February 1999

Aftermath comments...Well, I've gotten quite a number of people here and there complaining about my editorializing. Sorry folks, but when something's bugging me I can't keep quiet about it...course you should have gotten the hint when I invoked a Mike Tyson-ism. *smirk*

Also Hadron has not left the MUSIC project...he's back after a break. I should had corrected this error a while back but neglected it.

The winter of 1999 is about over, as the first half did its worse but seemingly has ended abruptly as temperatures went above freezing and stayed there...melting off a one-foot snowfall rather quickly and making the second half of winter look like all of winter 1998--warm and wet. 1998 was also the warmest year on record too. So much for Weekly World News's usual wild claims that this was going to be a long, extremely cold, heavy snow winter stretching way into April. Oh yeah, and they've also predicted the second great depression hitting the U.S. for the FIFTH time in the last twelve months that hasn't happened. Clinton has finally been impeached, as he well deserves it...any censure and he would have thrown a party bragging how he beat the justice system and opened the door for an epidemic of legal challenges by those convicted of any form of perjury as Clinton trying to use Clinton as the reason why they must be released.  Bill Clinton, ohhhh boy, am I sick of his supporters extreme die-hard defense of ignore the evidence just tar, feather, and fillet their enemies public persona. And for them to say that throwing Clinton out will "overturn the last two elections" tells me that either A. When they voted for Clinton they decided that they did not want to vote for Gore to take over as president if Clinton could not serve out his term for ANY reason, B. they flunked civics class where they think if Clinton is thrown out, Gore is also or that Bob Dole would be awarded the White House (which is not so). But what's really motivating them is their extreme personal hatred of all conservatives to keep them from winning ANY victory whatsoever--that is what pure partisanship is. And another thing, why the heck did those Demos demand witnesses in the House Hearings but don't want them in the Senate Trial? "Hey stop talking about that stupid politics!" Hey bud, I LOVE talking about politics and this is my XXXXXXX newsletter so XXXX off (a little bit of Mike Tyson rubbing off on me). >:)

This edition of AA had to deal with a major change just days before I was going to get this thing over and done with and up on the web. We had an interview with the developer of a new mud codebase which has some roots with the Aber style and code, but our guest asked for the thing to be pulled due to some things not coming to pass. But further complicating the problem is that he has also just bailed out on the project for unknown reasons. I still believed talking about the codebase was important for its future, so I have replaced the interview with my own profile of it while still using relavant parts of the interview that are still valid for information. So, our first "official" interview which we were going to print alongside the other one is with a caveman archwizard from Northern Lights, who has a rather interesting story to tell about his tenure and his running on other muds.

Continuing items from last issue...

Last time, I wrote up a piece on dwindling player numbers and how to get the crowds to come to your mud. Two mud owners have plans to convert from Abermud to LP?!?!? Upside, LPs are supposedly more popular than Abermuds...downside, there are over 200 LPs to compete with and you have to learn how to do coding with LPC. (Side note, a mudding newsletter floated the idea that LPs were dead. Uhhh...that mean jumping to LP won't do much good?) So soon we shall have an AberROM, an AberMOO, and an AberLP along with the present Aberku. On top of that, the author of pDirt and former owner of the same mud also plans to create another new mudding codebase called MUDGEN. (Oh boy, the rats are fleeing the ship...that doesn't bode well for those of us sticking around.) An untapped source for players may come from the IRCs...Internet Relay Chatrooms. People seem to flock there, and yet do not know what fun they can have chatting on a mud and playing it too.

Also last time, I had written up a piece on "Paranoia Against Mudding", where you introduce your family to the mud you either run or play on and they get the notion that it is teaching you bad things. Now supposedly a 14 year-old was showing a mud to his mother that he found on the Mud Connector, and she freaked when someone on the mud acted like a…well, a jack off and sent a letter to the hosting site blasting them for allowing this particular mud to be run on it. Yes, like this and every other MUD that exists is responsible for the malcontents and twits that log in just to do what they wouldn't dare to in public. So if you wish to read and even post your own comments head over to the Mud Connector's General Discussion Board. But, since I dealt with this problem in AA#7 head-on, let's look at what's going on in this episode…

Paranoia Against Mudding, or "Cruel Doubt" on the Net--Part II

The fuss all began when someone mailed a letter to a certain university (the name of the mud or university was withheld). The letter begins, "I am writing to you in regards to the fantasy game that is run on port xxxx of 'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.edu'. I am the mother of a 14 year old who up until last week was an avid player of your game. However, after observing him play one evening it became apparent that this game is not appropriate for young adults." YOUNG ADULTS? How old is that? Eighteen? Twenty-one? It continues, "According to mudconnector.com, (which is where my son found a link to your game), it is a fantasy based medieval environment. It is not listed as an 'adult' game. However, some very inappropriate, demeaning and morally offensive language was being broadcasted through the public communications there, as well as some racial insults and sexually explicit conversation. I found this display highly offensive and have thus refused to allow my son to continue to play there. I believe that this 'virtual playground' for the students and public to be able to access is inappropriate and poorly reflects the administration of your establishment." So does alcohol consumption and wild parties, which is what is all too common at many colleges and universities. But, here's a shocker for you…this letter was NOT from a mom-type, it in fact came from an ISP of which no one has ever tried to play this mud from. Which leads to the conclusion that it must be from someone who's disgruntled player or former admin who decided that if they can't play here, then no one can. But the mud has already been shut down pending an inquiry. Some other fallout that has occurred with this has been the Mud Connector itself posting on the front page a parental warning sheet informing everyone to keep their kids "mud-safe". TMC certainly has not gotten a letter itself accusing them of not listing the certain mud as "adult-oriented". Lets put it this way, the Internet is a filthy place to be. There are thousands of people who may be adults but have the maturity of three year-olds online--I've run into many of them. If you think the kids should not be exposed to bad things on the Internet, they shouldn't be on it at all. Course the kids think, I'm old enough to deal with it, all my friends and rivals at school say this stuff too! And they're right. Kids at school are filled with S, V, & D and want to teach it to other students, who are just as willing to learn it--cause they want to experience what adults do here and now.

News from around the Abermuds...

Promised Land continues to build, and this time around the mobiles appear a little more like what they're supposed to be with the addition of NoBody, NoArms, NoLegs, NoHead flags to accompany the bodypart fighting system. Ghosts, spirits, slimes, and molds for instance have a formless body; snakes and worms don't have arms or legs, but maybe some other type of half-snake monster has arms but no legs; birds don't have usable arms; and animated trees and the Headless Horseman don't have heads. Vampires now truly are vulnerable where legend says killing them takes a stake through the heart--in this case, opening up their chest and sticking your weapon through it works pretty good. Five classic quests and ten zones were added in, including a new ZGEN convert zone dubbed the Northwest Beaches (Beach and Lighthouse) written originally by Kaan of Dibrova MUD (it's a diku!). This will be the sail-off point into the very large (300 room) Yllythad Sea zone also by Kaan that will lead eventually to the long-awaited Bal Harbor zone and perhaps more places in the future. For those who like tournaments or even don't like tournaments, the grandstand zone is where to be if you're on the sidelines. In it you can listen to the sportscaster call play by play, attacks, injuries, spells, and deaths. If you wish to bet on who wins, you can put up your coins to risk.

Asylum has put in their virtual cloning system where you can keep up to five items for up to seven days, but any catch specials associated with the original item won't be trigged by using a cloned item. According to Suede, the growth of the mud's size will be taken down to a lower priority and making Campaign more developed will take higher precedent. Asylum has also opened a new store. They have now expanded into real life with a new line of merchandise. See info merchandising for more details. You can also visit their web page to view the actual merchandise and price list. Be sure to check their website for their newest newsletter!

Phoenix has underwent a major change in running to wizard, as they have switched from requiring 90-95% of all the quests to a quest point system. Those who complete all quests are ranked at a higher level wizard. A new Deathgrip skill is offered to Jacks and Warriors for keeping their weapon in hand. The Mishakal zone has been made into a quest--this zone was designed for low level runners, but high level guys can now go in and solve the quest ONE time. The Shadelair quest by LexMorgan--Centuries ago The Phoenix banished the evil Master Wizard Gerak (gee does this remind you of anyone?) into exile for unspeakable crimes of power abuse. Gerak spent this time practising his evil arts and has returned to Phoenix to wreak vengeance upon her. He has captured and imprisoned the Phoenix's mother and grandmother Vortex and Piglet, and has cloned the legendary Shade clan into an army of destruction. Your mission: free the spirits of Piglet and Vortex and banish Gerak into exile forever. The Jenintog quest by Aso--The Great Elfmage Adept has caught an illness he is powerless to stop. Penetrate the lands of Jenintog and go on a scavenger hunt to find the Adept and restore him to health. An elven tree is a good jumping off point.

Delusion has finally broken the 7000 room and 70 quest mark with the addition of the Belsham quest. (By the way, for those who are decrying their quantity versus quality, would you PLEASE tell me which particular zones/quests on that mud are truly awful? Cause a lot of them are also found on NL, Asylum and Phoenix--even MY mud has some of them.) Six different guildhalls are now open for players to visit, to learn more about each guild. Those who decide to join a guild, can have their class changed at the Guildmaster of that guild. The different classes all have different positive and negative aspects, ranging from different maxarmor over differences in spellcasting and fighting to extra abilities like faster healing.

Hysteria has added a number of things to their mud of late, so much that it's hard to track. One of the more exciting changes made to the game was the addition of a vampire race. Vampires have the ability to use vtouch, which drains score from opponents. Their hit points and mana are pretty good, though they require more points to level than some other races. There have been a few new added skills for other races, too. For mages, there is "flash", warriors can now "kick", and dwarves can use "snap", which are all forms of attack. Humans and dwarves will be able to use "shield", which is an armor spell. A new quest has been introduced recently, called Enlightenment written by Fulk and Sampras. Be sure to check out their newsletter "Bit of Hysteria" which is printed monthly.

TerraFirmA has been named "Mud of the Month" by the Mud Connector in January. This is a rather prestigious award to be given to any mud. Two new quests by the pins of Lister and Lucas, Vampire and Cave. Nirvana has made it possible for blacksmiths to build armor and swords. The Turfe Tavern has expanded, allowing some bar fights and purchase of drinks thanks to Cyn and Firefly. New spells include Release which counters the Vampire Curse, Hold for keeping things shut permanently.

Dark Cloud 2 has added two new spells, hover where you hover off the ground a foot enabling you to pass over water without a boat, farsight where you basically can look into an adjacent room without going in there. New quest, KillBeast takes places in the new old forest zone.

Acheron has added a pair of new zones by Academas. The college zone where unruly students hang out, and the gauntlet quest where you must bring back something from the depths of a museum that proves that Academas was actually a mortal at one point. It starts in a museum in the village.

Four new quests on Astral Plains, all made by Miki. The KingsRansom quest travel deep into hell and overcome the demons to recover your fortune. The Goldenegg quest where you should find the Golden Goose and return with her produce. The Strike quest where the Old Seadog has built an extension to the games room--I guess this is bowling. And finally, the Carany quest, where you should find the canary and sacrifice it--this requires more than one runner to do certain things.

DragonMUD II has begun putting out their newsletter Dragonfriends again now that they got a new editor. Anyone who's a fan of the articles written up in years past should not be disappointed. Some major area expansion is planned in the coming weeks in the north-western part of the world.

Everest, which we interview one of it's powers later, introduces a new interpretation of your battle against Thor for his hammer, also a new quest by first-time author Serena called Princess. Your mission: An evil sorceress has captured the only daughter of a very wealthy king, and has taken her to her faraway tower. Defeat the sorceress and save the princess!

New zones submissions finally...we have the Dragonslueth zone by Jojo, and the Ildharas zone by Kavilir.

In the mudstuff section, Northern Lights' FTP site is back up finally. Also, and why I didn't do this earlier is beyond me, the SmileMUD download page was added where you can get the most current (and bug free) version of the Aberchat Client v4.20.7 which has combined separate codebase specific code for iDirt and C-Dirt. Also on there are the conversions to make C-Dirt compile on RedHat Linux.

A special contribution comes from Mortdred, who portrays himself as a werewolf. A massive listing of furry ideas (FurryMUCK perhaps?) listing tons of special elemental spells, rune stone powers, Alchemy, the unusual food and alcohol recipes, different types of undead monsters, and finally nasty little poisons…everything about each is explained and the effect demonstrated. There is no mud that has implemented a lot of these (I'd agree, too many to do!) but most likely you can pluck some ideas from this 1.5MB document and turn them into quests. The document is saved in HTML format inside a pkzipped file.

The Abermud Webring has been scrapped. The owner believed that the ring didn't catch fire as she had hoped (15 sites though isn't that bad considering the size of the Aber community) so the ring had been discontinued. Anyone who wishes to start a NEW Abermud webring is perfectly welcome to do so. www.webring.org is taking in new rings all the time.

And now, a word from our sponsor…

The Talon Gaming Network World Exchange.

The new MUSIC codebase

As the move to create the perfect MUD moves along, we now have a new entry in the MUD codebase universe. Cryosphere is the flagship for the MUSIC MUD, which is an object-oriented C++ type mud. It has been in development for about a year, and uses part of various flavors of Abermud. The theme of the mud differs most heavily with the Abermud, science fiction vs. medieval. I was to present an interview here with this section but some things happened over the weekend that have changed all that. The mud itself is considered to still be in beta form--complete with quests to solve, monsters to kill and equipment to find. But now it's closed for some changes. One of the primary developers of MUSIC is Hadron. He is currently a 2nd year computer science student at Southampton University in Hampshire, England. Back in late 1997, Hadron met up with another CS student, MusicMaker who wanted to figure out how to make his socket code work with the mud he was writing. After one failed attempt on coding a custom mud, work on the new MUSIC mud began. After implementing some stuff, MusicMaker went to the background where he's coding ANOTHER custom-written mud. MUSIC does use OLC (On-Line Creation), from dirt build_setin, the guts of the combat engine from iDirt, Aberchat, and the pDirt trap specials. There is no distinction between rooms, objects, and mobiles, mobiles being objects with the mobile flag set and the rooms are objects that people happen to be inside. Gameplay isn't any different, it is still aberish but uses some Diku/LP features like equipment saving and gradual resets. The scenario is a space-age sci-fi theme like Babylon 5, Star Trek, and Frontier…you're a member of Starfleet and you must complete missions to get a higher rank. MUSIC is licensed under the GNU GPL as it counts as a derivative work of iDirt since it uses the combat engine from it. The author does not make releases very often but would send out one if asked. Nine quests a.k.a. missions are ready to go, all zones self-reset after so long. Right now the sign at the door says closed for renovation, as to what will happen next is pretty much up in the air.

Interview with a Caveman

By request, and who wouldn't refuse such a request, I have done another interview, this time with a self-described caveman. At the time I did this one, I didn't know where it was gonna go and where it would come to a good closing--but it my belief that it would be interesting to read. Anyway, the caveman is named Og, who is an archwizard on Northern Lights. His real name is Wieland, who racked up an impressive 98 deaths on his first run to wizard, but ran a dozen characters to wizard after his first. He currently attends New Mexico Tech in Socorro, New Mexico as a computer science student.

CF: "So tell us how you became a caveman."

Og: "Well...I started this character just as a joke (I already had 7 wizards by then). After I started the character, I didn't use it for about a month. The name actually comes from the Bible. :) But anyway, with a name so fitting a caveman, I took on a caveman accent and made a post at the Warm Haven with strong caveman opinions, which stayed on the board for about a year and Vita gave me a special club for bopping people with. That's about the whole story.

CF: "Who is the 'Og' in the Bible?"

Og: "He is a giant King, who Moses fought against and killed as he was going into the Promised Land...he was called 'Og King of Bashan' which I sometimes change to 'Og King of Bashin' for my purposes. Some people get so into vampires and elves and things like that, the way they talk about them, youd think they were real! And they take things so seriously so I thought, a caveman who took absolutely nothing seriously would be a breath of fresh air for this mud."

CF: "Heh, like me?"

Og: "I mean people that take their fantasy worlds too seriously--not that they're bad people, or even that they arent fun sometimes :)"

CF: "So how did you become an archwizard?"

Og: "Well that's not really exciting. Sethbean broke his collarbone, so he couldnt be one anymore. He couldn't type at all. So Vita and Kalzar invited me to the NL testmud one day, pretending that they were gonna discuss my zone (Brownies) that I was working on with me."

CF: "Or how you got to be one after getting killed 98 times (as Wieland)."

Og: "That wasnt the worst part :) I think I was about the only person to ever flunk their first wiztest. I didn't know anything about the policy. Anyway...Vita asked me if I could take over Sethbean's spot...but I was supposed to keep it quiet until the day of the frobbing, which was NL's jubilee day."

CF: "So tell us some of your adventures as archwizard."

Og: "The most wonderful part of it is the transform command. I can keep myself occupied for hours turning people into pigs. :) Other than that...it can be interesting, it can be hard too--having to do things to people that you like a lot, and then have them hate you for it."

CF: "Do a lot of runners like to cheat...or they just find something in the game and think...'wow a neat scoring trick!'"

Og: "Well...the second part doesn't bother me so much. :) Since it's really rare anyway, what really bothers me is people mailing out quest solutions, or inviting people to other muds or places to walk them through quests and then there's people who like to bully other players and making fun of them...sometimes I go a little overboard trying to prevent that. :)"

CF: "You can get nailed for giving out a quest solution on another mud....not this one."

Og: "Well, people that give out quest solutions on this mud sometimes don't know at any better. But if they take people to other muds...that means they KNOW its wrong and they're trying to hide it."

CF: "Well, lets talk about adventures on other muds...what have you found so far....that you like and dislike?"

Og: "Well for the most part the other muds are really nice...they have some good quests that aren't here yet, and the powers are mostly pretty good. The problem with some of those muds is they have powers that are coders, but don't have much experience as administrators and they try to make the muds to center around the powers, rather than around the runner. Anytime you run a mud that is controlled by the feelings of the powers at a certain time rather than a policy that is set in stone, you can have trouble."

CF: "Is that what happened with a couple of muds you were banned from?"

Og: "More or less. :) I wouldn't comment on any single mud though. Like I said though, most muds are really good that I went to...Elven has great quests, and Hysteria has a neat player-killing system."

CF: "Tell us your adventures in getting a zone together and up on a mud."

Og: "Well...my first zone was Brownies...the idea was originally based on the story of the shoemaker and the elves...but it evolved WAY away from there. I used the random function a lot to make the zone really interesting even for people who run the zone more than once. It's got two different beginnings and two different endings. You would talk to the mayor, and he'd tell you which part of the quest you'd have to do."

CF: "Now I had a heck of a time getting a zone online somewhere....in fact it was Black Star that was the first to get one of my zones on...but my first was written 3 years ago and still isn't up anywhere. How much trouble was it to get your first here?"

Og: "Well Vita said she'd use my zone before I even started writing it really. I have at least one new zone coming out on Everest."

It was at this point where we ran out of significant things to discuss. You can check out the Brownies quest on Northern Lights and Og's new version of the Heaven zone on Everest.

Peace Deals Broken, War Escalates...and more

Just when you think a negotiated peace resolution will bring to an end a feud between warring parties, one side decides months later that it isn't good enough and start trashing the other side again with the "you stole my mud" routine again and uses my own guestbook to launch it while telling me it's none of my business (refer to AA#4&5). This has included private mudmails to individual mud owners asking for a certain mud to be yanked from the mudlist. Some of you may remember what happened when I took sides in it, the hostile side resorted to smearing me like Larry Flynt is doing against the Republicans leading the impeachment proceedings--he's still smearing me and making direct personal threats. While the hostile party denied using the alias of the head smearer, they incriminate themselves on their own mud using that alias again. Even though I've told the individual not use my guestbook anymore, it's not much help when banning this party from the Internet entirely won't solve the problem as they're using more than just the Internet to push it along. Only a tour of duty, maybe to Iraq or Kosovo would keep the parties far enough apart where we can live our lives in peace. You may be good friends with the person in question, and that's fine. Just decide when the point of which you can't condone it anymore has been reached. Hmm...maybe I should try chanting the current Democrat mantra--"The people has spoken! There's no evidence! You're just out to get someone! Drop it and move on!"

And months after the hack job at the Mud Journal occurred (refer to AA#6), recovery and taking the site to a high profile, time constraints have taken its toll when they have their own muds to run so, the previous owners have decided to pass the torch. The Mud Journal was sold at the end of December 1998 to J.W. Adams. J.W. Adams currently does not run a mud, but plays a few. He has mudded for 7 years now and is probably one of the mudding communities oldest mudders at the current age of 52. He describes himself as having too much free time after an early retirement, and as being a mudding fanatic. "I try out at least 1 new mud per week" he claims.

That horrible place that I would never like to live in again, Geocities, has been bought out by Yahoo Inc. in a $4.7 billion merger deal. I hope that as a result, Yahoo will force Geocities to clean up its behavior which has been on the skids since CEO Tom Evans took the helm last May--including killing off that horrible eyesore known as the watermark. On the negative side, Yahoo may do nothing to change Geocities and Yahoo starts putting that watermark on their OWN websites. Conversely, Xoom will be introducing its X-Powerbar in the near future. Hopefully it will NOT interfere with the content of this website like the Geocities Watermark did.

Well, that's about it for this quarter. Next time, an interview with one of the most recognizable figures in the Abermud scene (maybe), more news, more controversy (let's hope some closure comes with it), and lots more new things. AA#8 comes to an end.


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