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Old 04-03-2006, 05:54 PM   #1
NotL337
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I've been a builder for about three years off and on, as well as having spent the last six months doing intensive writing for a mud project which, sadly, closed down due to conflicts between the head coders.

I'm quite confident in my writing abilities. It's my coding that worries me--specifically that I don't know how .

I'd like to start a project of my own. A sci-fi mud that isn't just the SMAUG SW codebase ripped off and renamed. I may well write it in the Star Wars genera, although that's unlikely. Regardless of the genera, I would very, very much like to write my own code base from the ground up.

I'm planning to spend a LOT of time on the design, history, and room building. Several years, in fact. In part because I want it to be good, and in part because I'd like to have a smoothly oiled admin team before opening to players.


Spending time on the project, and learning to code, isn't a problem--but I don't want to waste my time learning a programming language that can't do what I want.

Again, Iím a total newbie to coding, so for all I know any language can do this, but I need a one that will let me:

1. Develop a good space system. My basic conceptual idea right now is -something- like what SW uses, but I'm sure it will change at least slightly when I've put more thought into the actual design of that function.

2. Develop a kind of 'Zmud' like interface that'll hook directly into the mud and do some of the ship-type calculations for players who don't want to type everything manually.

3. Create a 'living world' effect that allows for the room descriptions to change based on the time of day, the weather, the season, etc.

4. Wont use up a lot of system resources. I know right off the bat that Java isn't going to work, since it pulls a lot of power, but other than that I'm clueless.

5. Allow certain skills to manipulate the environment. I'm planning to have, just for instance, a class of psychics and I'd like some of their telekinesis effects to be able to do things like block entrances (create a temporary door, sort of), 'relink' exits as portals to another room, and do things like put other players into a mind trance where they -think- they're in another place (i.e. a kind of 'fake zone' ), moving around, but they're just standing in one place not responding to anything around them.

I'm in college right now, and I'm perfectly willing to take a coding class in a year or two if I have to (once I've taken a shot to see if I can stick with the coding).

So if someone could advise a code system that would work best for what I'm looking at, I would really appreciate it. I would rather not have to take a class, since that would be rather expensive and slow down my degree plan, but again I am willing if that's what needs to happen.
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Old 04-03-2006, 06:15 PM   #2
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I suggest Cold C. There's really nothing better for building a codebase. You can even download a bare core that does nothing but handle sockets and build on top of that.
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Old 04-03-2006, 06:29 PM   #3
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Oh... I just thought I would add that I'm definitely willing to spend anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours a day of focused study on learning to code. I do it with no problem for my piano and voice practice every day, so spending the same on coding wont be a problem.
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Old 04-03-2006, 09:40 PM   #4
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First, just make sure you realise how big of a project you are getting yourself into. Building a mud generally shouldn't be someones first coding project, expecially not from scratch.

As for your questions, any form of C should work for you, but number 2(the interface) you'll probably need to do a web based java applet.
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:16 PM   #5
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The first thing to know is that you're unlikely to be programming your client and your mud in the same language. Most MUDs do not have their own client, and the players make use of their favorite client whether it be ZMUD, TinyFugue, MUSHClient or any other number that could be named.

Secondly, it's always good to learn C, which is a very basic language. It seems like once you learn how to code in C, you can learn pretty much any other code. You'd still need to pick a driver unless you want to code that from scratch, too. I'm a big fan of looking at other people's code and fiddling with it in order to learn how to code. It's probably not the best way, but it works for me.
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Old 04-04-2006, 03:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Baram @ April 03 2006,22:40)
First, just make sure you realise how big of a project you are getting yourself into. Building a mud generally shouldn't be someones first coding project, expecially not from scratch.
Oh it wont be the first project--don't most of the books have sample projects you can try, and ideas for other things to do?

Believe me, I may not know about coding but I do understand the work load I'm talking about . I know it'll take me a few years to be at the point where I can even get the code base started, and it'll be several years more in development before even half the features I want are properly done. I'm fine with that, though.
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Old 04-04-2006, 04:22 AM   #7
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C is probably a bad idea. You will end up with memory leaks and other interesting problems especially if you are new to programming. It will end up that debugging will take just as much time as writing new code, if not more.

I suggest checking out Ruby. It has an incredibly clean syntax, is very easy to learn and most importantly a lot of fun to program with. It also plays very nicely with MySQL (for persistance) and Ruby on Rails can be used to update your website with game statistics with literally just a few of lines of code. It's not as fast as Java or C, but in exchange you will be able to have a less buggy product out the door faster.
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Old 04-04-2006, 09:17 AM   #8
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Hmmm... what about Java?
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:54 AM   #9
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If Ruby is easier to use and less buggy, then that might be the one for me.

But how much slower is it? I would rather spend the extra time debugging and have a nice, mostly laggless mud than get something done super quickly and have lag bursts every couple of minutes, or have it slow down when (IF ) there are fifty or more people on it.
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Old 04-04-2006, 12:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
If Ruby is easier to use and less buggy, then that might be the one for me.
If you're taking the long view, why limit yourself to only one? Learn 2-3 languages and you'll get the benefit of not only seeing for yourself which you like, but your programming skill will improve in a way it would not if you learned one language. Of course, you don't have to learn all the languages to equal degrees.

Let's see, there's an interesting article in this regard:

http://www.norvig.com/21-days.html

Hats off to you for looking at this realistically, most of the best games I've seen take 3+ years to really get going (not counting the prior experience of the programmer).

And perhaps Tyche could weigh in IRT his ruby server TeensyMUD.
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Old 04-04-2006, 03:35 PM   #11
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Great link Ide - that idea overall is something I have agreed with for a long time. †To go along with that essay, I would suggest in finding a community or people - look for people who can answer your questions in a way you understand. †(So of the answers to the questions I've posted over the years on various sites have been so far over my head - they left me even more confused † )

As a side note - some of the worst books I've read on programming had "teach yourself" and "days" in the title †
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Old 04-04-2006, 07:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (NotL337 @ April 04 2006,20:54)
If Ruby is easier to use and less buggy, then that might be the one for me.

But how much slower is it? I would rather spend the extra time debugging and have a nice, mostly laggless mud than get something done super quickly and have lag bursts every couple of minutes, or have it slow down when (IF ) there are fifty or more people on it.
If you write efficient enough code, I highly doubt that the speed difference between Ruby and Java or C would be noticable with 50 or even 100 people on the server.
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Old 04-04-2006, 09:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Ide @ April 04 2006,20:46)
And perhaps Tyche could weigh in IRT his ruby server TeensyMUD.
Unlikely, since Tyche does not participate on these forums anymore. But the link is here:

http://teensymud.kicks-ass.org/
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:31 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the info and support everyone.

Someone contacted me today, and it looks like I might get taken on as a student coder, with him teaching me what to do with an actual mud codebase. Yay!
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (NotL337 @ April 05 2006,12:31)
Thanks for all the info and support everyone.

Someone contacted me today, and it looks like I might get taken on as a student coder, with him teaching me what to do with an actual mud codebase. Yay!
Good luck, that's THE best way for you to start out. Work with people that have more experience, expecially in the field you want to end up doing yourself.
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Old 04-05-2006, 02:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (NotL337 @ April 04 2006,23:31)
Thanks for all the info and support everyone.

Someone contacted me today, and it looks like I might get taken on as a student coder, with him teaching me what to do with an actual mud codebase. Yay!
Let us know when you crash the server for the first time!! It's quite an experience. HEHE.
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Old 04-06-2006, 02:00 PM   #17
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Well, I haven't heard back from him since I e-mailed him. I may need to send another one incase my reply didn't go through.
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Old 04-07-2006, 03:04 AM   #18
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Well, in case that doesn't work out for you, here are some Ruby resources.

The first edition of Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmer's Guide - http://www.rubycentral.com/book/

Why's Poignant Guide. An interesting approach to a Ruby tutorial, complete with talking bears - http://poignantguide.net/ruby/

TeensyMUD. MUD server created in Ruby - http://teensymud.kicks-ass.org/
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Old 04-07-2006, 03:38 AM   #19
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Thanks!

I'll be sure to look at those. The project leader said in his e-mail (when he offered me the position) that he would be teaching me C++, so if you guys really feel it would help me to learn another language, then I guess it might as well be Ruby.

I guess I should also look in Java, if it's true that I'd need to know that to (eventually) create the game client. That's set very, very far back in the project plan right now, though. I'm sure the mud will be up and running for a few years before I even get around to considering trying it.
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