Tagged: gaming

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!

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!

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.

 

Choosing A MUD Client

If you have read my first two posts, you may be getting curious about these MUD games I have been talking about, and wondering how you can try one.  The first thing you will need is a MUD client.  A MUD client is a program you can use to connect to and play any MUD.  Many MUDs also have browser based clients that allow you to play without downloading any software.  I personally still prefer to have my own stand alone client that allows me to have access to the specific features that I use the most.

I personally play MUDs on three different platforms; Windows, Linux, and Android.  For Windows, I use MUSHclient.  MUSHclient is open source and free to use, includes many advanced features, and can be extended using Lua scripting   For Linux, I use Mudlet.  Mudlet offers similar features to MUSHclient, but runs on linux without using WINE.  For Android, I use Blowtorch.  Blowtorch is the best MUD client I have found for Android so far, but it can be a bit buggy, and crashes from time to time.

The two features I use the most in my MUD clients are the built in spell check function, and command histories.  In MUSHclient, for example, I can press Ctrl+J, and spell check anything on my command line before I enter it.  This is very important in MUDs since the whole game is in text, and players need to be able to communicate clearly.  This is also useful when building in MUDs, so you can spell check all your room descriptions.  Command histories allow me to scroll through my most recent commands, so I don’t have to retype things every time I use them.

There are a lot more things you can do with a MUD client, but this is really about all I use.  I don’t even use triggers and aliases, which are two of the most popular MUD client features, because I prefer a slower paced style of play, which really doesn’t require those types of features.

There are tons of other options when it comes to MUD clients.  If you have any other suggestions you would like to add, please share them here in your comments!