Re: Viability of a Graphical CircleMUD

From: Patrick Dughi (
Date: 07/30/00

> My conclusion?  Probably not.
> My logic in why a graphical CircleMUD (or MUD of any general type) would not
> be that great lies in the fact that graphics are, well, visual.  This means
> that the creator of a MUD needs to have a fully realized graphical world.
> It would be a rare event.
> But the question I ask will not be whether or not a graphical CircleMUD is a
> good idea, only if it's viable.

        I'll give you both.  There are actually free graphical 'muds' out
there.  That is, there are everquest and ultima clones (the server that
is).  They're free, and people run them all the time.  Why does this work
so well?

        Well, because they're clones.  All the artwork and actual
difficult work is handled by your ultima/everquest client.  That's right,
Ultima Online has something like 4 man-years of work towards its
graphics.  That's professional computer game artists too, nothing trivial
about em.

        Can you put that much effort out, especially for a hobby mud?

        Can you ask that much from your zone builders, most of whom
believe they have a romantic soul that inspires them to build - when most
are about as deep as Andrew Dice Clay limericks?  Most of them aren't
prepared to draw as well as write.  If they are, would they have the 3-d
modeling skills (or even 2-d) to make the graphics you need?  Would
they put in that time without getting paid for it?

        The magic eight ball replies, 'Signs point to "no"'.

> Regardless, I want to see what input you have about adding graphics
> capability.  Especially in these areas:
> a)  the MUD client.  Unless there were some proprietary MUD graphics
> protocol (or MUD protocol in general), each MUD would have to have a
> completely unique client to handle its graphical needs.  What are other
> options?  MXP?  RIP[1]?  An actual MUD protocol, rather than interpreting
> stuff after it comes through telnet[2]?

        On the other hand, I think that a stock circlemud client would be
a great thing to have to give to the circlemud community at large.  I
think that if the community as a whole could offer the source &
everything it'd be great.

        If we could co-develop a mud server and a client specifically for
that server, we could probably do a lot better than tagged html-type of
system.  It wouldn't be a thing to open a seperate port for client-type
connections, and deal with it like that.

> b)  the MUD server.  Would you consider CircleMUD's socket handling and I/O
> to be efficient and powerful[3] enough to handle the extra information that
> would be required to make it a graphical MUD?  Would you even make an
> attempt to make it remain a capable text-based MUD?

        Sure.  There's nothing complicated about telling a client - for
example - to display a picture, or play a song.  The only thing that
would/could possibly tax the computer at all would be something like
graphics/sound updates which mostly would be bandwidth limited.

        The issue I get frustrated over is that people assume that telnet
and a graphics pump/server idea coupled using _text_ tags is actually a
_good_ idea.

        Graphics and telnet just don't mix :)

> c)  the graphics.  2D, like in Diablo?  3D, like EverQuest?  3D, like VRML
> (hey, it's going to be big, I'm telling you)?  How would that affect the way
> the MUD plays?  Would you go to real-time combat (this would definitely
> destroy it for trying to make it available for text-based as well)?  What
> are some other issues you'd worry about here?
        Yeah... well, I wouldn't recommend real-time combat unless you
want to rethink the entire way the entire system works - right now we're
using string-based transactions; "north" "hit troll with sword", etc.

        For real time, you're going to want to use packet-based
transactions.  I'm afraid that this would disallow a concurrent
string-based system.  You'd also have to think about things like
mud-clients cheating, and protocol security.  All sorts of interesting

        Possible? Certainly. Easily doable, no.

> d)  cross-platform capability.  Would you be trying to support clients on
> Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and whatnot?  Would that urge you to write your
> client in something like Java, or just port the program to each after
> writing in C++ or another language?
> Any other point people would like to point out?  It would be an interesting
> pet project to take up.
> -Tony
> [1] - Smaug, I believe uses RIP.  I used to use RIPscrip (I believe they
> actually left the `t' off, but I don't know) BBSes.  Remember LORD?  Is that
> the kind of MUD you'd make?
        Gawd I hated RIP based anything.  Better no graphics than poor
graphics in this day and age.


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