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Old 11-06-2007, 08:02 AM   #1
Aeran
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A MUD from scratch

Armed with MUD Game Programming I was ready to explore something new and create the ultimate super MUD . Then I realized there are hundreds of similar MUDs out there. If I was to make a MUD it would most likely suck. Most likely noone would want to play it. Who wants to play a text game, anyway? Not that it really matters .

Eventually you reach the requirements analysis of your little game project. A MUD needs dungeons. A MUD needs mobiles and combat. There's objects, skills and some kind of rule system. You realize what you just wrote down is pretty basic and probably covers 98% of the MUDs out there. Perhaps this is about atomic design elements? Perhaps the truth is that a game is an emergent system with many basic elements? Maybe there is a need to reach beyond the basic to find an unique design. Eventually you reach a massive list of requirements(and you realize the list will probably continue to grow as you work on other parts).

Then you begin write a story to tie the system to. A story that perhaps will give you ideas on how to proceed to make the ultimate MUD. A week later you read a book and notice it is almost the very same story/plot as the one you just made up . What you realize is that there aren't many really unique designs you like left.

Then you happen to mention your project to some friends just to get told how poor text games are, and that you should be doing 3D or simply come play some existing game with them.

Right now I am uncertain what to do. Should I proceed with my text game, knowing it might help me improve my coding and possibly be able to make a decent game? Though most likely it would have close to no players. The alternative is to start study 3D game programming but it would probably result in a very poor game with poor graphics quality.

Am I the only one who has started to feel like it is a bit hopeless? Few people seem to want to play text games today, and even if you make a text game it wouldn't really be anything new. In text games you have chance to compete a bit but then again there are MUDs out there with >10 years of improvements on them.

Perhaps the solution is just to do what you find fun, and don't care too much about what others are doing or their opinion about your project?
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Old 11-06-2007, 08:34 AM   #2
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Re: A MUD from scratch

You should persist.
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:09 AM   #3
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Re: A MUD from scratch

I played for long years under the excuse of improving my english-language skills, and indeed they improved (though my grades suffered a whole lot). You will probably find that apart from everything else, the hobby of building/maintaining a MUD requires time (a lot of it) and determination. The other thing is that as you spend more and more time on it, it becomes harder to stop and close shop.

The fact that there are successful MUDs out there should be encouraging, I would look towards some of the newer commercial games for encouragement (they must be getting players from somewhere, right?

Whatever you decide, I wish you luck and for you to have fun doing it,
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Old 11-06-2007, 07:02 PM   #4
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Re: A MUD from scratch

Do you like math or design more? With 3D graphics, you'll learn a ton of really nifty math to do all sorts of things. With a MUD, you probably already know all of the mathematics that you need to. On the flip side, working on a MUD will give you a much broader understanding of various subjects - software design, networking and databases come to mind.

There's really no wrong answer here, though. They're both pretty interesting topics. If you're really torn, resolve to do both. The nice thing about learning DirectX or whatever is that you can make something cool in an afternoon, whereas making a MUD I imagine would be a longer term thing. Distractions are good.

And really, realize that nobody's going to play the first game that you make anyway, so don't worry so much. The first one is about getting better footing for the second, third and beyond.
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Old 11-06-2007, 07:19 PM   #5
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Re: A MUD from scratch

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And really, realize that nobody's going to play the first game that you make anyway, so don't worry so much. The first one is about getting better footing for the second, third and beyond.
Hey now. Achaea was my first game and it's done (more than) alright. Even had to teach myself to code for it (much to the chagrin of better programmers I hired later on who sometimes still have to deal with the ramifications of my early code decisions). I get what you're saying but I think you're painting an overly pessimistic picture.

--matt
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Old 11-06-2007, 07:32 PM   #6
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Re: A MUD from scratch

I gotta agree with Matt on this one. Your first game isn't guaranteed to be "unplayed." If you do a good job on it, bring together a solid team of people, and have a LOT of luck (something whose role is never to be underrated in the success or failure of ANY project), then your first game could be a huge hit.
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Old 11-06-2007, 07:38 PM   #7
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Re: A MUD from scratch

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I gotta agree with Matt on this one. Your first game isn't guaranteed to be "unplayed." If you do a good job on it, bring together a solid team of people, and have a LOT of luck (something whose role is never to be underrated in the success or failure of ANY project), then your first game could be a huge hit.
Some great advice on here. One additional piece, it isn't just about the code. Remember that these games are communities not just games and if you get the rest right you'll be surprised how much patience most players will have while you figure out your bugs (and how little a small but very loud minority will have )

As for luck, I'm not sure if Donald Trump is responsible for this or just quoted it himself, but on a CNBC interview with him one part that really stuck out for me was, "The harder I work, the luckier I get".
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Old 11-07-2007, 06:05 AM   #8
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Re: A MUD from scratch

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And really, realize that nobody's going to play the first game that you make anyway, so don't worry so much. The first one is about getting better footing for the second, third and beyond.
My first online game (God Wars) proved so popular that I was forced to add a hard limit to the number of simultaneous players - the mud was constantly at that limit, with a queue of people waiting to get on 24/7 (the second someone quit, another player would connect). Without the limit (which didn't apply to imms) I couldn't actually log on to my own game, because the server wouldn't allow that many simultaneous connections.

Since shutting God Wars down, several hundred other muds have used the code as the basis for their own games, and although individually they never came close to the playerbase of the original, the engine itself has still been played by a lot of people.

There were a lot of things I did poorly the first time around, and a lot of lessons I've learned from the different muds I've developed over the years, but my current game still has only a fraction of the playerbase that my first mud had (although admittedly, this time around I don't have three computer labs full of fellow University students following my lead).
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Old 11-07-2007, 08:29 AM   #9
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Re: A MUD from scratch

Okay okay, that was too much of a blanket statement. What I meant was not to worry about it too much.
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Old 11-07-2007, 10:53 AM   #10
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Re: A MUD from scratch

Something else I'd like to add in response to the OP's comment that "few people want to play text games."

I strongly disagree with this, and it's the kind of defeatist mindset that lets a lot of would-be MUD developers shoot themselves in the foot. If you're going into this thinking that no one wants to play, well, that's like embarking on the process of writing a book you're sure no one wants to read or developing a movie no one wants to watch. If your own confidence in the project's chances of success is so low, you just shouldn't bother working on the project.

I've found a lot of my own success in the MU*ing world by ignoring the little voices that suggest something won't ever work. Seriously. When I started in 1998, it was after reading the PennMUSH Guide for Gods that said things like: Making a game based on an original theme hurts your chances of success because no one's ever heard of it before. So, what did I do? I made a game based on an original theme.

I publicized the hell out of it, though, and put a lot of work into the ongoing storylines. Word of mouth from the players also helped a lot.

I love it when people tell me something can't be done: It just motivates me to do it anyway. If you don't thrive on that kind of challenge, then you really want to think twice about developing your own game.

Hrm. Sort of wandered off point there. Let's get back to it: I don't think few people want to play text games. I think a lot of people don't know about text games. Yet. But a huge percentage of people around the world have discovered graphical MMOs, and some of them never heard of MUDs and MUSHes, and maybe there's a decent-sized playerbase waiting for our text games to grab when they get tired of grinding and questing and raiding (all the while paying monthly subscription fees and constantly upgrading their graphics cards). I don't think we'll EVER have big MMO numbers on most MUDs, but any stream that comes from the MMOs gets our text genre known to a broader audience.

We could actually see a MUD renaissance of sorts.
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Old 11-08-2007, 03:27 AM   #11
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Re: A MUD from scratch

Keep at it. Text based programmers and coders are rare already. Get interested in it, and who knows, maybe you're the next KaVir. You can really do some cool stuff with mud code.
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Old 11-08-2007, 04:25 AM   #12
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Re: A MUD from scratch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brody View Post
I've found a lot of my own success in the MU*ing world by ignoring the little voices that suggest something won't ever work. Seriously. When I started in 1998, it was after reading the PennMUSH Guide for Gods that said things like: Making a game based on an original theme hurts your chances of success because no one's ever heard of it before. So, what did I do? I made a game based on an original theme.
In my opinion, it's precisely that sort of attitude that's needed if you want to push the envelop (which admittedly not all muds want to do - some prefer to stick to the tried-and-true). Feedback from peers and players is extremely valuable (perhaps even essential), but you shouldn't let it compromise your vision for the mud.

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I love it when people tell me something can't be done: It just motivates me to do it anyway.
I've even had people tell me something can't be done after I've already done it :P
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Old 11-08-2007, 09:15 PM   #13
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Re: A MUD from scratch

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In text games you have chance to compete a bit but then again there are MUDs out there with >10 years of improvements on them.

Perhaps the solution is just to do what you find fun, and don't care too much about what others are doing or their opinion about your project?
Maybe don't focus on making the ultimate super mud. I think there are a lot of ideas out there that could make neat muds. But most people go for the normal DIKU setup.

The advantage of a boutique idea is that it probably has a smaller scope than the ultimate super mud. So the task at hand is more readily achieved by a solo programmer.
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Old 11-09-2007, 08:20 AM   #14
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Re: A MUD from scratch

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Originally Posted by Ide View Post
Maybe don't focus on making the ultimate super mud. I think there are a lot of ideas out there that could make neat muds. But most people go for the normal DIKU setup.

The advantage of a boutique idea is that it probably has a smaller scope than the ultimate super mud. So the task at hand is more readily achieved by a solo programmer.
When you say "DIKU setup", what do you mean? I know you probably mean that it has a whole lot of stock-standard features, but I was more wondering about those "stock-standard" features. What do you think are the stock-standard features of most muds?

Knowing those features could possibly give an idea as to what kinds of things would be considered "new" or "not you average run of the mill..."

Bridgette
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Old 11-09-2007, 10:57 AM   #15
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Re: A MUD from scratch

DIKU setup means the setup of most (99%?) of the muds out there -- you have a universe/continent/islands, with nations/kingdoms/federations, populated by many races/species, with some adventurers/citizens, some back story/legends. I don't mean the features so much -- combat, economy, character customization. In fact you could have the most standard stock combat in a highly 'non-DIKU' setup. It's less about features and more about the overall vision/concept of the mud.
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Old 11-11-2007, 10:48 AM   #16
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Re: A MUD from scratch

Thanks everyone for replying. I think I'll try to do both. The first 3D game I am considering trying to make is a small domino simulator. I don't know how detailed it will be yet.

For the MUD I have decided to focus less on content and more on the engine. Perhaps the first version will just be about a tavern or some smaller town and focus on roleplay .
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Old 11-13-2007, 07:13 AM   #17
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Re: A MUD from scratch

A quick question- why does it have to be a mud from scratch or a graphic game? Your major concern with text based muds appears to be that there is no guarantee of a playerbase (while giving you coding practice). I would suggest taking the middle path and joining an existing project that matches your idea of what a mud should be like and coding for it? If you join an already successful game you inherit a captive playerbase to benefit from your coding, existing areas and a community already present. We already have an ocean of muds out there, many of them downright crappy. A new good mud can come through that pile of junk and be successful, but its harder. Why make things complicated for yourself?

However, thats just me!
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