[MUD-Dev] MUD client popularity

Travis Casey efindel at earthlink.net
Thu Jan 29 14:06:18 CET 2004

Wednesday, January 28, 2004, 2:59:29 AM, Ammon Lauritzen wrote:

> What I do know is that in every circle of mudders that I have ever
> dealt with, there is a very big push to make sure that people are
> actually using clients. Players ridicule you for using raw telnet
> out of ignorance and point you to their program of choice. It is
> quite acceptable socially to explain away one's typos and slowness
> of response on being stuck without a client.

> I would expect that the percentage of people using vanilla telnet
> vs mud clients depends on environment. People who are brand new to
> mudding and who do not necessarily have rl friends to help them
> out are more likely to simply telnet in, where people who've been
> around for a long time are probably much more likely to use a
> specialized client of some sort.

> Likewise, I expect that more people are using plain telnet on
> mushes and talkers where combat scroll is a non-issue, or on
> smaller muds where the playerbase is likely less experienced as a
> whole.

> Log on to Discworld via raw telnet and it'll whine at you for
> being uncompressed; Stick around for too long on Three Kingdoms
> without a real client to parse things out for you and you'll go
> blind from the spam; however, on Ye Olde Localle Smaug Mud, you
> could quite possibly spend your entire mudding career either in
> ignorance of the existance of good clients or in absence of any
> real need for said software.

It may also depend on the players are using, and what "client-like"
features the mud itself has.

For example, I started mudding on Unix systems, using telnet as a
client... and that worked fine for me.  After SLIP and PPP started
supplanting dialing in to a "big" computer, though, I started
wanting to mud without having to first log into an account
somewhere...  especially since the University started discouraging
using their computers to mud from.

At that point, I discovered the incredible inadequacy of the Windows
telnet client (Win 95/98... I understand it's gotten better now).
Because of that, I started using zMUD... which I used pretty much
purely as a better telnet client.  Later on, I switched to CRT, and
these days, if I need a telnet client on Windows, I use PuTTY (which
also does SSH).

I've known several people who used zMUD or another mud client on
Windows, not because they wanted the extra features, but simply
because Windows Telnet was so incredibly bad.

On the features end, the first muds I played on didn't have aliases
or such things, so clients could make things much easier.  Later on,
though, the muds I experienced had aliases, "speedwalking", support
for color for people using an ANSI-compatible client, ways to turn
on and off different types of messages, and other features that I'd
seen or heard of people using clients for.

At one point, I started work on creating a set of LPC functions for
a MudOS mud to use for terminal manipulation, including things like
centering text, clearing the screen, setting and reading the cursor
position, creating scrolling windows on the screen, reading cursor
keys, etc.  It was pretty primitive and only worked with VT100 and
compatibles... but just about any decent telnet client seems to be
able to emulate a VT100 or one of the later VT terminals.  At one
point I was trying to get it to use xterm's mouse support, but I
never did get that working.

I did sometimes wonder why no one had ever created a mud server that
used curses or something like that... I thought about it, but didn't
know enough about curses to easily hack it to support multiple
terminals instead of just one.

Travis Casey
efindel at earthlink.net
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