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Old 10-21-2003, 07:03 PM   #1
Hephos
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Well just out of curiosity we were wondering how people interpret a system where the players of a mud must pay (or donate) to use the game's custom client.

(The game could still be accessed with telnet or any other mud client, but would of course lack all the neat custom features).

We can't see how this would be different than zuggsoft charging money for zmud.

Best regards,
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Old 10-21-2003, 07:48 PM   #2
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Hey,

If your game is indeed free to play, I believe this would be great to have to get some much needed money. If I was a dedicated player to that mud, I would probably buy that client if it truly offers some nice features.

If the game is pay to play, the client should be included. There is no reason why it should not and all it can do is anger your customers more than anything else.

A custom client adds so much to a game. Most muds do not make one, because it does take time away from the game but also because I think people do not understand how greatly it could impact a game if used properly.

I just noticed this thread is under Legal Issues, so to recap: I have no problem with it, as long as I am not paying to play the game in the first place.

- Lodes
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Old 10-22-2003, 03:44 AM   #3
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It would be under a diku codebase, hence free to play.

What we are thinking about is maybe coding some client, perhaps along with some "snippets" for the features it would add to the game (to add to muds) and release public to people (for free) to use commercially. Maybe they could accept donations for "selling" off the client to the players. Of course the client would need to be good enough to compete with existing mud clients. But as i see it, it would be no problem at all to make one like that.

At the moment about 80-90% of our players use our custom webbased applet client (or the download version), and it can in no way compete with zmud, mudmaster or similar clients. (Although it offers exclusive custom features, such as RGB colors and static, auto updating wilderness maps, prompts etc). However, it would not take much work to make it good enough so people would rather use it than any other clients.

The client would in no way be related to any dikucode, and would use its own protocol for the features that would be included in a "snippet" to put into the games (diku and non-diku).
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Old 10-22-2003, 06:55 AM   #4
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We can't see how this would be different than zuggsoft charging money for zmud
Well zmud is independant from the mud, and therefore (much like a standalone snippet) doesn't fall under the Diku license. The same should hold true for your own client, although I suppose that depends on what sort of functionality it supports mud-side.

As an extreme example, imagine having a one-use (perhaps rechargable for a fee) "bonus magical item" button on the client which, when clicked, sent the client registration code to the mud (thus preventing people from creating their own clients to support the same functionality), which in turn spawned a nifty magical item for the player. In that case you would certainly be commercialising the mud, and just using the client as an interface.

However in general I can't see a problem - and certainly not as far as data going from the mud to the client is concerned (because that's the sort of functionality that anyone could write, without requiring access to the code for the mud). To be honest it sounds like quite a good way to make back some money from your mud.
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Old 10-22-2003, 01:11 PM   #5
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I'm just talking out of my ass here, but what if using the mud's client provides features for the mud that isn't available in other clients. For instance, ANSI colours, wilderness map, maybe verbose text or messages that make creating triggers easier, etc. Dunno how it would be done but I'm sure crafty coders could figure out a way.
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Old 10-22-2003, 03:04 PM   #6
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I canít see anything wrong with developing a stand alone client and asking people to pay for it. Providing the game itself can be played with other clients, and the custom client isnít in any way a necessity/controlling factor linked to the distribution of basic game data or in game features. Paying for a client with a Sharune theme, and custom features such as RGB, seems perfectly acceptable in my opinion.

You may have to pay the dreaded taxman his dues however, since it is likely to be a form of corporate income. These payments could be associated with the specific product, via a separate company, or attributed to the registered company Mythicscape. In any event they could be offset with development costs, providing such costs are documented, realistic and wholly relevant to the operational mandate of the company.
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Old 10-22-2003, 07:59 PM   #7
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Hmm. Interesting idea, but with the versitility or zMud or even more so Mushclient, you had better provide a fully integratable ActiveX component that can be used to supply the same features to at least these two clients. I can 100% guarrenty that we have coders who could and quite likely would duplicate any of these new 'features' you make your client to do. At least not unless it includes some hard to crack encryption to keep anyone from using it.

Of course making such a plugable program is a tad complicated. The plugin system in Mushclient is much different than zMud. Basically... For zMud you code real plugin and zMud talks to it direct and vise versa (I think). For Mushclient all traffic 'from' the mud is handled by a script and that passing info to an ActiveX dll or exe, which can have the intefaces for Mushclient compiled in, so the dll or exe can talk direct to the correct game window. It makes things interesting to design..

However, once muds started using the features and someone using Mushclient decided to try to get at them, I would give you about 48 hours before they had something that duplicated it. Maybe less than that if it is something which could be doen without coding an activex component to do it. Some clients are rapidly becoming so versitile that you can do nearly anything in them, as such making a custom one that adds some bells and wistles, but is no where near as user modifyable, will probably only annoy people that already use ones like Mushclient and zMud.

Of course this is only my own opinion, but I doubt I am wrong about what would happen. Especially since the only things that would keep me from being the one doing it is a dislike of anything I have to continual pay for and the fact that I wouldn't want to risk being caught by the place I played at.
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Old 10-23-2003, 01:49 AM   #8
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To take this thread a little further, do most of you think that a "custom" client for a MUD isn't worth the time and effort then? †This is a question I have been pondering over the last few months. †

To me, part of the playing experience for a MMORPG is the user interface. †The special little features, the design, the pictures, etc. †All of these, when done well, seem to help construct a deeper atmosphere, and bring the player into the game more - even though most of them aren't as "useful" as any of the clients we use for MUDding.

So I have been asking myself - is it worth making one for my MUD? †I know there is no way I could make something as indepth and rich as zMud or Portal, etc. without significant time invested into it (read YEARS) - but I'm not sure that's what I want anyways. Should I even bother investing the time?


What are your thoughts?


BTW Hephos - about charging even when using something with the DIKU license - I think it should be fine. †That would be completely your code (I am assuming), which you should be able to do with as you see fit.
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Old 10-23-2003, 02:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Lanthum @ Oct. 23 2003,01:49)
To take this thread a little further, do most of you think that a "custom" client for a MUD isn't worth the time and effort then? †This is a question I have been pondering over the last few months. †
We've pondered this for a long time. We did develop a pretty capable (if not particularly pretty) java client complete with triggers, macros, and so on, but we definitely want to get a dedicated Windows client at some point. Have you ever seen Simutronics' E-scape client? It's beautiful.

To me, there are two major advantages to having a good, dedicated client.
1. You can make it very pretty. Some may scoff at this but pretty attracts players.
2. You can provide it to your players for free. If someone's never played a mud before you have to either have a java client or ask them to download (and possibly pay for) third party software to access your mud. A better experience (especially for newbies who need handholding) can be provided by controlling the client-side as well as the server-side. Otherwise, players may be stuck with the average POS java client or windows telnet *shudder*.

Of course, as you say, the downsides are that developing a client that is truly useable without sacrificing the functionality of a client like Zmud is not going to be easy. We've not done it so far mainly because it's going to cost so much to do well.

--matt
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Old 10-23-2003, 03:54 AM   #10
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Well, we're actually developing a full scale game client right now. Featuring music, sound fx and lots of graphics. Will be available both in full screen mode and windowed mode. It will sure be more beutiful than any other clients available today, and of course have lots, and lots of better features. It will for only work for our upcoming game though.
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Old 10-23-2003, 12:20 PM   #11
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We are developping a client too, that is built from the ground up to work on windows, linux and macs (we don't have access to a mac so that might be a problem but the client has been designed with portability in mind). The client is designed to work amazingly well on low-end machines and as well on high end machines. We support sound, 2d and 3d graphics and a very tight integration into our actual game. We might release our base client with the source code under the LGPL but that is still under talks since the client is quite advanced. We're still constructing it... but it already works under windows and linux with no problem and it looks nice

My team thinks that having a very tightly integrated client is a great feature to have... so i'd encourage other people to do so too if they have the resources.
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Old 10-25-2003, 03:22 AM   #12
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I agree with you, the_logos and Lodes. †The more I think about it the more I want to program a custom client for my project. †But, not having done any Windows programming before, it's kind of difficult and going slowly! †I'm still trying to figure out MFC and if I should use it or not, etc. †(That's what I get for doing it all on my own! †I really should get some help at some point ...)

I have a few other questions for you guys.

First, since you could do some amazing things if all your players have to use your custom client to play your game, do you think there is a big enough benefit in creating your game like this, or do you think it would discourage a significant amount of players? †I originally thought that it would probably discourage a large amount of people from trying my game. †It seems most Mudders are familiar with a client and don't like to change. †But I also think that it might attract just as many players if done well.

Second, do you think players mind if the client is written to own the screen? †(If I understand this correctly - it means unable to run any other applications while playing, right?) †I know some MMORPGS are done in this manner to guard against hacking as well as other issues. †Do you think Mudders will be receptive to this kind of software scheme? †Especially since no MUD clients that I can think of are written this way.


Thanks for your thoughts!
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Old 10-25-2003, 10:30 AM   #13
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First, since you could do some amazing things if all your players have to use your custom client to play your game, do you think there is a big enough benefit in creating your game like this, or do you think it would discourage a significant amount of players? I originally thought that it would probably discourage a large amount of people from trying my game. It seems most Mudders are familiar with a client and don't like to change. But I also think that it might attract just as many players if done well.
Requiring custom client: bad. Providing option of custom client: good. I'd say follow the lead of Simutronics here. They have hands-down the best custom client for text muds that I've seen. (The prettiest too.) They don't, however, require it to play the game. Text mudders are lazy. A download is an unacceptable burden to many of them.

Quote:
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Second, do you think players mind if the client is written to own the screen? (If I understand this correctly - it means unable to run any other applications while playing, right?) I know some MMORPGS are done in this manner to guard against hacking as well as other issues. Do you think Mudders will be receptive to this kind of software scheme? Especially since no MUD clients that I can think of are written this way.
That was a bad idea for graphical muds and is an equally bad idea for text muds. First, it doesn't stop hacking, at all. Players got around those full-screen modes quickly. Second, how many times have you wanted to bring up a web page while mudding? Happens frequently to me, I know. People also enjoy being able to use IM, play music, etc while mudding, not to mention getting actual work done.

--matt
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