MUDs, anyone?

MUDs, anyone?

Postby Ntech » 24 Jun 2019, 21:34

I love playing MUDs. I even run two -- StrongholdMUD and CamelotMUD. CamelotMUD is made in Python, and is still under development. StrongholdMUD is 100% complete, and may be played at stronghold.vineyard.haus port 1578 (using a Telnet Client or MUD Client). It's an opensource fork (highly modified and improved) of CircleMUD and DikuMUD, both of which are opensource. It's repository is here.

I'm wondering if anyone else plays MUDs. There were a couple really good ones, such as

Gladiator Pits - written in (very well documented and precise) C
DikuMUD
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Re: MUDs, anyone?

Postby domtron » 24 Jun 2019, 21:54

I used to play MUDs occasionally. Can't remember any names off the top of my head.

I think the last one I played was procedualLands or ProceduralMUD or something which actually strayed away from the normal MUD setup with a custom server that was much closer to a normal ASCII RPG then most MUDs. I think it died though. :/

There was also a living in a program themed one I played a looong time ago where you could build your own base/home and fight with hacking themed weapons.

Another that was interesting was a space themed one where you built facilities to produce stuff. No one really ever interacted with me so it got boring pretty quick.

My memory stinks. :/

Also tried to work on TheASCIIProject with it's main dev which was going to be a MMO style ASCII game that you could maybe call a mud if you squinted just right. :P Link: https://github.com/yamamushi/theasciiproject

And my own idea for something similar would be to use SSH to build a proper realtime Mud with better security. Every time I've tried to do something with the SSH libraries though it's been a bit too complex for me. :/
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Re: MUDs, anyone?

Postby drummyfish » 24 Jun 2019, 22:48

Never played a MUD, but recently we discussed text-only RPG games in the roguelike thread, and I feel like this may be something I'd like to explore.

Not sure where to start -- obviously I am only interested in strictly free software and free culture MUDs (including the client SW, the "assets" (backstory) etc.) -- do you have some kind of "getting started" or just interesting links for a newbie like me?

Sadly nor DikuMUD neither CircleMUD are free or open-source ("You may under no circumstances make profit on *ANY* part of DikuMud in any possible way.").

EDIT: Been looking around the Internet and it's pretty difficult to get into this. There is about a billion of MUDs, and while there is a huge MUD community, the intersection with the free SW community seems to be a near-empty set, as most sites (not even Wikipedia) seem to talk about the licenses. I have found a few free engines and clients, but not a complete game. Am pretty frustrated about this.
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Re: MUDs, anyone?

Postby domtron » 25 Jun 2019, 14:23

Correct me if I'm wrong, but MUDs are a bit unique in respect to licensing.

First, There is a fairly limited set of server software for Muds and most are from an era where FOSS licensing wasn't as well defined/known. There are a number of open source ones out there though to my understanding.

Second, you have the same issue as MMOs where you don't really want all the content data out there as it leads to people trying to exploit the game where it effects others. In single player you only effect yourself and your save data, but with anything with multiple users that is obviously not the case. So generally even if the server is open source, any specific MUDs data will be closed. Not sure how the few open source MMOs handle this.


As for getting started, MUDs vary widely in form, but have a few constants.

  • Muds act like a real-time text adventure where you send a command and get output but can also get input if something suddenly happens to you.
  • Muds are room based. Rooms holds objects, entities, and other players.

Some MUDs use rooms in a grid with movement like north or east, others are much more like text adventures. Some are social focused where you have mods or GMs running a story, while others are mechanic based where you actually try to grind skills and gather items.

This is because MUDs are a medium, a form factor, more than a genre. Some are RPG, some are adventure, you could even have a strategy one though I haven't seen one before.

To play them you generally just use a telnet client, though using one of the dedicated Mud clients like TinTin. https://tintin.sourceforge.io/ (not sure about the licence but source seems available. Also saw one called mudlet when looking this one up: https://www.mudlet.org/)

I suggest just try a few for a bit then look for one that is more to your liking based on that experience.
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Re: MUDs, anyone?

Postby fluffrabbit » 25 Jun 2019, 14:32

Second, you have the same issue as MMOs where you don't really want all the content data out there as it leads to people trying to exploit the game where it effects others. In single player you only effect yourself and your save data, but with anything with multiple users that is obviously not the case. So generally even if the server is open source, any specific MUDs data will be closed. Not sure how the few open source MMOs handle this.

I remember a game from a while back where all of the characters and abilities were public knowledge. There were some advantage players of course, but most people still consider it a fair game. I think it was called chess.
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Re: MUDs, anyone?

Postby domtron » 25 Jun 2019, 14:41

fluffrabbit {l Wrote}:
Second, you have the same issue as MMOs where you don't really want all the content data out there as it leads to people trying to exploit the game where it effects others. In single player you only effect yourself and your save data, but with anything with multiple users that is obviously not the case. So generally even if the server is open source, any specific MUDs data will be closed. Not sure how the few open source MMOs handle this.

I remember a game from a while back where all of the characters and abilities were public knowledge. There were some advantage players of course, but most people still consider it a fair game. I think it was called chess.


Hehe, funny but I disagree a bit. Chess is quite 'simple' comparatively. Programs will always have issues that may be exploitable. It's more like playing chess and causing a distraction so you can remove some of the other side's pieces. That is certainly not fair; It's outside the games rules, an exploit of human distraction.

Edit: actually no chess isn't simple it's purely a function that the two players can police eachother where in an MMO it creates a moderator nightmare to do the same.
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Re: MUDs, anyone?

Postby fluffrabbit » 25 Jun 2019, 14:55

First of all, you don't like cheating and griefing in games. I do. Half of the fun I had playing Second Life was crashing their servers. Open source online games work just fine; I'm surprised there aren't more of them.

Secondly, I don't see how memorizing the server-side map layout gives one player an advantage over another. Either procedurally generate the maps or just expect players to memorize the map data to have a fair advantage. It's no different from any number of IRL mapping apps that have POIs, etc. Game theory still applies here, just with fewer unknowns to the player.
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Re: MUDs, anyone?

Postby drummyfish » 25 Jun 2019, 14:56

Thank you for the info. I would really like to try this out, but I genuinely can't find any libre MUD, and I refuse to play anything else, in which I am probably not alone on this forum. I'll keep searching though.

domtron {l Wrote}:Correct me if I'm wrong, but MUDs are a bit unique in respect to licensing.
you have the same issue as MMOs where you don't really want all the content data out there as it leads to people trying to exploit the game where it effects others.


The content of the game database, such as the info about each individual player, doesn't count here, these can and mostly have to be secret and so a license wouldn't make sense either, even though I can imagine a game that would make its database public and open. So a secret game database is okay.

The issue I am having is with not complying with the libre game definition, i.e. free software plus free assets. People who want to create a MUD take a free engine (codebase), which there is kind of a plenty of, modify it a bit, configure it, write some backstory, and run the server, but by not attaching a free license to this result they are -- I believe unwillingly and from the lack of knowledge -- doing a bit of a dick move, don't keep the spirit of sharing from which they benefited, and make the whole result proprietary, keeping all the rights to themselves (as e.g. Disney does with public domain works, except they do it purposefully). I really think it's just that people forget or aren't much knowledgeable, because as you say, they are mostly oldschool hackers from the times when sharing without licensing wasn't such a huge problem.

I used to play Ryzom, which is a completely libre almost-AAA 3D MMORPG, and it works. Thanks to the license, I was able to take the game lore texts and compile them into a book I can read and share with others. This should be a proof a completely libre MUDs could work as well, only if there was a will.

Also as I've found out in MUDs players themselves create the content -- the world -- similarly in principle to e.g. Minetest. This is an interesting borderline between the game database and the game content. Personally I would love to see a libre MUD with a server that would require all players on that server to agree (by just logging on to that server) to release all the content they create under a free license, which would make the game extra libre, allowing others to fork the world at any point and create a new one. This would be possible, because this already works on Wikipedia and with free software contributions. It is just a matter of a server admin being willing and interested to do it.

As you said that you run your own MUDs and have an experience with them, perhaps you could be one of the enlightened ones to address this somehow :)

Anyway, I will continue my search, and will report back if I find anything I'd be happy with.
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Re: MUDs, anyone?

Postby drummyfish » 25 Jun 2019, 15:01

About chess and public databases, we're talking about complete vs incomplete information games (incomplete being e.g. poker), which are a subject of game theory. Both are perfectly legit and the complexity of the game doesn't matter. It's just about what rules you declare. Cheating is just breaking the rules, so if your rules state a complete information, no one is cheating by taking advantage of that information.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complete_information
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Re: MUDs, anyone?

Postby fluffrabbit » 25 Jun 2019, 15:16

Cheating is just breaking the rules, so if your rules state a complete information, no one is cheating by taking advantage of that information.

Excactly my point. Players should be omniscient with regards to manmade ingame content such as maps and quests. Anything they shouldn't know should be procedural.

As for keeping the use data open source, there is a line somewhere. Anything placed in the world could be licensed under whatever, ideally public domain so there isn't a copyright split, or it could be licensed like a work-for-hire arrangement where all UGC becomes copyright of the server operator under an open source license.
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Re: MUDs, anyone?

Postby Ntech » 25 Jun 2019, 20:01

domtron {l Wrote}:And my own idea for something similar would be to use SSH to build a proper realtime Mud with better security. Every time I've tried to do something with the SSH libraries though it's been a bit too complex for me. :/

Perhaps if you tried in Python, it would be easier. I haven't looked into it much, but there are some decent Python SSH libraries available.

domtron {l Wrote}:First, There is a fairly limited set of server software for Muds and most are from an era where FOSS licensing wasn't as well defined/known.

Yes, but nowadays there are new projects coming about, such as:

Evennia, a Python MUD engine which is licensed under the BSD license. It is playable out-of-the-box.

Ex-Venture, a Elixir MUD engine which is MIT licensed. Two groups use it as their codebase and have playable MUDs:
Atlantis MUD -- the community instance;
MidMUD

As to MUD Clients, there's MUDlet (GPL 2.0), TinTin++ (GPL 2.0), and of course, your own telnet client.

[quote=drummyfish]Been looking around the Internet and it's pretty difficult to get into this. There is about a billion of MUDs, and while there is a huge MUD community, the intersection with the free SW community seems to be a near-empty set, as most sites (not even Wikipedia) seem to talk about the licenses. I have found a few free engines and clients, but not a complete game. Am pretty frustrated about this.[/quote]
Yep, it's harsh getting into MUDs for the first time. I reccomend starting out playing a MUD with a decent amount of players (while not opensource, Aardwolf is a good starter: aardwolf.org port 23). You may play using their online client until you find a client you're comfortable with (a good client has triggers, aliases, macros, and supports scripting).

As to complete games, I suggest you see this (rather old, but HUGE) site, which includes

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Re: MUDs, anyone?

Postby domtron » 25 Jun 2019, 20:04

drummyfish {l Wrote}:Not sure where to start -- obviously I am only interested in strictly free software and free culture MUDs (including the client SW, the "assets" (backstory) etc.) -- do you have some kind of "getting started" or just interesting links for a newbie like me?


Did a quick search so may not be accurate as I don't have time to dig in. Based on this: https://www.reddit.com/r/MUD/comments/5 ... e_content/
It seems EmpireMUD may match what you need:
https://github.com/EmpireMUD/EmpireMUD-2.0-Beta
http://www.mudbytes.net/mud/
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Re: MUDs, anyone?

Postby drummyfish » 26 Jun 2019, 12:29

domtron {l Wrote}:
drummyfish {l Wrote}:Did a quick search so may not be accurate as I don't have time to dig in. Based on this: https://www.reddit.com/r/MUD/comments/5 ... e_content/
It seems EmpireMUD may match what you need:


Thank you, it did look like what I was looking for, but it is based on CircleMUD and DikuMUD and the license requires only non-commercial use, so it is not open source. I have found many people on reddit don't know what open source actually means and they keep sharing these, spreding misinormation and building new games on top of them, making this non-free code propagate further and further. That's why I generally dislike the "open source movement" -- they don't know and care about ideas, principles annd where they come from, just profits profit profits.

Another example I found earlier: https://www.reddit.com/r/MUD/comments/9 ... urce_muds/

"Open source" just means the source code is available for you to study, change, and distribute, all of which you can do with diku. The main limitation on diku is you can't use it for commercial gain, but that doesn't make it closed source.


So many things wrong about this, it has 2 upvotes and the following discussion shows people have near zero knowledge about anything related to free and open source software. Very painful to read.
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Re: MUDs, anyone?

Postby fluffrabbit » 26 Jun 2019, 13:41

Open as in "open in your text editor", not "open to reuse".
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