Re: Viability of a Graphical CircleMUD

From: Tony Robbins (
Date: 07/30/00

----- Original Message -----
From: "Patrick Dughi" <dughi@IMAXX.NET>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, July 30, 2000 9:35 AM
Subject: Re: [CIRCLE] Viability of a Graphical CircleMUD

> > My conclusion?  Probably not.
> >
> > My logic in why a graphical CircleMUD (or MUD of any general type) would
> > be that great lies in the fact that graphics are, well, visual.  This
> > that the creator of a MUD needs to have a fully realized graphical
> > 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?

Exactly my point.  It's not likely to happen.  To have that capability, on
the other hand, would be nice.  And if the setup were similar to Quake 3
maps and whatnot, there is a (small) number of capable people out there to
create the levels.  Of course, those are tiny, but that's beside the point.

>         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"'.

That's why I thought that CircleMUD, in its traditional form, would not do
well when moved into a graphical setup.  It would completely alter how the
MUD works, because the visual aspect would dump all the text stuff into the

> > 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
> > 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.

Yes, having a second client connection out is not a big deal.  A friend of
mine who used to help code when my MUD was actually a progressing project
helped to put in code (based on some code from RoA) to stream mp3s from a
second channel.  By the way, that's a terrible idea, especially if the MUD
gets big.  :)

> > b)  the MUD server.  Would you consider CircleMUD's socket handling and
> > to be efficient and powerful[3] enough to handle the extra information
> > 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 :)

Yes, this is true.  I'm trying to understand the idea of a MUD protocol, but
I haven't gotten any feedback as far as that goes.

> > c)  the graphics.  2D, like in Diablo?  3D, like EverQuest?  3D, like
> > (hey, it's going to be big, I'm telling you)?  How would that affect the
> > 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)?
> > 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
> things.
>         Possible? Certainly. Easily doable, no.
> > d)  cross-platform capability.  Would you be trying to support clients
> > Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and whatnot?  Would that urge you to write
> > 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
> > 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
> > the kind of MUD you'd make?
> >
>         Gawd I hated RIP based anything.  Better no graphics than poor
> graphics in this day and age.
>                                                 PjD

RIP graphics were alright, they did their job on that TriBBS I used to play
on.  Using RIP now it would seem like taping a Kenwood CD faceplate onto
your 8-track player, or maybe the other way around.  I'm interested in
seeing the client/server stuff discussed more, it might be prove fun to toy


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