The MUD Connector

Mud Development and Administration => Builder's Forum => Topic started by: Otviss on November 01, 2013, 4:13 PM

Title: Abstract MUD?
Post by: Otviss on November 01, 2013, 4:13 PM
Hello

So, I have been playing MUDs for 3-4 years now. Ive played MUDs including : Armageddon, Ateraan, Achaea, Threshold etc.(All the big names)
and ive also played some of the lesser known for experimenting purposes and thanks to my curiousity.
One which is "Coffee MUD" which i found VERY interesting and enjoyable. Though, it was only me online (All the time).

Anyway, what ive played isnt so important really.

I woke up this morning with an idea, which might seem crazy and unlogical for some, but to me very reasonable.

Not very long ago i played a few "Interactive Fictions" and stumbled upon a partiular one, which was very abstract in its story-telling. This has been the most intriguing way to play
text games for me. Since sometimes, logical paths to a goal, is too stupid and unsatisfying.

Perhaps, the reason why these type of game mechanics have not been converted to MUDs is because they "DONT WORK".
But I am still eager to know if this is true or not.

To make things clear again..
What i want to know is if an "Abstract" MUD is possible to script and design. I know what youre thinking. Why? Mudding is surely about immersive fantasy worlds and such.
But, if an abstract MUD existed im convinced that the player satisfaction would be much much higher than that of a popular and plain MUD.

So to make things even clearer.

- Abstract MUD - Possible or not?

- If possible, Is there an audience for it?

- If not, what can be done to try to achieve it alteast.

- Would i get help?.

Even this post is slightly abstract, But maybe it is meant to be. Maybe you abstract thinkers out there can make something out of this mess and understand my important message.

With enough feedback i could explain how this is beneficial to the MUD culture and future MUDs.

Pet a donkey.
Title: Re: Abstract MUD?
Post by: Cole Avenue on November 01, 2013, 5:43 PM
So if I'm understanding you correctly you're asking if an experience you didn't describe for us that you had in an interactive fiction that you didn't give us the name of would translate well to MUDs.

Sure, why not.
Title: Re: Abstract MUD?
Post by: Quixadhal on November 01, 2013, 5:44 PM
Without being somewhat less abstract in your goals, I doubt any replies will be horribly useful. :)

However, if you're wandering off the beaten path, the first thing you're probably going to need is a command parser that's significantly more advanced than what comes in most Dikurivatives.

The Discworld LPMUD has one that's a bit better than average.  So does the LIMA mudlib.  Those are both available for download, although they're both old and the LIMA one is incomplete.

The thing is, the parser is what handles user input in.  The traditioanl MUD has very simple needs "kill foo, get thingy from corpse, eat meat", so most games keep the mechanics of gameplay inline with what can be easily parsed.

Compared to an old infocom game with things like "smash the blue bottle over the head of the brown troll after lighting the torch",  the level of interaction is pretty limited.

So, I'm just thinking that if you wanted to present a more detailed and interesting system of interaction, you'll probably need to allow the users to type a wider array of command input.  Otherwise, it boils down to "guess the verb" or other frustrations that will detract from the experience.
Title: Re: Abstract MUD?
Post by: plamzi on November 01, 2013, 5:52 PM
Methinks there's a big difference between abstract and vague.

By Abstract MUD, I would imagine a world where creatures like "Love", "Hate" and "Jetlag" roam the Realm of the Mind and slay unsuspecting travelers with a bunch of "Agony", "Spasms", and "Sudden Afternoon Naps".
Title: Re: Abstract MUD?
Post by: Otviss on November 01, 2013, 6:33 PM
...you'll probably need to allow the users to type a wider array of command input.  Otherwise, it boils down to "guess the verb" or other frustrations that will detract from the experience.

Yes, this is what I'm thinking and since im not very familiar with MUD programming, i might be imagining things beyond what a code could do, or a program could handle. But in this case, I dont think it would be any problem. See the most complex thing is actually, to handle the player input and writing descriptions of the output.(Which to me sounds very interesting)

...I would imagine a world where creatures like "Love", "Hate" and "Jetlag" roam the Realm of the Mind

Hahah. Maybe it is so. But as a "Vague" concept at the moment. Im imagining the game still being some sort of adventure and would contain a sense of progress.(I think)
The system would just like any other MUD support the act of "Going hunting" but would handle it in such a way that doesnt respond as "You slay the deer(Deer drops pelt)" etc.

So i stumbled upon something called "ADRIFT". a program for writing IFs but can you give me any feedback, is this too simple? or is it worth experimenting a bit with this program?

-

Abstraction is the ultimate form of creativity. And is also a mayor playground for innovative humor.

So for example, in this ADRIFT program the tutorial was to recreate a simple scenario where you play as Jack, that plants a magic bean and climbs a bean stalk. Now i added my own descriptions and actions to this scenario and the output could be similar to this :

Plant Bean - (output):Fernando my dear, you planted it, may there breed falcon as we could know from the beginning you brought shame on that patch. Blue, Blue, Cruel. Protect what is that bird, a falcon dives towards you, grabbing your wig and says:"Congrats".
Title: Re: Abstract MUD?
Post by: Idealiad on November 01, 2013, 10:01 PM
I think you mean 'surreal' instead of 'abstract'?

No, Adrift is not the right choice for platform. It's main strength is its GUI for easily creating IF. Does it even have networking capabilities?

You'd be better off with a mud codebase, like LP as quix suggested, or maybe a newer base such as PlainText or Evennia.

It's technically possible to create multiplayer games with IF platforms such as TADS 3, Inform 6 and 7, Quest, etcetera, but in that case you need to create the whole multiplayer framework yourself. What you get in return is the probably better IF parser and world model (compared to muds) but I'm not sure that outweighs having to do the multiplayer yourself (which a mud codebase obviously wouldn't have a problem with).
Title: Re: Abstract MUD?
Post by: Otviss on November 02, 2013, 4:29 AM
I think you mean 'surreal' instead of 'abstract'?
Both.. See the game wouldnt follow logical storytelling or outputs while a player (Explores/plays) - Not really sure what to call it yet.
I am just convinced that by experimenting this way, and testing what happens in such a world and setting, is to me, something very interesting and  necessary to build on for a new type of MUD.

No, Adrift is not the right choice for platform. It's main strength is its GUI for easily creating IF. Does it even have networking capabilities?
So Adrift was just for me to be testing different outputs of how a player treats the game. It has nothing to do with what i want to be used for the actual MUD architecture and structure. Heck, I am so new to this i still dont know how everything works really.(Even though i have been playing MUDs for a long time).

But like i said, i have this idea and im sure it's possible. Maybe it is so, that i just need to upload a simple example. A few rooms for people to try and give me feedback if this is something they would be interested in.
although first of all, i would like to know :

- Is there an audience for this type of game?
Title: Re: Abstract MUD?
Post by: Idealiad on November 02, 2013, 1:31 PM
Since your definition of this game isn't very specific yet, it's rather hard to tell :). In the abstract, I would say yes, if there is a 'game' in your game.

I have an idea for a platform that might work really well for this though --

https://github.com/erkyrath/tworld
Title: Re: Abstract MUD?
Post by: Otviss on November 02, 2013, 4:42 PM
I have an idea for a platform that might work really well for this though
Thank you alot for this, it seems interesting. Though i do not have any experience with programming and such at all. Would i be able to use this?

I would also like to add, since i am getting good feedback from you and on another forum i take this as a yes, that is IS possible to create something of an abstract online experience.

Where would i start? should i design and write something ahead to prepare material to put forward to a programmer or what's the deal here?
Title: Re: Abstract MUD?
Post by: Idealiad on November 02, 2013, 5:13 PM
You could use that platform to a certain extent. Since it's like a wiki creating the world would be straightforward enough. If you wanted to add more features you'd need to program.

If I were you I'd do a couple of things at this point:

* write a short (1-2 page) summary of the game in bullet-point/list style, that explains the setting, theme and game mechanics. What is the world like? What lives there? What is the mood, style, genre? What are its influences (books, games, movies)? Do characters have hitpoints? Do they swing swords? Do you level up? Etcetera.

* next, write 2-3 different examples of play (about 1-2 pages each). Make it look like a log/transcript of someone playing your mud as if it actually existed.

With these two documents you'll be well prepared to shop your game around for potential collaborators, and they'll help you going forward if you decide to take on the programming yourself.
Title: Re: Abstract MUD?
Post by: Otviss on November 02, 2013, 6:25 PM
Great. Thanks for the feedback, though this thread can not die. I will come back, and for you new readers, feel free to reply to any of the posts here and add new information.
Title: Re: Abstract MUD?
Post by: Idealiad on November 02, 2013, 8:03 PM
Whoa, hold on to your hat Otviss:

http://paradise.xxiivv.com/3
Title: Re: Abstract MUD?
Post by: Otviss on November 03, 2013, 6:48 AM
Oh my goodness this is amazing! I like this alot, what about you?
I enjoy the posibility of for example, in my case becoming a table, and walking around and then, somehow, entering my self...

It is surreal just like i would like it, but it could need a few more abstract features as in, unpredicted situations. Now the most important question i ask myself is, could this be applied to a MUD code engine. Is this something people would like to play together with others?
This was a singleplayer text game. But what if there was some kind of actual progress in the form of adventuring, acquiring items?(A possibility) Roleplay? and maybe not so that anyone could exist in a world of all kinds of objects and the player has the power to become objects as they like. I'm not sure about that, it would be too silly wouldnt it, and i would really want to create a serious surreal and abstract game.

Thank you so much Idealiad for that link, i will investigate that game further. How did you enjoy it?

And if there's a programmer reading this thread, please reply regarding if this is possible to achieve in a multiplayer form.
Title: Re: Abstract MUD?
Post by: Quixadhal on November 03, 2013, 12:34 PM
This has nothing to do with text games, or programming, but if you want a different and somewhat surreal graphical game, The Stanley Parable looks pretty interesting.  The demo is hilarious in how it makes a total mockery of the typical game company's demo process. :)
Title: Re: Abstract MUD?
Post by: Idealiad on November 03, 2013, 1:53 PM
I didn't mention it Otviss, but that game is multiplayer. It just doesn't have chat and the normal mud things. All those objects (and I think there are 'notes' too) were made by other people. But the making is just random like you saw.

I liked it, but I agree, it needs more 'game' in there to be interesting long-term.
Title: Re: Abstract MUD?
Post by: Otviss on November 03, 2013, 3:16 PM
The Stanley Parable looks pretty interesting.
Absolutely. I have played it already, thanks for mentioning it. Yes i have not experienced such a wierd game in a long time. I really liked it. But what makes the game unreplayable is it's dependency on the narrator. I take it you have played the game? Or at least the demo, mh.
Wonderful game. Wonderful script.
but that game is multiplayer.
WHAT!? really? That makes it much more interesting.

I'll try to present a game design in the nearest future, on this thread and on a new one I'll make. Just out of the blue here, are any of you interested in collaborating with me?
Like, are you confident that your imagination would contribute to an "Abstract game",rather?(ooo, pressure, Hahah..)
Title: Re: Abstract MUD?
Post by: Parnassus on December 14, 2014, 10:22 AM
I'm working very slowly on translating a series of partially built Smaug areas, that I've nicknamed my interactive fiction areas, to TBA zones.  The reason I call them this is because choices made earlier affect later outcomes.  The main problem that I've found is the difficulty caused by multiple people in the zone.  This causes things like people not making the choice coming across someone else's outcome.  Sometimes it works properly, other times take more thought.

Compared to an old infocom game with things like "smash the blue bottle over the head of the brown troll after lighting the torch",  the level of interaction is pretty limited.
This can be done in a manner something like this (although I wouldn't really advise it!):
if command is smash or break
if argument contains brown troll
if argument contains blue bottle
if argument contains head
(arguments in order of importance to you)
if torch is lit,
then do whatever.
if not, then insert snarky comment in whichever condition wasn't met.
If argument contains head, blue bottle and your, echo You want to smash it over your own head? Okay. Game over.
If argument contains brown troll, blue bottle and leg, echo You <command> the bottle over the troll's leg and he hops after you in a rage.

Plant Bean - (output):Fernando my dear, you planted it, may there breed falcon as we could know from the beginning you brought shame on that patch. Blue, Blue, Cruel. Protect what is that bird, a falcon dives towards you, grabbing your wig and says:"Congrats".
If you check out 4d mud (4dimensions.org 6000), you'll see similar things happening.
Title: Re: Abstract MUD?
Post by: zaimus on December 17, 2014, 7:29 AM
This was an interesting topic.  I have been in MUDs since the mid 90s, but haven't been on any almost a decade. Haven't found one yet, worth the time and effort, but had an idea / been looking for something extremely psychedelic.
Title: Re: Abstract MUD?
Post by: Quixadhal on December 17, 2014, 12:47 PM
For any given instance, you can certainly break down the sentence into bits and use a convoluted and hard-to-maintain set of case statements or if/then logic... but this gets incredibly tedius, very quickly.

To really handle natural language, you have to use a real parser which understands how to break things apart by linguistic rules, and then figure out how to apply your game conditions to the results.

If you want to see some fun stuff regarding that, check into NLP systems.  It's rather interesting, and in a typical MUD you have to deal with pseudo-proper grammars as well.  The MUD culture had a shorthand that people learned in the 90's because most games do NOT deal with anything complicated.

So, "hit the troll with the longsword" maps to "wield longsword; kill troll", and "hit the troll with the longsword and the orc with the dagger" might map to "wield longsword; wield dagger; kill troll; switch orc"
Title: Re: Abstract MUD?
Post by: Otviss on February 26, 2015, 3:29 PM
So, "hit the troll with the longsword" maps to "wield longsword; kill troll", and "hit the troll with the longsword and the orc with the dagger" might map to "wield longsword; wield dagger; kill troll; switch orc"

Aye, very good.
I think this whole topic was an issue of looking at the MUD platform objectively, asking, can we do something by our own. Can we engage players and people in an environment which is less of a hardcore linear game and more of an experience or...exploration, experimentation.

While i know, there's a lot to consider, especially the coding. The language behind the "output" to work...
I really think it's time to step back and make a change regarding what kind of MUDs we want to play and read.

I see little point in themed MUDs at the moments since there are so few players already.

Basically, a discussion is needed. What do we like and what do we not like? When we roleplay what kind of moments do you remember? Do you remember the conversation, or do you remember the "well written tavern you were in"...?

And how can we apply those things, work around and with them and combine them with the artistic outlet many of us have.

>

It's perhaps a long way to go, but it can also turn out to be something really simple that could grow by itself.

Edit: And for this you would certainly need talented people who know their way around coding and the language. I just realised that my comment sounded very idealistic which it is. But I really want to be down to earth here and be realistic too. Step by step. Can this be done. How can we do it without much effort?(if possible).

But first of all a full on discussion is needed. That's what i wanted to say.