MUD, AJAX and real world

Before I have left for Internet free zone (Easter!) I have found this site It is somehow realization of my idea from almost year ago. This MUD sucks ;-) even if subtitle says it does not, but hey! this early development stage. But I don’t think will move out of this stage, since from its web page I can tell it was one-time effort.

Leaving for Internet free zone I took my laptop with me, since I wanted to play a little more with Ruby on Rails and AJAX. I have to improve those skills. So, I thought why not to try to bring to life AJAX MUD idea, but the Rails way.

I have spent something like 4 hours during holidays on this project and got basic skeleton running. Locations, exits, command interpreter. Well then I got to this conclusion: web based MUD have to suck. AJAX interface won’t help much. Why, You ask?

MUD games are oldschool and moving its interface to web does not feel right. When in browser window You don’t expect terminal like interface – You want graphics, rich text, etc. With my dumb application I could feel this very clear. Adding features and interface candies would help a little, but this does not change basic fact – MUD does not fit very well in WWW world – mentally not technically.

Probably some kind of web based game with MUD-like elements will succeed, but not MUD in its pure form ;-)

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  1. the only way MUDs can survive is in its pure form.
    Those who enjoy playing MUDs love it because of
    its text simplicity, which is heavily contrasted by
    a complex and detailed world which is heavily described
    with rich writing and then all the imagination is done
    by the player.

    Many people prefer not to have to read so much
    or use their imagination, but I have strong faith
    taht the MUD community will never be in decline,
    because it offers something incredibly unique
    and something which no one wants to be lost.

  2. You guys i totally agree.

    I got half way through an AJAX project the same style. But i decided to learn C# instead and create a win32 console app. And with object oriented structure it was a million times easier than a damn C procedural application. Have you ever downloaded src to an old app like diku, circle or rom? its horrible, i hope to have this rolled out soon ehough.

  3. Hello all.

    While I understand your point of view, I would disagree with your overall opinion. I tend to see a browser-based MUD as a form of MUD Client rather than a new type of MUD (although the later is possible). Most of the browser-based MUD that I found to be well done often maintain the core feel of the MUD (i.e. the textual descriptions of rooms, items, etc), but offer graphical hooks into auxiliary components such as maps, your health/status, and private chats.

    So it’s not a matter of reinventing the MUD wheel (which you have correctly stated as the textual aspect of the MUD), but rather putting a new set of rims on it.

    I’ve just recently purchased the domain (plus the .org and .net equivalents). My plans are to develop an AJAX Mud kernel in Pike (the LPC descendant) and demo MUDLib and make it available for people to play with. I’m using AJAX + JSON and done some proof-of-concepts on the communication portion of the kernel to see if it’s feasible. And while the performance isn’t as fast as that of an continuously open TCP connection, it comes very very close.

  4. I disagree with the overall idea of this post. A web-based MUD makes a lot of sense, and when the time comes that using HTML5 and Websockets you can easily make a web-app that gets all the positives of using some advanced telnet app as well as the benefits of using graphics via canvas, loading images urls, media, audio and pooling data from the web…the possibilities are endless.

    The web now with HTML5 is almost there. We’re getting close! I created my own version at

    It is a simulation, but trust me, it’s going to be awesome.

  5. I also disagree with most of the author’s conclusions. I have been playing MUDs on the internet/BBSes for decades now, and I think the core of the idea is a text-based interface. MUDs were originally more popular than they are now because the graphics capabilities back then were terrible. As the author touched on, so much more could be imagined with your mind. Graphical games (even nowadays) also have that huge problem of replayability. MUDs can be played for an indefinite period of time, but how many times can you play any console game before you’ve seen and experienced everything it has to offer?

    So the point is a text-based interface to bring a novel to life AND have people live in it. That can happen with any client frontend or server backend. I think it’s unfortunate that telnet has been used for so long, as it has some severe drawbacks. Have you ever written a complete MUD server? It takes a long time to get more player content than network/parsing code. Personally, if I wanted to write my own MUD today I’d do it with Ruby/Rails.

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