January 2000

The year 2000 is finally here, and most of us are none worse for wear. If you were one of many people that actually believed that bogus movie "Y2K What if they're right?" and idiots like overnight talk show host Art Bell, then you look pretty dumb right now. So have we started the new millennium yet? No. For all the new millennium celebration, it really starts in 2001 because there was never a year zero. It started with 1 A.D., and the first millennium is NOT 999 years. So it is still the 20th century for another year. The overwhelming majority of media outlets are calling this year the new millennium solely to milk it for all its worth in their advertising campaigns. My question is however, where are those flying cars we were promised many, many years ago that they said we'd be traveling around in by this time?

Late update: For those of you who have tried the Spectrum game Blizzard Pass that have been frustrated to heck with the puzzles in this game that want the solution should visit this link for the text solution and this link for a map of the zone itself. Now that I have gone through the solution eventually I may write up an update to the blizzard zone itself making it a little harder and different from the standard fare.

There were additional informative comments made about the Tigger Specials piece near this end of the newsletter which were posted on the Forum board. Sorisor and I missed some things about TerraFirmA's system of triggers that were made. Suede had commments about his own trigger system he felt should had been included here, fair point though I was in a rush to get this out the door. On Asylum, a lot of mobile and object actions are coded into fields instead of individual C coded triggers, but the piece was focused on the implementation of what happens when you do something to someone or some object. For Northern Lights zone compiler with specials, I thought it was slow but it's slow only because of the processing speed of the machine it runs on and the vast amount of specials in the game. Corrections to the piece have been made below.

I may start on AA#11 a little early, I already have a few potential candidates to interview for the next newsletter. Yes I intentionally used the date 1/10/19100 below since there were some computers that represented 2000 as 19100. I have seen some software list dates with the year represented as 100 for the year 2000.

The I.T. Labor Shortage, Update

If you are not a programmer or anything similar by profession, the following rant may not be relevant to you. Since a lot of you that play on the internet have jobs in the Information Technology industry, this should provide some interesting reading.

One of the more shocking and disturbing things I've gotten reports on are employers near where I live claiming that they are not getting enough people applying for their openings—and these are programming jobs. The more times that I hear that complaint, the angrier I get, because I know I had applied there at one point or another and I had been looking for a VERY long time. My great expectation was that I would be hired within a month's time with my diverse and versatile background. Instead, ten months of the year 1999 I spent without a permanent position, despite having a BS in Computer Science, a respectable amount of on the job programming experience plus computer servicing and web page design. A major anomaly in what the press has been touting as the crisis of the I.T. labor shortage. The truth in my mind was, as long as I'm not employed, there isn't an I.T. labor shortage. Therefore, because I wasn't being hired in what was called an I.T. labor shortage, we get to the root of the problem in the I.T. labor market. Employers themselves created the shortage because they are too picky about who they hire and put in an impossible list of job requirements for the potential candidate. This big list can only be filled by a senior level I.T. person or a contract consultant from a independent computing firm. The employer waits for someone to come along who can fill this big list, even if it is a long time. The junior or entry level people on this market as a result get left out in the cold, as I was.

So where am I now in my own personal job hunt? Just after finishing up AA#9 and being no closer to a position, I felt it was time to move away from the town I had been living in since November 1997, go back to college for additional stuff that I can put on a resume, and pull out of the job hunt until I have completed the coursework. Surprisingly, employers were still calling me to do interviews despite the pullout, going so far as to put me on a plane to Cincinnati, OH for one of those interviews. So I did go do interviews and job fairs but rarely wrote up new letters to send out. In the beginning of November, I received a letter that contained an actual job offer…gee I've never seen one of those before! And the offer was the result of a fluke occurrence—out of all the candidates they interviewed, I was the only one with on-the-job programming experience. The other guys were fresh out of college with no work experience, the exact same position I was in just two years ago.. This was just in time to pull me away from my mentally lowest point that I had just reached. I had taken a student job as the webmaster for the student newspaper which was less than 10 hours a week at minimum wage (they don't have enough funding to pay everyone anything more). Unfortunately, the supervisor does not consider the webmaster as a full fledged member of the news staff. As a consequence, the webmaster is not permitted to answer emails using the newspaper's email address, unsigned. An individual sent a very large email with photos that caused the mailbox to overflow. I had replied to his note, suggesting whether it would be easier to put the photos on a website for download instead. Somehow this individual mistook the response and had called the newspaper complaining about what I wrote saying it was in bad form or whatever. That was it for me. The student newspaper cut me loose despite contacting the individual again and straightening things out—which they did not want me to do that either, but I felt obligated to do so and did not agree with the editor drafting a letter of apology. I was protecting the newspaper and that individual was wrong to complain like that. Well, the result of the layoff was bad for the website because there was no one there to set it up, and for some reason did not like the design and graphics I had made. The first issues of the "post-CF era" were poorly made, and had a bunch of mistakes. And they gave up on it after two issues. Morals of the story: don't fire your guru unless you have another guru to take their place lest you screw yourself over bad, don't EVER take initiative because the people around you are ungrateful. And the moral with employers hiring practices, there is NO shortage if you don't hire the applicants you get!

So now that the Y2K problem is pretty much over with isolated incidents of glitches reported here and there (least until 2/29/2K) many employers are hoping there will be a large number of [senior] programmers looking for work because they were laid off from positions of which they were created for solving JUST the Y2K bugs and are no longer needed. How many people actually will be looking for new jobs? I'd say it will not be very many and those who will be looking will have left their previous job on their own. The numbers will not be anywhere close to enough people to fill all the openings for senior level programmers, and employers will either have to start hiring entry-level and junior-level people or do without for even longer periods of time—in which case the employer and the applicant both lose.

Now that I'm actually earning a paycheck again, should I be totally happy about things? Not quite. For one I will be very bitter over the length of time it took to get my current position. Two, I certain am not making a salary within the average range programmers earns. The national minimum is currently 35K. My first programming job was far below that at between 21K-23K a year, my current one is a major improvement at 31K. My next employer I plan to charge in starting salary the amounts invested in going back to school, the shortfalls from not paying the national average, and the shortfalls from being a job hunter and living on unemployment compensation.

A site I'd like to recommend for those who are in any form of despair, burn-out, or underachievement, www.despair.com. Anyone who's tired of those motiviation signs hanging around various places will get a kick out of these demotivators. They describe how I feel much of the time...I've got about three of them stuck on my wall that I've printed out and got their catalog.

Codebase Updates

Some activity along the codebase front since the last issue…

MUDStuff Items

Blizzard Pass—Before Abermud Existed

< Inlay graphic of the cassette case for Blizzard Pass.

Prior to the existence of the Abermud, one of its zones was created back in 1986 and was marketed as a commercial game. Alan Cox wrote the original Blizzard Pass I text/graphics adventure game for the Spectrum computer, distributed by AdventureSoft UK Ltd. While the layouts of the maps are very similar to the Abermud version, there are a number of differences. The game's puzzles are more abundant, there are a number of spells (one cast only) that aren't in Abermud, there are different items around, there are game commands that you have to use when there isn't the same command in Abermud, and getting anywhere is much harder since you have an initial move limit—meaning you will lose the game in just twenty moves until you find a way to stay warm. I played it for a little while, but I could not get inside the cliff window, which happens to be the warmest place to go early on. SPOILER ALERT!!! Skip ahead if you want to figure this on your own. For your quick start for those wanting to try this game, you do start at the familiar Sorcerer's Gate. Pick up some snow, which turns to slush. From there, go south, south then climb up. Examine the window, then put the slush in the cracks. Enter the window and explore. There are also game commands you might not think of because they aren't used in Abermud, one involves the SKIN command. Guess who gets skinned? Others include COOL, DRY, WET. END OF SPOILER. Game commands can be abbreviated to the first four letters. Wonder how Abermud would have came along if that other game's aspects were more faithfully ported to the original. For those who wish to try this game, I recommend the ZX-32 emulator (it has been the only one so far I had gotten to work with the Z80 file). As for saving progress, you can save your game and hold a number of spots in memory, but you will be having to type QUIT and restore each game in sequence until you get back to the one you want. You can also save the state of Spectrum memory in a ZXS file to load up for retrieval. To get the appropriate emulator and game images, visit World of Spectrum. If that site seems to be painfully slow, you can get the recommended emulator here. Here are some screenshots from the game that represent some familiar landmarks:

An Interview with Angelo and Hope

This certainly was a surprise interview, I went out on four different muds and made an open invitation to interview anyone. Two had accepted the offer, so we went to a neutral site to conduct it. For this issue we chatter with Angelo and Hope. Angelo started mudding at Asylum in February 1997, was hired as a Demigod for the defunct Anarchy MUD in mid-1997, later hired on Asylum as Celestrial in Feb. 1999. He has wizards on eight different Abers under the names Angelo, Castlereagh and Revolver. Hope began mudding five years ago and also started on Asylum. Was formerly an Archwitch on Virtual Sun and is now spending much of her mudding time on Phoenix as a MasterWizard. We join the conversation mid-stream...

CF: Each of you tell me a bit about yourselves.

A: [stuff mentioned above] ...I'm completely dedicated to Asylum though trying to intergrate myself a bit more into the wider Aber community. Organised Asylum's first Meeting in July 1999 in Manchester, England attended by 13 well known players. Wrote Asylum's second continent, Osterland, and currently working on a quest called Faraway which I will offer to Asylum and Phoenix.

H: [stuff mentioned above] ...I currently have three zones/quests working for Phoenix. My first mud was Asylum, but no offense and, it wasn't me, then I tried Northern Lights and from there Armitage found me and brought me to Virtual Sun.

CF: On the zone writing, [Angelo] how did you conceive Osterland and how long did it take you to form it as it is?

A: Herbert asked me one day if I had the inclination to write a zone, as I had been authoring the newsletter and had been a major dreams author for Asylum with a lot of help from Herbert and LiChen, it was written within a week. The need for a second continent was fairly urgent with the rate at which Asylum was adding zones at that point. Osterland will continue to develop, probably long after I stop MUDding. The Osterland I wrote had about 40 rooms, it has already needed to be extended three times (once by me, once by Herbert and once by Shi, in that order.) As well as writing Osterland, I've written a few other bits and pieces for Asylum. Look out for the Sanctuary Mayor concept in the near future.

CF: Hope...you have written up three zones...they are which and what are they about?

H: Well they are not out there yet, stillbeing worked on, one is about the epic of gilgamesh, another is a simple christmas zone and the third is a choose your own adventure type zone with a possible 15-16 endings, so people won't run it once and get bored.

CF: So the specials file for 15-16 endings...is that a big project?

H: Not too large about 150 rooms-160 I think.

CF: Uh...that is large. At least the zone I did first I thought was very large. Have any feelings about the new zones being turned out in general?

H: Well a big concern of most zone writers seems to be that it not be raided, so I have noticed most people are doing a travel sequence or a no way back type thing. Also on Phoenix we have added quite a few scavenger hunt type zones.

CF: One person zones as well?

H: Well on Phoenix, we encourage people to run in groups as well as individually, so most quests are still accessible by groups.

A: I think although some MUDs are keen for new zones. Sometimes they compromise standards and that is a great shame. There's some seriously poor zones around. I believe in high standards at pretty much all costs. A well written zone file is the most important aspect of any quest, IMO.

CF: Any zone that you've seen that you think is the absolute worst zone ever written?

H: I mostly think the zones are average to good and there isn't one I would single out as being the worst.

A: Small zone, Rosenberg, large zone, Mithendore by Zack, hope he doesnt get to read this though :).

CF: Why do you believe Mithendore is horrible?

A: It's a hodge-podge - no clues to anything, lots of ways to be trapped or killed without warning. It's far to big and it is an ugly place.

H: I think that is a fair comment. Mithendore the quest is almost lost in the zone. Would have been better spread out into a quest zone and a fun zone sort of like Malachite. The fun zone part as opposed to the quest.

CF: Well, what do you forsee for Abermuds during 2000?

A: Player numbers continuing to decrease. I think Asylum will continue to head the innovation and maybe achieve closer parity with Phoenix in terms of simultaneous player numbers. Some time in the near future I can see an Aber opening coded in a different language. The restrictions of the C language continue to frustrate coders.

H: I think the other types of online games *with graphics etc, even though you have to pay* will bite into Aber usership and a lot of the smaller muds will of course disappear, as usual, and a whole crop of new ones will open up to smaller and smaller numbers. I think that muds will move towards being more interactive. Phoenix already has familiars etc, but I think incorporating some elements of dikus will also occur. And by interactive, I mean that the mobs will have more mobile scripts, and rooms will be multilayered so you see a different angle when you enter from different doors, or at different stages in a quest.

CF: Think the increasing number of dikumuds is hurting muds in general?

A: No, Dikus and Abers appeal to different types; we're not competing for the same players. More advanced forms of internet gaming are what's killing Abers by which I mean Quake, Half Life, etc.

H: Not that we are competing for diku players. But I think the openminded gods will begin to incorporate and borrow the strengths from Abers.

CF: Hmmmmmm....I kinda thought there were so many dikus that other types were forgotten about.

H: Nah, I think the sheer numbers of muds out there forces the users to be spread out.

A: There's too many Abers but people soon learn which are the worthless ones. Less than a quarter of those MUDs are moving forward. I don't see any of the MUDs which have opened in the last year being successful.

H: I think the weaker muds will move more towards just being chat rooms for a small insular group of people, not welcoming new players etc. and the larger muds like Phoenix and Asylum or Northern Lights will begin to pick up the newbies from those places as well. The small muds will become less for running and more for chatting.

A: The only reason a lot of the retro muds are still at all busy is because they have dedicated long-term wizards.

H: As I said they will move towards being small insular groups of immortals and more chat focused than running.

CF: Hmmm...if they don't advertise at all they are even more certain to fail.

A: [nods] It won't be advertising so much as the groups of people running the smaller muds won't go outside their own circle, so they won't be out their promoting their mud.

H: [agrees with Angelo] I think that word of mouth and reputations being most "true" newbies into Aber mudding, not advertising. Anyone out there on the net bored and say doing a web search for adventure games is not likely to find and like Aber mudding, partly down to the fact that it is text based and the decline in the telnet protocol.

CF: The C-Dirt codebase today was successfully compiled into a Win32 environment. Would that be a good thing for Abermuds in general or a hinderance?

A: I'm not sure how making MUDding more accessible to other platforms and environments could be anything but a good thing, but I am not a coder.

H: I agree with Angelo again, I think if it makes it more accessible to more people than it must be a good thing. Of course it would take a lot of work.

CF: Fulk of Hysteria has been quoted as saying people on muds were taking mud relationships way too seriously with mud weddings being the biggest thing and meeting other players IRL hot topics of conversation and people weaving these intricate and rather desperate weaves of relationships. [Refer to a later section, Abermud's Problems Revisited]

A: I don't do mud relationships, they're not for me. I believe the Asylum "info couples" and "info mudsex" files describe my feelings pretty succinctly.

H: Well I think that in the Aber community and online in general relationships can seem so much more intense, because you have a lot more conversation and it is an immediate sort of thing. I think people do use the muds as an outlet for meeting people, and some relationships do arise out of it and I can also think of several couples who have met on muds and now are married or whatever so I can't completely disallow the possibility of it being a good thing, but I think for the most part mud relationships end up being hurtful and destructive. I have met one mud person in RL, and it was scaaaaaaaary.

A: I think MUD relationships are really sad, 90%+ end in petty requests for deletion etc. I've met many Asylum players, well over 20, and not had a bad experience with any of them, but met them as friends.

CF: Well....I'm gonna wrap this interview up....closing thoughts?

H: Well since a plug for Phoenix would be in bad taste.. nopers, but thank you CF :)

A: Let's not take ourselves too seriously in newsgroups. The last time I looked at the newsgroups I was ashamed.

CF: That was months ago right?

A: Yup, some months.

CF: Pretty much now...little activity...except for announcement making and I started a few discussions on topics. There hasn't been much at all of late.

A: Well that's good. I retract that then.

H: Well depends. Lets try to be less serious in general, less melodramatic exits.

A: I am a bit concerned by what I perceive the fall in the average player age on Aber muds.

H: Me too, when I began it was mostly college students and upper level high school, but they were rare at that, and now it is young kids mostly in HS and even down to grammar school. The younger kids are treated like grown ups etc., but they are still children and they react differently and shouldn't be exposed to all aspects of most muds I think. But then I am getting old enough some of them could be my kids ;)

News Summary From Around the AberMUDs

Since August there hasn't been a lot in additions to the Abermuds that is distinctly new—there has been a number of instances where a zone that's been seen elsewhere was added or a number of actions or minor commands added that I do not list here. For the modest list of changes and additions to the more active MUDs, here they are...

Asylum announces a show called the Asylum Awards 2000, for what and who these awards they will give away are totally unknown. Anyone can vote on who deserves what award though…you can nominate me for having the best Abermud resource site ;) There is a new currency system in the game, called Lucre. There are two new mortal levels added, which can be reached when someone scores a total of 5 million and 10 million points. And lastly two new quests were added. Gathering, the faraway land of Dominia is in danger of being overcome by the forces of evil. The Wizards of the Coast are missing five artifacts they need to fight back! Socerer, Belboz has disappeared and the fate of the kingdom once again falls upon you.

Delusion continues to expand and most recently added three zones JBS, River, and the FimbulWolf quest--forge the powerful sword Glimer and defeat the mighty Fimbul Wolf. Part of the ancient weapon lies in a place of death. They have also added a new wizlevel called Sage for those who have conquered a certain number of quests, already at a staggering 77 more than anyone else. A number of things that are quite invisible to players...the parser uses binary trees instead of verbs and actions which speeds up the parsing by a factor of 40 and the verbs file is no longer needed. Some commands can be enabled and disabled at runtime, the port number can be switched at runtime, hashed playerfile indexing, automatic window size detection for determining your pager and linewrap, an optimised packet handler with full telnet protocol support and linkbuffers that keep the messages of linkdead people (a C-Dirt feature already).

Hysteria, declared by its owner to not be a part of the Abermud family anymore (rebellious black sheep maverick runaway of the family perhaps?) put up a rant on his message board which I shall talk about the issues raised after the news section. Probably one of the bigger changes is the policy files which everyone needs to read because people keeping breaking rules so often. A very limited allowance for multiplaying is in the game, except the two people you log in cannot interact at all and must sign in from the same host—kinda useless methinks. Rule violators that are playerkilled by an immortal are barred from playing the mud for two hours. When you quit out of the game, you return in the same spot...better hope you don't get stuck in the Cave of Lost Hope or the Cavern of the Faithless or you're screwed. The number of guilds has been declining and has gone down to just three—seems the wide variety of guilds was not all it was cracked up to be. The lone non-playerkilling guild is no more, Tuatha'an was replaced by a "peaceful" flag and spells of this guild have been transferred to other guilds such as the Armor spell. Legend level players have a web spell, a staple on dikus which effectively works like Cripple except you can break free of it. They also get Acidstorm, which pretty much rains acid from the sky to burn a group of mobiles. A new class has been added, called Crusaders. Crusaders are considered to be holy, have the best healing spells and are decent fighters. They have high amounts of Mana and HP and serve well as a second class. Skills/Spells include : Heal, Massheal, Flame, Wrath and Fear. Journeys are a great new Alternative Quest System now implemented in Hysteria. The Journey Master's name is Crastyl and you may portal to Crastyl to request a Journey. If completed correctly and in time you will receive journey points which vary with each quest. With these points you can buy items from the journey master. At any time while on your journey you may use the 'time' command from anywhere to see how much time is remaining as well as the command 'no arg' to see what your current journey is. All other commands having to do with Journey Quests must be done while in the presence of Crastyl. Those commands include : request, complete, list and buy. Looting from people has been capped at four items, gold is cut in half on death, playerkillers hiding in peaceful zones will suffer lag (are you kidding?), experience given per kills has been changed depending on your class but also you get less per kill overall. Onset of new ImmTokens - is now in effect, and with a surprise bonus. Weaponflags, restrings, triviatokens and Fulktokens have been randomly distributed throughout the MUD. You find 'em, you get to keep 'em. And lastly, a number of training skills have been added, including awareness, constitution, maneuverability, perception, and strength.

Phoenix has done a lot of land expansion. Rosenburg by Tostitos is the story of the Lord Mayor turning to necromancy and stealing the soul of a philosopher. Zaphod has created a resort hotel for those who have no interest in playing in a tournament, complete with library, lounge, bar, gambling hall, and private chatrooms. Warren by Merovance is a zone of complex underground tunnels that lead to various locations around the realm which starts in the Tarchannen Forest. A high level zone past the Alluvean jungle features Centaurs, scared horses, elephant graveyards and more…author unknown. Teryn has submitted a quest where you have to return the musical instruments stolen by some crook. The Gathering quest features the goal of uniting the five artifacts of the Wizards of the Coast to bring the the five spheres of magic back into balance and allow the realm of Dominia to prosper again. Bargalad and Shadowstorm created this zone. Guild rings are sold at a jewelry shop which improve a player's abilities. New skills in the game, for Jacks there is MAP for those who need to know where they're going, for Theives there's HUNT for finding stuff and MUG to knock over someone and loot them. A new type of tournament game called Werewolves was introduced—where the humans and werewolves try to wipe each other out, and a sage helps id who is what. Phoenix MUD continues to hold the spot of most popular Abermud via attendance numbers.

Promised Land, of which I code for, added some new features, zones and quests. Biggest addition has to be the implementation of the infamous and longtime homeless zone Bal Harbor which I created four years ago. Though it is not the original version due to complaints about satirical elements on certain political figures and events, it is one of the largest interactive zones in existence. The zone itself is an adaptation of a zone in the first mud I had ever played called Sloth but has been changed to reflect the horror of the L.A. Riots in a city of which its mayor had been overthrown and overrun by political extremists. A rogue organization called the Red Sash is out to conquer nations and has begun its campaign of deception by taking over Bal Harbor under the pretense of being hired by the governor to restore order. Assassinating the Sash Commander is key, but also rescuing a weapons maker forced to assist in arming the Sash. Unfortunately this zone has had to be changed a number of times because the other powers disliked various things in it. Another zone included with the C-Dirt distribution but was unfinished called the FourWinds quest. From what was in the zone itself, it appeared to have been written for MirageMUD long ago. I along with Etrimon from the former Lorelei MUD finished the zone up in our own ways and I consolidated the two differing versions into a finished quest. The goal is basically to restore the power in the SkyBlade from four WindGems and stop a certain Cloud God from blowing everyone away! Another zone added is the Golden zone, which is authored by Hans, it's a takeoff on the tried and true Indiana Jones type tomb raiding missions. Other features added over the past few months: Because of the continuing increase in the number of quests, the handicap difficulty levels will eventually be revamped…but for now, the number of coins awarded per quest is now proportional to the number of quests in the game. As a whole however, there's been changes to make the game not so easy…what you learn in the game determines your true class, you can see what you are via the WHYCLASS command. Four of the skills in the game work only under a specified class. A new gift called Ethereal gives a player a limited way to store the values of your weapon and armor for later use, a sort of bridge gap for those who want to store equipment like on a Diku. Mobiles can become immune to Blind, Cripple, Mute, and Deafen spells. Several actions and a few requested commands have been added. For the future, there are about a dozen quests to add submitted by various authors which should make it interesting for those who like large muds.

TerraFirmA continues its expansion with the introduction of a pair of quests. Jigsaw by Dale & Robert--come to the aid of a small child and retrieve the pieces of her stolen jigsaw. An easy quest designed for the newbies among you. Whale by Dale--retrieve the dangerous book of armageddon, the Grzdhsh, from inside a huge whale. Be careful to keep your wits about you, or your adventure will only last a few minutes. A quest not for the faint-hearted or easily puzzled. Other features added: A travelling market has ventured onto the lands of Terra Maybe you need some new armour, you need majickal advice, or perhaps you would just like your fortune told. All manner of shops and services are available. Now all you have to do is find the caravan! The new level of WANDERER has been added to help make more of the game available to those who are unable to commit a great deal of time to playing the game, read INFO WANDERER for details about this level.TerraFirmA is one of the few Abermuds to not use the standard land layout that most Abermuds use.

Some news from a mud that has yet to open, Seven Degrees of Freedom. It has been in development since March of 1999 and open sometime during spring 2000. It has not been open to the public for so long in order to develop the mud and not look like a stock iDirt mud. When it does open, it will feature the following...auto resets for zones, defrob system, and a number of all new quests authored by the duo of Nalal and Mxyzptlk, including the following: Krull, which is based on the movie methinks, free the princess Lyssa from the clutches of the beast, you will first need to find the location of his black fortress and then some way of getting there. Legend has it that the black fortress and the beast are linked and killing one will destroy the other. ClayMonster, the guests at a large mansion are being terrorised by a large clay monster. You must find some way to trap the monster and solve the mystery. There are already some people working on the problem, they may be able to help you in your quest. RivanSword, the evil god Kal Torak has awoken, in the far off land of Mallorea. Journey to the ancient Isle of Winds, and across to Mallorea, where you must retrieve the almighty sword of Riva before facing Torak himself...only you can stop him from enslaving the entire world. AliBaba, in a secret cave, guarded by forty thieves, is a hoard of treasure. Seek out the treasure and offer it to the gods by dropping it into one of the sacrificial pits. Horus, centuries ago, the magician N'lumm stole the sacred Sock of Horus from the Egyptians. Now, he is dead and in his dwelling can be found the Sock. However, it is still guarded by fearsome creatures and fiendish devices. Can you outwit them to retrieve and wear the Sock? Apollo, return the staue of Apollo to its rightful place in the town of Riverdale. It is said that the shrine is guarded by some rats which bar all entrance to the temple. Some Blue folk nearby may able to aid you in your quest. And later, a quest called Promised Land (not at all related to the MUD of the same name ;). You can probably go to the mud and visit, following the links via the web page and do some running but you may be subject to the rules under what beta testing dictates.

Abermud's Problems Revisited

Fulk of Hysteria had this to say back in August:

"I started out on an Aber MUD. This was in '94. I had never even been on the Internet before at this time, and the whole thing was incredible to me. I loved the MUD I ran, and learned it inside and out. At this time, mudding period was still rather young, especially aber mudding. After maybe 1 1/2 years on that MUD I met someone who had just opened another mud. I ran that mud and became good friends with the owner. The owner soon introduced me to a mud called 'Diku'. This opened up a whole new world to me. The AberMUDs by this point, late '95 early '96 had started to turn less running/RP oriented (which is the true purpose muds were created for) into more of a social thing, with mud weddings being the biggest thing and meeting other players IRL hot topics of conversation, and people weaving these intricate and rather desperate weaves of relationships that they took all too seriously. When I got the hang of running on a diku, it set me back into the early days of aber mudding where running, and role-playing, and playing a GAME (not playing a chat room) were the priorities. Diku has since evolved further into codebases such as rom, merc, smaug, rot and a few others. Now, aber muds being my first, I was still more comfortable on them. So when the diku I ran went down permanently, I didn't feel like finding a new one and came back to find an aber mud to entertain some coding urges for me. At this point, aber muds had unevolved into stock muds, pretty much nothing but everyone having the same code, changing a few colors, and bragging about how 'they own a mud!'"

As for what is the "big thing" on muds, yes a crowd will gather for a mud wedding and meeting other players in real life is considered big to people. The social aspects have been more popular on Abermuds simply because committing crimes against other players which is rampant on Dikus since this type of behavior seems to be encouraged. It is also true that because on most Dikus they cannot use the chat lines until they reach a certain level…conversely people on most Abermuds can use the chat lines immediately and the rift-raft identify themselves very quickly making it easier to get rid of them sooner. On the stock mud issue, we can continue to dabble on what horrible things iDirt did to Abermuds in general, but it can be looked at as nearly the only source code widely available. That has changed in the last couple years, where there are a few more choices than just iDirt files around and if you've visited the MUDStuff section, finding the other stuff is a lot easier. For the final concern about people opening a mud to say they own a mud, there will be people doing that no matter what the codebase is. I wouldn't be surprised if it was heavily rampant among Dikumuds. What is getting in the way of this happening as much today is the fact that free sites are less common, and you will have to fork over the money to rent space on a server somewhere."

Once again, another person complains about the wrong direction Abermuds went in the middle of the 1990s, brought about by the popularity of iDirt (doesn't mention iDirt 1.82 by name cause he used it himself but that is commonly tagged as the scapegoat). And there are some issues here to discuss. Are muds in general SUPPOSED to be role playing oriented? That depends on what each mud owner defines as "role playing". The owners for instance did not like the "role" I chose to play and would not accept any "medieval" variations of the name "Crimefighter" such as "Constable". Regardless, that will ALWAYS be the "role" I play, so get used to it. The definition of role playing is in the eye of the beholder, and some are less popular than others. And some variations of role playing are downright ludicrous whereas the owners of the mud are dictating how you are supposed to interact among people, and it goes far beyond anything dealing with harassment. When I experienced this for the first time, it was on a mud called DUM II. The people there for some reason do not accommodate newcomers very well during the couple of times I've gone >

Transfer interrupted!

tend to avoid. As for what is the "big thing" on muds, yes a crowd will gather for a mud wedding and meeting other players in real life is considered big to people. The social aspects have been more popular on Abermuds simply because committing crimes against other players which is rampant on Dikus since this type of behavior is encouraged. It is also true that because on most Dikus they cannot use the chat lines until they reach a certain level…conversely people on most Abermuds can use the chat lines immediately and the rift-raft identify themselves very quickly making it easier to get rid of them sooner. On the stock mud issue, we can continue to dabble on what horrible things iDirt did to Abermuds in general, but it can be looked at as nearly the only source code widely available. That has changed in the last couple years, where there are a few more choices than just iDirt files around and if you've visited the MUDStuff section, finding the other stuff is a lot easier. For the final concern about people opening a mud to say they own a mud, there will be people doing that no matter what the codebase is. I wouldn't be surprised if it was heavily rampant among Dikumuds. What is getting in the way of this happening as much today is the fact that free sites are less common, and you will have to fork over the money to rent space on a server somewhere. If you are fearful for too many muds opening up that run a particular source code, all one has to do is look at the list of new entries added to the Mud Connector. They certainly aren't iDirts. Overall, the number of operating Abermuds have not gone over fifty very often [currently stands at 40]. What ought to be eye opening is that there are at least 1000 Dikumuds in operation, and these muds have not had a lot of trouble getting players. I shall have to revisit my stance on advertising...for a mud to be successful, they should be locatable. If people cannot find your mud on the Mud Connector or Mudlinks then people aren't going to come play.

Trigger Specials -- How best to implement them

Sorisor made some comments about having the zone specials in the code which makes the code grow quickly and unreadable. Several approaches have been made to fix this which he expressed below, and a few comments of my own that I've mixed in with this:


And that will just about do it for this go-around as this issue is at a record 54K. Who knows what will be inside AA#11? More fun for everyone hopefully. Remember though to put in periodic advertisements for your mud in places like the mudding newsgroups (as a signature to whatever regular post you write) to give yourself a small bump in visitors—and that's what we all want, more visitors right? If you play someone else's mud, it would be a service to that mud if you write up a short review of the mud and submit it to Game Commandos or the Mud Connector Reviews section. It seems people tend to visit a mud they have some idea about it from what other people say.

Anything you've read here in AA#10 today that caught your fancy and wish to comment on, you are encouraged to post comments in either the FORUM section of this website, or post a note in rec.games.mud.misc.

I have gotten a note saying that another zone common on Abermuds was also based on a Spectrum Text Adventure game, called Pirate's Cove. Review of this game will probably come next time if we can locate an archive of this game.

Lastly, I ought to explain the catchphrase I've been using heavily of late "Bustin' ain't easy!" WWF pro wrestler "The Godfather" a.k.a. "Kama" uses the phrase "Pimpin' ain't easy". For a lot of people, pimping is much easier than putting criminals in jail so I changed the first word and utter that phrase frequently as a war cry or else to bug a few people with.

Issue completed on 01/10/19100. Interviews are edited for grammar, spelling, clarity, and readability. Click NEWS to read the previous issue.

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