The game known as MUD, considered by many the first ever multi-user game of its kind, has a rich and entertaining history that spans almost two decades. This page brings a very brief (and most definitely incomplete) account.
MUD was originally conceived in 1978 as a test for a shared memory system under development by Roy Trubshaw at Essex University, England. Its first version was not yet a playable game; later additions and rewrites by Trubshaw and others, including Richard Bartle, resulted in playable versions as early as 1979.
The first commercial version of MUD was version 3, although it is usually referred to as MUD1 nowadays. The core 25% of this version was the work of Trubshaw, with Bartle adding the rest incrementally over a period of three years. Version 3 first became playable in 1980.
MUD2 is MUD version 4, representing a complete redevelopment of the game. The most significant change is MUD's new definition language. Version 3 used a language called "MUDDL", which, in Richard's own words, is a "glorified table-lookup system". MUDDLE, the language of MUD version 4, is a "proper" object-oriented programming language of great flexibility and superior features.
MUD2 has undergone many changes over the years; it also migrated to the UNIX operating system and to the C programming language. This change made MUD2 portable to many platforms, including Linux which is used here at mud2.com.
Both MUD1 and MUD2 have had numerous incarnations over the years. MUD1's incarnations include the "original" Essex MUD that ran at Essex University between 1980 and 1988; and CompuServe's British Legends, up and running since 1985, which made it probably the longest-running MUD in existence at the time of its demise in 1999. But MUD1 is not dead yet; thanks to an unbelievable two weeks I spent writing over 14,000 lines of C++ code, it is still available on our server at http://www.british-legends.com/ and continues to enjoy a loyal following.
MUD2 ran for several years at British Telecom. Subsequently, a number of MUD2 incarnations sprang into existence in the UK, the US, and elsewhere; unfortunately, these incarnations were often short-lived, and their devoted players were eventually left without a "home" after gaming sites were closed.
Which brings us to mud2.com; this site came into existence after the system known most commonly as "Delphi MUD2" was closed. That site was actually operated by Kesmai corporation and offered to subscribers of the Delphi, GEnie, and CRIS on-line services. It fell victim to Kesmai's decision to shut down all their text-based (or, as they said, "DOS-based") games; but its arch-wizard (that would be me) decided that enough is enough, and that MUD2's devoted players deserve a home that offers long-term stability. Our site opened its doors to the gaming public just as Kesmai killed the last MUD2 process on its computers, on the afternoon of January 31, 1997. It is my intention to keep those doors open for many years to come ...