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Old 04-20-2002, 11:27 PM   #1
Steiner
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I've only played MUDs for a couple years now, on and off. Meanwhile, I also played games like Counter-strike, Operation Flashpoint, and other graphical shooters and strategy games.

Oddly enough, when I relate back to MUDs, there seem to be no realistic MUDs out there what so ever. All Mideval, or Star Wars, any type of Sci-Fi.. sure.. and thats great. But what better spot to have a massive multiplayer game based on historical realism??

Wouldn't you want to experience life as a sailor aboard a pirate vessel in a realistic world where you change the outcome, rather than flying between planets in conquest after space monsters? I admit, when I look into it (and yes, I plan to start my own historically accurate MUD soon), it could and will be hard to do. How do you have an interactive online game based on Vietnam with no graphical shooting? No buying or selling? Improvise. Focus the game more on the combat role and life in the day of a soldier or a pilot in Vietnam, rather than the life of an independent individual.

I think the main fact I am trying to get accross is... we have had an interesting history on this planet. From the Middle Ages all the way through the 21st century. Why not relive those moments? No magic, no spaceships, no flying monkeys, just real life conflict.

Tell me what you think!
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Old 04-21-2002, 04:30 AM   #2
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Actually,this might look fun but I dont think its a good idea..

If you would put so much effort you want to put into this historical game into a 'normal' magical fantasy mud,you would get much better results,that i promise.It is actually possible to make 'realistic' game with magic and dragons and stuff,and it would be really fun.

well,at least thats my opinion
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Old 04-21-2002, 09:55 AM   #3
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There is a mud based on historical Rome, and another I recall reading about some time ago which is/was set in ancient Greece. Using a "real-world" theme is certainly a viable option and could produce a good mud, but most people seem to prefer a fictional setting.

For example, taking your "pirate" mud, you've got the potential for an interesting game. But by adding magic, you would suddenly add a whole new element to the game. By adding monsters and supernatural races, you're vasting increasing the possible character and opponent options. In addition, making up your own setting allows you to "create" history - you don't have to worry about history buffs pointing out loopholes in your theme. Equally, you can add surprises for the players, because it's not possible for them to cheat and read up on what happens where and when.

So in short, while I think your suggestion could provide a fun and interesting mud, you would be losing out on a lot of elements which make muds popular. It's just something you should bare in mind.
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Old 04-21-2002, 10:51 AM   #4
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Well, I blame myself for the misunderstanding... but when I meant historically accurate, I basically meant realistic. For example, with a pirate MUD, yes it would have the same ships and such, but the outcome would be decided by the players, not by according to what happened in history. Even research and development would be controlled by the players.

I think the whole point of this idea is to bring a whole different class of Mudders to the field of play. They have PURE PK MUDs out there (as you know KaVir ), so why not have pure killing and such, but with a theme that is realtive.

With magic.. I could create things similar to that, but staying within the realm of history and reality. Doctors for example, would take the place of healing.

The most important part would be the Roleplaying standard however. Doctors wouldnt be fighting as soldiers aboard a battleship, soldiers wouldnt be able to heal themselves in combat. The price that comes with that is obviously giving each class MANY things to do, and giving them support from other classes (which would fit in with the advanced AI Idea I had).

To close out, let me leave with an example. The other idea I had was for a MUD based on Vietnam. ( OH MY GOD WHAT A STUPID IDEA RIGHT?) Not quite. There would be about 5-10 classes, each branched out. Machinegunners would be either Heavy MGs or Light MGs for example. So you select that class, and are dropped into a random firebase (Depending on the amount of bases and such.) The base is already being run by AI (which wouldnt be half as good as the players), so the player must live out the life of the soldier (or pilot ect.) Will the base get attacked? Will he die? Will he be sent on a suicide mission? Everything would be left to chance and skill, fast-paced but exciting. Something you leave talking about.
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Old 04-21-2002, 11:04 AM   #5
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Well, I play muds to escape reality, blah blah blah, violence, blah blah me, yes I know it's been said before, but it's true. I like to see different possibilities of the future, and pretend that magic exists and is readily practiced. If you haven't noticed, we have a big, AOL using, Pop-listening, book-burning world out there, and I'd like to escape it.
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Old 04-21-2002, 11:07 AM   #6
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I always thought the pop-listening AOL freaks were the ones that wanted escape from reality? I mean they DO believe that those boy bands aren't really gay. Heh.

Oh well, Vietnam certainly won't be for people that don't like violence.
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Old 04-21-2002, 11:24 AM   #7
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when I meant historically accurate, I basically meant realistic. For example, with a pirate MUD, yes it would have the same ships and such, but the outcome would be decided by the players, not by according to what happened in history.
But what I mean is, the players would all know what had happened (historically) up until that point. There wouldn't really be any surprises, unless the player knew very little about history and had no interest in looking it up. One of the things I like about muds (like fantasy novels) is not knowing about unusual creatures and places until you meet them.

Another problem with historically accurate muds is that they can cause a lot of hard feelings. For example the Vietnam mud you suggested might be found offensive by players who had lost loved ones in Vietnam. Even historical events from a long time ago could cause offense - for example a mud based on the Crusades would no doubt offend a lot of religious people.
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Old 04-21-2002, 11:55 AM   #8
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I had thought about the fact that some of the themes of realistic MUDs I had considered had been controversial. Of course, recently I looked over the rules of the MUD "Armageddon" and found it allows roleplaying a rape. That to me is sickening, but it is a free world, at least on the net. The same would apply to any MUD I chose.

People would know what happened in Vietnam up to that point, but it would be starting from scratch. I would get first-person accounts either from a person or from record, to make it as accurate as possible. How many people that play MUDs today were actually in Vietnam? Very few. This to me creates a more exciting world than any fantasy game, because you know what the people in Vietnam had to go through, and you can actually shape the outcome of the war. If anything, it's actually somewhat educational.

These MUDs would be designed for people that want to live a real life experience in a certain time period, and actually change the outcome of history, aswell as learn about the period in time.

One main thing you brought up was the fact that history buffs are going to find loopholes and discrepencies. I expect that, and will counter it by looking over several sources for each piece of large information I put on the MUD. So if 4 sources say the AK-47 was an unreliable weapon, and 1 says it wasn't, I would obviously go with the majority. Of course, someone will come onto the MUD and say "Why is this AK-47 so good? They werent this good!" I expect that, and will deal with it
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Old 04-21-2002, 02:33 PM   #9
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One trouble with the idea that I see is the conflict of keeping things 'historical' and allowing players to 'change history.' If players have a strong influence over how things develope in the game (and I think its important that they do) it wont take very long at all before the MU* is related to the original theme only in name. Taking your Vietnam MU* as an example, you'll either have to make it impossible for the characters end the war (severly limiting their ability to influence the game), or face the possiblity that NAMMUD might end up having absolutely nothing to do with the war in Vietnam three weeks after you open it. What happens when one side wins? If you make it impossible for one side to win, and the players know it, they wont have much motivation for fighting.

The thing about history, is that the things we tend to find the most fascinating are brief periods when the outcome is uncertain. Wars, revolutions, conflicts, etc. When MU*ing, however, things tend to wrap themselves up rather quickly, so that these intersting time periods fly by and then your left with the long historical periods of stability.

I'm not saying a historicly themed MU* is impossible, or wouldn't be fun, but I just think that if the players have freedom to change history, they will do so VERY quickly, and the theme won't be historical anymore.

I have nothing against the idea of an MU* with no magic or sci-fi technology (though I think most players wouldn't go for them), but I don't think you should push for historical accuracy to hard. I could see a magicless, pirate themed MU* being fun. Or a jungle combat themed MU* being fun. But I'd suggest leaving them at that, instead of making them historical re-enactments. Good luck with whatever you end up doing, though.
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Old 04-21-2002, 02:54 PM   #10
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KaVir definitely has a point about why a historically accurate Ďmoderní mud probably would be a somewhat controvarsial idea. Even Word War II, and the Korean war are a bit uncomfortably close in time and the Vietnam War definitely is. The mental wounds have not healed, too many people would be hurt and/or offended. Try to imagine what youíd feel if your father/brother/uncle died in that war. Try even for a moment to imagine the Palestinian or Yugoslavian conflicts as subjects for a mud. Impossible, yes? Well, the psychological problem is the same, even so much more vivid the closer it gets in time.

Otherwise itís quite possible of course, even using just stock code and snippets. Spells could easily be changed into something more modern and Ďrealisticí. You can find a vehicle code, a ranged weapons code and several other snippets, which you could just as well use for tanks, aeroplanes and machineguns, as for carriages and bows and arrows in Medieval times, or spaceships and laser guns in Space Operas. But it would probably be wiser to keep the time distance a bit further from present days. Iíd say that World War I or the American Civil War would be about the time limit.

However I donít really understand the other objections about using real History as the base for a Mud. And I fail to see why it would make things more predictable than in any of the many Medieval, Tolkien or Wheel of Time based muds around. In fact I think that historical or geographical accuracy in the zones and background stories add some spice and flavour to the mud. And several such muds exist. To my knowledge there is a mud set in France during the time of the three Musketeers, and another featuring London in the time of Sherlock Holmes, and most likely there are others like that. In our mud we have an entire Dimension based on ancient Greece and Egypt around 2000 BC, when you generally travelled by ship, and when piracy was an accepted pastime even for the sons of Kings. We use the geography, topology and biology of the Mediterranean countries as basis for it, as well as the authentic history, legends and mythology. Itís quite fun, since the Greek Gods were supposed to wander the earth, interacting with the mortals, and definitely not behaving like any supreme beings. In fact they were a quarrelsome, promiscuous, resentful, envious, violent, passionate lot, usually up to no good. The perfect setting for a RP environment.

However, the general player preference still seems to be Medieval, fantasy based muds. Any poll you make would most likely show that. Possibly some sort of conservatism, since muds developed from the old Dragons and Dungeons roleplay games? Or just a lack of imagination on the side of the creators? Iím not sure which, possibly a mix of both.
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Old 04-21-2002, 03:13 PM   #11
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Possibly some sort of conservatism, since muds developed from the old Dragons and Dungeons roleplay games? Or just a lack of imagination on the side of the creators? Iím not sure which, possibly a mix of both.
Ouch.

Or it could possibly be that the simplist way for both the MUD creators and the players to be involved in a reality-escaping world is to not base the MUD on actual events.

I could understand using a more accurate location for a MUD to be an interesting setting for players, but to try and recreate an actual event seems to lean more towards a historical simulation than a world that devolps around the players actions.
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Old 04-21-2002, 03:25 PM   #12
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this poll is sure a good idea..though i think i know results even now
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Old 04-21-2002, 04:03 PM   #13
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I think you can make a successful game in just about any setting. †If you make the gameplay well enough I don't see why a Vietnam era game can't succeed, as controversial as it might be. †Although I certainly wouldn't call it a "revolution" just a different style of MUD.

The problem I see is what are your players going to do? †To me, a "realistic" day in the life of a vietnam soldier conjurs up images of eating food from a can and trying to fight off jungle rot on my foot. †And no "cure fungus" spell to be found...

The point of such spells in games is to give the players superhuman abilities. †There a very few games I can think of that don't give the player some sort of superhuman power. †Whether it's creating fireballs out of thin air or the ability to be shot 20 times and still live. †I think without this, you will have to be extremely creative in your gameplay.
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Old 04-21-2002, 05:25 PM   #14
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Didn't someone do one set in 1920s Chicago somewhere? I seem to remember reading about it on TMC. Also, there's AoTT (Age of the Throne), a commercial MUD which I believe is set in the France of Louis XIV.
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Old 04-21-2002, 06:51 PM   #15
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Molly wrote:
However I donít really understand the other objections about using real History as the base for a Mud. And I fail to see why it would make things more predictable than in any of the many Medieval, Tolkien or Wheel of Time based muds around.
The problem is that there is just so much information about real-world history. With a made-up theme, you can invent the world yourself. Even with a Tolkien or WoT theme, there are huge amounts of the world and history which is uncharted - which allows for setting creativity. You suggested that Medieval/fantasy muds might be due to lack of imagination, but such settings require more imagination, because nothing is set in stone - the game world is based entirely on the imagination of the game developer. Moreover, as I said before, because the information is all made up by the game world creator, the players can't look up the information themselves. This forces players to explore the unknown if they want to learn more about the game world - or perhaps read the journals and exploits of other players.

As I said previously, a historical setting can work fine, but I prefer to play within a fictional one - and when I create a mud world, I like it to come from the imagination of myself and my fellow developers, not from a book.
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Old 04-21-2002, 08:21 PM   #16
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I also remember a game that was around for a while based on The X-Files--now granted, that's poking into the paranormal and 'magical' realms a bit, but it's also firmly planted in the real world.

Like anything, your idea could be a good one if you developed and structured it right, but the problems that KaVir et al. have brought up are ones that you're going to need to address before you even begin. †The main question you're going to need to address is where you'll find the sense of drama in your world, where the point is that spurs interaction between players (both cooperative and opposing.)

Secondly, I would be hard-pressed to believe that a MU* based on any specific point in history (like the Vietnam war) would be vastly successful. †After a time, you're going to run out of plots and conflicts, or continue to produce ones that are so similar to prior ones that everything begins to turn stale.

That's another appeal with fantasy/science-fiction original themes (as well as themes based on popular novels that aim to produce a new story in an author's world as opposed to a mirror of that world itself): a good creative director will always be able to create some fresh drama.

I do think the idea is a good one, and one worth exploring further, but you're going to have to sit down and brainstorm all the potential weaknesses and problems that might arrise, and find methods of fixing them before you start inviting players in the door.

Best,
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Old 04-21-2002, 08:28 PM   #17
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I think a historical setting would be really nifty, particularly if it weren't perfectly accurate. Even though there is reams of detailed information on historical events, there are still plenty of places to fill in the holes. Did the colonial period have assassins? If so, what were they like? What if a redcoat assassin killed George Washington -- would another player/General rise to take his place, or would the British have surpressed the revolution -- and what would it be like afterwards?

There are so many possibilities if one just takes history to be as malleable as fantasy history. Perhaps one could reenact the espionage-laden Cold War, or JFK's assassination, or the first Emperor of China, who is said to have been destroyed by a fire-breathing dragon, but historians believe it was a meteor.
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Old 04-21-2002, 10:35 PM   #18
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Wow, quite a few responses to the topic while I was gone

Let me start out with telling you how I appreciate your comments, and that they WILL affect the Mu* I start. I've barely built on a MUD before, better the less started and ran one. I have a lot of dedication though, so I am going to try my best.

Historically, I understand your opinions on the timeframe problems. This "conflict" did last approx. 10 years, during which quite a bit happened. To counter the problem of "eatin tin can beans and fightin" issue, I plan to institute 3 branches of the military (at least), each having a few classes with a few subclasses. In the opening of the MUD, there will be approx. 3 bases, one for each branch. Historically this might not be accurate, but for gameplay this is how it will work. There will be a modified map posted on the website (once I get one) or elseware that can be accessed, showing the development of the war. The VC and the South Vietnamese will be completely AI controlled. Believe it or not, the focus of this MUD would be adventure, since you wouldn't have scheming Imm's Morts as leaders of the enemy Clan, but a common enemy you must fight to survive. Base, Divison, Battalion leaders ect. would be hand-picked. So in reality, you are all right, this won't be historically accurate. It will be up to the small chain of command (in the beginning) to shape the face of the war. This in turn, give my building staff and I time to complete new zones and create better AI and other features. The other focus will be the fact that each player will have to develop a "niche" in the group he is in, just as the soldiers had to during that time period. Using different tactics and weapons to beat the enemy is key.

So let's go into an example. Joe Smoe chooses to be a pilot in the Army's Air Corps. He flies a simplistic helecopter, but when he's not flying, he's going to be repairing his helecopter, gathering and checking gear, possibly socializing with other players, working on a skill, ect. Fire Base 1 (the first Army base put into the MUD) would rely on him to give them support. Joe Smoe will have AI gunners and co-pilots, (That will †do little to nothing except fire). Unfortunately, Joe Smoe's gunner is killed on every other mission that is dictated by the Base Commander, and he is very upset. He must speak to whoever is allocating supplies to the base, and query them for a better chopper? More cover fire from the ground? Better MG?

This not only creates drama for the pilot who is running hot missions assigned by the Base Commander (which could be like quests), but also for the officers who must allocate supplies and create tactics to beat an enemy that will pound them into the ground unless they do something about it.

Imagine being in a Recon group heading from the Fire Base #1 on a "quest" to find the enemy positions nearby. You come under fire, and as the battle rages on you must radio back to the base for help. Even if there are only 3 players on, they can most likely respond! This creates a daring enviroment where no one is bored, and vetrans gain respect. Call me stupid, but that sounds more fun to me that spanking a purple dragon with a magical mace.
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Old 04-22-2002, 04:52 AM   #19
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You say that your theme "sounds more fun to me that spanking a purple dragon with a magical mace", but one of the nice things about a fantasy mud is the diversity of opponents (and thus the diversity of tactics required to defeat them). You can fight dragons, or orcs, or goblins, or any other sort of thing your imagination can conjure up - but in your mud, the players will be limited to killing Vietnamese solders. Hundreds of them. Thousands.

Now as a pure PK mud that might not matter too much - but from reading your latest post, it seems that the Vietnamese solders would all be mobs (or am I misreading your post?). From a strategic point of view it does sound interesting, particularly in terms of organisation and tactics - in fact it rather reminds me of mud concept which was discussed on MUD-DEV some years back, whereby the entire playerbase are thrown into the middle of a savage wilderness (except unlike your mud there are all sorts of nasties out there, and the players are forced to create their own settlements, tools and weapons).

However as far as gameplay is concerned, I think it's soon going to get boring for most players - you just don't have enough options for diversity. A World War II style mud might be more flexible (there are more sides involved, more vehicles and weapons, etc), but personally (and I know you wouldn't like this) I'd much rather see your ideas implemented into a futuristic mud. The players could choose from fictional races, or be regular humans, they could have a wide range of advanced weapons and gadgets, travel around in customised spaceships exploring new worlds and abandoned vessels - think something along the lines of Aliens (or Space Hulk). Now to me, that would be fun - because I'd have no idea what would be out there, and I'd have far more personal customisation available.

Anyway, just my opinion - not intended as criticism. I applaud you for going against the crowd, even though your mud wouldn't really appeal to me personally.

Some quick points though - are you going to have levels? If so, how will you handle the mobs? Different solders of different ability? Also you keep mentioning classes, but have you considered using a classless approach?
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Old 04-22-2002, 11:21 AM   #20
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It doesnt have to be all Americans (yaya America!) versus the Viet. I think the Vietnam concept would be greatly strengthened by a double-sided war. Players could choose to be either Viet or American. Something like a race system, where the two races would be forever pitted against each other. They could spawn on two different sides of the world, and attempt to attack the other base, they could set up fortifications, gain and lose ground, etc. Viets would have more subterfuge, with special abilities to dig tunnels and such, and Americans would have big tanks with flame throwers at the end, to blast the Viets out of their holes.

Quote:
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KaVir definitely has a point about why a historically accurate Ďmoderní mud probably would be a somewhat controvarsial idea. Even Word War II, and the Korean war are a bit uncomfortably close in time and the Vietnam War definitely is.
- Molly O'Hara

I dont think so at all. If the subject is handled in a responsible way, it is as much a history, or a reenactment, as it is a game. There †is a half-life mod called Day of Defeat which simulates many events in World War II, like Oslo and Omaha Beach. However, the game portrays the war as it really was (or as close of a digital representation as you get get, I think) and it turns out to be something like Saving Private Ryan. When you play a game like this, a well planned out one, which handles the subject well, there is something of a humbling aspect when you realize just how easy it is to die.

I think its a great idea.

[edited - the new smilies messed me up]
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