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The Mud World

by Jonathan Untied

When you boil a mud down past all of the fancy lingo and complex programming algorithms, it is really just your classic role playing game (RPG). I do not know about everyone else, but when I buy an adventure/RPG game, I only play it through once. Mud's keep people on their servers so long because their game never really ends. It only ends when the users have gotten bored with the mud or found something better to do. This would happen a lot less if the game kept changing.
A nice dried up river

Zebra's in Kenya.

In most mud's, the game does change to a certain extent. Sometimes the creators will rewrite some of the systems, much to the annoyance of many players. This forces them to find new ways of playing. What I propose is a less annoying way of changing the game, just change the place it is set in, or allow it to be changed. I know that some mud's close stores and move NPC's to indicate change in time. This is fine but I would like to go further. If room descriptions were created based certain elements such as flora and structures, they could be easily altered due to player interaction or the passage of time. For example, a tree in a room would be different in the winter as opposed to the summer. Rivers could dry up, streams could become lakes and flood other rooms. This also adds an element of realism to the game. To go even further, one could allow the players to change the world within certain bounds. They could construct a shop in an approved corner of a city, or cut down a tree. As long as the interaction is controlled, this could be a sought-after feature. Every player could potentially have an effect on the game, even long after their gone.

This brings me to an even more complex but interesting idea, what if the game could change itself? It could create new rooms based on flags set by the neighboring rooms, and add new points of interest. I propose a separate engine that writes to the game world while the game is running. That way it will not consume much of the precious system resources and contribute to the lag. This engine could also be used to generate new quests, items, or even characters based on these new points of interest. All surrounding rooms will have a level of relationship with the nearest points of interest. This could eliminate the countless extra rooms that are just used as a pathway to something more important. The room description will also no longer be ignored after the user has been there a few times. They will actually pay attention because they will want to see what has changed. At the same time it will not hinder their travel because the rooms have not moved. This will make a game that is truly impossible to finish, and will always give its user something new to do. Even the creators of the mud will be able to enjoy an experience that they cannot predict. They will also not have to update the mud as players advance, because the game will advance their adversaries ahead of them(hopefully). All in all, the massive amount of complex code required to do this will make the job in the future easier to do, make the game more interesting, create a truly steady player base, and will be a constant draw for new players.

I am the main coder of a mud known as Shattered Worlds, an open source code mud that can be found at The mud is under construction, but is expected to open next year. I am trying to create a game that is very different from the mass amounts of copied code bases out there, and I am also pioneering a new language for muds, visual basic. I also write web pages for companies and school organizations.

Jon Untied (Zenifab)