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Old 02-09-2009, 05:32 PM   #1
the_logos
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What defines a "MUD" ?

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Originally Posted by scandum View Post
If the Kongregrate flash client works correctly Achae, Aetolia, Imperian, Lusternia have currently respectively 147, 58, 48, 74 players online.

I guess it must be significantly more expensive to bring in outside players.
It is, and getting more expensive over time. It's definitely harder to get a non-text-MUDer to try out a text MUD for any length of time now than it was 5 years ago.

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Have you ever considered advertising at a text based MMORPG like Utopia? Utopia - Home
A text MMORPG IS a text MUD.

I haven't looked at Utopia specifically before, though they seem to be using tribalfusion for their ads, which makes it hard to target ads on their site.

--matt
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Old 02-10-2009, 06:46 PM   #2
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Re: What happened to Materiamagica???

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A text MMORPG IS a text MUD.
Not necessarily, unless you have a pretty wide definition of a MUD. Though, to be fair, I wouldn't have called it a text-based MMORPG either, so maybe your statement is correct, but just doesn't apply to this game.

Looking at it, it's more of a strategy/diplomacy game (and probably turn-based). As far as I can see, there's no characters, or movement, or first-person action. You control resources that do things in the abstract, and get pitted against each other. It doesn't look like there is in-game IM, just a forum.
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Old 02-10-2009, 06:57 PM   #3
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Re: What happened to Materiamagica???

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Originally Posted by Zhiroc View Post
Not necessarily, unless you have a pretty wide definition of a MUD. Though, to be fair, I wouldn't have called it a text-based MMORPG either, so maybe your statement is correct, but just doesn't apply to this game.

Looking at it, it's more of a strategy/diplomacy game (and probably turn-based). As far as I can see, there's no characters, or movement, or first-person action. You control resources that do things in the abstract, and get pitted against each other. It doesn't look like there is in-game IM, just a forum.
Interesting tangent on the thread, if you don't mind I think I'll take the liberty of moving it to a new one and add something I've been struggling with recently to it.
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Old 02-10-2009, 07:07 PM   #4
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Re: What happened to Materiamagica???

There's a more detailed post about how I came to pick up TMS here:

http://www.topmudsites.com/forums/ta...html#post39374

However, the short version, both for selfish reasons and because I love MUDs was to keep the site true to "MUDs" compared to some of the directions it could have taken.

As more games add graphical clients, and more games that are essentially MUDs but far more graphical appear, many of them submit their listings here.

This isn't "topmmosites.com" and there's plenty of high quality sites out there for MMOs. You can make an argument that WoW itself is a "MUD". You can also make an argument that anything where you interactive via point/click is not a "real" (traditional) MUD. So where's the line?

I'm asking more in terms of a wider discussion to see what people think, but secondary to that trying to figure out at what point is a MUD "not MUD enough" to be listed on TMS. Or, if we should just take everything, put it in the graphical games section and let it sort itself out. I'm sure that would be good for site traffic, but maybe not so good for what we know as "MUDs".
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:39 PM   #5
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Re: What happened to Materiamagica???

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Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
I'm asking more in terms of a wider discussion to see what people think, but secondary to that trying to figure out at what point is a MUD "not MUD enough" to be listed on TMS. Or, if we should just take everything, put it in the graphical games section and let it sort itself out. I'm sure that would be good for site traffic, but maybe not so good for what we know as "MUDs".

IMO you should take everything, from WOW to browser based resource management games and everything in between, break them down into suitable categories like 3d, d2, text, with subcategories based on theme, genera and the like. The more the merrier.

I think more traffic here would allow for better exposure of our games to a non mud playing audience. The great exodus from text to 3d has already happened, so the only way is up for our genera by gaining some of those players back.
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:48 PM   #6
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Re: What defines a "MUD" ?

There are two ways to looks at definitions, in my mind. One is to be technically correct, the other is to be practical and convey the appropriate information to the reader. For example, take the question, "Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?" or "Is a peanut a nut?" Technically, a tomato is a fruit, and a peanut is not a nut, it is a legume. But from a practical point of view, most people wouldn't care. A tomato is used mostly like a vegetable, and peanuts are eaten like nuts.

Is Pluto a planet?

When it comes to MUDs, I think a practical approach makes the most sense. When someone hears "MUD", I think the information that is most useful is a game that is text-based without constant graphics, and is played over a telnet connection using a game-independent client. Thus, I distinguish in my mind a difference between a MUD, and an MMORPG (which I usually shorten to MMOG, as most have so little RP in them to be laughable).

Where it might get fuzzy for me is if there are command-line oriented games out there that could be played this way, and don't have the usual "RPG"/adventure game setting. Wasn't there a space strategy game posted here a while back?

There are some similar distinctions in the MMOG market too. As I understand it, Planetside is really more of an MMOFPS than an MMORPG. And people argue whether Guild Wars is an MMOG, given its reliance on P2P instances. (FYI, I call it an MMOG, because from my understanding, your characters are persistent, even if the world is instanced. Thus, where the instance runs is a technical detail that matters little.)
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:56 PM   #7
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Re: What defines a "MUD" ?

Just weigh any final decision with how much additional work it would be (regarding organization and website changes) with potential return.To me, nothing short of old school text-based online games are MUDDs (as in, Multi-user Dungeon Dwelling games) but, then again, the term was a label for that specific thing when they came to be. If muds were a brand new thing in this day and age, they would likely be referred to as text-based MOGs, as the term MMORPG has also been corrupted with the precentage of people calling themselves "RPers" falling to the wayside. But, then again, I could technically be "RPing" as a Scottish terrier when I break out the old Monopoly game.I have seen the "massive" part of MMORPG be defined as number of players (typically 1000+) and also as the size of the play world. Since Richard Garriott is considered to be the person who coined the term, I have a feeling it was meant to be some of both aspects.
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:19 AM   #8
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Re: What defines a "MUD" ?

An evolutionary analogy:

"MUDs" are a small species of primate that lives only in rainforest trees. The rainforest used to cover the entire continent, so muds were everywhere and thriving.

Recently, most of the rainforest disappeared and were replaced by savanahs (a few trees, lots of grass). This change in climate is attributed to the Nvidia meteor impact that happened in 1998.

Those muds whose trees were incinerated by the impact were forced to change or perish. The tree-less muds took their first steps on the grass and evolved into land-dwelling primates, that were larger, and stood on two feet. These adaptations allowed them to see over the tall grass, and to defend themselves against predators; they can no longer climb trees well.

Some rainforest remains, clinging to small creeks winding through steep valleys. The water and shade provided by the surrounding cliffs provide just enough for the rainforest to survive, although the rainforest is only 1% of its former size.

Some rainforest primates remain, and have a meeting about what they should do: It's unclear if the the remaining rainforest is shrinking or not. Furthermore, a drought and a bad bushfire could wipe the last rainforest out in a few hours.

Half the rainforest primates say that the rainforest is the only place for them, and that they will stick with it to the end.

The other half argue that trees exist in savanahs. They're not as tall and lush and densely-packed as rainforest trees, but they're still trees. Of course, to suvive in the savanahs, the primates would have to learn to run from tree to tree (growing longer legs), and eat different foods (with different-shaped teeth).

"But if you leave the rainforest and live in savanah trees, then you will have longer legs and smell differently, and you will no longer one of us, and you will no longer be welcome here," said some of the primates. "We can't let you back, because if you do return, your genese will intermix with ours, and we will change too. We like the rainforest and don't want to leave."

... Stop by next week for the continuing saga of the rainforest primates.
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:51 AM   #9
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Re: What defines a "MUD" ?

My personal definition of a mud has been that it's a synchronous text-based game set in a virtual world focused on live writing and reading. Esoteric perhaps as far as definitions go but I like to keep it a bit loose, as I wouldn't mind a mud where your character was a country, or a squad of soldiers, or a spaceship, etcetera.

Also it gets tricky when you consider ascii-character games -- are muds with only ascii overhead maps (such as Assault 3.0, or the various ascii zombie games) muds? If so, are multi-player roguelikes muds? If not, do we kick out 'muds' that have been commonly called muds for quite a long time?
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Old 02-11-2009, 06:43 AM   #10
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Re: What happened to Materiamagica???

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Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
This isn't "topmmosites.com" and there's plenty of high quality sites out there for MMOs. You can make an argument that WoW itself is a "MUD". You can also make an argument that anything where you interactive via point/click is not a "real" (traditional) MUD. So where's the line?
On the MUD-DEV website, J.C. Lawrence wrote "I see the definition of MUD being rather like a blob of black ink, recently dropped into a bucket of still water. You can definitely see where the black blob is, but as you move away from there, well, its still inky, but less so. Just where does the ink stop and the water begin (especially seeing as the Ink is a water suspension)? It is moot. It is a multi-dimensional sliding scale. The centre is undoubtedly a MUD. The definition of where the exact centre is is questionable. The definition of whether any point not on the centre is a MUD or not is more or less questionable."

I think there is much truth in that. Where you draw the line very much depends on personal opinion - because there isn't any clear point where a line can be drawn. So it's really up to you to decide which games are appropriate and which are not. However as you've asked for others to give their personal views, these are mine...

The graphical MUDs (EverQuest, WoW, Guild Wars, etc) are simply MUDs with custom clients. Many text-based muds now offer custom clients as well, usually with a certain amount of graphics, so where do you draw the line? What if Sony offered an alternative client which allowed you to play EverQuest through a text-based interface? What if someone released a mud client which allowed Diku derivatives to be played graphically?

IRC and talkers are not MUDs. There is usually no game, no world, no concept of persistant identity, etc. I have occasionally seen roleplaying games run via a talker-style interface, sometimes with small amounts of code support (eg dice rollers, character sheets, etc). At some point they'd become MUDs, but we're back to that blob of ink...

MUSH, MUCK, MUSE, etc, are codebases derived from TinyMUD, in the same way that Merc and Circle are codebases derived from DikuMUD. They are all MUDs. The same for scratch-written MUDs - MUD is really a genre, not a specific implementation.

Most browser games I've seen are not really MUDs, as they're typically either single player, non-persistant, or the interaction between players isn't real-time. It's certainly possible to have browser MUDs, but I wouldn't like to see all browser games being added here.
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Old 02-11-2009, 07:14 AM   #11
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Re: What happened to Materiamagica???

I recently had to refuse the listing of a text based browser game on MudGamers because it was not playable using the site client. You can certainly make the case for all sorts of games being classified as MUDs based on particular gameplay features, however I think that visitors to a MUD listing site are expecting at a minimum that the games are playable over a telnet connection.
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:21 AM   #12
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Re: What happened to Materiamagica???

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On the MUD-DEV website, J.C. Lawrence wrote "I see the definition of MUD being rather like a blob of black ink, recently dropped into a bucket of still water. You can definitely see where the black blob is, but as you move away from there, well, its still inky, but less so. Just where does the ink stop and the water begin (especially seeing as the Ink is a water suspension)? It is moot. It is a multi-dimensional sliding scale. The centre is undoubtedly a MUD. The definition of where the exact centre is is questionable. The definition of whether any point not on the centre is a MUD or not is more or less questionable."

I think there is much truth in that. Where you draw the line very much depends on personal opinion - because there isn't any clear point where a line can be drawn. So it's really up to you to decide which games are appropriate and which are not. However as you've asked for others to give their personal views, these are mine...
That's a great quote. However, I do believe there is one clear line that can be drawn, whether a game can be played via any telnet client, or not. While in my mind that is a necessary condition to be called a MUD, it isn't sufficient as you can have other kinds of games that just use telnet that I wouldn't call a MUD.

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Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
The graphical MUDs (EverQuest, WoW, Guild Wars, etc) are simply MUDs with custom clients. Many text-based muds now offer custom clients as well, usually with a certain amount of graphics, so where do you draw the line? What if Sony offered an alternative client which allowed you to play EverQuest through a text-based interface? What if someone released a mud client which allowed Diku derivatives to be played graphically?
I cannot make the argument that you are wrong. However, I will make the argument that it isn't useful to classify the MMOGs as MUDs. Look at what you had to do above. You had to say "graphical MUD" and "text-based mud".

My point is that in any discussion (not just this one), you would have to continue to use the "graphical" or "text-based" qualifier. If I say "MMOG" or "MMORPG", millions of people out there would know what to expect. Likewise, if I said "MUD", thousands (anyone think a million?) would pretty much know what to expect. If I talked to an MMOG player, introduced them to a MUD and called it an MMOG; or to a MUD player, introduced them to an MMOG, and called it a MUD, the majority would probably blink their eyes at me in disbelief.

In science, engineering, and other technical fields, exact definitions matter. But even then, like I asked before, "Is Pluto a planet?" I guess the ink blob analogy holds.

But in popular speech, definitions don't matter so much, "image" does.

As I was writing this, another thought came to mind. I think that most here would say that MUDs offer a unique gaming experience that has been lost in the "translation" to MMOGs. So, what is the point of trying to claim similarity? It's not like sites like this want to include MMOGs--to do so would be to make it harder to advertise the uniqueness that MUDs offer. And while it's unlikely that MMOGs would acknowledge MUDs and/or accept the naming, we certainly don't want them to use the classification themselves, do we? It won't "legitimize" or "promote" MUDs, in my mind--they would simply usurp the term for themselves.

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Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
IRC and talkers are not MUDs. There is usually no game, no world, no concept of persistant identity, etc. I have occasionally seen roleplaying games run via a talker-style interface, sometimes with small amounts of code support (eg dice rollers, character sheets, etc). At some point they'd become MUDs, but we're back to that blob of ink...

MUSH, MUCK, MUSE, etc, are codebases derived from TinyMUD, in the same way that Merc and Circle are codebases derived from DikuMUD. They are all MUDs. The same for scratch-written MUDs - MUD is really a genre, not a specific implementation.
I agree with your last sentence, but that seems to be in contradiction with your earlier ones. There are plenty of social "worlds" (?) based on MUSH, etc. that have none of the qualities you said in the first paragraph. And there are people who RP using IRC and talkers that have a world and a character. In fact, many MUSHes have no character sheets (or minimal ones), and no conflict or task resolution system, so what they are in essence are just IM with rooms. There is a distinction though, and I would agree with you (though for different reasons) that IRC (and IM) are not MUDs as they are not telnet-based. But a talker may be (on the other hand, being a MUSHer, I personally split MUSHes/etc. off from MUDs, and generally speaking, the distinction for me is whether or not they have MOBs (computer controlled opponents).

In my mind, neither the derivation nor the exact implementation matter, as long as it allows play via telnet (though a custom client may be used that enhances the experience).

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Most browser games I've seen are not really MUDs, as they're typically either single player, non-persistant, or the interaction between players isn't real-time. It's certainly possible to have browser MUDs, but I wouldn't like to see all browser games being added here.
I could see an MMOG-like game being played in Flash. I thought Kingdom of Loathing might have been an example, but it seems more single-player oriented, with chat. But I don't think that a browser is fundamentally limited, given the ability to embed applications.

So in the end, I maintain that I see no reason to try to use the term "MUD" in relation to "MMO(RP)G", except perhaps in some geneology of gaming.
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:36 AM   #13
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Re: What happened to Materiamagica???

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In my mind, neither the derivation nor the exact implementation matter, as long as it allows play via telnet (though a custom client may be used that enhances the experience)
The problem with that is telnet itself is a particular implementation of a network connection. There is at least one very promising mud that I can think of that does not use telnet (or at least does not expose access for anything but its Flash client), yet it very clearly is a mud.

Quote:
There is a distinction though, and I would agree with you (though for different reasons) that IRC (and IM) are not MUDs as they are not telnet-based. But a talker may be (on the other hand, being a MUSHer, I personally split MUSHes/etc. off from MUDs, and generally speaking, the distinction for me is whether or not they have MOBs (computer controlled opponents).

I think the distinction to be made is that a mud is a virtual world, with a virtual representation of space in its interface. You don't find this in IRC. In the most IRC-like mushes you'll find a semblance of a representation of space -- even if in practice their rooms aren't much different than IRC channels, they clearly are 'rooms' laid out in some arrangement.



eta: On further reflection (in the five seconds since I posted this ), there's no reason you couldn't set up a virtual space in IRC, using a bunch of channels and some scripting. But does anyone do that?
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Old 02-11-2009, 12:13 PM   #14
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Re: What happened to Materiamagica???

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I'm asking more in terms of a wider discussion to see what people think, but secondary to that trying to figure out at what point is a MUD "not MUD enough" to be listed on TMS. Or, if we should just take everything, put it in the graphical games section and let it sort itself out. I'm sure that would be good for site traffic, but maybe not so good for what we know as "MUDs".
You do realize they're just link spamming right?

Given their bigger size they either don't participate and don't generate traffic hence just polute the search results of the people who use this site to find actual MUDs. Or even worse, they do participate and you end up with MMORPGs dominating your top 3 list, which wouldn't be very good for MUDs as we know them and might actually damage the site.

My definition of a MUD is a text-based multi-user real-time virtual world.
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Old 02-11-2009, 01:02 PM   #15
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Re: What happened to Materiamagica???

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..My definition of a MUD is a text-based multi-user real-time virtual world.
Second that, and motion carried .
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:17 PM   #16
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Re: What defines a "MUD" ?

Richard Bartle's MUD1 and MUD2 are "muds" because they use MUDL for scripting. Everything else isn't an authentic MUD; they're "diku's" or "lp's". :-)


Be careful about how narrow you make your definition.

Think about the ramifications:

If you have a very narrow definition of muds, then those games (and players of those games) who are not officially muds will go elsewhere, and come up with a new title for themselves. Getting back to my evolutionary analogy: You could lose half your population, half your genetic diversity, and an escape route in case the rainforest completely disappears.

If you allow a broader definition of muds, then the opposite will happen... but, the community will no longer be "specialized" to rainforest life (aka: being backwards compatible to teletypes), which has costs of its own.

When you say, "A MUD must run on a generic terminal", you aren't making a technical statement. You're making a political statement!


By the way, a good definition of "MUD" would be designed so that (as a general rule) people who enjoyed playing their first "MUD" would enjoy playing any game labelled a "MUD". Is a browser-based game that looks and acts exactly like a terminal-based game any less enjoyable to the same types of players? (Yes, w/regards to Z-mud macros, etc.) Is this difference signficant?
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Old 02-12-2009, 03:35 AM   #17
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Re: What defines a "MUD" ?

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Be careful about how narrow you make your definition.

When you say, "A MUD must run on a generic terminal", you aren't making a technical statement. You're making a political statement!


By the way, a good definition of "MUD" would be designed so that (as a general rule) people who enjoyed playing their first "MUD" would enjoy playing any game labelled a "MUD". Is a browser-based game that looks and acts exactly like a terminal-based game any less enjoyable to the same types of players? (Yes, w/regards to Z-mud macros, etc.) Is this difference signficant?
Completely agreed. Telnet is as irrelevant to being a MUD as having orcs is.

My opinion is that everything from MUD 2 to LamdaMoo to Second Life to WoW is a MUD, but that we run into conflicts here between common usage and usage among those for whom this subject matter is a passion. MUD traditionally encompassed all of the aspects that make up the aforementioned products, but language tends towards convenience, and even though there is certainly not a justifiable line to be drawn that separates Achaea from Eve Online, most games that get talked about fall pretty clearly towards one side or the other (ok, nobody but us really talks about text MUDs, but you know what I mean).

I spent years making a real point of muddling the two terms, using MUD and MMO completely interchangeably, modified by 'text' or 'graphical' ahead of it. So WoW could be called a graphical MUD or a graphical MMO, and Discworld could be a text MMO or a text MUD.

It's pointless at the end of the day. The general populace is never going to recognize most of the games posters here run as anything but a separate category, however much they misunderstand the situation and unless you're talking about games that kind of sit in the middle, I find it's just more convenient to refer to MMOs and MUDs as separate categories, even though I know that they're all the same damn thing with different clients (but of course, WoW has a different client from Everquest just like it has a different client from Gemstone.)

As to where Topmudsites wants to draw the line though, that's a different story with different concerns.

--matt
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Old 02-12-2009, 03:53 AM   #18
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Re: What happened to Materiamagica???

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Not necessarily, unless you have a pretty wide definition of a MUD. Though, to be fair, I wouldn't have called it a text-based MMORPG either, so maybe your statement is correct, but just doesn't apply to this game.
Yeah, I didn't look into the game at all.

My definition of MUD is based on what the essence of the thing is. It's a shared, real-time, semi-persistent simulation of a world (whether fictional or not, and however primitive that simulation is....very in all cases but more in some than others). The server-side is the important part in terms of the essence of the 'thing.' The client is a dumb process to display data that the server tells it to display. Whether that data is all text, 2d graphics, 3d graphics, a mixture of the above, etc, is secondary to what the core 'thing' is. The common consumer doesn't distinguish though, and abstracts the 'thing' to a higher level wherein the display mechanism is as important as the simulation itself.

Anyway, this conversation dates back 15+ years (not involving MMO, as that term isn't 15 years old, but asking whether stuff like Habitat was a MUD due to representing the "world" graphically) and it's really getting old! Whatever an MMO or MUD is, most people wouldn't recognize the latter and would not play Lusternia or Aardwolf or whatever and think of it as the same 'thing' as WoW (however wrong I think they are). Are they wrong? I don't care! I just want to get on with being productive, and insisting that people think of them as the same thing is like insisting that people not tell you that two cars each going 60 mph are going 120 mph relative to each other, because they are really going 119.99999999999 (close enough) mph due to theory of relativity. It might be true but it just doesn't matter for most situations.

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Old 02-12-2009, 03:46 PM   #19
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Re: What defines a "MUD" ?

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Completely agreed. Telnet is as irrelevant to being a MUD as having orcs is.

My opinion is that everything from MUD 2 to LamdaMoo to Second Life to WoW is a MUD, but that we run into conflicts here between common usage and usage among those for whom this subject matter is a passion.
Was going to say more or less that. I currently spend most of my time in an area in Second Life called CoLA (City of Lost Angels). We are talking 48x48 city blocks of sims (not including the connected 4-5 in the Damnation chain), in which 99% of the stuff that goes on is basically a graphical MUSH, since running scripts to handle "mobs" isn't practical with the current server lag, but the area is also using CCS (Community Combat System), which has levels, stats, skills, and weapons made to do differing damage and types of damage. Last night we had a FPS firefight with a giant spider drone, followed by a damn level 50 zombie. We managed to kill the drone, but the guy running the zombie NPC crashed in the middle of the fight. lol So.. Its also not a MMOG, but operates as a true MMORPG (out of basic necessity, if nothing else). So, MUD too, as well as MUSH?

The lines are blurry to the point of absurdity, and you would, in the case of SL, have to classify every "chain" of sims as either MUSH, MUD, or... what ever the heck everything that isn't used as either of those would be on there. Worse, you would have to classify by combat system, DCS, CCS, the stolen copy of CCS called WARPS, some new attempt to make warps look legit, called FEAR, Midian's system, Spellfire, and probably 4-5 others I don't know about, not including the completely lame "Linden Damage" system. And.. Just CCS by itself has something like 150 sims, in probably 80+ or more themed "chains". You would have to count them all as different "games". Imagine adding all the other combat systems to that list, and all the sims/chains they have too...

Someone would need to make an entire separate site just to keep track of them all.
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:28 AM   #20
MikeRozak
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Re: What defines a "MUD" ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
It's pointless at the end of the day. The general populace is never going to recognize most of the games posters here run as anything but a separate category, however much they misunderstand the situation and unless you're talking about games that kind of sit in the middle, I find it's just more convenient to refer to MMOs and MUDs as separate categories, even though I know that they're all the same damn thing with different clients (but of course, WoW has a different client from Everquest just like it has a different client from Gemstone.)
On a somewhat tangential note...

To most people MMO == MMORPG == WoW.

Virtual world == Second life

MUD == "I ***used*** to play those in college." (It's amazing how many times I've heard this one.)

Names morph to mean what they mean regardless of the technical definition.
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