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.