Category: News

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.

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.

Proposed Changes to Sword & Pen MUD

Creative Chinese Character Art

Creative Chinese Character Art (Photo credit: sinosplice)

The problem with area links on Sword & Pen MUD seems to be fixed.  Now I have to stop being lazy, and get to work on some new areas.  Also, while I have been testing out the MUD, I have been pondering some changes.  First, I would like to add a simple tier system to the MUD.  The way this would work is that all new characters would start at tier zero.  Any time after reaching level 91, a player may contact an Archon to retire their character.  When that player creates a new character, that character would be at tier one.  Any unspent quest points from their previous character would be transferred to the new character, and tier one characters would start the game with one extra training point.  If a tier one character is retired, a tier two character can be created, with two extra training points, and so on.  Retired characters would be moved to a special account, and the player would no longer have access to that character, except for special events.  The tier system could be used in conjunction with the remort system I already have in place to create characters that are both tiered and remorted.  See HELP REMORT in the MUD for more details on my remort system.

In addition to the tier system, I am also considering changing the lighting rules.  In most outdoor rooms, especially in populated areas where streets would be lit, time of day would no longer cause total room darkness.  In Sword & Pen MUD, there are four moons,  and plenty of moonlight, so darkness shouldn’t be a problem in outdoor areas, except perhaps on exceptionally cloudy nights.

I am also looking at hunger and thirst.  I feel that our current hunger and thirst messages are a bit spammy, and don’t really add anything to the game.  I am considering disabling hunger and thirst entirely, and making food and drink only for roleplaying purposes, and perhaps make it possible to create food and drink items that provide healing and other effects.

I would love to hear some thoughts about these proposed changes.  Leave a comment, and let me know what you think.

Work Continues On Sword & Pen MUD

Sword Full

Sword Full (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been testing out the new Sword & Pen MUD for the past few days, and I have been finding more and more area links that are broken.  I think this may have been caused by importing areas over top of existing areas, so today, I removed all the stock areas, and re-imported them.  Hopefully this should fix the problem, although I will have to do some more testing.

If you are playing Sword & Pen MUD, and find any more bugs like this, please report them using the in-game BUG command.  That will help me out a lot.  Also don’t forget the TYPO and IDEA commands.  You can get more information on these commands from the in-game help system.  Just type HELP at the prompt.

I am going to be taking test character from level 1 to 91, and visiting as many areas as I can to look for more bugs, and get ideas for my own areas and quests.  I already have some cool new features in mind.  I have also added a new page to this blog, to make information about the MUD easier to find.  If their is anything you think should be included on the MUD page, please let me know in a comment.  I won’t be putting vote buttons on that page until I get a little more original content up on the MUD.

Sword & Pen MUD Launches This Week

Swords from the Tenth to the Thirteenth Centuries

Swords from the Tenth to the Thirteenth Centuries (Photo credit: One lucky guy)

Today I am pleased to announce the official launch of the Sword & Pen MUD.  This MUD is based on the coffeeMUD codebase, and features classic areas that should be familiar to players of ROM based MUDs.  The Sword & Pen MUD will serve as a fun social hangout for readers of the Sword & Pen blog, and anyone else who wants to stop by.

For those of you that want to try your hand at building, either through OLC, or with CoffeeMUD’s powerful and easy to use browser based building environment, Sword & Pen offers you the opportunity to experiment with building your own areas and quests.  I will be putting builder applications online shortly.

Keep a lookout for the new Sword & Pen MUD page that I will be adding to this blog, which will contain information on how to connect to the Sword & Pen MUD, and how to sign up for a builder account.  I look forward to hanging out with my fellow MUDers and meeting new friends on Sword & Pen  MUD, as we create worlds and go on epic adventures together.  This may be starting out as a simple, stock coffeeMUD, but I hope this project will evolve into much more!

Introduction

La bildo estas kopiita de wikipedia:es. La ori...

La bildo estas kopiita de wikipedia:es. La originala priskribo estas: Dados típicos de 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 y 20 caras (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My Name is J.S. Wilson, and I am a role-playing game enthusiast.  specifically, after years of playing various types of role-playing games, both electronic and table-top, I have come to have particular love of a type of game called MUD, which stands for Multi-User Dungeon.  MUDs are one of the earliest types of computer role-playing games.  They don’t rely on fancy graphics, but rather, are strictly text-based.  It allows for a type of gaming experience in which your own imagination can play the central role, much like the difference of reading a book instead of watching a movie.  I also have an interest in several other related topics, including other types of computer and table-top role-playing games.

My reason for writing this blog is to share my passion for MUD gaming, and introduce others to this wonderful hobby.  I look forward to connecting with fellow gamers, and sharing our passion for the hobby and lifestyle that is gaming.  This blog will document my experiences as both a player, and builder of games.

In upcoming posts, you can expect to find first hand accounts of various games I have encountered, and what I have learned from them, as well as details of the challenges I face and overcome when learning to play these games, and work on my own games.  I am going to be talking about the process I go through on my road from gaming enthusiast to game designer.

I would like to encourage you to leave your comments as you stop by and read Sword & Pen.  Even if you don’t always agree with me, I am always interested in different viewpoints, and would love to hear them, so long as we can keep our debate intelligent and respectful.  If you have something cool to point out, that you think I, or anyone else reading this blog would like to know about, I would love to hear those things as well.  I look forward to getting to know you, and reading your comments!