The Alternative World of MUDs

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MUDs: An Introduction

MUDs stands for 'multi-user dungeons (or dimensions)', which are text-based, interactive adventure games on the Internet based on the popular Dungeons and Dragons role playing games. Users just need a reasonably fast connection (I have been known to play with a 2400 baud modem in the past) to the Internet to telnet into a MUD which is running in a specific MUD server listening on a particular port. 

A typical MUD address may be: 4242. This just means that the MUD server (essentially a software driver and a library of C-like code) runs on a machine called on the Internet and listens to connection attempts on port 4242 (the default telnet port is 23 unless specified otherwise). 

MUDs allow you to play a particular character of either gender, race and class. You can choose fanciful names for your character - indeed, few actually play under their actual names, and depending on how seriously you take the role-playing aspect of the game, you can behave as yourself or take on a wholly different personality. Your character is typically saved when you leave the MUD, so the character develops gradually over a longish period of time. In time and with some work, not only does your character advance in terms of experience and skills, but you may find that he or she will also develop a certain, unique personality of its own - in a sense, it is an extension of one's self in a cyberworld where breaking the rules of convention is part and parcel of being a Mudder and more importantly, carries with it none of the real-life repercussions!

There are many different kinds of MUDs, each with its own characteristics and quirks. To name a few, there are LP-MUDs, DikuMuds, TinyMuds, Mushes, MOOs etc. Each MUD differs in look, feel and playing rules. Some MUDs are purely social, where players congregate in rooms to talk, whereas others are geared for hardcore role-playing gamers. Since I am mainly an LP-Mudder, this primer is slanted heavily towards LP-MUD characteristics, although in general, what is true of LPMuds will also apply to most other MUD genres.


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ArtemisWorks 1997