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[Column] General: Back to Our Roots

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,596MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

The electronic great grandpappy of today's most advanced MMOs is, of course, the MUD, or Multi-User Dungeon. In our latest article from The Tourist, we take a nostalgic look back at the good ol' days. See how it went in an era of "awesome graphics, dude" before telling us your favorite MUD tales in the comments.

MUDs were the domain of imagination. Within that black screen lay the doorway to fantasy. Movement went in rooms, each with its own description. Getting around meant mapping out the world, in your mind or on paper, and remembering where things became dangerous. The world had texture and depth as only the mind can create, but if the basic descriptions weren't enough, you could LOOK or EXAMINE or CONSIDER its inhabitants.

Read more of Chris Coke's The Tourist: Back to Our Roots.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
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Comments

  • SenadinaSenadina San Diego, CAPosts: 896Member Uncommon

    While I never played MUDs, I share a house with a married couple who met thru the MUD "Gemstone". In fact, selling a virtual sword in that game for real money paid for their Hawaiian honeymoon.

    It makes me laugh when people bitch about a $15 sub when you consider that you paid by the hour to play Gemstone. And we aren't talking pennies per hour, but dollars. You do the math.

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  • PAL-18PAL-18 AnachronoxPosts: 802Member

    Best Graphics card ever made,brains :).

     

    So, did ESO have a successful launch? Yes, yes it did.
    By Ryan Getchell on April 02, 2014.
    **On the radar:http://cyberpunk.net/**

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by Senadina
    While I never played MUDs, I share a house with a married couple who met thru the MUD "Gemstone". In fact, selling a virtual sword in that game for real money paid for their Hawaiian honeymoon.It makes me laugh when people bitch about a $15 sub when you consider that you paid by the hour to play Gemstone. And we aren't talking pennies per hour, but dollars. You do the math.

    When I was playing the old text adventures, I imagined what it could be like if there were other people in the game, and how cool it could be, but I went adventuring in real life just before that actually happened. There wasn't any real indication that something like AOL or the internet would come along and become a "thing". I'm not sorry that I went out and did all the stuff that I did, but it makes me a little sad that I missed out on MUDs.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • RolanStormRolanStorm SochiPosts: 75Member Uncommon
    Good read. Thank you.
  • Moosecat3Moosecat3 Topeka, KSPosts: 4Member

    "The electronic great grandpappy of today's most advanced MMOs is" Maze War, which was the first game to incorporate Avatars into a 3-D environment and allow for multiplayer competitive gameplay over ARPANET. You would still be playing MUDs or Chainmail if it weren't for this game.

    Maze War circa 1973.

    Colossal Cave Adventure circa 1975.

     

    I feel like I'm the only person on this site that cares about facts.

  • NovusodNovusod Lakewood, NJPosts: 892Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Moosecat3

    "The electronic great grandpappy of today's most advanced MMOs is" Maze War, which was the first game to incorporate Avatars into a 3-D environment and allow for multiplayer competitive gameplay over ARPANET. You would still be playing MUDs or Chainmail if it weren't for this game.

    Maze War circa 1973.

    Colossal Cave Adventure circa 1975.

     

    I feel like I'm the only person on this site that cares about facts.

    Nice research there but Maze War was not available to the public. It could only be played on $8000 Imlac terminals at NASA and MIT.

  • RaphRaph MMO Designer San Diego, CAPosts: 139Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Novusod
    Originally posted by Moosecat3

    "The electronic great grandpappy of today's most advanced MMOs is" Maze War, which was the first game to incorporate Avatars into a 3-D environment and allow for multiplayer competitive gameplay over ARPANET. You would still be playing MUDs or Chainmail if it weren't for this game.

    Maze War circa 1973.

    Colossal Cave Adventure circa 1975.

     

    I feel like I'm the only person on this site that cares about facts.

    Nice research there but Maze War was not available to the public. It could only be played on $8000 Imlac terminals at NASA and MIT.

    MazeWar was also not directly influential on MMOs. It was sort of an evolutionary dead end. MMOs trace their lineage directly to MUD1, and MUD1 was inspired by DUNGEN, which was a Colossal Cave/ADVENT knockoff.

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,717Member Uncommon

    Awesome column, thx, great memories :)

    While I don't want to meddle into the MIT / Arpa / Maze War stuff (from here we couldn't access those anyways :) ), I must say, the "I'm here to take you on a tour of our grandfather's father, the Diku MUD" is not correct, Diku was only one of the many, for example we used Tiny or LP more.

     

    Which is leading to a part of MUD's (and MUSH'es) you skipped in the column, the easy access to modding. Maybe that was the best of that era... I think my fondness to STO's (and lately NW's) Foundry is also originated from back then.

    To a younger player it may sound unbelievable, but with freely available MUD cores you only needed a great GM with writing skills (like Ragnar for TSW), a few enthusiastic people with decent / average C or LPC skills, and a spare machine - with those you could create your own world and game, with your areas, missions, stories (if it fitted to the world), etc.

    (Spare machine, one of my favourite MUDs ran on a 386 with 8Mb ram... which was way below average even in the mid '90s, and it could handle 60-80 simultaneous logins easily, that number counted as massively multiplayer back then ;) )

     

    Great times... an another aspect which I really miss from present mmo's, was the constant presence of Admins (from different ranks). Sadly it's not a common thing today. Last time I saw a Gm-ran event was in LotRO before the Turbine takeover...

  • GameByNightGameByNight Columnist / Podcast Host Rochester, NYPosts: 122Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Po_gg

    Awesome column, thx, great memories :)

    While I don't want to meddle into the MIT / Arpa / Maze War stuff (from here we couldn't access those anyways :) ), I must say, the "I'm here to take you on a tour of our grandfather's father, the Diku MUD" is not correct, Diku was only one of the many, for example we used Tiny or LP more.

     

    Which is leading to a part of MUD's (and MUSH'es) you skipped in the column, the easy access to modding. Maybe that was the best of that era... I think my fondness to STO's (and lately NW's) Foundry is also originated from back then.

    To a younger player it may sound unbelievable, but with freely available MUD cores you only needed a great GM with writing skills (like Ragnar for TSW), a few enthusiastic people with decent / average C or LPC skills, and a spare machine - with those you could create your own world and game, with your areas, missions, stories (if it fitted to the world), etc.

    (Spare machine, one of my favourite MUDs ran on a 386 with 8Mb ram... which was way below average even in the mid '90s, and it could handle 60-80 simultaneous logins easily, that number counted as massively multiplayer back then ;) )

     

    Great times... an another aspect which I really miss from present mmo's, was the constant presence of Admins (from different ranks). Sadly it's not a common thing today. Last time I saw a Gm-ran event was in LotRO before the Turbine takeover...

    You're absolutely right! There were so many different code bases these games used and good modders could make their own games. A good friend of mine still runs his on a heavily modified SMAUG base. (Realm of Shadows). This lead to a lot of really creative games and a lot of prominent MMO developers getting their start working with them. I even dabbled with zone writing. It was a great way to get started world building. Thank you for adding!

     

    Writer of the RPG Files
    Official Podcast Host
    Blogger at GameByNight.com

  • shavashava Somerville, MAPosts: 282Member Uncommon

    My intro to Everquest was,  I think, in winter 2000 when I got wicked sick flat on my butt with bacterial pneumonia,  not expected to be moving for a couple months (I have asthma) -- and a friend of mine from DragonMUD sent me a copy of EQ with a sticky note on it that said,  "Look what they did to MUDding!"

    Within a short while I was an officer in a large RP guild on Erollisi Marr, and Callidora -- my monk/tailor main -- pretty much invented spamming selling bags from the cave on the west commons (I was a VP of marketing at the time).  I knew crafting like an encyclopedia, and was the first person in any MMO I know of with the official rank of Crafting Officer.  (It became annoyingly important to non-crafting types to craft for certain quests, so I midwifed them through the pains.)

    Although I retain the title of Elder in DragonMUD, and you can find my name in the MOO-cows archives,  the immersion of pretty pictures got me and I never really went back.

  • MorrowbreezeMorrowbreeze redfield, KSPosts: 141Member
    Nothing to post regarding Muds nor early MMOS, but I just gotta say Hallo to Shava! Long time no see dear lady!  This be Tinki
  • WizardryWizardry Ontario, CanadaPosts: 8,442Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Senadina

    While I never played MUDs, I share a house with a married couple who met thru the MUD "Gemstone". In fact, selling a virtual sword in that game for real money paid for their Hawaiian honeymoon.

    It makes me laugh when people bitch about a $15 sub when you consider that you paid by the hour to play Gemstone. And we aren't talking pennies per hour, but dollars. You do the math.

    Not to mention the internet was not cheap either and the first wave of DSL/cable was insanely expensive.In the UK people had to go on waiting lists to get into dsl.My area in Canada was the same,they had to upgrade all the lines in my city which took a total of 3 years and cost was added to initial subscribers.The very first wave of Cable in my city cost 120 bucks for BASIC cable,no perks like movie channels and such.So imagine paying 120+game time like 10-25 bucks an hour lol.

    You know what that did however,it meant no kids were playing all working class people that respected each other.I( forgot to mention,buying a PC was insane as well lol,i think mine cost around 2 grand and was a pile of junk by now day standards.


    Samoan Diamond

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