Category: MUD Gaming

Cosrin: A New Dawn

Today I tried out another roleplaying enforced, fantasy themed MUD, much like the MUD I wrote about yesterday.  I made Greri, a human fighter on Cosrin: A New Dawn.   Character creation was short and simple on this MUD, which is something I usually prefer.  The faster I can jump in and start playing, the better.

I opted to go through the new player training on this MUD, as I usually do when trying out a new MUD, and boy am I ever glad I did.  Most of the MUDs I play are based on derivatives of the Diku codebase, and have similar commands.  This MUD uses a custom codebase, and things didn’t exactly work the way I expected them to.  This was a bit off-putting at first, but by the time I finished the  tutorial areas, I actually began to like some of the differences, such as actually having to type to advance on my opponent before attacking with a melee weapon, and entering an attack command every round, instead of having combat be pretty much automatic like on many diku style MUDs.  You can also mix two items to create new items, which is a neat feature.

The hardest thing to get used to was having to hold items in my hands before I could use or wear them, instead of being able to use them directly out of my inventory like I am used to.  I am still undecided as to whether this adds depth to the game, or is just annoying.  It is something I can see being a big barrier to less MUD savvy players.

This MUD is also pay to play if you want to advance past level 30.  I don’t have an opinion one way or the other about pay to play MUDs, but I will rarely try one that isn’t at least playable for non paying players.

All in all, I had a good time on this MUD today, and will probably log back in sometime soon.

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Shattered Kingdoms

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Today I started a new character, a human paladin called Airag on a MUD called Shattered Kingdoms.  Shattered Kingdoms is a fantasy themed MUD with enforced roleplaying.  I have spent about three hours in game so far, and most of my time has been spent reading help files, which is pretty typical for me when I play a MUD.  I find that I can learn allot more about a MUD by reading it’s helpfiles than I usually learn in a mudschool.  My impressions of Shattered Kingdoms are positive thus far.

Character creation started out in a fairly typical manor, with choosing a race and class, but once this was done, I was walked through a series of questions, were I was presented with a scenario, and given two actions to choose from.  These choices, as far as I can tell, affected my starting attributes.  After character creation, I was asked to choose a starting city.  After consulting the helpfiles on their website, I choose to start in the kingdom of Taslamar, because it seemed a good fit for a good aligned paladin.

I was then placed in what could be called a mudschool, but it wasn’t the typical mudschool that walks you step by step through a series of tutorials on basic MUD commands.  Rather, it was a building full of rooms with trainers for various classes, shops, and sparring areas, which I was free to navigate as I saw fit.  I was quickly greeted by another player, who I believe to be a newbie helper, who was helpful and friendly.  He answered all of my OOC questions, gave me some equipment, and helped me with training.  I have trained up to level three so far, and I look forward to logging back on to continue my training.

Sword & Pen Changes Name

Sword & Pen MUD now has a new name, a new website, and a new codebase. I have decided to branch Sword & Pen MUD off, with a stand-alone website. This frees me to write about a wider variety of subjects here on Sword & Pen blog. The new MUD, called Undeath MUD, is built on the Dawn of Time codebase. The website can be found at sites.google.com/site/undeathrpg/home.  To play, log on to 5.133.180.205:4000.

Undeath MUD is a roleplay enforced MUD with a dark fantasy theme.  At the moment, it is still using stock areas, but I plan on replacing all of them.  The story will revolve around a world racked by war, and a terrible curse, causing the once mighty civilization of Tullin to be overrun with demons and the walking dead.  Now, boats of refugees have fled east, to the wild and untamed wilderness on the great western isle of Evendye, to try to rebuild, and make a home for themselves here in this harsh and beautiful land, all while the threat of the death plagues and demon swarms yet looms, just over the sea.

I will probably be redoing the class and race selections available for starting players, and use a tiered class system, with 5 remort tiers, each unlocking more classes and races.  I need to figure out the quest system in this codebase, and see if I can build quests using the OLC.  I would like to make this a quest heavy MUD, as well as a MUD that uses lots of mudprogs.

Looking for Help Soon

Ultima Online

Ultima Online (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Progress is continuing nicely on the next version of Sword & Pen MUD.  This time I am taking my time with it, instead of rushing to open an inferior MUD.  I have been spending some time playing a couple of roleplaying enforced MUDs to help me get a feel for what it will take to run my own MUD with more of an emphasis on roleplaying.  I still have not decided if I am actually going to go as far as to enforce roleplaying, but I am strongly considering it.  At the very least, I am going to take some very strong steps to encourage and enable roleplaying.  This includes things like building a world with a well thought out background story that players can use to craft unique and interesting characters, with strong hooks for roleplaying.  I am also taking a look at Armageddon MUD‘s idea of permanent death.  It has always been hard for me to reconcile the idea of infinite, and easy resurrections in a serious roleplaying environment.  This is something that always seems to challenge my suspension of disbelief.  I want to make death in this world be a traumatic experience, that is to be avoided at all costs.   If we don’t have permanent death, I will have to look at other ways to achieve this.

I always liked when I played Ultima Online, how when you died, you turn into a ghost, and have to find a healer to resurrect you, before you could go try to retrieve your corpse.  With the codebase that Sword & Pen MUD is based on, this would be as simple as changing a setting in the MUD’s .ini file.  Still, would this do anything to help make Sword & Pen MUD a more interesting roleplaying environment?  What if resurrection services were only available from other players?  Then you would have to have at least some interaction with other players if you ever need to be resd.  On the down side, this could turn into a huge pain in the ass if you die, and no one is around to res you.  How could this system be used, in conjunction with maybe some other ideas I haven’t thought of yet, to help me meet my goals of creating a roleplaying environment that is fun, unique, interesting, and challenging?

Part of my problem at the moment is that some of my goals for this MUD sometimes conflict with each other.  I have to make choices, and each choice involves some kind of sacrifice.  I really wish I had someone else around, helping me with this project, not because of the workload, although help with that would be nice too, but more because I feel like I need some one just to be a sounding board to bounce ideas off of and get feedback and alternative viewpoints that I wouldn’t think of myself.   Posting questions on the various MUD forums I frequent isn’t often as helpful as I would hope in this regard.  If there is one revelation that is now finally sinking in, more than a year after first setting out to create my own MUD, it’s that any advice I get on the MUD forums must be taken with a grain of salt.

Up until now, I have avoided asking anyone for any help.  There are always people on the boards looking for builders and coders, and I have read the kinds of responses they get, and justifiably so.  No good coder or builder wants to get involved with another MUD that, in all likelihood, will just disappear overnight, especially when these days it is so easy for anyone without a lick of skill or talent can start up their own MUD.  With this in mind, I have been very reluctant to ask for help, until I have a good bit of work to show for myself.  Working by myself is lonely though, and for all the reasons I have stated above, I am getting closer to the point where I will be reaching out, both to the MUD community, and, perhaps even more, outside the MUD community for help on this MUD.  I think I need to do things differently though.  I can’t go out there with the same lame ass offer of yer another fly by night MUD look for builders to come rescue me from all this work I have to do by myself.  No, there has to be a better way.

First, I am not going to pretend like I can guarantee the success of my own MUD.  In the past year, I have started MUD projects with nearly half a dozen different MUD codebases, abandoned them, and then came back to the same codebases later, sometimes starting completely over from scratch.  This may seem like one big huge waste of time, but I have actually learned allot, and have had allot of fun in the process.  I now have a much better idea of what I want my MUD to be like.  I have an understanding of the different types of codebases available, and their various pros and cons.  I have learned a lot about building, and a fair amount about coding.  I am now at the point to were I can develop this project to the next level, whatever that may be.

That being said, there is still no guarantee that this MUD will be successful, whatever that means, anytime soon.  It probably won’t be.  This is just another project to learn and have fun with.  So why should anybody be interested in helping me?  Well, that’s really up to you, but for starters, anyone who builds areas, contributes codes, or helps me with this project in any way will own all of their own work, and if this doesn’t work out, you will still have all of your files you can take to any other MUD, especially other coffeeMUDs, and they would be glad to have you.  You could easily take any work you do with me, and use it to start your own MUD.  Hell, in addition to work you do, I will even give you copies of my own files.  Go nuts!  Second, I am not looking to be your boss.  I want to be your collaborator.   I really just want someone, or even better, a few someones, that are interested in the same things I am, to come over to Sword & Pen, hang out on the MUD, chat it up, and come up with cool ideas.  Yes, I do have standards for what will go into the public areas on the MUD, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on any kind of areas you want, at your own pace, and if it happens to be a good fit for the MUD, great!  All the better.

Anyway, I am not quite ready to take my pitch to the MUD forums yet, but I am getting close.  I still want to have more to show for myself, and I still want to refine my offer in such a way as it might actually interest someone to come an join the team.  In the meantime, leave your thoughts and comments.

Sword & Pen MUD is Moving

English: Sword of Caliph Umar, with later hilt

English: Sword of Caliph Umar, with later hilt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you may know, sword and pen mud hasn’t been very accessible lately.  I posted a notice on Top MUD Sites describing the problems.  I haven’t had much time to mess with the MUD lately, because I have been busy working on some freelance web design work that has fortunately come my way lately.  However, I did manage to get a copy of CoffeeMUD up and running on my VPS.  I will soon be moving Sword & Pen MUD to this new host.  This will provide a faster and more stable connection than is currently possible with our current host, which is just a copy of the MUD running on my friend’s server at his house.  While I am very grateful he provided me the use of his hardware, and internet connection, the time has come to move to a bit more reliable set-up.

With this move, changes will be coming to Sword & Pen MUD.  These changes will take me some time to implement, so it may be a little longer than I would like before Sword & Pen MUD is fully back online, but I can assure you, it will be well worth the wait.  First,  Sword & Pen MUD has been upgraded to a newer, more stable version of the CoffeeMUD codebase.  Also, you will find that the stock world is now gone, and I am currently building new areas to replace it.   As previously discussed on this blog, nights will no longer cause room darkness, and players will no longer be affected by hunger and thirst.  Food and drink will now exist only for roleplaying purposes, and as  healing items.  I am also enabling the player introduction system in order to encourage roleplaying.  Players will now have to introduce themselves to each other by name before they can see each others names.

Sword & Pen MUD is really more of an experiment in building and running a MUD, rather than a serious MUD right now, but I hope this project will continue to grow and evolve into something myself and others can enjoy, and something we can all be proud of.   If you have any additional tips or ideas that can help me out, share your thoughts in a comment!

MUD Connector Owner Stepping Down

The Mud Connector's logo

The Mud Connector’s logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my last post, I talked about the trouble over at The MUD Connector, and the sudden shutdown of the forums.  Yesterday, I logged back in to The MUD Connector to see if their were any new developments on this situation, and I found that the forums were still down, and this message was posted:

I want to offer an apology to the TMC members for the events that took place these last few days on the forums and which have now resulted in the current unavailable state that they are in. These events have opened my eyes to the fact that I can no longer be a part of the community. Please email me if you are interested in taking over the website, when contacting me please describe your involvement with MUDs, with the TMC community and any skills that you feel you bring to the table which will help you run the site. Please do not expect an immediate response as I expect this will be an exhaustive process as I try to find the right person. -Icculus

All things considered, I think this was the best decision this site owner could make, both for himself, and the rest of the MUD community.  I would like to thank Icculus for all his hard work building and running this site over the years.  This site, along with Top MUD Sites has been an invaluable asset to MUD gamers over the years.  It was on The MUD Connector, all those years ago, where I first discovered this hobby.  This is were it all began for me, so despite the current problems there, and despite all of my own harsh criticisms, this site, and it’s creator, will always hold a special place in my heart.

Today, I logged on to the site, and found that the forums were once again available in read-only form, and the following addendum was posted on the news section of the site:

Update 7/31/2013 – I realized that the above explanation doesn’t really answer the question about why the forums are down and I will be restoring the forums in read-only mode shortly. I believe the more recent threads I was involved with should provide explanation. I know these threads illustrate my administrative side at its worst, full of hasty, erratic and irrational decision-making, in short the behavior of someone no longer fit to be a community administrator. I also feel they shed light on a community that is unforgiving, unnecessarily harsh and unwelcoming and I hope that under new management the community overall can grow to be more respectful and caring for one another.

So that’s it I guess.  I, along with the rest of the MUD community will be anxiously awaiting news on who will be taking over this site.  I am hopeful that Icculus will make the right choice, and bring in some one who will unsure in a new era for the MUD connector, that will make it once again an asset to the MUD community, and a place were new players, like I was all those years ago, can come to discover the hobby.  Once again, thank you Icculus for all your years of heard work on this site.  Good luck in all your future endeavors, and god bless!.

Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark

Jimbo Wales discusses trolling in a special se...

Jimbo Wales discusses trolling in a special session during Wikimania 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This evening I logged on to The MUD Connector, arguably the top MUD portal, and possibly the top MUD gaming related website on the net, and found that there discussion forums were completely gone without a trace, with no warning or explanation.  Now, this is no huge loss to me personally.  I have never been all that terribly impressed by the forums on that site.  They are often a cesspool of trolling, and self important MUD admins who think far to highly of themselves.  However, I do tend to at least peruse the top threads their ounce every day or two.

Over the last several days, a very heated religious debate broke out on the site between the site owner, who apparently is now on some big born again evangelistic kick, and decided to plaster his religious advertising in the midst of the MUD banners that are on normal rotation on that site.  It is very much his right, as site owner, to do so, and it is very much my right, as somebody who has a healthy skepticism of this type of pseudo-evangelism, to distance myself from the site and it’s owner if this debate, as I feared and suspected it would, quickly degenerated into something that would harm the integrity of the MUD community as a whole, which it did.

I have no way to confirm my suspicions at this point , but I think it is safe to assume that the flame war this religious debate has sparked has ultimately led to the removal of the entire MUD Connector forums.  It is unfortunate that this site owner, and the collection of petty, bickering, trolling wastrels who populate TMC’s forums, allowed this debate to degenerate to this level.  It should have been obvious to all parties involved, right from the start, that this would quickly turn into a massive flame war, and that each side of the debate was already deeply entrenched in their respective positions right from the start, and no amount of whining, bitching, trolling, or otherwise acting like a bunch of cunts would in any way change anyone’s mind or sway anyone from their original positions, and would only serve to piss a whole bunch of people off.

This whole incident is a black mark on the MUD community as a whole.  We should all be ashamed of ourselves.