[MUD-Dev] Custom Client or Plain ole' Telnet?

Nick Koranda nkk at eml.cc
Thu Sep 22 16:44:32 CEST 2005

Matt Chatterley wrote:

> Simply put - do I go with a custom client, or implement a telnet
> interface?

I think the main reason to create a new client is if you wish to
implement features that are not found in the telnet clients
available right now.  I believe you fall under that category.  I
have a design that features a similar approach to adding content to
the game as you have described.  It basically creates additional
custom protocol commands that are sent from the MUD server.  If a
specific client (yours) is detected, then the protocol switches so
it can handle the extra commands necessary for your added features.
If a regular client is detected, then text only is sent.  The key is
that the server should accept a common set of commands for either
one.  Your client is simply the translation from the graphical
representation to text.

The server would send different content to the custom client then it
would for the regular clients.  Let me give you an example:

  Regular Client is sent "An orc approaches you and begins to

  Your Client is sent <orc1><position=12,33><mode=attack> (I am just
  making this up).

Your client would translate this into a graphical view of what is

An example going the other way would be:

  Regular Client types: "drop sword" 

  Your client, the user would "drag" the sword off the backpack and
  the client would send the "drop sword" command for the user
  (i.e. no text typing needed).

As an alternative, you can use some of the available addon protocols
such as IMP and MXP, both of which allow for images and sounds.
These do not have the scale you need though.

So in short, I am not sure how you could use existing telnet clients
to get those features you are talking about.  As a side note, and
more justification for this "shared command set".  Without support
for normal clients, you are limiting your user base to those that
want to use a new client or are even interested in graphics.  A lot
of MUDers are into the text (I am assuming) aspect of MUDs.  If you
create a separate client that needs to be used for your game, you
are really moving away from the MUD user base in my opinion and into
the graphical MMOG arena.  In other words, why even use the telnet
protocol if you have a custom client/protocol UNLESS you also
support regular clients.

One other thing I believe this concept brings to the table is new
users to MUDs.  I believe there is a large barrier to entry into
MUDs.  Understanding the commands, and then using them at the
appropriate times.  If a MUD could be newbie friendly in its
interface, I think more people would play.

Just my $0.02, if that much.

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