all. It is just a matter of finding it.

Happy Hunting!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Why text based games?

With there being so many graphical online games out there why would someone still play a MUD or other text based game? In the world of gaming MUDs seem rather archaic. Why are MUDs still thriving? Why are new games being built every day? Why are new players finding these games?

From where I'm sitting as a MUD veteran, I can see several really good reasons why MUDs are still popular.

The first thing that comes to mind is that MUDs are very portable gaming. Mudding is for serious gamers that want access to their game nearly anywhere. Anywhere you can access the internet, you can access a MUD. Some games have java or flash clients on their websites that you can access. For the hardcore mudder, any number of MUD clients (which in my experience don't take up much space) can be saved and run from a flash drive. Since MUDs are text based it is far less obvious that all that scrolling text is actually a game. Phones with net access, netbooks, laptops, and public computers will all run MUDs successfully.

MUDs don't require a lot of system resources to run. MUDs have been running on computers for years. Even older computers will successfully run MUDs and any special software that may be required or used to enchance text gaming does not take up much memory on a computer at all. Those with older computers or slower internet connections from around the world enjoy online text gaming as sometimes their only multi-player internet option. MUD updates happen on the game server and no update downloads are needed by players.

Most MUDs are free. There are MUDs out there that charge monthly fees or have pay for perks systems but the vast majority of the games are free. I'm not talking about cheap gaming but absolutely free gaming. Let's face it, it can be really expensive keeping up with most console and computer gaming. We aren't even talking about the software or the monthly fees, but also upgrading to a new console or computer system to run the latest games.

MUDs are very accessible. Blind, sight impaired players, and deaf players can easily play MUDs and get nearly the same gaming experience as everyone else. With no sound or graphics, MUDs level the playing ground.

Finally, the reason I am playing MUDs after all these years is for the better social gaming environments they provide. I have never seen a larger graphical game successfully create a roleplay enforced environment. Most staff on online graphical games chose not to police their players and the game environment greatly suffers for it. Players are MUDs are generally kinder and better behaved than those on the graphical games and MUD administrators are more apt to remove disruptive players. Social interaction is a large part of online gaming and that interaction is only worthwhile if it is positive.

The bottom line is that MUDs are still around and thriving. For these reasons above and more they've kept me captivated and entertained for years.

Monday, August 24, 2009

World of MU*

It is hard for to keep track of all of the different classifications of online text games. Even veteran gamers still debate how to classify certain games or what they really mean. Below I've detailed the major classifications of online text games.

There are also some behind the scenes significant code differences between the different MU* platforms. As you poor MU* programmers are in the minority in comparison to the actual players and my extent of MUD programming is limited I'm not going to even address the programming differences.

MUDs = Multi-User Dungeon. These games are a balance of both social interaction, roleplaying, and hack n' slash gaming.

MUSH = Multi-User Shared Hack, Habitat, Holodeck, or Hallucination (Take your pick!) These games focus mostly on roleplaying and social interaction. It is rare to find much combat on these games and if there is combat system it is often a vehicle for roleplay combat.

MUCK = Multi-User Created Kingdom. The focus of MUCKs is also on roleplay and social interaction. Players can create and modify all internal objects of the existing game environment.

MOO = MUD, Object Oriented. The focus is on social interaction and roleplaying. Users can perform object oriented programming to expand and change the server.

I have to admit I haven't spent much time on MUSHes, MUCKs, or MOOs. Even after doing research on them the differences between them all is about as clear as MUD. (I couldn't resist.) What I do know that on any text game I have tried that isn't a MUD there has been a decided lack of dragon and monster slaying. I don't know about you, but I don't feel as if my day is complete unless I've vanquished a foe or three. As much as I adore adopting the role of one of my characters, deep down I'm a gamer at heart.

Happy Slaying!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Me, Myself, and I

My interest in MUDs was born out of my interest in fantasy gaming. As a child I can remember many hours huddled in front of our Atari and eventually the original Nintendo. Zelda was one of my favorites. Our Nintendo had an annoying habit of erasing the saved file of a game when it was bumped while playing, so I got to know the game well before "beating" it.

I voraciously devored books in my youth and I quickly abandoned Judy Bloom for Madeline L'Engle, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien when I became exposed to fantasy novels. Movies such as Legend, Labrynth, Dark Crystal, and Neverending Story drew me into their worlds.

During high school I began playing Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) on a regular basis. In D&D I was able to create and imagine my own characters with their own histories. As we huddled around kitchen tables with our books and piles of multi-sided dice we were weaving our own fantasy story collectively. No longer was I just reading about heroic deeds, I was adopting a persona that was vanquishing evil and saving the day.

In college I actively sought out and tried a couple of D&D groups. But as I took my first steps into adulthood I found that with the extra responsibilities of more course work and part-time jobs to try to support myself, finding times to get together with a handful of people was becoming more difficult. Then I stumbled upon IRC (internet relay chat) and MUDs (Multi-user Dungeons) shortly there after.

MUDs. Suddenly I didn't need to coordinate with a small group. They were available 24 hours a day whenever I had time and inclination (which I'm sad to say was more than was good for my grades.) The first MUD I played was Ragnarok. The game world wasn't very consistent. (You could slaughter smurfs to your hearts content in one area.) But it was convenient and free. Solving puzzles in quests, battling monsters alone and in groups, interacting with others with the same passions as I... I was hooked.

I moved on from Ragnarok years ago and I've taken breaks from MUDing time and again, but I always come back for more. For over 17 years I've tromped around in the MUD. (Counting that made me feel old.) To this day I still play console and computer RPG games, read fantasy novels, watch fantasy movies, and play Dungeons and Dragons. But nothing has held my attention and transfixed me as much as the world of MUDing.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


MUD = Multi-user Dungeon

Online multi-player text games in a sea of flashy graphical games. They came before Everquest, Ultima Online, World of Warcraft, Warhammer Online and Anarchy Online. They all are fantasy worlds in which our virtual selves can, quest, battle and interact with each other. With MUDs instead of the graphics, players paint the virtual world around them only with the game's descriptions and our imaginations. A cooperative effort of builders and individuals. Environments perhaps more immersive than any flashy, loud graphical game.

Every day another MUD (or MUSH, MUCK, or MOO) is being born out of the imagination of its creator. Every day another player discovers the world of multi-user text games. In these environments I and others have spent so much of our times and selves.

What keeps us coming back for more? What keeps us from joining the world of graphical games? These are some of the things I plan to address in this blog in days to come. My intent is to be an aid to the newbie and veteran alike of these things we call MU*.

Welcome! Pull up a chair and let us plan our adventures together.