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Old 05-07-2013, 12:56 PM   #141
plamzi
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Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
There's no reason why you couldn't use a roguelike tileset as a graphical replacement for an ASCII map - drawing the world, but not the creatures and objects within it. It's not uncommon for muds to offer ASCII maps, and this would serve the same purpose, it would just look more attractive.

If you wanted to use additional icons within each location, you could use a single monster image to represent the presence of one or more monsters, a single treasure icon to represent the presence of one or more items of loot, and so on - more symbolic than anything else. Or you could use some form of stacking, as ForgottenMUD suggested.

But even if you just stuck with the map itself, and ignored creatures and objects, I still think it would be a significant improvement over an ASCII map.
I agree that it works great for a map. Probably a lot better for a coordinate-based world like yours or a strictly chessboard world like Aardwolf's. For worlds like mine, I find the "cell-type" map design to be cleaner-looking. Which leads to better results when you overlay the map on top of the world view UI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaz View Post
The way I see it, the "call to graphics" isn't a call to graphics as such. Back in the day, command lines were the normal way of interacting with a product. You even typed in "win" on the command line to run windows! This day has passed, and the accessibility expectations have changed. MMOs tell us that we can still communicate (and, indeed, perform complicated scripting actions) via a command-line option, but that there are other methods of control for movement and better methods for displaying real-time information.

Why, in this modern day and age, do we satisfy ourselves with having five status prompts on the screen at once, four of which are obsolete?
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To be fair, it's becoming increasingly common for people to use energy bars and icons instead.
Kaz makes some excellent points here. You can set the whole "some graphics vs. no-no-no to graphics" debate aside and instead ask yourself purely functional questions. What does the best possible UI for a MUD look like to you, with all your individual/unique considerations in mind?

When I asked myself that question 3 years ago, what I had in mind was a mobile app. What is a mobile game in which you can't play normally with just tapping, dragging, and dropping? It's a huge pain in the a## is what it is. And so, you need visual representations on screen for anything that must be manipulated for normal play. Now, that's a tall order even for a hack'n'slash MUD. But if you expect people to play an app on their phone by typing in commands, you quickly find that even veteran mudders will just log in to chat, if they use it at all.

Now, I believe that some of the same considerations are true for web apps. People are used to performing most in-game (or even in-browser) actions with the mouse. They are used to seeing visual representations of things in the game that they can click on, scroll, etc. That is what I was getting at many pages ago when I said that we need a MUD GUI for the web that "looks like a game".
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:32 PM   #142
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Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

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Originally Posted by plamzi View Post
What does the best possible UI for a MUD look like to you, with all your individual/unique considerations in mind?

To me, the best possible UI for a MUD is one that provides needed information to the player without compromising the spirit of text based game play. Minimaps, health-bars and other indicators are sure bets. Quite frankly, if a MUD developer has attempted to try and make some sort of ascii representation of something, then that something may be a great candidate for a graphical representation. Graphical representations, though, are meant to augment the text based play experience and not replace it.

Also, any task that isn't directly related to playing should be turned in to a specialized UI 'piece' that people are used to. For example, writing MUD mail could be done with a GUI similar to any given email client vs. employing a command line editor where the intended "mail input" is mixed with the rest of the game output. Granted, people write a mail in some other software (notepad?), then cut/paste that mail into the command line. But, that's really not 'user friendly'. That is people adjusting to and working around limitations that don't define game-play and are nothing short of annoying. Posting messages, selecting skills, shopping, logging in, selecting characters, etc -- all those activities are easily and better handled through a GUI without compromising the general text-based game play. For the most part, the ultimate UI is not just about a bunch of graphics --- it is about proper segregation of information and interaction. Without a doubt, the main game play would still happen through scrolling text and command input. Command line input could be augmented with certain UI elements though -- like the minimap could be clickable to move --- and I am sure there are plenty of ideas on other input handling mechanism.

Finally, the best possible UI would be one that visually brands the game. When I look at your client, the window borders, scroll bars, buttons, background and all the 'dressings' would immediately stick in my head as something that identifies *your game*. In terms of look and feel, the UI should also leverage today's advancements in typography, fonts, colors and layout options. Heck, where the 'telnet client' was the king of yesteryear, the web browser is just about to the point where it should be *the* client layer/container.
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:40 PM   #143
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Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

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Originally Posted by ArchPrime View Post
To me, the best possible UI for a MUD is one that provides needed information to the player without compromising the spirit of text based game play. Minimaps, health-bars and other indicators are sure bets. Quite frankly, if a MUD developer has attempted to try and make some sort of ascii representation of something, then that something may be a great candidate for a graphical representation. Graphical representations, though, are meant to augment the text based play experience and not replace it.

Also, any task that isn't directly related to playing should be turned in to a specialized UI 'piece' that people are used to. For example, writing MUD mail could be done with a GUI similar to any given email client vs. employing a command line editor where the intended "mail input" is mixed with the rest of the game output. Granted, people write a mail in some other software (notepad?), then cut/paste that mail into the command line. But, that's really not 'user friendly'. That is people adjusting to and working around limitations that don't define game-play and are nothing short of annoying. Posting messages, selecting skills, shopping, logging in, selecting characters, etc -- all those activities are easily and better handled through a GUI without compromising the general text-based game play. For the most part, the ultimate UI is not just about a bunch of graphics --- it is about proper segregation of information and interaction. Without a doubt, the main game play would still happen through scrolling text and command input. Command line input could be augmented with certain UI elements though -- like the minimap could be clickable to move --- and I am sure there are plenty of ideas on other input handling mechanism.
I agree with all of this, for whatever it's worth.
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Old 05-30-2013, 05:12 PM   #144
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Thumbs down Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

Everything I've managed to read through tells me that although it is possible to run a MUD in a smartphone app, it doesn't sound like a very good idea.

A list of reasons why it could be trouble to make a MUD app.
1.
Graphics interface would take up a lot of room, and limit the amount of detail that can be given in the text. The length of player posts would also be limited do to the smaller text area.
2. Event without a graphics interface, the smaller screen of the phone will already limit the text area.
3. To get event close to the number of player options in a MUD, the Graphics interface would need list withing list within list of choices.
4. Event if the touch based interface is limited to the basic direction and a graphic of the current room, details, choices and text will be covered up by the in-phone keyboard.
5. Event if connected with a website, the app will always feel limiting to older players.

The things that make MUDs better that most graphic based games is the level of interaction, the variety of player choices, and the number of options available to a player at any given time.

At best you could have multiple apps that let the Player gain access to aspects of the Character, and do mini-game style activities such as; crafting, quick skirmish combat, access guild/clan/house information, or do basic explaoration of part of the world.

Apps are meant to be quick and simple, while MUDs are indepth, long-term, detailed, and full of choices.

Aside from the traditional wall of text over a basic graphic background, it will be hard to contain the rich tapestry of a good MUD.

For those of you who want Your MUDs on the go with your smartphones, just look at your phone's keypad and screen to see the basic problems there.

While I do like the Website based MUDs I have seen, the play style, and the basic way the MUD works is still all the same underneath all the graphics.
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:02 PM   #145
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Re: Do MUDs need to be "brought into the 21st century"

I am trying to address this very issue--I think bringing new blood (or bringing back old blood) is the most obvious concern for keeping the MUDs we all love alive and growing.

I just released an Android app specific to one mud, that is integrated tightly to that MUD. The mudding experience is the same as it is from a telnet client or other traditional Mud client--but bringing in custom hooks from the MUD to create a touch interface that directly interacts with the MUD, beyond just "dumb" buttons. I hope other MUDs find it interesting enough that they either create their own interactive clients (or talk to me about creating a version for them!)

Check it out if you have interest, just released, but so far I have quite a few thrilled users!

aMud:3k
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