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Author Topic: Renting, port numbers and other questions.  (Read 5775 times)

Flint Stovetop

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Renting, port numbers and other questions.
« on: May 11, 2018, 2:08 AM »
Over the years I have tried and played several muds, yet I would still call myself new to them.  I still can not wrap my head around somethings though.  For one thing is the rent system. What purpose does it serve besides to be inconvenient to the players?  I can see it's use in realistic settings, where "sleeping" outside could get you killed.  Yet in Sindome if you do not pay the rent daily or weekly, you will be kicked out of your room and lose all of your equipment, either automatically, by an admin or by fellow players.  Even just missing to pay one day's rent or a week's and you can wake up the next time cold, hungry and totally naked.  And naked people are strewn across the floor in heaps as you walk by.  That really is not realistic.

So why do games have rent as part of their game play?  Does saving anywhere cost more to create or keep as a server?  Is it hard coded into the type of mud code base they use?  Are developers really just sadists?  Not everyone has time to walk around looking for an inn just to save properly.  Others have bad connections or play mobile where the app keeps shutting down at inoppertune times.

Also why are there so many different port numbers?  I understand the address having to be unique, but why the port number?  Several muds even use the same one like 5555, but others go out of their way to be hard to remember or guess, like 8768 or some other one.  Why not keep it simple?  If you are actively advertising your mud and looking for new players why make an odd port number?

Finally why do muds have you choose a name BEFORE actually being able to create your character?  If anything it should be the very last thing you do.  You spend time trying to think up a good and unique name for a Dwarf and after several attempts of either the game simply not accepting it or it is already taken by another player, you come to find out half way through the character process that you no longer want to be a dwarf.  Either you found a cooler race that you did not know about until you got to that part or you found out that the dwarves in this game are severally limited or held back in some way.  But the character name you chose as your very first step wont sound good for a lizardman, a human or a Minotaur.  Now what?

I spend sometimes up to an hour or more trying to make my character each time I try a new mud.  And finding things I do not like AFTER or even DURING the character creation process is quite disheartening.

I looked up the search a mud function and I saw the option for Equipment Saved under Features.  Does that mean they do not use rent?  Or that they do, but if you save properly at an inn your equipment is saved?  I may add to this later.  Thank you.

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Re: Renting, port numbers and other questions.
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2018, 3:20 AM »
This thread will explain some about rent for you.

http://www.mudconnect.com/SMF/index.php?topic=81277.msg215810#msg215810

Simple summary, MUDs use it because that's just how their game is. Besides that, most active MUDs do not use rent.
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nullscan

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Re: Renting, port numbers and other questions.
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2018, 3:41 AM »
I still can not wrap my head around somethings though.  For one thing is the rent system. What purpose does it serve besides to be inconvenient to the players?

So why do games have rent as part of their game play?  Does saving anywhere cost more to create or keep as a server?  Is it hard coded into the type of mud code base they use?  Are developers really just sadists?  Not everyone has time to walk around looking for an inn just to save properly.  Others have bad connections or play mobile where the app keeps shutting down at inoppertune times.

Keeping in mind that MUD was first written by people at universities in the late 1980s and when a program runs on a computer it must be fully loaded into Memory:  RAM memory was running around USD $150.00 per megabyte in 1996 and most computers had 4 or 8MB limits on how much RAM you could install in the first place clear back around 1990.  Hard drives of the time were something like 50MB and that was a $1200 device. 

So allowing game saving from anywhere would require the save-file to store a hell of a lot of extraneous storage information and pre/post-save processing.  What location were you in, is the average mob level higher or lower than you, should we try to clean up mobs in the area when the player logs in so they don't just get killed if they wandered into a high-level area/lostconnection/reconnected, and if we do then how would it affect other players in that area on reconnect if the mobs they're fighting just up and vanish like a fart in the wind?

I really don't understand about charging 'rent' myself, but these are the reasons why you can't just save anywhere.  It's not like a single-player game where you can dump the entire game state and reload it when the user wants to run the program.  It's an always-on multi-player scenario with a constantly changing environment - not just because players wander but because mobs wander too.  Dumping all your kit and gear is pretty lame, but bouncing you back to the nearest "safe area" and making those safe areas be referenceable by some simple 4-byte ID value rather than storing things like Zone Name (a variable length string) + Zone Coordinates (typically just X,Y so 2 or 4 bytes per coordinate) + running checks on login to see if you're going to get massacred before you actually start playing... is just plain common sense.

On the topic of 'rent-like' features in games, it was extremely common in the early days of network services to impose some kind of limit on how much (not just what in terms of privileges) end-users could do.  Sometimes it would be expressed as a real time limit per day or week.  Sometimes it would be expressed in some form of "payday" where players receive a certain amount of tokens per time period and computationally expensive commands such as a database search cost a whole lot more (and could literally lag the game for everyone else while the command runs) than simple but HD-space consuming commands like building a room and/or an exit.  I don't really think the concept of having to have game-currency to perform a character save has anything to do with this, but I suspect it's something like the inspiration behind it.

Also why are there so many different port numbers?  I understand the address having to be unique, but why the port number?  Several muds even use the same one like 5555, but others go out of their way to be hard to remember or guess, like 8768 or some other one.  Why not keep it simple?  If you are actively advertising your mud and looking for new players why make an odd port number?

The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) allows for a unique IP Address and Port Number to create an ultra-unique address (unique beyond the uniqueness of the IP Address) within an individual local machine.  By ensuring that HTTP runs on one port and FTP runs on another and HTTPS on another, you're able to run a bunch of network services on one IP Address without having to examine the sub-protocol in play to identify it every time a data packet is received which, back in the day, would literally take a minute or more.  TCP allows a 16-bit (2-byte) unsigned integer value, providing up to 65536 unique port numbers (which are actually 0-65535).  Then many, MANY port numbers are standardized for particular network services.

Look up the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) online.  They have a listing of the standard port numbers for things like FTP, SSH, HTTP, HTTPS, POP3, SMTP, IMAP, etc etc etc (keep typing etc ad infinitum).  The first 1024 are reserved for D/ARPA-defined protocols then several thousand more are eaten up by well-known and widely used Operating System and other network services, such as MySQL (which likes to run on 3306 or 3309).  Then another few thousand are eaten up by common online game servers like Half Life, Killing Floor and etc, where each game manufacturer typically has a favored default port (or port range) for all their shiz-fu. 

Then for the longest time MUD hosts very typically hosted a dozen games on any given box (where the MUD host isn't necessarily a MUD admin or even a player on any of the MUDs they host - they're just a box/bandwidth provider) - so even though every MU platform has some default port number assigned by the developers, it was for decades absolutely necessary for each individual game owner to pick their favorite port for their game.  Many will pick a port number that's somehow emblematic of their game, like a game set in 1692 using port number 1692, and hope that port number doesn't conflict with other games or services running on the same box at the same time.

Finally why do muds have you choose a name BEFORE actually being able to create your character?  If anything it should be the very last thing you do.  You spend time trying to think up a good and unique name for a Dwarf and after several attempts of either the game simply not accepting it or it is already taken by another player, you come to find out half way through the character process that you no longer want to be a dwarf.

Why you have to pick a name at creation is simple - it's login credentials.  You have to create login credentials before you can log in. 

Why has nobody ever given an option to change the name later on?  This one beats the hell outta me, and it's one reason I'm not a fan of MUDs. 

A very early version of MUSH (I have no clue which or when) 'fixed' this by adding a command that allows you to change your name after creation.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 3:44 AM by nullscan »

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Re: Renting, port numbers and other questions.
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2018, 11:52 AM »
The short(ish) answers are...

With rent... when MUDs were invented, computer and network resources were scarce, and rent was a means to encourage players to only keep/carry what was necessary, and to free up resources by nuking the inventories of players who didn't play frequently.  As far as why people still use it?  A few different reasons... 1) Tradition, 2) Lack of ability to change it, 3) Sadism, 4) Money / economic sink...  I think most people agree that rent and rent-like systems are garbage, though.

On port numbers... especially with the popularity of MUD hosting services, even if some MUDs may have different domains you connect through, many MUDs will have the same IP and the port will be what distinguished one MUD on the same server from another.  For example, you can connect to End of Time through eotmud.com and I also host Cleft of Dimension on my VPS at cleftofdimension.com... EoT uses port 4000, CoD uses port 9000.  That's likely a big reason why there are so many different port numbers.  As far as why someone might have 8530?  The server/host might have already assigned 8000 - 8529 and chooses to assign them in sequential order... some might assign them randomly... essentially, many MUDs may not have any sort of choice in the matter.  Who knows with the rest of them?  Maybe they just like the number

With names, like nullscan said, its login credentials.  Just about anywhere that you create an account, a username of some sort is the first step.  But yeah, I can see an argument being made for name selection coming last, or an option to change it during/after creation.  In fact, I'm going to modify our character creation to allow for that, and probably allow for it up to level 15.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 12:57 PM by Hades_Kane »
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Epilogy

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Re: Renting, port numbers and other questions.
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2018, 12:01 PM »
Chiming in that many muds that have account systems will use the account name for credentials, and open a small menu with character options. One of the things that could have been done better overall if it had been widely adopted.

RahjIII

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Re: Renting, port numbers and other questions.
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2018, 12:41 PM »
For one thing is the rent system. What purpose does it serve besides to be inconvenient to the players?
[...]
So why do games have rent as part of their game play?  Does saving anywhere cost more to create or keep as a server?  Is it hard coded into the type of mud code base they use? 

A lot of mud codebases that are still in use today were developed in the early 1990's, a time when computers were slow, and data storage wasn't as cheap and plentiful as it is today.   It was simply too expensive to keep save data for characters who were no longer playing the game, and rent was a way to automatically cull out the non-players.  Computers sped up, and storage got large enough that it became trivial to keep the data for ever, but the code was already in place and rent had become an accepted tradition, so its still there in some games today.

The change in computer speed and storage size between 1990 and today is orders of magnitude greater, and that makes it hard to appreciate.    In 1991/1992 when we first started working on The Last Outpost, the game ran on a shared departmental server with a 25Mhz processor, 8MB of memory, and 400MB hard drive on which we had a 10MB quota enforcement.  That was typical for the time.  Today it runs on a server with a 1.8Ghz processor, 8GB of memory, and a 1TB drive, no space quota.   

Today, our game has roughly 100000 times as much storage space available to it as it did in 1992. 

So what does that mean in today's terms?  An original DikuMud style player save record weighed in at about 1 Kilobyte.  In "today's bytes" on our current server, a file of that weight would be close to (1KB*100000) = 100 Megabytes.  That's per player.  Store a few thousand player records, and you are looking at a few hundred Gigabytes of player storage in "today's bytes" that has to get backed up every night.  Its not unmanageable, but its not small either. 

Hope that helps answer your question!

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Hades_Kane

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Re: Renting, port numbers and other questions.
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2018, 12:50 PM »
That got me curious...

Our largest pfile is 42kb... The next 16 largest pfiles go from 20k - 38k
169 pfiles go from 10k - 20k

We have 2889 pfiles totaling 15,645kb.

I actually expected them to be much larger, considering how much "bloat" we technically have in the pfiles, from having NO object compression/compiling code (I have on my list to adapt something from Smaug for that), and the numerous quest "variables" that save on players.
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RahjIII

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Re: Renting, port numbers and other questions.
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2018, 1:20 PM »
We have 2889 pfiles totaling 15,645kb.

Yeah, LO's got about 1500 player records at about 19KB apiece.  Human readable UTF-8 now instead of binary, and we don't bother to compress anything.  It sure is nice to be able to store whatever you want, whenever you want to store it!   
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desharei

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Re: Renting, port numbers and other questions.
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2018, 7:10 PM »
Regarding names:

You have to make a name for your *account* so that the game/staff and you can communicate with each other on a real-world basis. For instance if you forget your password and need to have it reset - the communication won't be relayed to your character in-game, it'll be relayed to you, personally, the actual human with access to your e-mail account.

Secondly, some games allow you to have more than one character at a time. Why would you name your three characters the same name? And how would the game know which one to communicate with, if your account name is the same as your character names?

Thirdly, some games are permadeath, and when your first character dies, you have to make a new one. Different race, skillset, starting location, whatever else, why would you have 50 Amoses in the span of 6 years of playing the game? What if you want one of them to be named Sandra? What if you want one to be named George? Rather than make new accounts for each character, you have one account - and make new characters as needed.

Flint Stovetop

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Re: Renting, port numbers and other questions.
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2018, 11:13 PM »
Thank you all for your swift, informative and cordial replies.  However I did find one game called GNS that, although it asked in the beginning, actually allowed you to change the name again at the very end of character creation.  But out of the dozens I have played it is the only one I know of.

I kind of figured that was the reason when it was back in the day, although I did not know it was "that" bad, but it is 2018 and some of these muds are constantly being updated or were updated as recently as a few years ago, and some brag of completely new coding, but still use the blasted rent system.

I suppose I should not complain though, since I have not spent or donated a single cent to any mud.  However I have also not found one that I truly felt comfortable with...

Does the search function of Saved Equipment in the Features section automatically mean "no rent" or something else entirely?  When I type "no rent" in the search bar it self, I only get about six games...

I guess I will just keep searching for a game that is either perfect or at least holds most of what I need.  I found one game enjoyable until I realised they did not use short cuts and I had to keep typing "kill abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz".

The last reply about names directly before this one, I am not totally sure what you mean.  If you make a new character you have to make a new account as far as I am aware of.  Only a few games even require an email, a few more may just ask for it.  Then again I have never stayed with a game long enough to make a second character and if I did I just did it as I did the first, from scratch.  There was no connection between characters.

desharei

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Re: Renting, port numbers and other questions.
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2018, 12:35 AM »
Regarding names: It depends on the type of game you're playing I suppose. Some games allow and provide for multiple character "slots" on accounts. So you log in with your account, and then select which character you want to play out of those still alive on your list.

In permanent death games that I'm aware of, there's no need to make a whole new account, because your pfile's character info is archived when your character dies and you simply log back in and make a new character on the existing - but now blank - account.

As for rent - the "saves equipment on exit" means anything in your inventory is still there when you log back in.  Rent means different things in different types of games.  If by rent you mean "when I log out and log back in all my stuff is gone and I have to get new stuff, unless I rent space somewhere" - then "saves equipment on exit" is what you're looking for.

Other instances of rent involve roleplaying - if you want your character to have an actual place to live, maybe entertain guests, do secret illegal things, get jiggy with the neighbor's daughter, or just get away from everyone to craft a bunch of stuff without being distracted - some games provide apartment or house rentals and purchases for characters. It's a coded support of an in-character in-game interest. In most cases these types of homes also provide a place to store things so if you have more than you can carry, you can put them in a box in your character's living room.

And still other games offer rent in the form of limited item storage rental. Gemstone had that, where you could rent space in the bank for stuff that you couldn't carry. But anything you could carry - "saved on exit" and would still be in your inventory or worn on your character's body when you logged back in.




Molly

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Re: Renting, port numbers and other questions.
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2018, 3:55 AM »
Does the search function of Saved Equipment in the Features section automatically mean "no rent" or something else entirely?  When I type "no rent" in the search bar it self, I only get about six games...

Regrettably that particular search function doesn't seem to work. I don't even think there is a box to tick for "no rent", when you create the info about your game. So how those six games came on the search list for "no rent" is a mystery to me. I don't even recognise the name of any of them.

Actually I believe the vast majority of muds are all "no rent"; as someone explained, rent was an archaic way of saving memory in the early days of muds, when memory was a big factor.

The same thing goes for the name question. As far as I know, most muds allow you to create as many simultaneous characters that you like, although some, (including my own) only allows you to keep one of them on line at the same time. Most players in my own game have several different characters, (mostly I believe to switch between different classes, to get access to some of the more unique class skills).

Perhaps you have mostly tried Role Play enforced muds, or RPIs? I think if you checked some games that are only role play encouraged, or more hack'n'slash type, you would find that the policies in those are very different. It's all a matter of gameplay taste, and there are surely muds to cater for most tastes.
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Flint Stovetop

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Re: Renting, port numbers and other questions.
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2018, 2:38 PM »
I assume those six games came up because they had somewhere in their description "no rent". But I would also assume that other games either have it, but do not blatantly mention it, or do actually speak of it as well, but for what ever reason simply do not show up.

Actually I try to stay away from Role Play Enforced (RPE's or RPI's?) unless it has overwhelming things I like. And I can not even begin to tell you all the games I have tried altogether or even recently, I am not good with names and some seem so similar to others...  But basically anything Dragonlance and Dungeons and Dragons recently.  Before that it was Sindome, Armageddon, other D&Ds possibly Water Deep, a Lord of the Rings here or there, Winter Oasis, yatta yatta yatta...

My perfect game would be obviously no rent, abbreviations especially for combat, great room descriptions along with decent room item descriptions, many characters and classes not too far off the beaten track with a level system, maps that unless you are in an enchanted forest maze- you go out the way you came, non PK or at least the option and I prefer weapons and equipment to have good descriptors and me not having to guess at the description which one is better, preferably not hampered by hunger and thirst till you are weak, frail and die and no permadeath.  ANSI color is a nice bonus as well as a map system of some kind.  Is that too much to ask or hope for.  It's why I wake up and get out of bed in the morning in my long journey to salvation and why everytime I chuck my phone against the wall in frustration...

Epilogy

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Re: Renting, port numbers and other questions.
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2018, 3:41 PM »
Actually I believe the vast majority of muds are all "no rent"

This is true in my experience among ROM, circle, and SMAUG muds.

Also, TMC's listings search is not good. You could try and search a one-word named mud, and see it halfway down a list of other things that have no apparent bearing on your current search.

Flint Stovetop

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Re: Renting, port numbers and other questions.
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2018, 1:49 AM »
Why do some games work with the website name followed by the port number, while others fail to connect and you have to use the numbers in brackets with "." spacings?