Back to index

The copyright situation for this article is unclear. It does not belong to the author of this site. Please see the copyright notice. If you have information about the copyright contact me!

Growing Your Idea

by Lord Ashon

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Summer Vacations tend to wreak havoc on my behavior. I have split my time between coding and working for a living. When Pinkfish emailed me asking about this article, I decided that maybe I should write it, so here it is.

In the last two installments of this series we have talked about how to find an idea, and how to properly code them for your mud. Now we come to the stage where you introduce the new code into your world. I consider this the fun part of the three steps simply because you should come up with a fun and creative way to introduce new code. It should not just be posted in the message of the day!

a random deck of cards

What mudders really look like.

Before we jump into things, we need to discuss the concept that this paper is founded on. According to Dr. Bartle, there are four types of mud players. His paper which appeared in the first Journal of Mud Research was entitled, "HEARTS, CLUBS, DIAMONDS, SPADES: PLAYERS WHO SUIT MUDS." This article describes the four stereotypes of players in a mud, and their interaction with the mud and other players. For brevity I will just summarize the characteristics of each suit.


These are the Socialites, they like to sit at the central point of your mud and chat. Talk about out of character, and IC happenings.


These are the Killers. Player killers to the heart, they like to romp around the mud killing whoever and whatever they want/can.


These are the Achievers. They are the one that tend to quest most often, and kill the mobs. They have the goal for reaching the highest levels as fast as possible.


These are the explorers, they like to explore the entire mud, and find out all the little "secrets" hidden away in the rooms.

Now that we have that out of the way, the Reader must understand that this paper is written with role-playing muds in mind. For Hack'n'slash and other types of muds, where role-playing is not a factor it is acceptable to plant the code changes in the MOTD (message of the day) file. Serious role-players do not want all these new things handed to them; they want to go out and feel like they are discovering new aspects of the mud.

So, to accomplish this we take our new code, and we write a story about it. The story should include the 5 W's, the Who, the What, the When, the Where, and the Why, and occasionally the How. If this is a flashback to your high school English classes, then I have accomplished my goal. Let us take the example from our last installment, the dream engine. The who; is Boffo the Mad Enchanter. The what; is the Dream Engine. The when; is for as long as people can remember. The where; is Boffo's Secret Layer. The why; is for the magical potential. The How; is with his dream capturer machine.

The Story: Boffo the Mad enchanter of Long Ago created with knowledge granted to him by a demon of the nine hells, a magical machine; which captured peoples dreams and turned them into pure magical energy. And, just recently, the machine has begun to malfunction. Short and Sweet, just the way it should be.

From here, you look at the story and find out how to get the 4 types of players involved.

Hearts; this group is very difficult to get interested in quest such as this. They are more apt to talk about the person who found it and the pros/cons of the new system.

Clubs; this is quite easy, let loose the demon who gave Boffo the knowledge, so that he can go tap it. Have it talk about its creation and go around thumping big players. Once it dies it drops a paper with directions to find the machine. Make the Machine a mobile that can not move with a massive amount of hit points and bam the killers can destroy it.

Diamonds; the achievers. It is a quest of the highest order, once they find out about it, it is worth the glory to go and destroy it. To drop the clue, have a mobile talk about the rumor of its existence.

Spades; keep it simple, have a mobile talk about this new area that has opened up.

The key here is not to focus on one group. By keeping the basics simple, you would be surprised about what you can do. In the example above, if the dream machine is a mobile, you can have a room item that turns it off/kills it. With all the work that you the coder have put into writing this really neat code/system you should K.I.S.S. it. (Keep it Simple Silly!)

This system works for skills and spells. A school of magic users have discovered a new way to use magic, and if someone brings them object x then they will teach people how to cast the spell. Or, Miner Dave has decided to go against his guild and teach people the new mining skill. You just have to find him in the mines. By the way he is a wandering Mobile.

All these make up what I like to call a 'World or History Quest'. They impact the world and/or the history of the world. It may not be rewarding in the gold/experience sense, but rewarding in the psychological sense. It gives the players a sense of ownership in the mud. A feeling that they influence what happens. When the player who destroyed the machine reaches an avatar level and a newbie logs on and says, "Neato! You dream!" The player is going to say, "Yup, I remember when I destroyed the Dream Capturing Machine." And older players are going to start to reminisce about the other things that they have done, and ultimately the newbie is going to be impressed and want to stay.

So to summarize and wrap up these last three articles, Ideas are everywhere you just need to go out and find them. It's easier then it looks. With the new idea you need to PLAN how the idea is going to work in your mud. Then you code the idea. Now that you have it down, make it's introduction part of the mud by getting the players involved in discovering or uncovering the code. With these you create a living, changing mud that your players, and administrators will always remember.

Lord Ashon, is the head developer on the WheelMUD Project where they are re-inventing the wheel.