Wednesday, 10 September 2008 reading list 2

Having trawled through thousands of threads, the transition from USENET newsgroups to a range of disparate forums as a location for MUD discussion, doesn't seem like much of a loss. The newsgroups were filled with a range of off-topic posts, spam and most of the threads which are on-topic are rife with misunderstandings and flaming. Forums however, have moderation and sub-forums for posts on various topics to go. The only downside to forums is that there are many of them, and similar topics of conversation can be located in different forums. It isn't as easy to remember to visit all the distinct locations as it was to just go to the relevant newsgroup.

In the first LP newsgroup thread listing I did, there was a thread about griefing and griefers. One of the posts noted that all you need is one griefer to run the MUD for a lot of people. In a way, it reminds me of one particular poster the LP newsgroups. In pretty much every thread you'll find him posting numerous overly aggressive responses, getting in the way of the discussion. This is a pity as it seems like this set back the discussion consistently. In my books, its a vote in favour of moderation.

1997-04-22: Ressurect: Future of Mudding - User Interfaces and Distrbuted MudServers

Following an earlier trainwreck of a thread titled "Future of Mudding", this is an attempt to resurrect it more productively.

Distributed MUD drivers as a solution for lag. The need for graphical clients, due to the "dauntingness" of the command-line interface. Difficulty factor in writing code for a distributed MUD. Use of a DB backend as a basis for a distributed MUD.
1997-07-11: LP: How does it work?
Implementing a pseudo-language to dynamically transform MUD behaviour (wtf?). LP driver VM implementation/optimisation notes. Runtime morphism, for instance the ability to dynamically change running code to affect game behaviour. The need for downtimes/reboots for game maintenance.
1997-07-25: DLPC: A proposal for distributed LPC
Suggests that distributed LPC is important for the future. That distributed LPC is more appropriate than distributed support in MudOS specifically, because then different drivers can implement it, not just MudOS. Handing off players from MUD to MUD.

Bickering about the practicalities of using CORBA and whether people know what they are talking about. Intermud presence as a measure of mudlib popularity.
1998-01-23: Bandwidth Usage of MUDS
The regularly featured "How much bandwidth do MUDs use?" thread.

1998-02-02: What do you think of Introductions?
Otherwise known as recognition systems. Appeal of it, or lack thereof to players. Degrees to which it can be implemented. Interesting gameplay which it facilitates, like amnesia and forgetting people's names. Breaks down into implementation specific discussion related to the resource usage of noting who knows who.
1998-01-29: Mudlib security issues
Common ways mudlib security is compromised. Weaknesses of stack-based security. Discussion about stack-based implementation details.

Bickering over the implementation of better security systems. That to write your own stack-based system rather than using the Lima Bean one, is to needlessly rewrite the wheel. That Shattered Worlds invented and posted a security system like this over five years ago. That because no-one knew about it or saw it, it didn't count.
1998-04-08: Diku vs. LP from the player's POV
Eventually moves to discussing exits and directions. Having the server doing the movements as part of an action to go to a landmark, rather than the player entering the movement commands needed to get there themselves. Drifts to classless systems. Skill systems.

1998-07-06: MudOS bug? all_previous_objects()
A discussion about implementation details related to writing a stack-based security system.
1998-07-08: Player base thinning
More navel-gazing about the decrease in popularity of text-based MUDs.
1998-08-24: Coder shortage
There are a lot of MUDs asking for coders, and yet few seem to offer to teach people to code. Quality MUDs don't need to ask for coders as people actually want to code there. The same situation exists for builders. That builders on LP MUDs need to be coders anyway. How hard it is to actually train a coder.

1998-09-28: Are LPMuds Dead? Or Where to Next?
That Java is a better bet in the long-term. Discussion about other languages which allow code reloading.
1999-03-24: Future of MUDs
Declining player numbers yet again. Uninteresting stock MUDs being responsible for this.
1999-05-04: Threshold RPG = Copyright Infringment?
The LPmud license prohibits the driver from being used for commercial purposes. Threshold has been a long-term LP MUD. Diverges into other related topics, like DGD licensing terms, and Skoto's licensing terms.
Well, this is now done.

Current position: 10th September, 2008.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008 reading list 1

Now that I have gathered together all the threads posted to which were interesting enough to take note of, the next forum on the cards is

On a preliminary note, I get the feeling that a lot of the threads in this newsgroup are too implementation related. I find little value in these sort of posts, and a lot of it is quite dated given the aging of LPmud/MudOS over the years.

1991-11-20: Graphical Mud - How are they going?

A short thread where an early 3D MUD is mentioned. A 3D world, with a custom client, based on an LP driver.
1992-01-30: Building tools and doc files
The downsides of generated rooms. Pros and cons of different methods of training creators.
1993-02-21: What would you like to see?
.. as in, in the ultimate MUD driver. Multiprocessing. Blocking functions in place of the asynchronous offerings MudOS has ("call_out", "input_to", ...). The suitability for cooperative threading for games like MUDs. Pre-emptive versus cooperative threading. Distributed MUDs.
1993-03-12: Magic
A magic system as a procedural effect, where components have characteristics and their combination determines the result. The unpredictability of such a system. The ability to effect the game world. That the more dynamic a game system allows the creation of things to be, the more difficult is to create them.

Pinkfish was doing it back before we knew we wanted to..
1993-08-24: Permanency in LPs.. does it work?
A persistent world, where nothing respawns and player changes remain. Hard enough to get an area coded, let alone when with one play through it becomes obsolete. Player created content. Comparison of player created room quality to that of creator created rooms.
1993-11-06: Multi-threaded MUD driver
More discussion on the repercussions of adding some form of multi-threading to an LP driver. An interesting point this thread brings up relates to usage of an euid based security system.
1993-11-06: MUD Economies
Description of a "proper economy" in a MUD by the name of Shattered Worlds.
1994-11-24: Mudlib security
The transition from uid-based security to stack-based security, as a more secure approach, after changes in MudOS. Rather than checking the player who did the action, or the previous object in the call stack, instead checking all the objects in the stack.
1994-06-14: Connecting MUDs
Having interconnected MUDs. Being able to walk between MUDs. Imbalance between the participating MUDs. Duplicated player names.
1995-08-19: Some Economical Thoughts
Proposal for an economy based MUD with a wide range of player professions, harvesting of raw resources and so forth. Making armour from processed corpses.. wtf?
1996-06-18: Realism in MUDs
A pretty good thread, with very little flaming. Confusing realism with tediousness. Assertions that realism is at the expense of playability. The assumption that a realistic implementation has to be done in an unplayable way. Juggling of inventory, in terms of what is being held, carried and so forth. Reference to Gemstone III in the case of specific implemented examples of realism.
1996-08-19: Realistic MUDs: Mob behavior
Starts with giving NPCs a life, engaging in activities for a reason. Then devolves from this into discussion of existing limited approximations which aren't anywhere near as hard to implement. Wanders into introduction systems. Rumour systems. Adding continuity by doing away with resets.

1996-12-08: Developing a graphical MUD in Java / java and dynamic reloading
Some back and forwards about the practicalities of code reloading in Java at the time. Comparisons with LPC, within which this is easy. Class reloading is the main thing that my code reloading module allows for in Python.

1997-01-03: Player Killing / Intelligent monsters / Ranged attacks
How to ensure that player killing is balanced. Realism without impacting playability. Town/city guard behaviours. Bounties (and how they turned out on Discworld). Griefing and site-banning griefers. Justice systems.

Appeal of killing players over killing NPCs. Ways to make NPCs more intelligent.

Different types of ranged weapons. Feeling of helplessness/unfairness felt by players when attacked remotely. Taking cover.
1997-01-25: End of Nightmare Mudlib Development
Entitlement causes George Reese to withdraw his Nightmare mudlib from circulation.
Current position: July 30th, 1997.