Abermud Announcements #4 -- Spring

Read the previous issue. Corrections:

Hysteria did not have a Compserve page, they have instead a forum under MPGames of which is led by Ehlana.

Also to mention, TerraFirmA has undergone a major change in its magic system. Head over to that mud, or watch for the April issue of FreeWheeling on its website.

No you don't have to run ALL 62 quests to wiz on Asylum, just six of them totaling 25 points. The highest level takes them all, which is what i meant. Heck, I still have four to go on Smile and can't crack them yet...

One person referred to on Mud Disruption was furious at me for writing it, and that I have no business expressing my views on it and will complain to Geocities. Tough, since I did not name any names, Geocities isn't going to cite me for mentioning an incident while not saying something like "Such-n-Such went & raped 10 women then hacked into BigMUD!". Some of these people and their actions aren't a real big secret to some of you anyway! I won't ask for everyone's special permission to speak out against something unless I feel a need to do so--especially from the guilty.

Here is a new edition of the newsletter...this one won't be mass-mailed by me like the last one was, due to the fact that several people received the last one and shouldn't have, and a couple of those that shouldn't have mailed me threatening letters where they were going to sue me for $500 dollars in damages...a big load of crap. If you are reading this now, you are either reading off the website, or someone else mailed a copy of this to you. In the latter case, if you didn't want it, too bad...I have better things to do than read someone's anti-spam hatemail. The truth about spammers are that they are the neighbors next door. That's right, your next-door neighbor could be one of these "evil" spammers who's just trying to scratch and claw their way up the horrible, oppressive business ladder that all budding entrepreneurs are doing. The reason is, email costs less than licking stamps and buying newspaper ads. Great products would never be marketed. But heads up, new email collection programs are now equipped with filtering where it will now chop off tags like .spamkiller and .spam, and replace things like (AT) with the real @ sign just so they can defeat your attempts to block them out. You will now have to use tags like "rv53hf7dh" or some other random letter-number combination because it would be impossible for someone to gather every possible random set just to mail bomb you. Now for the real news...

General information:

If you haven't done so already, add a link to your mud's webpage directly to The COMPLETE Abermud List at http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Dungeon/5137. All muds mentioned here are linked there. If you have a new mud that is not yet open and do not want it on the list, I'd still like to check it out and watch for it's opening. All muds in that state go on a 'hidden' mudlist, one that's known to just me for my own convenience where I can click on and log in with a link. The very bottom of the mudlist lists the names of muds that will be opening in the future and any webpages that lists info for their mud. I am still looking for zone contributors, so far I have about eight zones in which seven were done by me in whole or in part. Aten, who is the original author of Chess, Graye, and Temple of the Bull was finally located recently by me. About chess, he shares this interesting tidbit: "I started writing that area one day, worked on it here and there--now this part I still remember: I came back from a party, at which there was some herbal material being smoked ;) , and I wrote the whole section with the swan boat etc. - heh, so parts of that particular area might look kinda funny.. ahh..the 'ol college days."

There are now an estimated 320 million web pages in existence, and the count is headed way up very fast--current guesses at the size of the WWW in a few years say it will increase over 1000%. How much of that 320 million are indexed? No more than 40%. A recent study reports out of a sample 110,000 pages at random used in the study, 34% of them were found using Hotbot, 28% by Altavista, 20% by Northern Light (not the mud), 14% by Excite, 10% by InfoSeek, and 3% by Lycos. Yahoo wasn't considered a true search engine (!), URLs were being added manually but they report findings made using Altavista. I've done searches for Abermuds myself, and am not finding very many. Soooo...if we are going to get more runners, we need to be featured more in these search engines. A site that will help us all get our names out is called Shotgun. It is the site I used to get The COMPLETE Abermud List out in the early days (strange, places I've submitted before have removed my URL from their list...curse of Geocities?), and it submits to about 50 different engines...for FREE. All that's needed is for you to fill out one form, then you pick which sites to submit to one at a time. Other sites will send to 100 or more, but for a rather steep fee. The URL is http://www.peachmedia.com/shotgun/

If you have been looking for a certain webpage and the top five engines won't find it, there is a site called Beaucoup which lists links to over 1000 different search engines of all kinds. Its URL is http://www.beaucoup.com/engines.html Please click on the Starting Point graphic on my webpage, it's another search engine which runs votes on the which new web sites are "hot".

Disrupting mud harmony. Some recent and well-publicized events have bugged me to the point (add to that the need to kill time at work) that I had to start writing a term paper about it. Although now I've lost a lot of interest in it and don't have a complete accounting of all the events occurring, I have to comment that some people need to think about the consequences of bringing their personal lives into the muds they play. They also more importantly need to be thinking about the consequences of their actions should they meet those people behind the characters they play. The worst things that have happened so far is that on one mud, a long-time former archwizard was compelled to leave because of past harassment and fear of being harassed by the same person now that they got promoted to archwiz themself. Another incident was the all-too-infamous overthrow of Vortex brought about by lack of communication and misunderstandings. Another attempted overthrow occurred on Infinity, but that fortunately was settled in a club meeting. A currently ongoing problem exists between two sisters, where personal differences and money issues have spilled onto the muds, leading up to the powers having to physically separate them or banish one of them. And the worst of all, one former mud owner has an out-of-wedlock child with another player and all hell breaks loose--they publicly email a bunch of people about it (many who are complete strangers!), the fights erupt and bounce around from mud to mud, the powers have to jump in and break it up, and then the powers are asked to remove stuff they wrote from the game as a result of being punished. Add to that the same guy accusing everyone of code theft. If you know who the people I'm talking about are, keep it to yourself. If you want to know who they are, I'm not going to tell you. Why make the people involved have to revisit bad experiences? But this serves as a warning to all, dragging your personal problems onto the mud is never a good idea. If I ever decide to finish the piece, the names are certainly changed to ones that aren't possible on Abers due to length.

Want your webpage to be part of an Abermud WebRing? It's easy, all you have to do is visit the URL http://vision.ne.mediaone.net/luthien/abermud/ and fill out a simple form, then cut and paste a chunk of HTML onto your webpage. The sites linked up currently number 10, let's get that number up! Those who join can have a personal webpage or be the official site of some mud--doesn't matter!

Aberchat has slowly been adding to its ranks, and the client software has been upgraded. If you've been hesitating to put it in because of increased activity, there hasn't been too much of it to worry about. As for troublemakers, you can remotely boot someone off if you're a mud owner. Get the latest version by visiting the Crossroads link from my mudstuff section or the URL http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Horizon/2649/

I'm still looking for zone contributes to my zonelist. Most recent submissions are Ghenna & Southern Desert made via ZGEN conversion, original authors Drip and Freak respectively, also the Gold zone originally by Thumper with the specials emulated by me (this zone was taken from the C-Dirt code distribution for fixing up and polishing, and was not submitted by the original author.) About every zone that is on the zonelist has undergone bug fixing, if you haven't gotten an updated version for over a month, you may be stuck with having to duplicate effort in fixing stuff that I've done for you. If you're one of those that would rather post their email address to take requests instead of sending me the zone file, you are perfectly welcome to do so. Snubweasel is the first to take advantage of this option by offering his Saxon zone by email.

News on some muds:

Asylum is still barging ahead with it's drive to be the most massive mud of all abers, frankly if someone tried running to wiz over there it would take them a lot longer than most of the other ones, 62 quests is a lot to do, especially when several of them run only on asylum (Ack! Spread the zones around you zone authors, it's not like a lot of these mud owners have the time to add every zone they get! I should know! ;). So the latest all-new zones they've gotten are: The count is now 5738 rooms, 137 zones, 2486 mobiles, 5334 objects, 62 quests. They have their own newsletter at their website, last edition reported everything that has been introduced into the game since moving to a new server. Their most recent addition is the SpiritStone quest. For the time being new zone submissions aren't being taken until they sort thru a bunch people had mailed them. Address is www.asylum-mud.org 6715

So who's in serious contention with Asylum for size? Try Black Star, it has not been around for too long, but the number of rooms are currently greater than Asylum, due to the fact that several zones in place have over 100 rooms in them. Several of these zones are also brand-new, including five of them that I did myself and they are Bal Harbor and four ZGEN converts called Chess, Graye, Southern Desert, and Temple of the Bull. Snubweasel is the owner and is accepting more zones. He has also been invaluable helping me find those coding mistakes, much easier to find them when they're on a running mud instead of looking for them in a text file. Quantity over quality? Nah, the zones I've made in my view ARE QUALITY--but the runner has to decide if a zone or quest is any good. The count is right now 6247 rooms, 121 zones, 2330 mobiles, and 3365 objects. This isn't your average iDirt. The address is pizza.mudservices.com 6642.

Promised Land of which I'm an archwizard over there, is going to have a class-based skill and religion system. Depending on what you are or what your level is, you will get certain skills and spells. Problem is, you have to find someone to teach them to you or read up on them somewhere in the game. Specials are extra things you can learn or get by joining a religion. Some of them, like "where" require neither strength nor mana to do, and we call these "Gifts". Some of them require strength but not mana, and we call these "Skills". Some of them require mana and maybe also strength, and we call these "Spells". Gifts, Skills, and Spells are all capabilities that you either have or do not have. "Abilities" are capabilities that you can have any amount of.

The learning system is currently implemented while the religion system is still under development. You can learn most of the specials by finding the instruction center for it and paying a fee to the instructor. You should be sure to find the mana instruction center in the ice cave and the strength instruction center in the village as soon as you can, since the abilities that can be learned there are necessary for fighting and for using skills and spells. You start with a fairly weak character, but with enough coins to pay for several lessons in strength or mana, so that you can set up a character to your liking. You can check it out at promisedland.dataserv.net 6715.

Hysteria is on the verge of making a major change to its gameplay, making it a lot closer to dikus--an Aberku. It will now have 100 levels, spaced 5000 pts apart, but the values of stuff and killing will be worth less and less as they approach wizardship. Losing levels will only occur if you get killed by a mobile, flees will cost the points you have earned since leveling last. Hysteria has clans and races, which offer a player more hit points, mana, and damage depending on which they choose. Because these high hit point players are no match for most mobiles on current stock zones, newer things added to the mud will give those high level players a run for their money. Playerkilling is allowed, people will have to contend with some players who are obviously out for blood. Hysteria also has a new newsletter called Bit of Hysteria, which can be read at www.carrollsweb.com/mephie/hysteria. They also happen to have a Compuserve page. hysteria.mudsrus.com 6715 is the address.

TerraFirmA has its own bi-monthly newsletter as well, most of it being fun stuff. You can read the most recent April edition, along with the couple dozen back issues at its website. The landscape of the mud is very different from all other abers, in which the zone layout has been rearranged while maintaining the quests you're familiar with. Try this one if you're sick of the standard zone layout on most every Aber. Addresses for the URL & mud are http://www.terrafirma.ohl.dk and terrafirma.ohl.dk 2222

Northern Lights is set to have their six year anniversary on June 6th. This is most likely when some new zones and features will be introduced, and the scavenger hunt for the discs will be played. Come one, come all and lets attempt to get over 100 people online at once over there! Most recently debuted was the BigBadWolf quest by Dage. aber.ludd.luth.se 6715 is the address.

News on programming:

pDirt, authored by Marty at Darkscapes (formerly Eradicated Worlds 2) makes an attempt to change the standard format on how zones are written. Although his format now makes it sorta easier to create those hideous specials, the field names have been renamed, flags now use the equals sign instead of brackets, the percent tags are gone, and you can now pretty much lob each room with each mobile and object together. But now the problem is converting zones from the standard format to pDirt format. They have made a converter to handle this problem, but the issue here is that will zone authors write for pDirt (which the number of muds running it total three) or write for all the other 40-50 abermuds. Marty plans to distribute the code that will allow you to change your zone format and read these specials, but who would throw out the standard format and go to this new one? pDirt is currently not in distribution, and at last check won't be. You can read about this pDirt format at the Darkscapes web site. Address is http://strata.ml.org/

XClient. Let's face it. There's only so much you can do with ASCII and ANSI in terms of graphics. You can describe something as best you can and make the prettiest ASCII picture of it as possible, but the end result is still the same--it's still text. You've probably heard of these new "graphical" muds starting to show up around the net, but you may not have tried them, cause they require a program so you can interface with the mud and view the graphics. And they aren't Abermuds! Well how about this...a client designed for Abers, yes folks, although not relatively new, but certainly untouted until today--cause I'm squawking about it (hehe)--has been created that will add full-color JPEG images to the descriptions in the game. XClient comes in two versions where one runs in X11 UNIX which is in X-Windows, and the other a beta Windows 95 version. The demo site where you can try XClient out is an Aber Five called Swords & Sorcery, which has been here today, gone for a long while, then back again, but the mud is expected to remain at its current site for a few years. Links to the XClient download site, screen shots, information on implementation for your own mud (which isn't supposed to be too difficult), and the mud itself are in the mudstuff and mudlist pages. You should also know that the mud is set to reset automatically at set intervals, which is not good if you're loaded and in the middle of a fight. You are able to check how long you have left before that point, so plan carefully that run to wizard. As you're playing, you will see some strange looking text as you run around the mud, these are the command codes for XClient to do something! As for XClient, files are supposed to be an exact size and format, which is a negative in my view since pictures can be stretched or shrunk to fit quite easily and it ought to at least handle GIF files which take less hard drive space and are more common on the web. Download time for 100k JPEGs can slow you down, but once they're loaded, there isn't a need to redownload them from the server. Now, just imagine playing Asylum and seeing all these sights for the first time! Addresses are http://www.tardis.ed.ac.uk/~creech/xclient/ and ps.cus.umist.ac.uk 5002

ZGEN, my little tool to convert diku zones into aber format that's written in perl, has been added onto and changed quite a bit. The current version is now up to v0.21b, and should be relatively sound without requiring much changes to the generated zone files. It now supports a lot more flags and bitvectors than the teen versions, and handles more of the oddities in the diku zone coding without abending. For more information about ZGEN and getting it for your own use, visit The COMPLETE Abermud List and the mudstuff section.

Abermud Central has opened to serve the needs of mud programmers. It features service packs and bug fixes for download--thus every time you start up a mud, you don't have to write your own fix from scratch. Hurray, hurray! Currently all they have are patches for iDirt, and are (seriously in need!) looking for stuff on other brands of aber. If you'd like to contribute your own enhancement or fix, visit their site at http://nalle.tellus.vallentuna.se/~mullberg/aber_central/

News on general events:

Calender of events? I feel there's a need...no one knows about the big stuff going on one certain mud while they are on another, if you have an special event you'd like to announce which includes anniversaries, tournaments, or weekly things, mail me the info. Weddings and archwizard promotions won't be posted, due to their frequency.

CONTEST! Ever wanted to write a zone but never could put your ideas to paper? Or maybe you can put your ideas to paper, but couldn't come up with any ideas? How about this, a zone writing contest! I have a few zones called Batcave and Brookmere that are unfinished, and need someone to complete them so they can get up and running on a mud. Mostly what is needed is some descriptions for rooms, but some may need more mobiles on the roster and more objects to find. All you need to do to enter is download a copy of the zone, then start editing it. Be creative, fill in the missing descriptions or add stuff to the zone, put in those interactive specials if you want, then mail me a copy of what you wrote. All entries will go before a panel of judges, and the best ones will be selected--it could be only one person's entry is picked for everything, or several people will be picked for different parts of an entry. Everyone from newbies to mud owners are welcome to enter. The winner or winners will be credited for having co-authored the zone (the original authors are unknown) and the will be bestowed all of the perks and privileges a zone author would get for contributing a zone to any particular mud. The rewards for contributing a zone vary greatly from mud to mud. One mud may hire you as an archwizard, another may just give you an emeriti, another a wad of points, and some other one may just give you a big pat on the back. I personally have had limited success so far, but who knows? Something more could come out of it in a few years. Deadline to enter will be >>>May 18, 1998<<<. The deadline may be extended if too few entries are received, or no winner is picked from the received entries (that shouldn't happen, unless the writers all make horrible descriptions.)

Previous contest winner: The previous issue's contest was who could get the old Abermud Two code running on their machine, to the point where I could log in and walk around. Someone did, and his name is Albatross! His prize was a free wizard on Promised Land mud! As for the mud itself, it was in a stage after Aber One where it had many fewer rooms than the original, but retained the blizzard, castle, cave, quarry, tower and valley zones. The points need was only a partly 140,000 and the runner could do it all fairly quick and reset the game repeatedly. Oddly enough, mobiles had not learned to walk yet, and quests weren't heard of either. If you wish to get your mits on in, Abermud Two is available at my web site for download in mudstuff.

If you have anything of importance, email me at smlucas@geocities.com, you can also leave a message on my guestbook.

This concludes the fourth edition of Abermud Announcements.