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Gaming Roots: MUD and the Birth of MMOs 99

Posted by timothy
from the you-are-reading-a-page-of-twisty-passages-all-alike dept.
angry tapir writes "I recently had a chance to interview Richard Bartle — the creator of MUD, considered the grandfather of modern massively multiplayer online games. MUD had a text-based interface, but despite that, its design was hugely influential on modern MMOs."
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Gaming Roots: MUD and the Birth of MMOs

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  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @01:31PM (#43946921)

    The thing about MUDs were, it was very up front about your options: Go North, Go West, or Get Eaten By Grue. Modern MMOs try to sell themselves as "fully immersive", but just try running out of the battlefield area once... flashing red lights and your character either explodes, or magically teleports. Very realistic... I know that when I make a wrong turn in my car, if I don't make a u-turn in the next 60 seconds, my car explodes and the police are sent out to pick up little bits of me splattered all over the roadway and other drivers.

    I guess my point is... MUDs didn't hide the fact that there were limitations, and in fact turned it into clever logic puzzles and such to solve. They were about having fun and thinking your way out, rather than focusing on beautiful walls of text and then having your only option being pressing ENTER repeatedly, which is what today's MMOs feel like.

    The older games were more creative, and they made do with a lot less. Today it's all about achieving technical perfection but without any real substance.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Were? There's still plenty of MUDs out there. Hell, I actually just logged into one I use to play the other day. Still got bored with the constant flow of:

      kill creature
      c 'cyclone
      c 'cyclone
      c 'cyclone
      sac corpse
      get all.coin

      • Modern MUDS allow you to automate the repetitive stuff -- although some of the automation has to be pretty complex, as you may not want to sac corpse if you're in a group and you're not the mule.

        For something more interesting, try MUME [mume.org] -- it's been around a LONG time and has left its roots (Diku?) way back to evolve into its own entity. One of the things I always loved about MUME was its immersiveness; there's localised weather, seasons, etc. (you might not see something hidden behind a tree in summer, but you'll see it with a single search in winter, weapon skill for various weapons is reduced in the rain, water freezes over when the temperature drops, you can more easily follow tracks of PCs and NPCs when there's snow/mud on the ground, if it's just finished raining, your luck in catching fish in a lake with a fishing rod, hook, and bait of your choice improves (you can then clean the fish with your available knife and cook it over a fire you've made, and eat it) etc.

        Since MUME is a MUD that's been under continual development/enhancement for _23_ years, it's way more advanced than most other software packages, let alone modern MMoRPGs. Amazingly, the codebase has improved instead of falling to pieces like other attempts I've seen, and the areas just keep getting bigger and richer.

        Of course, I've rarely played it in the past 18 years due to the game's rent structure (it encourages daily participation, which I just can't do), but it doesn't take long playing it to have a way more immersive experience than you get with visual games, assuming you have some imagination.

        Oh yes, and you can play to "level" (there are no levels in MUME, you get better at the stuff you do, worse at the stuff you ignore), or you can play to role play (killing things isn't the only way to improve in the game, although you do need to earn enough money some way to pay rent, or risk being rolled while you're offline).

        And it's free.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'll take CircleMUD over RuinedLandscape or World of Wallet Snatchers any day.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by flayzernax (1060680)

      MMO's are the visual progression of MUDs into theme parks. Where the something to do was a strategic mind puzzle in combat with your team mates. They've been watered down into theme parks now. A few tried a bit of tactical puzzle as well. But that remains more of an FPS baby.

      The other part of MMO's was the metagame. Which detracts from the immersion and amusement park. Meaning the trend to simplify, tone down, and obscure stats and effects.

      In muds you could kill your character with things like nuclear blast

    • by Cinder6 (894572)

      The thing about MUDs were, it was very up front about your options: Go North, Go West, or Get Eaten By Grue. Modern MMOs try to sell themselves as "fully immersive", but just try running out of the battlefield area once... flashing red lights and your character either explodes, or magically teleports. Very realistic... I know that when I make a wrong turn in my car, if I don't make a u-turn in the next 60 seconds, my car explodes and the police are sent out to pick up little bits of me splattered all over the roadway and other drivers.

      What games actually do this? The two I've played (WoW and SWTOR) didn't.

      • I was wondering the same thing. Never played an MMO that did that.

      • by PReDiToR (687141)
        When you fly too far in STO [perfectworld.com] [Star Trek Online] you get a dialogue box up insisting that there's FA to see here and you might want to warp out of the system. "Dismiss" makes it come back in a few seconds and you're still pushing at the edge of the map, not going anywhere.

        So much for the theory that space is curved, huh?

        Still, one can't expect too much from a game that hasn't even attempted 3D flying.
      • by srmalloy (263556)

        What games actually do this? The two I've played (WoW and SWTOR) didn't.

        It's pretty easy to hit the "exhaustion zones" on Tatooine in SWTOR when you reach the edge of where Bioware wanted to let you go (head out of Anchorhead or Mos Ila along the route the speederbike taxi would take you, and you run into one fairly quickly, for example; this is done to prevent the other faction from getting into each side's starting area), but for the most part they just throw up some impassible obstacle, like an unclimbable slope/cliff (also used to force you to take a looping, extended route

    • by Cito (1725214)

      That is why the Mush was invented PernMush was awesome.

      more freedom, and allowed players to add their own scripted content items.

      I created a "drone" in mush script that would go to the areas ahead of me to scout for danger before I would enter the area.

      • Oh how I loved me some MUSH (big on TinyTimMush), I wish it was feasbile to make a 3D MUSH, but honestly that's just SecondLife, and flying phallics aren't my thing.

        • by Cito (1725214)

          yea Second Life is about the closest to a 3d mush there is, open sandbox user scriptable, objects can be created in world by 'players'

          I write scripts for second life, it's actually a pretty decent side income and meet a lot of cool people, course I mainly use it for writing scripts and challenging myself and I do enjoy the live concerts, I could care less for everything else.

          There was a sweet Transformers Mush and a Star Wars Mush I played occasionally I think it was called transformers2025 or something lik

    • by Dishevel (1105119) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @03:22PM (#43947461)

      Wrong!
      MUDS have fewer limitations.
      About 20 years ago I was playing a ROM II based MUD. A guy I played a lot with got stuck in a rut and found himself unable to level.
      He got pissed and stood in Market Square and proceeded to summon every level 1 bunny on the MUD to him and killing them.
      One by One. So there he was for hours pilling up dead bunny corpses in Market Square (A place many in the MUD passed through constatantly).
      An Imm decided he no longer wanted this going on. He created a new mob on the fly that could be summoned and then gave it massive attacks and health. Then he removed all the other bunnies on the game and left only the non aggro "Mother of all Bunnies". The guy ends up summing it and attacks and dies almost instantly.
      So here we are with the "Mother of all bunnies" kicking it in Market Square.
      About 30 regulars on the MUD logged in and grouped up with this guy. Market Square is only a couple of spaces from where you come back when you are killed.
      We attacked. Tanks dropped many times. I died 3 or four times and even lost a full level. At the end we all dropped out of the group and let the guy fight while we kept him healed the last few seconds. Bunny died. He leveled a few times and we all have a story that we can remember for multiple decades.

      You wont get that from ANY MMORPG out today.

      • On the muds I played, Immortals (and even players, with certain spells) could put words into the mouth of mobs, and give them pretty arbitrary commands to do most things a player could do. It did not happen often, but I did see cases where someone "took over" a well-known mob and role-played them for a while. I loved that, but as I said, it didn't happen often.

        There's nothing in principle to prevent this from happening in MMOs too. I'm not very familiar with them, but don't some have GMs? Invisible GMs who

        • by Culture20 (968837)
          Yeah, I would possess town guards to make them say things like "move along" or yell "pay your taxes on time". It's pretty hard to keep track of players without teleporting to them constantly because they'll often use scripted commands to move from location to location.
        • by Grashnak (1003791)

          You have to remember that the average MUD usually had a few dozen, or maybe a few hundred, people playing at any one time, and the "world" was very small. If something was happening in Market Square, everyone would pretty much know about it.

          However, there are literally millions of people playing the big MMOs, spread across huge game areas. A GM could be taking over a well known MOB 24/7 in Ironforge and most people would never know it.

          Besides, the reason the admin taking over a character was amusing was b

      • by Omestes (471991)

        Ah.. memories. Back in the late '90's some friends and I maintained a fork of decent sized MUD. We were constantly rewriting aspects of it, and as such tested things on unsuspecting players all the time. We definitely killed one character daily with some flavor of Vorpal Bunny. He was a good sport, so we also gave him "one use" God-like items in return.

        Once, one of my bunnies got loose (didn't set nowander, or whatever it was), and pretty much decimated the newbie zones. My fellow IMMs were pissed.

        Some

      • by znanue (2782675)

        Maybe not in the sense of the game's creators interceding to create such events, but random events with an epic feeling driven by human creativity have happened in MMO's.

        • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corrupted_Blood_incident
        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfzR8ozkvds
        • http://massively.joystiq.com/2010/09/11/eve-online-player-steals-45-000-worth-of-isk-in-massive-investm/
        • Moles infiltrating player corporations and disbanding them or weakening them from the inside
        • People getting together to have a virtual funera
      • by Grashnak (1003791)

        So here we are with the "Mother of all bunnies" kicking it in Market Square.
        About 30 regulars on the MUD logged in and grouped up with this guy. Market Square is only a couple of spaces from where you come back when you are killed.
        We attacked. Tanks dropped many times. I died 3 or four times and even lost a full level. At the end we all dropped out of the group and let the guy fight while we kept him healed the last few seconds. Bunny died. He leveled a few times and we all have a story that we can remember for multiple decades.

        You wont get that from ANY MMORPG out today.

        Except that almost never happened. And anyone who ever saw Stitches trained into Goldshire in early WoW thinks that story sounds kind of lame by comparison.

        I was an admin on a MUD for about a year and sure, I could whip something like that up on the fly. You know why? Because there was fuck all AI and nothing meaningful behind a mob other than a couple of stats.

        But as far as gamepay went, MUDs were 100% grinding for experience, but where they shined was social and PVP. I've never seen an MMO clan that

        • by Macgrrl (762836)

          And anyone who ever saw Stitches trained into Goldshire in early WoW thinks that story sounds kind of lame by comparison.

          Or Lord Kazzik to Stormwind before they moved him to Outland.

      • by DiEx-15 (959602)

        You wont get that from ANY MMORPG out today.

        I beg to differ.

        I can name to you almost in detail the time me and my guild killed an Elder Dragon in the MMO Ultima Online. That Mother of all Bunnies seems like a pushover in comparison.

        ...and UO has been around since 1997.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      I noticed that many MMOs repeated mistakes that MUDs made, like they were intentionally ignoring them. Any player who's ever ran in a MUD could tell you that players will not police themselves and that adding PvP options just makes it worse. And yet Ultima Online tried just that, repeating the same experiments and getting the same results.

      However MMOs have become mainstream, so the style of MUDs won't work anymore. Even the style of early MMOs won't work. Only a tiny fraction of players want some of the

    • by Grashnak (1003791)

      Modern MMOs try to sell themselves as "fully immersive", but just try running out of the battlefield area once... flashing red lights and your character either explodes, or magically teleports. Very realistic... I know that when I make a wrong turn in my car, if I don't make a u-turn in the next 60 seconds, my car explodes and the police are sent out to pick up little bits of me splattered all over the roadway and other drivers.

      You don't play many modern MMOs, do you?

  • Its his fault (Score:1, Informative)

    by maroberts (15852)

    I had the misfortune of doing my degree at Essex from 1982 to 1985. I sacrificed all my mainframe time to play this instead of doing my coursework.
    Wonder why my degree isn't a 1st? :-)

  • woah man (Score:4, Funny)

    by Osgeld (1900440) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @01:43PM (#43946973)

    That summary was both informative and well crafted... Almost a bit too long but I think you stopped yourself before it became "wordy"

    • by julesh (229690)

      That summary was both informative and well crafted... Almost a bit too long but I think you stopped yourself before it became "wordy"

      It's OK, though, because it wasn't entirely accurate. Bartle was the co-creator of MUD. The project was started by Roy Trubshaw; Bartle took it over when Trubshaw no longer had enough time to finish it.

    • by blade8086 (183911)

      Yea - except for this bit of BS false dichotomy:

      " ... MUD had a text-based interface, but *despite that* ...
      "

      OMG It's like games are more than their user interface!

      OMG It's like we shouldn't equate technological sophistication with Teh Shinies!

  • I remember wasting months of my time there until one day I realized "this is a giant waste of my time!", wished them good luck, and left.

    I don't do MMORPGs for exactly this reason. Part of it is it's a waste of time, the other part of it is I don't have the necessary self-discipline to "limit myself" in a game venue that essentially punishes you for not playing.

    • by pegdhcp (1158827)
      That is why I love Action Point limited systems. After wasting so much time that could be devoted to study, work or family in NannyMud I was away from multiplayer games for a long while. Then I found Pardus (not the Linux distro but the game at www.pardus.at [pardus.at]) Pardus limits your daily activity with a set amount of APs which regenerates very slowly, thus you cannot kill your whole day in front of it.
      • by v1 (525388)

        the few of these sorts of systems I've dabbled (cautiously) with usually gave you a fixed AP every day, on a use-it-or-lose-it basis. And that again gets you back to the "punishes you for not playing". Not meaning play as much as you can all the time, but requiring you to make sure to play daily. I stopped one of these cold-turkey when I realized it was more of an obligation to play than an enjoyable experience. ("oh ya, that's right, I forgot to play this morning, I better get in there and play this ev

  • His famous paper "Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players who suit muds"
    http://www.mud.co.uk/richard/hcds.htm [mud.co.uk]
    incorrectly assumes that the taxonomy MUST include kilers. "Old-Skool" MUDs like Eve allow PKing as a fundamental game design. Modern games do not. Modern game design is heavily driven by anti-griefing because most players don't find griefing to be fun _for_ them (those _doing_ the PKing definitely find a sense of adrenaline.) See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griefer [wikipedia.org]

    I think

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think its just extremely hard to market to the Killers. There are thousands out there who like PKing and "greifing". Which is an art form and there should be design attention payed to it.

      A game were you can loose nothing to a human opponent is kind of boring.

      But the typical MMO does not cater to this mind set because they don't go hand in hand. You need less item dependency and more rock paper scissors strategy tempered by a bit of luck and the ability to pull tricks out of a hat to make for a good pvp ex

      • A game were you can loose nothing to a human opponent is kind of boring.

        The problem is that almost all of these games are based on D&D style levels in one form or another. A level 10 character is going to kill a level 2 character every single day of the week and twice on Sunday, so you can't really run PK games like that, the obsessives would rule the roost. If games were less focused on turning individual PCs into demigods and more focused on something else (like actual adventures), you could have PK to a certain extent.

        • by julesh (229690)

          A game were you can loose nothing to a human opponent is kind of boring.

          The problem is that almost all of these games are based on D&D style levels in one form or another. A level 10 character is going to kill a level 2 character every single day of the week and twice on Sunday, so you can't really run PK games like that, the obsessives would rule the roost. If games were less focused on turning individual PCs into demigods and more focused on something else (like actual adventures), you could have PK to a certain extent.

          And there are games like that. My understanding (although I've never played it myself) is that Meridian 59 [meridian59.com] would be a good example.

      • by mrvan (973822)

        You should try Vendetta Online [vendetta-online.com]. It's an indie space MMORPG where PvP and PK is central to gameplay. Death is cheap in most cases but if you're carrying around special equipment or cargo it can be quite a setback.

        And yes, it runs linux :-) [and windows, mac, android, and ipad]

        (actually, its development pre-dated EVE but it is a very small shop so things move a lot slower. The player base is small but very involved, and you can find the lead dev responding on the forums, making it a nice environment)

      • Don't mix up competition/ PKing and griefing. Griefers are just anti-social, and only get pleasure from provoking negative reactions.

        There's no such thing as a server where only griefers play and have fun attacking each other. If they do that, they aren't griefers.

    • by julesh (229690)

      His famous paper "Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players who suit muds"
      http://www.mud.co.uk/richard/hcds.htm [mud.co.uk] [mud.co.uk]
      incorrectly assumes that the taxonomy MUST include kilers.

      Those players are still there. Just because (some) modern games have been designed with the intent of excluding them doesn't make them stop existing, and knowing that they exist is important for future game designers.

      I think you find most players these days are more interested in cooperation then competition

      I'm a long way from convinced. If this were true, why do people complain every time an MMO's cash shop offers an item that gives the players who buy it an "advantage" (scare quotes because it's not entirely clear that items that make a game easier are actually advantageous to the players who

      • by znanue (2782675)

        Ahh, Bartle is so pretentious, always inflating his worth. Starting his article with how hardly anyone will be able to understand him and peppering it with statements of how profound things are. He seems to be injecting his own narrative onto the zone while not acknowledging a core true, that many people approach the zone in different ways. There also seems to be something obnoxious about the way he ascribes the intent of the designers to the zone.

        I will acknowledge that he highlights elements of the des

        • by bombman (87339)

          For me, it was mostly about having fun coding something cool, and the challenge of getting things to work :)
          Also, I played AberMud before we started on DikuMud.

          --Hans-Henrik

        • tldr;

          He was a prick back then, and he's still a prick.

          (yes, I knew him 'back then').

    • by znanue (2782675)
      There have been games I've played where griefers worked as a team to grief, were recognized by the general population as villains, and managed to drive a living narrative where they played the role of villains and the general population worked to survive them and build despite them. The closest MMO that comes to this sensation for me is EVE where certain corporations act in a griefing manner and cadres of cooperative people play the "good guys" and try to build systems. EVE certainly seems to encourage th
  • by theodp (442580) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @02:33PM (#43947205)

    MUD, PLATO and the dawn of MMORPGs [guardian.co.uk]: "Richard Bartle has been answering a reader's suggestion that MUD was not, in fact, the first online RPG and that the original multi-user games actually ran on the University of Illinois' PLATO system - generally regarded as the birthplace of the 'online community' concept."

    • by DingerX (847589) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @03:29PM (#43947487) Journal
      Obviously, the dude has never played Moria [wikipedia.org] either. Maybe the thing was obvious, but it was also present. It's like saying multiplayer flight sims didn't have their origin in PLATO's Airfight. Yes, the concept was obvious, but every implementation was inspired by the predecessors. And before 1978, the only implementations out there were server-and-terminal. MP was easy(ish).
  • When compared to the crapfest of MMO's that have been thrown in our faces over the last 15+ years now some of the MUD's, with only their text based representations, are more detailed and well thought out than their multi-million dollar flashy 3d grandchildren. In the world of MMO's (not all, but most), a picture definitely isn't worth a thousand words. More detail can be presented to the player in a well written sentence than 5k polygon. Imagination is great like that.
    • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @02:54PM (#43947319)

      Also where tabletop RPGs shine over everything else, including MUDs.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Let's not dismiss the technological development that easily. MUDs were an interesting concept, but far from perfect. Text-based interfaces didn't mix well with realtime gameplay. Today's MMOs became very polished and balanced as we learned more about how design works, MUDs were only driven by their uniqueness that they were the first to offer a persistent world.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Yup. Consider that a new update in a modern game might involve a tiny amount of text, with massive amounts of effort put into creating new landscape areas, new graphical textures, lots of backend work to keep the servers from completely collapsing, etc. But in a MUD you had it very easy, just write up some code in a straight forward language (often object oriented even before that concept took root), write a lot of interesting textual descriptions, think up puzzles, etc.

  • by kimvette (919543) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @02:48PM (#43947271) Homepage Journal

    HI I NEW HERE
    HOW DO I KILL PPL ON THIS MUD?!!!!!!!!!!!

    Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like yelling. Aww, c'mon slashdot!

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @03:06PM (#43947371) Journal

    I heartily agree with the comment about orcs down the hall not hearing or seeing the attack on their colleagues and either coming to help or running away. it is, of course, a game design thing to make each encounter doable, rather than having to worry about more unpedictable situations where the group size suddenly doubles (the famed "ADD!!!") or quadruples because those who ran away came back with helpers.

    Games have done limited variations on this:

    - D&D Online, the monsters can hear you, and specifically will hear you smash a barrel on the other side of a closed door and wake up, being ready for your attack. Sound and sight matter, though still not quite as much as desired here.

    - EverQuest and other games frequently have a monster run away through other packs, hoping you will stupidly follow and aggro a second group. Most people quickly learn not to do this. Sadly, the other pack doesn't join in in this case. I guess when tearing by, the monster under attack forgot to mention his colleagues were currently under assault.

    - World of Warcraft had perhaps the most egregious example, where a group of two wandering (cycling on a large path) centaur "scouts" would attack you. You could kill one then run away. Eventually the other "scout" would give up and go back. Did he do what scouts are supposed to, hightail it back to camp and warn the others? No, he just resumes his path, making a mockery of the concept of being a "scout". Uhh, thanks for scouting for us, Beaky.

    It's all this "idiocracy" of design that bothers me. I want to see dynamic, world-upsetting events and invasions. I don't mean one-shot stupidities, I mean real wars. I want to see cities invaded where the vendors and trainers get attacked and slaughtered, and the players don't know where to go anymore, so they'd better fight.

    Death to the sentiment, "I don't wanna participate in that, and am irritated that I can't go do something else."

    Well, nowadays we have enough games to accommodate you. Let's have a new one that shakes things up. Hell, for that matter, start out with a new principle: Ban all static zones and dungeons from design, and force designers to create a dynamic, ever-changing world. No more theme park zone designs, including safe cities.

    • by maroberts (15852)

      The thing is that building takes much more time to do than destruction, so if you had marauding armies destroying major cities, the entire MUD would be a wasteland in no time whatsoever.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        The thing is that building takes much more time to do than destruction, so if you had marauding armies destroying major cities, the entire MUD would be a wasteland in no time whatsoever.

        The game should include natural limiting forces. There's not enough food to raise enough armies to destroy all the towns all the time, etc.

    • by Shados (741919)

      It's all this "idiocracy" of design that bothers me. I want to see dynamic, world-upsetting events and invasions. I don't mean one-shot stupidities, I mean real wars. I want to see cities invaded where the vendors and trainers get attacked and slaughtered, and the players don't know where to go anymore, so they'd better fight.

      Guildwars 2 had that. Entire towns get wrecked and you have to get a group going to take them back if you ever want to see NPCs in that area again.

      That was pretty cool, until the WoW (

    • by znanue (2782675)
      I've just seen so many games where the pursuit of realism managed to destroy any sense of fun. I love that in WoW a "scout" doesn't call the whole village on you. The point is a pretense for creating a moving system of parts where you apply logic to separate them out into manageable bits to accomplish a goal. Now, maybe a game can do this better, but WoW is not "wrong" or "egregious" for doing it, its intended design and it plays well to a certain gamer. It is extremely hard to create dynamic mellifluou
    • You just asked for Eve Online.

    • by Grashnak (1003791)

      While I agree with the sentiment, part of the problem is that it now takes hundreds of people to create the current semi-static MMO environment and keep it running while occasionally adding new content. To create the kind of constant-flux world environment you are talking about would be at least an order of magnitude harder, what with the need to be constantly adjusting everything for the new realities on the ground. It would be astronomically expensive to build and maintain, and I can't begin to imagine

  • http://mume.org

  • I still fondly remember a dikumud I played back in the late 90's (Ancalagon). I discovered an item duplication bug due to the server's slow writes of the player save data and the death traps (a special room that caused instant-death, delete all items, and return to menu). If you saved your character just before entering a death trap, and dropped all your items, then walk into the death trap, the server would dutifully delete your items in RAM (nothing), but then the save-write process would finally take p
  • Not much about Roy Trubshaw the original inventor of MUD but then again I used to work with Roy and had no idea he'd done such a thing in his student days. Lovely guy but not exactly a self publicist!

    ADVENT was a great game, am pondering porting David Platt's A-Code to our rules engine...

  • FULL DISCLOSURE: These are products I created and operated by my company. But very relevant.

    The term MUD tends to harken back to an earlier time before 'puters had graphical horsepower of any note. But the reality is, online text-based games come in all varieties, and the one's we operate are in a league all their own. More significantly, they are still serious ongoing commercial efforts. If you want to see what a MUD can be when it's been in continuous development, expansion for decades, then check ou

    • by manwargi (1361031)

      I had some good memories playing GS3 a long time ago, and these were indeed a sophisticated breed of text based adventure. Surprised these games are still kicking after all these years, after so many modern MMOs have come and gone.

    • I don't know if you are who you say you are, but if so, I want to tell you that Dragonrealms still stands as my all-time favorite game!

      I started playing DR in 6th grade when my parents had AOL by the minute. I convinced them to get unlimited so I could play. I played for years. I still remember everything about DR... From char creation, rat killing at the shipyard, learning how to skin, moving to goblin killing... Etc.

      I still reference DR to my friends at work when we talk about online RPGs. No other game,

  • bartel's not what made MUDs and MOOs important or useful... and only hipster without any sense of historical context waste time bothering with him as anything of anything. MUDs and MOOs are important tools... not the joker who coded them.
  • I'm surprised Bartle neglected to mention the most incredible thing about MUDs, which to this day has yet to be surpassed by even the most advanced MMOs. Once you reached the maximum level in MUD, you became a "Wizard". This gave the user access to the filesystem, and code-slinging capabilities. Since MUD runs an interpreted language [wikipedia.org], edits to the codebase could be seen immediately, in real-time, to the users. Wizards could essentially change the world as it was being played, creating endless opportunit
    • by Grashnak (1003791)

      I was an immortal for a long time on a MUD and this never happened. We were very careful who became an immortal (i.e. not everyone who reached max level) and none of us except the creators had any kind of filesystem access. I had access to the build system and immortal game mechanics, but you'd have to be an idiot to give everyone who reached max level access to your code base.

  • I played BatMUD and 3 Kingdoms back in the early-mid 90s. A lot of fun. Heck of a time sink though. On the other hand, "Time you enjoyed wasting was not wasted." -- John Lennon / various attributions

    Great to see they're still around. Amazing.

  • I still remember drawing maps and whatever it took to complete Will Crowther's Colossal Cave Adventure back in the 1980's. It was Don Woods extended 140 location/350 points version.

    Still love it and actually still play it; I've got it on my Android phone and it's the extended 660 points version from 1994 which is still available for download as a source tarball. I also have it on my personal server in case I get into withdrawal... There's still places I haven't been in this extended version.

    > adventure4
    [

  • Bartle has made a career out of claiming he created the first MUD. He didn't. His claim is similar to the guy claiming he invented email. Both created programs that happened to have those names, MUD and in the other case, EMAIL. Somehow this makes them the inventors of it simply because of the filenames they chose. The fact is, MUDs were alive and well and thriving already on the PLATO system years before Bartle got involved. I am disappointed that Slashdot doesn't call Bartle on this.

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