Back in the good ole' days, when the Chronicles was still published on a regular basis (good ole' days that, I hope sincerely, are about to return) I used to use this column to tell you about the latest happenings in my hidey-hole: my home office, which is where the MUD server is physically located. Alas, so many things have happened since the last issue saw the light of day, I don't even know where to begin! Oh well, let me try and bring some order into madness.
MUD2, as you know, runs on a Linux computer. Linux is quite a beautiful operating system (I've actually written a book about it, one that is still sold at amazon.com if you're interested) and it runs on just about anything. My first Linux server was a 386SX computer with a miserable 4 megabytes of memory, yet it ran faithfully as a mail server, dial-up Internet router, and file/printer server for quite a while. Recently, however, I had the opportunity to upgrade several of my machines, so MUD now runs on a shiny new Pentium-III, equipped with copious amounts of memory and hard disk space. Which means that there has never been a better time than now to bring your friends over... the MUD machine has plenty of horsepower to welcome them all!
The End of Wireplay
MUD2.COM suffered a painful drop in membership over the last two years, as we were facing the free competition of the Wireplay service. (All the more reason for me to thank those who remained for their continuing loyalty. Yes, I mean it. Thanks.)
Alas, Wireplay MUD is no more; the service has been discontinued earlier this year. Foddy the arch-wizard, my Wireplay counterpart, faced the same situation I faced in 1997 when the Kesmai MUD site, MUD2.COM's predecessor, shut down: either abandon his players or provide them with a new home. Like me, Foddy chose the latter and opened up his new MUD2 service. Unfortunately, it's no longer free: playing there costs about the same as it does at MUD2.COM.
I guess I should be cheering wildly upon the news that we no longer have to compete against a free, well-financed service. But I don't; in the long run, I don't think that the loss of yet another MUD2 server is good for the game. Our world-wide player community is small, and the competition from other MUD sites is fierce. Instability, the threat that a site that's home to your virtual existence may disappear with little warning, is not how to build a loyal following in this environment.
Speaking of a small player community, do you think it's good for MUD2 to have two competing sites? Does competition mean better service quality for you, or does it fragment an already small player community needlessly? Should we try and join forces with Foddy to create one, well-managed MUD2 service? I have my own opinions on this subject (and so does Foddy no doubt) but nevertheless, I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts.
While MUD2 ran at Wireplay, Richard was able to make many changes, including some substantial additions to the game. If you haven't visited MUD2 for a while, you may be excited to hear that we're up to version 4E(40) already. The changes were so numerous, I am embarrassed to admit that there are areas in the game in which I feel as lost as a newborn kitten! Maybe it's time to blow the dust off an old wizmort (what, wizmort? There ain't no such things as wizmorts!) of mine because it seems I've got some serious exploring to do...
Speaking of kittens, it is with great sadness that I have to tell you about the loss of MUD2.COM's very own cat, Marzipan. Marzipan, who would be 4 years old today (June 27), knew everything about MUD2, as he often watched my screen while I was managing the game. The good news is that he's not without an heir: two new kittens, barely 10 weeks old as of this writing, threaten the cabling behind the MUD2 box with their sharp little claws and teeth. So if your gameplay is interrupted with an unexpected outage during the next few weeks, chances are it's not your ISP. (That being said, I do take precautions to prevent service interruptions, not to mention to prevent the kittens from getting fried as they chew through a power cable!)
The "other" MUD
MUD2 is called MUD2 for a reason: it the second version of the original Multi-User Dungeon. (Well, technically speaking it is version 4 of the software, but versions 1 and 2 weren't playable games.) MUD1 (i.e., version three), as all diehard MUD players know, used to run for many years at Essex University and elsewhere, and for many more years on CompuServe under the name British Legends.
Well, guess what: MUD1 is back. Before I became an avid MUD2 player, I was an avid fan of British Legends; and I just couldn't bear the loss of our beloved game when CompuServe decided to discontinue the service towards the end of 1999. It is with no small pleasure and pride that I can announce that since the summer of 2000, MUD1 is alive again: at BRITISH-LEGENDS.COM, you can again enjoy this game (for free, to boot!) in all its original, glorious simplicity.
My hope is that MUD1 will not only flourish, but it'll also help attract players to MUD2.COM. My only fear is that the "teaser", namely MUD1, is such a good game on its own right, there may not be enough of an incentive to play MUD2 instead while the latter costs money.
Well, that's it for now. Let me close this column by expressing my optimism that by the time the next Chronicles is out (hopefully, you won't have to wait as long as you did for this issue) there will be many more players to read it, and the game at MUD2.COM again becomes crowded. There is light at the end of the tunnel, after all. With enthusiastic volunteers like this issue's editor, Hawumph, and the contributors, everything is possible!
Thank you all for playing,
Viktor the arch-wizard
This Web page copyright © 1998 Viktor T. Toth