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Old 06-14-2008, 04:20 PM   #21
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Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

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Most muds require a player to download a third party client.
There's these two neat programs, they've both shipped on every version of Windows in existence except for Vista, their called telnet, and hyper terminal... (Hell, even on Vista their incredibly simple to install) As for Mac/Linux, well telnet has shipped in EVERY version of them, so yeah stating that to play muds requires having to download a 3rd party client is really just well, not true, for most people.

Oh, and to stay on topic, custom clients are great, as long as they aren't enforced. Custom clients being an option is neat, being the only way to connect to a mud (goto crackwhip.com if you aren't sure exactly what I mean) is lame and will cause many people accustomed to their favorite client to flat out not play your game at all.
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Old 06-14-2008, 04:52 PM   #22
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Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

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Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
There's these two neat programs, they've both shipped on every version of Windows in existence except for Vista, their called telnet, and hyper terminal... (Hell, even on Vista their incredibly simple to install) As for Mac/Linux, well telnet has shipped in EVERY version of them, so yeah stating that to play muds requires having to download a 3rd party client is really just well, not true, for most people.
A MUD will be slitting their own wrists if they direct a player new to our type of games to play on telnet or anything like it.
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:24 PM   #23
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Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

Yeah. 1) They are usually intended to be "basic" shells for talking to networks, not games, 2) they can't do jack beyond that, and 3) at least with Windows versions, they don't automatically default to ANSI, but require archane methods of starting them to activate it, never mind any other extended features that clients may have, which means the game will look bad, or not work at all with them.

If default Telnet apps where upgraded, instead of languishing in the same state that MS also kept MS Sort-of-Paint and Barely-a-Notepad, this might not be true. Instead, they decided not to *ever* even upgrade it to something as basic as *supporting* ANSI automatically, instead of making you manually turn on the older V-100 standard, but actually *disabled it* by default in the latest OS... This is just completely nuts.
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Old 06-15-2008, 02:00 AM   #24
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Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

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If default Telnet apps where upgraded, instead of languishing in the same state that MS also kept MS Sort-of-Paint and Barely-a-Notepad, this might not be true. Instead, they decided not to *ever* even upgrade it to something as basic as *supporting* ANSI automatically, instead of making you manually turn on the older V-100 standard, but actually *disabled it* by default in the latest OS... This is just completely nuts.
If an applet in Windows isn't going to be used by at least a million users (as a wild guess), Microsoft tends to remove it. You're lucky (in a way) that the Telnet apps haven't been removed completely.

Reaslistically, very few people use the Telnet apps, and even if they were super-souped up, the number of people using them wouldn't increase that much.
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Old 06-15-2008, 09:41 PM   #25
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Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

Probably true, but then, like you said, this is MS mentality. Never correctly support anything old, make people upgrade, even if it doesn't work with prior documents/systems, then *insist* that this is to make the system more efficient, despite the fact that a) its more bloated, slower, consumes more system resources, etc., and b) other people somehow manage to make "better" systems, without cutting out every single application thats gotten "old". One would almost think they where trying to cheat people out of money, instead of providing the best product. lol
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Old 06-16-2008, 05:01 AM   #26
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Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

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Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
Oh, and to stay on topic, custom clients are great, as long as they aren't enforced. Custom clients being an option is neat, being the only way to connect to a mud (goto crackwhip.com if you aren't sure exactly what I mean) is lame and will cause many people accustomed to their favorite client to flat out not play your game at all.
This is may be true if the only person your marketing your game to is the existing mud player who understands the differences between clients and has over many years come to understand how one particular client works and no matter how much better something is, will not for the love of god give up his particular client. We all know those who play using gmud or telnet or something equally as stupid IMO.

On the other hand, if you want to market your game specifically to non mudders and to grow new players into a text based game medium then your going to have to offer them an experience that they can understand. A custom client download is one method and an really good web interface would be another.

For the game that I'm currently working on, i put in a lot of time into researching various aspects of the game design and connection methods by surveying 140 people from 2 different age groups that I have identified as being my target audience. (Sidenote: This also was used as my university statistics project)

The one huge standout from the analysis was that nearly everyone saw the 3rd mud client as a barrier that would stop them from playing a game and that it was very confusing. When offered a choice between a web client and a propriety client download, they would take the download.

I have also been able to run practical experiments with 70 upper primary students, (12 y/o). When offered a choice between telnet, mushclient and a webapp, they all connected via the webapp. Not one could connect to a game using telnet, or mushclient. When offered a propriety client as a download that was configured in such a way as to connect to the game either automatically or via a quick connect method then nearly all were able to connect and progress through creation. (for this part i used a pre-configured mushclient and portal-GT)

The smart muds will come into the modern age and will offer prospective players a custom mud that has either been designed with a single game in mind like BatMud which in my opinion is absolutely brilliant or they can offer a preconfigured mushclient or similar as a download to overcome initial barriers. Mushclient with its plugin architecture is the perfect client for use in such situations.

As for limiting access to only one type of client + a web interface, i am considering this for my own game. i don't really see the current mud player as my target audience, so potentially missing out on a few players that way is not really an issue to me.
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Old 06-16-2008, 11:27 AM   #27
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Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

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Originally Posted by The_Fury View Post
This is may be true if the only person your marketing your game to is the existing mud player who understands the differences between clients and has over many years come to understand how one particular client works and no matter how much better something is, will not for the love of god give up his particular client.
Emphasis mine. It's true if any of those you are marketing your game to are existing mudders. Also note that "better" is a subjective term - you might think your client is great, while someone else might think it stinks. If people have the choice then they'll use what they prefer, while if they don't they might decide to give your game a miss entirely.

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On the other hand, if you want to market your game specifically to non mudders and to grow new players into a text based game medium then your going to have to offer them an experience that they can understand. A custom client download is one method and an really good web interface would be another.
You can still offer them a custom client without excluding other clients. Forcing people to use your client won't make your mud any more appealing to newcomers, it'll just raise the entry barrier for existing mudders.

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As for limiting access to only one type of client + a web interface, i am considering this for my own game. i don't really see the current mud player as my target audience, so potentially missing out on a few players that way is not really an issue to me.
You're creating a mud which doesn't target mudders?
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Old 06-16-2008, 06:55 PM   #28
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Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

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You're creating a mud which doesn't target mudders?
Some of the most successful games (of genres) have been simplified/revised games targeted at non-core games.

For example:

Real-time strategy games - Real strategy games (from Avalon Hill) took hours per move, and all sorts of complicated rules. The same complexity was included in the computer equivalents. Then RTS was invented, which is a strategy game that's targeted at non-strategy-game players.

Myst - You could think of it as a redesigned/simplified adventure game.

Runescape - A simple MMORPG with crappy graphics. Real MMORPG players despise it. Runescape has 9M players.

Adventurequest and friends - A very simple CRPG with anime graphics. Heaps of players.
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:56 PM   #29
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Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

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You can still offer them a custom client without excluding other clients. Forcing people to use your client won't make your mud any more appealing to newcomers, it'll just raise the entry barrier for existing mudders.
What forcing someone to use a specific client does tho, is allow you to offer a game experience that is uniform across all players and it allows me as the developer to have total control over every aspect of my game.

Raising the entry level to mudders in some situations might actually be a good thing. Lets be honest a great majority of mudders are pretty fickle, they dislike change and are happy with what they like and are comfortable with.

To elaborate much on this is difficult without sounding whining, there are a huge list of reasons based on my experience that has led me down this path, . tho if i was to make use of a 1 client policy it would be because i want to control every aspect of my game.

Quote:
You're creating a mud which doesn't target mudders?
Yes this is exactly what i am doing. Firstly i do not consider my game to be a MUD from a traditional standpoint. And while i share features with muds and use text as the interface, i feel my game fits more into a FPS MMORPG category better than it does a MUD.

I do not see a lot of potential for growth within the existing mudding audience. I see it as a shrinking demographic of mostly over 25's who have been playing MUDs for a number of years who are well catered for by the existing games that own most of the market share and to break into this the existing mud market is extraordinarily hard. I feel that covers about 95% of the players out the, the other 5% are encompassed by the tinkerers who put up a stock base to play with for a while or those who are programmers who have a need to make something new.

I see the greatest potential for growth in the 12 to 19 y/o casual game segment, where the players actively try new games, play for a short period of time and move on to something new. Pretty much the opposite thinking of muds that like to gain players and keep them for extended periods of time.

My game has been designed to keep someone interested for between 4 and 6 months and then after that they would most likely move on to other games. I have developed a rather in depth marketing strategy for the game that i feel will be able to get it off the ground, and will be directly marketed to 35,000 individuals in my local community through a partner ship with a retail games outlet.

The game itself is competition based that will offer 6 to 8 weekly competitions with cash and prizes begin offered in a number of catagories.

I am happy to elaborate further if you want, im just rushed right now and cannot add more.

The_Fury.
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Old 06-17-2008, 05:00 AM   #30
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Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

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Originally Posted by MikeRozak View Post
Some of the most successful games (of genres) have been simplified/revised games targeted at non-core games.
But how many successful games have been specifically targeted at people who don't play that type of game at all? Perhaps there are some, but I can't imagine there are many. A mud designed to appeal to people who have never played Diku, EverQuest, MUSH, WoW, etc...that's going to be a pretty hard sell.

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What forcing someone to use a specific client does tho, is allow you to offer a game experience that is uniform across all players and it allows me as the developer to have total control over every aspect of my game.
Not really. There's nothing stopping a dedicated player from creating their own client - and if there is value in doing so, and your game is successful, then sooner or later that's exactly what will happen.

As I said before, all it does is raise the entry barrier for existing mudders.

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Firstly i do not consider my game to be a MUD from a traditional standpoint. And while i share features with muds and use text as the interface, i feel my game fits more into a FPS MMORPG category better than it does a MUD.
It'll still be a type of mud, just as MMORPGs are a type of mud (indeed some of them are little more than Diku clones with a graphical client). Muds come in many different shapes and flavours, and those who play your mud will also be mudders.

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My game has been designed to keep someone interested for between 4 and 6 months and then after that they would most likely move on to other games.
You're deliberately discouraging existing players from trying your mud, and those who do play will be expected to leave after 4-6 months? If I were attempting to create a popular mud I would be doing the reverse - appeal to existing players as much as to new ones, and attempt to keep them interested for as long as possible.
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Old 06-17-2008, 06:33 AM   #31
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Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

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But how many successful games have been specifically targeted at people who don't play that type of game at all? Perhaps there are some, but I can't imagine there are many. A mud designed to appeal to people who have never played Diku, EverQuest, MUSH, WoW, etc...that's going to be a pretty hard sell.
I think your connecting dots that do not exist here Kavir. The very people that i intend to market my game to are players of web based MMO's, graphical muds and the like. There is a huge segment of the gaming market in the 12 to 19 y/o bracket who play games on a more casual basis, games that are quick and fun and do not have huge learning curves or are overly technical, that do not take huge inputs of time to be successful at. It would also appear that this segment is more willing to try something different and are more easily persuaded by their friends to have a go.

Quote:
You're deliberately discouraging existing players from trying your mud, and those who do play will be expected to leave after 4-6 months? If I were attempting to create a popular mud I would be doing the reverse - appeal to existing players as much as to new ones, and attempt to keep them interested for as long as possible.
I would not say that i am discouraging them, but rather i am intentionally ignoring them as i do not see them as my target audience. In just the same way as a large segment of the mud community does not see DBZ players as their target audience, being that they are generally young and somewhat immature,( which really is to be expected,) where as other muds cater for a more mature audience.

What DBZ was able to do however, was to bring young people from other styles of games into the world of text based games, something i dont see a lot of from other mud genres. They came from runescape from pokemon online from other tamagotchi type web games. And while the established muds slammed anyone from DBZ, they were able to do the very thing that most muds cannot do, and thats grow new players into the mudding world.

I did not say that anyone would be expected to leave. Rather i said that the game was designed to keep someone interested for around 6 months, a time that my research suggests that the target demographic get sick of a game and naturally move on.
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Old 06-17-2008, 06:53 AM   #32
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Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

I think we're getting mixed up over terminology here:

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Originally Posted by The_Fury View Post
i don't really see the current mud player as my target audience
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
You're creating a mud which doesn't target mudders?
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Fury View Post
Yes this is exactly what i am doing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
A mud designed to appeal to people who have never played Diku, EverQuest, MUSH, WoW, etc...that's going to be a pretty hard sell.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Fury View Post
The very people that i intend to market my game to are players of web based MMO's, graphical muds and the like.
You are targeting mudders - just not text-based mudders. If you're creating a graphical mud, and specifically targeting those who play other graphical muds, then I can understand why you'd want to require people to download a client. That's pretty much a requirement for graphical muds, after all.
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Old 06-20-2008, 03:27 PM   #33
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Angry Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

One reason I'm interested in custom client development is that my feeling is that telnet, as a protocol, is a dead end because of the mind-bogglingly poor protocol implementations of most telnet clients and most telnet servers. There is just too much installed based of crap for it to ever go anywhere. Even 'real company' telnet product vendors aren't interested in improving their protocol support; I made a serious effort to communicate to VanDyke Software (makers of CRT and SecureCRT) how their character-mode support was broken, and got fobbed off with a cheap, easy "oh, the server is doing something wrong" (not the case, and obviously so to anyone who had actually read my detailed bug report). That leaves a lot of space in the area of interface that MUDs can't move forward in as long as they're hobbled by telnet.
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Old 06-21-2008, 02:02 AM   #34
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Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

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One reason I'm interested in custom client development is that my feeling is that telnet, as a protocol, is a dead end...
IMHO, telnet (as a living protocol) died sometime around 1995 when the WWW made HTML popular.
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Old 06-21-2008, 02:43 AM   #35
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Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

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IMHO, telnet (as a living protocol) died sometime around 1995 when the WWW made HTML popular.
Telnet died when dialup died. The great thing about Text Muds is that you can still play them on telnet AND dialup and at 400 baud modem with an 8088, 4.77 Mhz machine.

Try playing WoW on that!
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Old 06-21-2008, 02:20 PM   #36
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Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

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One reason I'm interested in custom client development is that my feeling is that telnet, as a protocol, is a dead end because of the mind-bogglingly poor protocol implementations of most telnet clients and most telnet servers.
Lets be clear here. The *big* companies don't care, since they never intended the clients to run games or support anything other then the "basic" font. By definition, telnet has, until muds came along and people started trying to do wacky stuff with it, been solely a means to connect one text based interface to another text based interface, so that you can send commands to the remote system and get responses. Character support isn't needed, because, the presumption is that **both** ends are using the text mode of the graphics card, which has one single OEM font on it, which, unless you are using a MAC or some such, hasn't *significantly* changed since the first system that actually supported a full 8-bit character set, instead of 7-bit. The reason most are broken, is because there is *no* .TTF font that isn't also "broken" with respect to that original font. Most telnet game apps either use a .FON, which does have the right characters, or, if its real clever, it *may* use something like Lucida Console, and *translate* the codes for the high bit range into the correct UTF-8/unicode designations. However, *most* fonts don't support those characters.

Its what you get from having games that *still* operate using a single font, for the most part, still treat the font as though its the original OEM GPU font, but every fracking machine in existence now uses graphical systems, which employ *typesetter* fonts, which have *never* matched the OEM. It only gets worse when you actually "send" unicode, since then the client and server both need to know its being used, have the right font and correctly figure out "which" type of unicode is being used. And, that isn't broken telnet, that is broken unicode support, sitting "on" telnet.

The problem isn't telnet. Its just a means to get data from point A to point B, using a system that is stream driven, which things like HTML are not. HTML is "request driven", i.e., you have to "tell it", you are asking for the content, before server sends anything. Telnet opens a path, then just streams things, both ways. That is what you *want* for a game, unless you are going to have 4-5 different ports open, each talking to a different subservice on the server.

The **real** problem is, no one can both agree on a protocol to put on "top of" the stream to do more with it, *or* implement them right when they do. Zugg's MXP idea had some merit, but his own client doesn't fallow the specifications "as written", and nothing has come out of Nick Gammon's attempt to talk about whether its more reasonable to follow the precise specification, or allow it to remain broken. Result - Nick's client won't work for many muds out there, because they made it work with zMud, which ignores the part of the specifications that implies that "unrecognized tags" are **errors**, and that to display "text" containing a "<", you need to use &lt, not just dump something like, "<<Happy Fish Pond>>", in the middle of the stream of data.

What is needed is an agreement on how the fracking stuff should work, which isn't ambiguous, and some idea how or *if* a second port needs to be used for some data, and precisely "how" that information should be displayed, or integrated into the text window, if you allow that in the specification. Instead we have a dozen different, only rarely used, concepts, half the features of which are either not used, used wrong, or are so ambiguous in description that no one knows how they "should" work or interact with each other the right way. And, just to make things even dumber, since many people throw up their hands, decide they don't want to help find a solution, then just write their own "my server only" client (i.e. a custom one), and end up doing nothing but adding one more protocol to the mess, possibly not even documented any place other than on their own machine.

Telnet still works perfectly. Its the refusal of anyone adding to it to agree on anything, or come up with reasonably sane implementation specifications that makes it a disaster. And that includes the bozos that write unicode support that flat out doesn't work right, a problem you get, just as often, in applications that have nothing *at all* to do with telnet. All they do is buy/build some library that "looks like" it works right, in a few test cases, then argue that, "because we spent $5,000 to license this thing that doesn't work, it **must** work, so the problem has to be on you server, not our overpriced bug terrarium!"
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Old 06-21-2008, 02:40 PM   #37
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Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

What you're saying about add-on layers is entirely on-point. However, telnet does not work perfectly. Telnet is broken. Why? Because character mode is part of the specification. Some vanishingly small percentage of running code actually implements the specification for it. A much larger percentage of running code implements a transitional out-of-spec hack for it from back in the day, and generally does a crap job of even that. What I found with SecureCRT was that it does support character mode, using the out-of-spec hack, if you engage character mode at the beginning of the session, after which you can never switch back to line mode. (This is to say, VanDyke's developers already had all the code they needed, they just needed to switch it on or off under any definable conditions, in-spec or out-of-spec, and couldn't be bothered.)
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Old 06-21-2008, 03:22 PM   #38
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Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

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Originally Posted by shadowfyr View Post
The problem isn't telnet. Its just a means to get data from point A to point B, using a system that is stream driven, which things like HTML are not. HTML is "request driven", i.e., you have to "tell it", you are asking for the content, before server sends anything. Telnet opens a path, then just streams things, both ways. That is what you *want* for a game, unless you are going to have 4-5 different ports open, each talking to a different subservice on the server.
You are confusing HTML and HTTP. Admittedly, you could claim Mike was doing this in his post too, but I think he was more making the point that when HTML became popular, the relative usefulness of protocols that are oriented towards text-only data dropped significantly.

Quote:
The **real** problem is, no one can both agree on a protocol to put on "top of" the stream to do more with it, *or* implement them right when they do. Zugg's MXP idea had some merit, but his own client doesn't fallow the specifications "as written", and nothing has come out of Nick Gammon's attempt to talk about whether its more reasonable to follow the precise specification, or allow it to remain broken.
MXP is a poor protocol. The various special cases and hacks make it awkward to implement, and it reinvents several wheels that didn't need to be invented. The low level should have been handled via telnet subnegotiation rather than pushed inline, and most of the presentation tags are more than adequately addressed in XHTML and CSS without needing to duplicate that effort under new names.
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:29 PM   #39
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Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

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What I found with SecureCRT was that it does support character mode, using the out-of-spec hack, if you engage character mode at the beginning of the session, after which you can never switch back to line mode.
Ok. I can see where that would be real dumb. The question is, of course, whether or not there is any real point inventing a new protocol, which no one is using, and would likely be complicated to change code bases to, instead of getting fools like those you mention to just fix their code so its not doing the equivalent of trying to use Mosaic to try to read a page made with XHTML and CSS. Will anyone *use it*?
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:33 PM   #40
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Re: custom clients. Good or bad?

The appeal of using a custom client specific to your game is that you can use your own protocol and only worry about whether your game works, not spec compliance (your own or others' failure of).
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