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Gaming Roots: MUD and the Birth of MMOs 99

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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  • Its his fault (Score:1, Informative)

    by maroberts ( 15852 ) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @01:40PM (#43946961) Homepage Journal

    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? :-)

  • 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 [] -- 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 theodp ( 442580 ) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @02:33PM (#43947205)

    MUD, PLATO and the dawn of MMORPGs []: "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 Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @02:54PM (#43947319)

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

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.