Top Mud Sites Forum Return to TopMudSites.com
Go Back   Top Mud Sites Forum > Mud Development and Administration > Advanced MUD Concepts
Click here to Register

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 04-23-2013, 10:25 PM   #81
Fiendish
New Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 19
Fiendish is on a distinguished road
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

Quote:
Originally Posted by plamzi View Post
Some of what you may have already done for your text interface can be mirrored in a graphical inventory. A search box appearing if you have more than 100 unique items, tabbed windows that organize items alphabetically, different types of clicks to multi-select different subsets of items. And, let's not forget that graphical inventory windows can scroll endlessly just like a text window can, and that they display more items per line.
I'm a software engineer by profession. The answer to "can it be done?" is ALWAYS "yes, of course, but it will cost you". That process is what I do. But you are handwaving the complexity of actually building this stuff. Can you do it as plugins for something like MUSHclient or Mudlet? Sure, and once you actually get into details it either gets incredibly hairy or you just decide to ignore things. I can't tell you how much time I've spent on re-inventing primitives that we take for granted elsewhere like selecting text and scrollbars. Could you build a brand new client from scratch using a proper framework? Of course. Are you also going to build your own alias/trigger/variable/macro systems? Interfaces for those features? Because those are things that players who already know what a MUD is demand.

Quote:
So, while this is a great example of why designing a good UI is actually hard, I believe that in this case there are many good design choices that can make your players' lives a lot easier vs. what they have to do now in all-text.
I don't advocate for all text. If I did I wouldn't put any time into making Aardwolf's client setup. But the things you're describing are significantly more complicated to do well than you admit.


Quote:
I think you need to read up on legalese a bit. "Resold or redistributed" means ...
I would be more worried about the "cannot be transmitted to another party" part. Also, calling your players clients would likely not pass legal muster. They have not contracted you to produce work for hire.

Last edited by Fiendish : 04-23-2013 at 10:34 PM.
Fiendish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2013, 01:11 AM   #82
plamzi
Senior Member
 
plamzi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Home MUD: bedlam.mudportal.com:9000
Home MUD: www.mudportal.com
Posts: 292
plamzi is on a distinguished road
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiendish View Post
I'm a software engineer by profession. The answer to "can it be done?" is ALWAYS "yes, of course, but it will cost you". That process is what I do. But you are handwaving the complexity of actually building this stuff.
I wasn't handwaving any complexity. You accuse me of handwaving, and KaVir accuses me of exaggerating, while all I'm doing is giving my own perspective. In this case, I didn't even give you a rough estimate, so there's no way you'd know if I'm underestimating the challenge

I merely said that the end result of a well-designed graphical inventory is probably going to do a much better job than an all-text one because it has some built-in advantages. The same doesn't strike me as true when it comes to dealing with dozens of mobiles or players in the same room, for example. The endless expandability of a typical MUD "room" is just hard to visualize. I know because I've tried.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiendish View Post
Can you do it as plugins for something like MUSHclient or Mudlet? Sure, and once you actually get into details it either gets incredibly hairy or you just decide to ignore things. I can't tell you how much time I've spent on re-inventing primitives that we take for granted elsewhere like selecting text and scrollbars.
I find what these clients allow to be extremely limited, so I believe you when you say it gets hairy. Fortunately, we now have HTML5, mature libraries like jQuery, and a wealth of "primitives" of all kinds that we can leverage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiendish View Post
Could you build a brand new client from scratch using a proper framework? Of course.
That's another thing I wouldn't advise. I'm all for leveraging anything that gets us closest to the goal. The "proper framework" for a web-based client, to me, is HTML+CSS+JS, and there are a great number of things already written and licensed very liberally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiendish View Post
Are you also going to build your own alias/trigger/variable/macro systems? Interfaces for those features? Because those are things that players who already know what a MUD is demand.
I'm not so worried about what MUD vets demand. After all, they are highly unlikely to abandon their favorite MUD client for any graphical wonder. But, for the sake of argument, I have build interfaces to server-side aliases/triggers/variables. I implemented server-side triggers precisely because it lets me just build interfaces on different clients. Those interfaces are pretty basic compared to stuff like battle and inventory management because they're for advanced users and don't have to be sexy. They were actually about as quick to build as their all-text counterparts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiendish View Post
I don't advocate for all text. If I did I wouldn't put any time into making Aardwolf's client setup. But the things you're describing are significantly more complicated to do well than you admit.
Maybe I'm guilty of both overestimating and underestimating challenges What I'm certainly *not* guilty of is lack of enthusiasm, lack of industriousness, or lack of first-hand experience in what I'm talking about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiendish View Post
I would be more worried about the "cannot be transmitted to another party" part. Also, calling your players clients would likely not pass legal muster. They have not contracted you to produce work for hire.
When you read the full sentence, it is clearly the license that "cannot be transmitted to another party." Not being able to transmit the license (and having to go to the source to obtain one) is standard stuff.

Believe it or not, I've done my homework. I've read and researched and understood the licenses for all the art I'm using. Before anyone starts worrying and losing sleep, they should at least read the full text of this particular license carefully: Free Stock Photos & Images | StockFreeImages.com

Quote:
Royalty- Free License of use of Non-Watermarked Images and Restrictions

The high-resolution images that you download under the regular Royalty Free (RF) license may be used to make fine art prints, on a web site, in a magazine, newspaper, book or booklet, book cover, flyer, application software (apps) or any other advertising and promotional material, in either printed or electronic media, as long as the item in which the image appears does not contradict any of the restrictions below...
The restrictions below specify that you have to integrate the art into your own product as opposed to re-package and re-sell it. They also specify the maximum resolution you can post on the Internet. But they explicitly allow using the art in commercial software, magazines, newspapers, books. Now, do you think it's likely that they expect these newspapers, magazines, and books to only be sold to people who have contracted the person or party that holds the license?

Quote:
It is also forbidden to make the image available on a website for download (as wallpapers for example), although you may use the image in a concept in as many websites as you want, for any number of clients.
Clearly, everywhere in the license "client" is used as synonymous with "customer", someone that you render a service to. Either that, or they expect you to sign a contract with every visitor to your website.
plamzi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2013, 10:33 AM   #83
KaVir
Legend
 
KaVir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Name: Richard
Home MUD: God Wars II
Posts: 2,052
KaVir will become famous soon enoughKaVir will become famous soon enough
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

Quote:
Originally Posted by plamzi View Post
It's actually pretty clear to me what constitutes text-based and what doesn't in all the edge cases you mentioned. But it's really not a topic I care enough about.
You made an over-generalised definition of "text-based" that would include World of Warcraft and Second Life, while excluding some fairly typical text-based muds - then you claimed that anyone who disagrees with your definition is either a text purist, or too lazy to implement graphics. Now you're not interested in discussing the topic?

In fact the distinction between the two is far from clear-cut, with very few games falling completely into one category or the other. It's a subject I feel mud developers should at least consider, even if only as part of the bigger picture in terms of presentation and accessability.
KaVir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2013, 11:55 AM   #84
Lasher
Administrator
 
Lasher's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Name: Derek
Location: Orlando
Posts: 353
Lasher has a spectacular aura aboutLasher has a spectacular aura about
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

I'm all for making MUDs more accessible to anyone that wants more visual cues while keeping the plain telnet based interface for MUD purists. The work we did on Mushclient has definitely helped bring new people into the game and no doubt we've lost others for whom it wasn't enough and they just couldn't get around "typing so many commands".

Other than the usual time constraint, the main thing that has held me back from going much further into this is the MUDs that have already done it - why aren't they overrun with players? BAT has an awesome client. Plazmi's own work on the iphone is impressive. Avenshar had a great client and you could play the game without hardly typing at all until you wanted to chat. If it's as simple as "go more GUI to get more players", where are the results?

At the end of the day it's all window dressing around a text based game and people will either play a text based game or they won't. That is until you reach a point where you're not a text based game anymore because more and more important features can only be accessed via the GUI - I think that's where the fear of alienating existing players starts to creep in.
Lasher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2013, 12:15 PM   #85
KaVir
Legend
 
KaVir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Name: Richard
Home MUD: God Wars II
Posts: 2,052
KaVir will become famous soon enoughKaVir will become famous soon enough
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
Other than the usual time constraint, the main thing that has held me back from going much further into this is the MUDs that have already done it - why aren't they overrun with players?
It's not a silver bullet, it's not going to revolutionise a mud, or turn it into an overnight success.

But if you're adding features to attract interest and new players, I'd rate it as a good investment of time and effort. It's also something that can be delegated without needing to give other people access to the source code for the mud. And (IMO) it makes a fun change of pace!
KaVir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2013, 03:05 PM   #86
plamzi
Senior Member
 
plamzi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Home MUD: bedlam.mudportal.com:9000
Home MUD: www.mudportal.com
Posts: 292
plamzi is on a distinguished road
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
You made an over-generalised definition of "text-based" that would include World of Warcraft and Second Life, while excluding some fairly typical text-based muds - then you claimed that anyone who disagrees with your definition is either a text purist, or too lazy to implement graphics. Now you're not interested in discussing the topic?

In fact the distinction between the two is far from clear-cut, with very few games falling completely into one category or the other. It's a subject I feel mud developers should at least consider, even if only as part of the bigger picture in terms of presentation and accessability.
OK, I'll humor you with a more refined definition:

"A text-based game is any game whose world is designed to be experienced by at least some of its players as a flow of text, and which enables at least some of its players to perform any supported game action by inputting text."

So, WoW and Second Life: not designed to be experienced as a flow of text, not text-based. No amount of 3rd party hacks will change the fact that their worlds are simply not textual, and not intended to be textual. If someone were to sit down and describe their worlds in text and then provide an all-text interface for playing them, they will still not be text-based games, although this particular client can call itself a text-based client for WoW, etc.

Archons of Avensharm, clearly a text-based game. Lining the text window with a HUD and not letting people connect via telnet doesn't change how players experience and manipulate the world, in text. If they morph their client in a way that compels all players to experience the world visually and to perform game actions without inputting text, then it won't matter what their server is, they will then have a non-text-based game *by design* and *in practice*.

Grasping the intent/design aspect of the definition is key to seeing things a bit more clearly. Understanding when something is a "wraparound" vs. when something pertains to the actual design and experience of the game is key. Anything less would mean a lot of confusion, not just in defining MUDs.
plamzi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2013, 03:38 PM   #87
Threshold
Legend
 
Threshold's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Home MUD: Threshold RPG
Posts: 1,241
Threshold will become famous soon enough
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
Other than the usual time constraint, the main thing that has held me back from going much further into this is the MUDs that have already done it - why aren't they overrun with players? BAT has an awesome client. Plazmi's own work on the iphone is impressive. Avenshar had a great client and you could play the game without hardly typing at all until you wanted to chat. If it's as simple as "go more GUI to get more players", where are the results?

At the end of the day it's all window dressing around a text based game and people will either play a text based game or they won't. That is until you reach a point where you're not a text based game anymore because more and more important features can only be accessed via the GUI - I think that's where the fear of alienating existing players starts to creep in.
That's the same conclusion I have reached, Lasher.

We add periodic improvements to the Threshold Flash Web Client, but I think at that point we have pretty much topped out on how much gain we are really going to get from graphics.

The fact that its a flash web client means people don't have to download anything which is probably the biggest obstacle for MUD newbies. After that, how much can you really gain?

As you mention, the MUDs with graphics heavy front ends don't have thousands of people online. Even the ones that do have a lot of users (Batmud, Aardwolf, Threshold) already had tons of users before they put the time into their graphical UIs. I'd venture a guess that the reason for their large userbases is the quality of their games overall, not the graphical UI.

On the flip side, there are many MUDs with graphical clients that have 3 people online.

I'm just not seeing the legit return on investment from the time put in.

Again, as you mention, at the end of the day it is a text game. People are going to ultimately have to embrace that if they are going to remain a part of your community. You are only delaying the inevitable decision with tons of graphical front end enhancements.

Last edited by Threshold : 04-24-2013 at 04:17 PM.
Threshold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2013, 06:25 PM   #88
plamzi
Senior Member
 
plamzi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Home MUD: bedlam.mudportal.com:9000
Home MUD: www.mudportal.com
Posts: 292
plamzi is on a distinguished road
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
I'm all for making MUDs more accessible to anyone that wants more visual cues while keeping the plain telnet based interface for MUD purists. The work we did on Mushclient has definitely helped bring new people into the game and no doubt we've lost others for whom it wasn't enough and they just couldn't get around "typing so many commands".

Other than the usual time constraint, the main thing that has held me back from going much further into this is the MUDs that have already done it - why aren't they overrun with players? BAT has an awesome client. Plazmi's own work on the iphone is impressive. Avenshar had a great client and you could play the game without hardly typing at all until you wanted to chat. If it's as simple as "go more GUI to get more players", where are the results?

At the end of the day it's all window dressing around a text based game and people will either play a text based game or they won't. That is until you reach a point where you're not a text based game anymore because more and more important features can only be accessed via the GUI - I think that's where the fear of alienating existing players starts to creep in.
Well, there's another way to think about it. We know the issue is definitely not in the quality of the games, because many people have played and enjoyed these games for over a decade. So where else would we look for the explanation than in the quality of the clients themselves?

I don't think anyone has actually managed to produce a MUD GUI that looks like a modern kid's idea of an online game and less like

Quote:
window dressing around a text based game
I'm going to give it another shot with my latest app redesign and will let you know how it goes. If it doesn't work, I'll probably be limiting my work on the MUD server and focusing on building a new server to drive a more simplified, more casual-gamer friendly game.
plamzi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2013, 06:54 PM   #89
Verbannon
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Florida-Where no Tourist has gone before.
Home MUD: Shadowgate
Posts: 63
Verbannon is on a distinguished road
Send a message via Skype™ to Verbannon
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

I think the demographic that should be aimed for is the 18-35 demographic.
Verbannon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2013, 07:04 PM   #90
Orrin
Member
 
Orrin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Name: Matt
Posts: 141
Orrin is on a distinguished road
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

Quote:
Originally Posted by plamzi View Post
If it doesn't work, I'll probably be limiting my work on the MUD server and focusing on building a new server to drive a more simplified, more casual-gamer friendly game.
This is almost certainly a more worthwhile endeavour. I'd recommend you evaluate Electroserver, Smartfoxserver and Photon for your server needs before building your own. There's also uLink if you're using Unity.
Orrin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2013, 08:37 PM   #91
plamzi
Senior Member
 
plamzi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Home MUD: bedlam.mudportal.com:9000
Home MUD: www.mudportal.com
Posts: 292
plamzi is on a distinguished road
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orrin View Post
This is almost certainly a more worthwhile endeavour. I'd recommend you evaluate Electroserver, Smartfoxserver and Photon for your server needs before building your own. There's also uLink if you're using Unity.
Those are some great leads to explore, and worth knowing about--thanks for sharing. For my next project, server middleware seems like an overkill (it's basically enough to have a web/socket server) but maybe for the next after the next
plamzi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2013, 05:16 PM   #92
Butler
New Member
 
Butler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Scotland
Home MUD: Aardwolf
Posts: 14
Butler is on a distinguished road
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

Graphical faces help once new players find a screenshot on google, and once playing. You need publicity and adveritsing to get people to that stage, then the new access ability will help, and then they experience and enjoy the world. Visit other retro sites and make a MUD thread. Then post games, ports to said games, links and some sort of text that says this is really good, that isnt obviously self advertisement.

As for GUI that is attractive to teenagers, Bat MUD is jaw dropping for a PC client (i'd use it if it didnt require Java) and Bedlams iOS GUI is great, functional and looks easy to use. But they need to find it under a heap of Jetpack and Fruit Ninja clones.
Butler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2013, 06:00 PM   #93
ArchPrime
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Home MUD: Archons of Avenshar
Posts: 72
ArchPrime is on a distinguished road
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

Reading this particular thread, while enlightening, has left me wondering what defines bringing MUDs into the 21st century. I think the basic scrolling-text output, command line input nature of the genre is perfectly fine as it is. The rest of the attributes that most folks argue about (server code base, telnet based, any other technology stack item) are completely non-relevant to all but the most savvy (and interested) potential users.
ArchPrime is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2013, 07:28 PM   #94
SnowTroll
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 183
SnowTroll will become famous soon enough
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchPrime View Post
Reading this particular thread, while enlightening, has left me wondering what defines bringing MUDs into the 21st century. I think the basic scrolling-text output, command line input nature of the genre is perfectly fine as it is. The rest of the attributes that most folks argue about (server code base, telnet based, any other technology stack item) are completely non-relevant to all but the most savvy (and interested) potential users.
Yeah. I stopped paying attention to the finer details a page and a half ago.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Graphics are a red herring. It's not pictures or lack thereof that's attracting or deterring users. If a user wants a "regular" video game, he's not going to play a mud even if the client is graphical, unless the interface and experience is so completely changed that the game is barely recognizable as a mud. You'd practically have to turn a mud into a browser-based Facebook game or a Green Dragon clone.

The key is the whole entire user experience. I don't need a stock photograph of an Elf or a Kobold in my view window, but if you're going to make my experience better with some non-text elements, a mini-map sure would be nice. And let me click on my map to move rather than typing n/s/e/w. If you're going to make anything into a picture, do it to my inventory so I can drag items around and arrange them in an order that makes sense to me, and click on them if I want to look at an item more closely and read its description. If you're really organized and your room text output displays mundane text, mobs, items, and players separately, let me click on people and objects to look at them. If you're really sophisticated, let me configure the client so I can left click to look at someone (or something), and right click to open up a menu where I can select give, tell, etc. if it's a person, get, search, etc. if it's an object, kill, ask, etc. if it's a mob. Clean up your syntax. There's only so much you can do in a mud, and if there's some obscure thing outside of the norm that someone has to type to accomplish something, then one of your area builders was a real jackass.

If you get things set up to where the only thing I have to type long-hand is the stuff I want to say to other players, and the client's chat interface is really smooth and easy to use (maybe let me separate room/in character text from various channels in other windows, and store tells in a separate place -- that way, I don't have to type say X and chat Y and tell A blah blah blah. I just type my sentence in the right window and that's what happens), that cuts the entry barrier in half. Then, the main thing turning people off from muds would be roleplaying. People outside of our circle still think that's strange and geeky.

Maybe some or most of this is out there somewhere, but I personally have gotten used to just typing crap in Gmud. But I'm almost 34, not 15, a closet roleplayer, and looking for a creative outlet online.
SnowTroll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2013, 08:30 PM   #95
Jazuela
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: New England
Posts: 843
Jazuela will become famous soon enoughJazuela will become famous soon enough
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

SnowTroll, GemStone IV's front end, presently known (I believe) as "Stormfront" has all of what you're asking for. The previous version was called the Wizard, and that also had all of what you're talking about.

GemStone is a Simutronics game, and it's commercial, and the front end is proprietary, but you have to figure - if their designers can make a point-click/drag-drop interface, well, obviously, it can be done.

So now you have to ask why it hasn't been done anywhere else. A few reasons:

1. limited demand outside the Simutronics gaming world
2. limited designer interest
3. limited game-owner interest

And let's not forget that Simutronics is a commercial enterprise - the people who designed Storm Front were paid to design it. Not just free subscription - but real actual weekly salary. Simutronics has its own building, where it houses its own servers, has a full time staff and part time staff, in addition to their in-game volunteer staff. They collect many thousands of dollars every month from subscriptions.

Hobbyist games don't have the resources; several have tried, but burnout comes before completion.
Jazuela is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2013, 09:06 PM   #96
ForgottenMUD
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Home MUD: ForgottenMUD
Home MUD: Bedlam
Posts: 27
ForgottenMUD is on a distinguished road
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazuela View Post
SnowTroll, GemStone IV's front end, presently known (I believe) as "Stormfront" has all of what you're asking for.
It doesn't seem to have a mini-map.
ForgottenMUD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2013, 11:12 AM   #97
Verbannon
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Florida-Where no Tourist has gone before.
Home MUD: Shadowgate
Posts: 63
Verbannon is on a distinguished road
Send a message via Skype™ to Verbannon
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

Quote:
Originally Posted by ForgottenMUD View Post
It doesn't seem to have a mini-map.
Maybe its just really, really mini?
Verbannon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2013, 12:03 PM   #98
plamzi
Senior Member
 
plamzi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Home MUD: bedlam.mudportal.com:9000
Home MUD: www.mudportal.com
Posts: 292
plamzi is on a distinguished road
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchPrime View Post
Reading this particular thread, while enlightening, has left me wondering what defines bringing MUDs into the 21st century. I think the basic scrolling-text output, command line input nature of the genre is perfectly fine as it is. The rest of the attributes that most folks argue about (server code base, telnet based, any other technology stack item) are completely non-relevant to all but the most savvy (and interested) potential users.
Did you miss the parts of this thread where we discussed making the client more visually appealing to today's teenagers? If you think things are fine as they are, do you also think that we have a healthy, growing community of players that will ensure, among other things, that *your* favorite MUD won't suddenly close doors one of these days?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowTroll View Post
Yeah. I stopped paying attention to the finer details a page and a half ago.
Probably not the best way to start a post. If you are not paying attention and seem proud of it, then why should we pay attention to what you have to say?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowTroll View Post
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Graphics are a red herring. It's not pictures or lack thereof that's attracting or deterring users.
You can't prove a point by repeating it. Show us some evidence that non-graphical games have the same conversion rates and comparable player bases as graphical ones. I think you'd be hard-pressed to do that.

I believe that the only way anyone can believe what you believe is if they are so steeped in their own subjectivity that by "users" they mean experienced mudders, and exclude 99.99% of gamers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowTroll View Post
If a user wants a "regular" video game, he's not going to play a mud even if the client is graphical, unless the interface and experience is so completely changed that the game is barely recognizable as a mud. You'd practically have to turn a mud into a browser-based Facebook game or a Green Dragon clone.
I agree with the first part of this statement. A contemporary gamer with no prior understanding of MUDs is not likely to settle for a wall of text with graphics around it. They will want a graphical interface that looks like that of other games they are used to playing.

As others have mentioned in this thread, I have made a graphical client for iOS that even experienced mudders barely recognize as an interface to a MUD. This was done without compromising in the least the ability of experienced mudders to play the game using a variety of text-based client. In fact, many of the usability improvements that I made for casual app users, with very slight tweaks, became improvements for everyone.

On to your second point. For the most part, I agree. But given what I've already done for mobile, I believe there's a way for a MUD server to drive a UI that *looks like* a typical Facebook game, but which *unfolds* into something a lot richer for someone who keeps playing.

For some of the more technical folks here, what I'm urging them to see is that the servers driving some of the most successful browser-based social games today probably look like MUD servers with a frontal lobotomy in terms of content and gameplay depth. Yet, they do better than all of us combined, just because they play nice with today's gamers expectations from an online game.

Instead of arguing whether "the essence" of a MUD is lost when it has a browser-based graphical interface or when it integrates well with social networking sites, people should consider some very simple marketing truths. Packaging matters. Going where the customers are, matters. If you are making great-tasting honey, but it looks like mud, and you just tell people to find your house in the woods, and scoop the honey out of a barrel using "whatever they want", then the mediocre-tasting honey packaged nicely and conveniently, and placed on a supermarket shelf, is going to win everytime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowTroll View Post
The key is the whole entire user experience. I don't need a stock photograph of an Elf or a Kobold in my view window, but if you're going to make my experience better with some non-text elements, a mini-map sure would be nice
...
Maybe some or most of this is out there somewhere, but I personally have gotten used to just typing crap in Gmud. But I'm almost 34, not 15, a closet roleplayer, and looking for a creative outlet online.
I know this may be hard for any mud vet to grasp (since nowadays they're so used to being courted by devs), but you are emphatically *not* the target audience of any of the efforts I've been discussing. For experienced mudders like you, even if someone spent hundreds of hours building a client to your specs (we're getting pretty close to them with our advanced web app), chances are you will still go back to your Gmud. Chances are, you will never switch games because of the custom client. You're not even going to switch from Gmud to a more modern MUD client like Mudlet or MUSHClient. Am I right or am I right?

Again, I believe that any efforts to bring MUDs into this century do not include appealing to experienced mudders like you. In fact, I believe that many of the efforts by admins to appeal to people like you are holding the community back because that same effort could have been spent on trying to reach people born in this century.
plamzi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2013, 12:15 PM   #99
Kaz
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 6
Kaz is on a distinguished road
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

This'll be the third reply I've made to this topic, although the first one I've hit "Submit Reply" for. And I apologise in advance for being a little abstract.

The obvious answer to the question at hand is, "yes." But what exactly does "bring into the 21st century" mean in this context.

One problem I see is that some of the features requested in this very thread, and touted as forward-looking, have been available for decades.


Nothing but ANSI codes and xterm. Buttons are clickable.

One problem that this highlights is that the vast majority of early muds were (and most still are) line-mode scrawls of text. Mud clients that were built around this did well in adding some support, and modern programmable clients (Mushclient, Mudlet, etc.) do well to add some modern features. But they are still a massive regression in overall capabilities. Of the modern mud clients, I've found that only Tintin++ is capable of displaying the above output.

It means that the lowest common denominator for output is lower than it was at one point. And servers are usually aimed at the lowest common denominator (because you really only want to write your output code once.)

I believe that the future of muds lies in two places:

1) The Client: it is no longer the case that Telnet is installed on every machine. To access muds, either there will need to be a web client (which will likely only work with a specific mud), or a necessary download of a client (which may work for many muds.) These clients must have the capabilities of yesterday's client's before they are to push forward. The lowest common denominator must rise.

(Authors of Mushclient, Mudlet, Bedlam, and so on. Character mode is beautiful! Please support it.)

2) The Server: After the most common clients are fully capable, and the lowest common denominator has risen so that a few servers may take advantage of this leading edge, servers in general must catch up. Let tomorrow's stock servers come complete with the capabilities for the post-modern clients I propose, and let it use them well. Provide ways for other servers to catch up.
Kaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2013, 12:18 PM   #100
plamzi
Senior Member
 
plamzi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Home MUD: bedlam.mudportal.com:9000
Home MUD: www.mudportal.com
Posts: 292
plamzi is on a distinguished road
Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

I'd like to try and take this discussion in a new direction, partly because hearing what some people have to say about graphical clients is just making me depressed and pessimistic about the future. And partly because I think graphics is only the biggest, but not only, aspect of a 21st century MUD.

Here's a list of features *unrelated to graphics* that seem to be expected by many online gamers. Some of them may be exclusive to mobile gamers, where the majority of my observations come from. In any case, it may be food for thought for those who want to appeal to younger audiences by walking around the huge elephant of graphics and doing other things:

* A tutorial that can be completed by someone not paying close attention, yet one that teaches all the basics one needs to know in order to gain some form of satisfaction from the first 5 minutes of gameplay (e. g. learn how to kill an NPC and level up). The shorter the better, with absolutely no way of botching it.

* Player guilds and intense inter-guild competitions. Guilds that are easy even for relatively new players to form, with *in-game tools* to reach friends, convert them to the game, and recruit them for your guild.

* Invite codes or other player-facing conversion tools that new players have immediate access to, so they can spread the word while they're still freshly excited by their discovery of the game. Ideally, these player-facing promo tools should be loaded with multiple incentives to convert non-playing friends.

* A friend list, with the ability to add, remove, message offline friends quickly from within the game.

* Some form of compulsory PvP, with built-in protections from being "farmed" at low levels (ideally at any level).

* Leaderboards or other forms of player-facing ranking. The more performance stats by which players and guilds can compare one another, the better.

* Clear progression. It can get increasingly harder to progress over time, but the first few gaming sessions should present clear goals, should make it easy for total newbies to achieve those goals, and then make it clear what to do to get to the next goal. Achieving this can take many aspects working together in unison: in-game tips or easy-to-find help files, enabling easy movement to key locations, easy-to-find support by other players.

If you're thinking about where your game stands in respect to the above list, keep in mind that the target audience we're interested in is virtually guaranteed to have no prior experience with MUDs. Don't be distracted by what your experienced players would call "easy" or "obvious", "annoying" or "blasphemy."
plamzi is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools


Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:43 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Style based on a design by Essilor
Copyright Top Mud Sites.com 2014