If you're playing a game like Zork or Doom, you're both the administrator and the player of the game: you're the one who has to download the software and get it running, and you're also the one who gets to play. MUDding isn't that way at all, because there's usually a very strong division between people who play MUDs and people who administer MUDs. If you've never played a MUD before, jumping right in and trying to run one of your own will probably just get you hopelessly confused. Check out this list of sites that are already using CircleMUD first, and log in to a couple to get a good feeling for what MUDding is all about.
If you're already an old hand at playing MUDs and you've decided you want to start one of your own, here's my advice: take a vailum, lie down, and hide in a dark closet until the desire goes away. Just playing MUDs is masochistic enough, isn't it? Or are you trying to shave that extra point off your GPA, jump down that one last notch on your next job evaluation, or get rid of that pesky Significant Other for good? If you think silly distractions like having friends and seeing daylight are preventing you from realizing your full potential in the MUD world, MUD Administrator is the job for you.
Don't get me wrong: running a production MUD can be great fun. It can also be overburdened by politics and plagued by spiteful players devoted to making your life difficult, and otherwise be a highly frustrating endeavour. That's why I don't do it any more.
Version 3.00 of the CircleMUD distribution is a source package that compiles under most variants of UNIX using GNU autoconf (i.e., you just type "configure" and "make" and it automagically compiles). In addition, with minor (documented) adjustments, it will compile under Windows 95 or Windows NT using Microsoft's Visual C++ 4.0 compiler and the WinSock library, and IBM OS/2 and Warp using OS/2 port of GCC. There are currently no binary distributions for any version of UNIX, Windows, or OS/2.
There is a binary distribution of Version 2.20 for the Amiga in the 2.x directory, however there is currently NO source distribution that compiles under the Amiga.
CircleMUD currently does not compile under DOS or the Mac.
CircleMUD's official download site is http://www.circlemud.org/pub/CircleMUD. It has the latest release of Circle, information about current and upcoming releases, and archives of very old versions of CircleMUD. Currently, the latest officially released version of Circle is Version 2.20; however, Version 3.00 is in very ripe beta condition and is recommended for use even though it has not yet been released "officially." It's much better than 2.20: it's much better organized, more portable, more easily extensible, and has far fewer bugs (hopefully).
Circle's home FTP site also has a contrib directory full of areas, code, utilities, and other items contributed by CircleMUD users. If you'd like to submit something of your own, please upload it to the incoming directory. Don't be shy about submitting your own stuff -- remember, the reason you're using CircleMUD is because people were willing to share their code with the world, so it'd be nice of you to return the favor. You should drop a note to the maintainers if you upload anything.
Although only www.circlemud.org carries all of the utilities and extras that come with Circle, many other sites carry the basic CircleMUD distribution. Several MUD-related sites such as ftp.game.org carry Circle, but you can also find it at any of the dozens of sites that mirror sunsite's Linux archives.
The CircleMUD Documentation Project is an ambitious project to document all aspects of CircleMUD, from the point of view of coders, world builders, administrators, immortals, and players. If you're having problems running the game, this should be the first place you look.
There is a CircleMUD mailing list available at firstname.lastname@example.org. To subscribe, write to email@example.com with a message body of:
subscribe circle [first-name] [last-name]It's no use writing me: I have no actual affiliation with the mailing list (other than being on it, naturally). Anyone who is interested in discussing any aspect of Circle -- exchanging ideas, reporting bugs, submitting code, etc. is encouraged to subscribe. The mailing list can also be a great place to get help if you're have a question about how Circle works.
There is a very large archive of messages that have been posted to the mailing list since its inception in January of 1994. If you'd like to download all of them at once, the FTP site also has the same archives stored in the UNIX mailbox format. Please note that all of the earlier archives predating July of 1997 were manually maintained and may not be complete.
The USENET newsgroup rec.games.mud.diku can occasionally be useful as well, if you can wade through all the flames.
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