From: Ghost Shaidan (
Date: 02/01/99

> Fact:  I've obviously only done limited testing, and would be interest to see
> what kind of numbers other people are getting.

If there is a standard for testing this, I'd be happy to perform the tests
on my mud. We use a home grown ascii pfile system.  I have noticed no
performance problems with them, other than a lag if we do a force all
save with more than 20 or 25 people on. (Looking for some sort of solution
for this, but I am not far enough along in my research to make any

The ease of use, administration, and saving in disk space, as well as
expandability more than make up for this.

With the speed of the 'average' new computer today, I'd like to suggest
that the benefits/liabilities of ascii vs binary are indeed moot. (Those
with much older systems need to make their own determinations.)

If you are in a position where you need every last processor cycle, binary
MIGHT be your best option.  However, if your MUD is taking up enough of
the processor for this to be an issue, I am willing to be that you have
other coding issues that can greatly impact your performance.

In general, ascii pfiles are easier to manage, safer from corruption,
easier to expand from within the mud.  I don't claim to be zero'd in on
what ever mud admin wants, but from the amount of newbie type questions on
this list, I would think that the above points would carry major weight
with a majority of the community.

Having run my mud for almost 2 years with binary pfiles, and about 1.5
years with ascii, the ascii are MUCH preferrable for reasons already
stated. In fact, our current clan system is a mix of binary files/ in code
arrays and lists, and my current project is to port that to an ascii
system.  It gives us the ability to modify things on the fly, without
rebooting, and easily edit to fix errors or offer clan changes. This will
surely cost us some processor time on boot, (parsing an ascii file vs
compiled code), but again, a few cycles at boot time are of no concern
compared to the administration benefits.

I completely agree that taking this theory too far can lead to bloatware,
and maybe even the evils of Microsoft (;)) but in the current situation,
trading minimal performace for maximum administration seems to be a fair
trade off.

In the end, we all have to make our own decisions.

Ghost Shaidan
Implementor of Questionable Sanity 4000

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