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Old 08-18-2008, 01:05 AM   #1
svarnmarn
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Why so few Mud Making Programs/Websites?

Hello there, I'm hoping this is the right category to post in.

I'll start by throwing down my cards - I've been playing MUDs on and off for about 9 years on a variety of different servers. I am interested in designing/running my own MUD. Money is not a problem but I have neither the time nor the inclination to really learn C (or any other programming language).

I found mudmaker.com maybe 6 months ago (don't worry this is not an ad - I don't use them and wouldn't recommend them as they have basically shut down). Hopefully you guys are aware of them and have seen their system - essentially you've got a bunch of forms and drop-down menus on the website which you use to build your game. The idea is that they will release updates as time goes on to add more functionality - essentially handling the coding aspect.

As I mentioned earlier their site hasn't been updated in a long time but it got me thinking - I think it's a really good idea. So why don't I see more sites/programs like this? Am I alone in wanting to make a MUD but not wanting to dive into code? Is it more complicated than I imagine for some maverick programmer to build a program that creates the MUD for you, like a WYSIWYG web editor?

Maybe I've missed something here; maybe there's a program out there I could install; maybe there's a website I have missed.

Let me know.
Svarn.
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Old 08-18-2008, 02:30 AM   #2
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Re: Why so few Mud Making Programs/Websites?

Quote:
Originally Posted by svarnmarn View Post
Am I alone in wanting to make a MUD but not wanting to dive into code?

No.

Quote:
Is it more complicated than I imagine for some maverick programmer to build a program that creates the MUD for you, like a WYSIWYG web editor?
Yes and no. More complicated to build a mud that couldn't be successfully emulated by running stock DIKU? Yes. Otherwise, sure, something like Mudmaker would work.

Quote:
Maybe I've missed something here; maybe there's a program out there I could install; maybe there's a website I have missed.

There are many codebases you can simply download and run without really any coding knowledge at all -- Smaug, Circle, ROM, Dead Souls, to name a few. You could strip out the zones and write your own content -- to create really interesting zones you probably would have to learn to script them, but that is many orders of magnitude simpler than learning how to write a codebase in C or really any other language.

You probably could even add skills, spells, and races by simple copy and pasting of the source code, duplicating existing code and changing some strings and numbers around. Some codebases let you add these things with an on-line creation editor as well, so you don't even have to touch the source.

Anyway, I would venture that no one has created more programs like Mudmaker because the codebases already exist, and people just download those and modify them cosmetically. These stock codebases are simply mini-Mudmakers without a fancy GUI to interact with them. Heck, there are even codebases with such GUIs -- look at CoffeeMUD for example.

Finally, some advice -- if you don't think you have the time to learn a programming language, do you think you have the time to design, develop, and run a mud?

Don't mean to be harsh here, but what are your goals for this project? Maybe you're aiming too high. You could look at things like modding existing cRPGs or writing IF for a project whose scope is more manageable yet still mud-like.
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Old 08-18-2008, 09:53 AM   #3
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Re: Why so few Mud Making Programs/Websites?

I was a tabletop RPG self-publisher and writer long before I ever considered running my own mud, basically an "idea" man. I never had an initial interest in learning to code anything and, initially had no unix/linux or scripting knowledge.

As I began to work on my own project, however, just going through the process of adding snippets, modifying code and all those other tidbits that Ide mentioned (love the post, btw), I found myself learning how to READ the code and getting better at it over time.

The ability to read the code I was working with gradually increased my familiarity with the source code. As a by-product of this, I was inspired by little things that I found out I could DO with the base code, oftentimes with very little work.

Compiling errors became an incentive to learn more about coding, or at least improve the impromptu coding that I was sorta doing. It was not until I later ran into major issues (as in, "why can't I get this to work?!") that I had a desire to learn C language more officially.

In the long run, I have discovered learning about code (even at my level) to be rather FUN. I personally love to see one of my built areas installed and watch it come to life. Playing with code for various reasons is just another level of fun to me.

Someone like myself can screw around with a source code and get by easily enough, as long as that code possesses enough features to satisfy one's mud "goals" or be modified easily enough to do so.

At the very least, I would recommend to pick a codebase that will do this for you and, if nothing else, familiarize yourself with your tools (like the code) at hand. You might never have a problem with running or compiling and then, bam, one day you do. Having that familiarity will come into play that day.
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Old 08-18-2008, 11:37 AM   #4
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Re: Why so few Mud Making Programs/Websites?

Hmm. Another question would be why do you want to start a NEW mud? If you have sound ideas that you want implemented and have the time to get them through, but lack the technical skills for it, why not team up with an existing MUD with a long standing history. If your ideas are good and you strike off with the staff of that game, you would find coders who would implement them. I mean, logically, wouldnt getting stuff done be faster if you have a team already?

That is the decision I have made for myself. I am ok with the people skills and am ok with ideas, but I have neither the time or inclination to learn a new language for this. I know thats not your original question, however, if your objective is to get good ideas implemented in a mud, I would strongly advise chosing one with existing living players and coders and builders etc. We have way too many MUDs already; there is another thread running about how the opening of new MUDs is dividing the MUD playerbase thin on the ground. Why add another game that would have to struggle to find its place under the sun?
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Old 08-18-2008, 12:30 PM   #5
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Re: Why so few Mud Making Programs/Websites?

Kleothera makes a great point. Why start a new MUD? I would suggest reading this: MUDs : General : Running a MUD sever.

This is a nice read too: MUDs : MUD Design Concepts : New C++ codebase
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Old 08-18-2008, 05:04 PM   #6
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Re: Why so few Mud Making Programs/Websites?

Quote:
Originally Posted by svarnmarn View Post
So why don't I see more sites/programs like this? Am I alone in wanting to make a MUD but not wanting to dive into code? Is it more complicated than I imagine for some maverick programmer to build a program that creates the MUD for you, like a WYSIWYG web editor?
Hi Svarn,

No offense intended, but I think that wanting to make new muds without doing any coding is generally a case of vanity. People think that their areas or descriptions are so interesting that it will make their game stand apart from the rest, but this is very unlikely to be true. As much as people will prefer good areas over bad ones, the game will stand or fall based on the underlying systems that allow you to interact with that world. And if you're unwilling to get into any sort of coding, then the gameplay is going to essentially be very similar across all such games. Simply adding updates is not the same as "handling the coding aspect", as programming a game is not a deterministic path from start to end, but a long list of decisions about which features to include and which not to.
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:30 AM   #7
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Re: Why so few Mud Making Programs/Websites?

Quote:
Originally Posted by svarnmarn View Post
Am I alone in wanting to make a MUD but not wanting to dive into code? Is it more complicated than I imagine for some maverick programmer to build a program that creates the MUD for you, like a WYSIWYG web editor?
Svarn.
You are possibly not alone in what you seek, tho for the most part I think that most mud owners/developers are looking for something that is much more powerful that they can mold or create to be just how they want it in every respect.

There are a number of text adventure type sites that allow you to make games in a way that you describe, and I think Mabius has mentioned coffee mud, which allows you to modify many aspects of the game and to also build areas for it via a web interface.


Maybe you could explain in some depth what your wanting to create and then others here might be able to steer you in the right direction.

OH, i forget what its called, but there is a windows mud server that might just be up your alley, you customize every aspect of the game from within a windows app, with drop down boxes and all that sort of crap, you can define everything from races, classes, skills, areas etc from within the one program. If i get time later i will search out an address for you and post it here.

Bleh, i did look but i cannot find the stupid thing, someone else might know what im talking about, if i remember right i think they used to run a final fantsy game with it.

Ok i have found it, ULTIMUD UltiMUD Take a look at that, it might just be up your alley, build a game all in windows without ever touching a single line of code.

Last edited by The_Fury : 08-19-2008 at 12:56 AM. Reason: Found it.
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Old 09-01-2008, 03:57 PM   #8
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Re: Why so few Mud Making Programs/Websites?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Fury View Post
OH, i forget what its called, but there is a windows mud server that might just be up your alley, you customize every aspect of the game from within a windows app, with drop down boxes and all that sort of crap, you can define everything from races, classes, skills, areas etc from within the one program. If i get time later i will search out an address for you and post it here.

...

Ok i have found it, ULTIMUD UltiMUD Take a look at that, it might just be up your alley, build a game all in windows without ever touching a single line of code.
Wow, that's quite impressive. I might just have to download it and review it for inspiration for my own similar tools (for my own MUD codebase, not a general development tool).

However, when it talks about the ease of creating large areas (i.e. a 5000 room area in minutes), I can't help but cringe. With a tool like this, it seems ideal to finally ditch the room paradigm and go roomless. To do otherwise, seems like a albatross around the neck of the game experience. Just IMO of course.
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