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!.

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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!

Aardwolf and MUSHclient

A screenshot of one of the many different init...

A screenshot of one of the many different initial login screens for 3K, as seen in MUSHclient (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I actually got all of my work done early today, so I figure I can take this opportunity to relax and play some Aardwolf.  I think what I like the most about their game so far is their custom version of MUSHclient.  I especially love that it has a fully clickable map.  I love playing text games, but the clickable map realy helps me visualize where I am at, and makes navigation much easier.  My biggest challenge when I first started playing MUDs almost 20 years ago was just figuring out where I was at, and how to get to where I wanted to go.  I still have this problem in some MUDs, since I can’t afford to pay for CMUD, and I have yet to find a free MUD client that has a mapper that reliably works on most MUDs.  Even CMUD’s automapper lets me down sometimes.

There has been a lot of discussion on Top MUD Sites forums about modernizing MUDs and so on, and a lot of that talk has revolved around graphical clients.  Personally, if I wanted to play a graphical game, and don’t get me wrong, I play plenty of graphical games, but if I want graphics, a MUD is not where I look for them.  I like my MUDs to be primarily text based.  I use MUSHclient most of the time, with no extra plugins, except, in cases such as Aardwolf, where these plugins are provided for me in a nice, convenient, easy to install package from the MUD operators.  If a MUD offers a nice browser based client that I like, I use it, but otherwise I connect with MUSHclient, mudlet, pUtty, or plain old telnet.  I don’t really want to play a MUD that doesn’t support the most basic telnet, even if I am using something a little better, like MUSHclient.  If I feel that I am put at a noticeable disadvantage on a MUD by not using a graphical client, I don’t want to play that MUD.

All that being said, offering something like the clickable map on Aardwolf is very appealing to me. If I were to make one suggestion to MUD operators, it would be to offer something like Aardwolf’s clickable map.  A simple plugin for MUSHclient, mudlet, or, even better, both, would go a long way.  There is a reason Aardwolf is consistently the number one ranked MUD on Top MUD Sites.  While their MUSHclient plugins are far from the only reason, I would put good money on this being a contributing factor.  I am not suggest that other MUDs copy Aardwolf to vie for that number one spot, but there’s certainly a lesson to be learned from their success.

Planning

Combat was simple turn-based point and click f...

Combat was simple turn-based point and click fare, typical of many graphical RPG’s of its time. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why do I always ignore good advice?  Since I started working on my MUD, I have read in every MUD forum and every piece of codebase documentation I have ever looked at about planning out areas on graph paper before I actually start building them, and yet, I have studiously ignored this advice, because I am always so impatient when it comes to building MUD areas.  Unfortunately, I am now starting to see that I have a much harder time building my areas without a written plan.  So tonight I am assigning myself a homework assignment.  Tonight, I am going to sit down at my desk with my notebook, and my pencil, and draw a map of my new area Sea Meadows.

I originally was going to give Sea Meadows a small village feel, but now I am leaning more towards making it a small city.  It needs to include some kind of central square, which will serve as the primary recall room for this MUD, as well as a variety of shops and guilds.  It should also have at least a couple of quests geared towards low level groups.

I don’t want to get too hung up on all the minutia of this area just yet.  Fussing over all the details tends to derail me from the bigger picture, and hinder me from making progress.  For now, my job is just to come up with a least of a bare minimum of rooms this area will need, and then start putting those rooms on a map.