Game talkAre MUDs and MMORPGs the same thing?

 Posted by (Visited 47283 times)  Game talk
Mar 312006
 

This always comes up, and I often seem to be on the opposite side of the argument from many players. I’ve usually found that those who have worked on the implementation side of both tend to feel that they are the same thing, but that thsoe who haven’t see them as somehow categorically different.

So here’s my stab at explaining why I think both are really the same thing; in many ways, there are far larger differences between certain kinds of text muds than there are between graphical and text-based games.


What is a virtual world?

Doing definitions is always tricky; I’ve offered mine in the past, with these following core requirements:

  1. A spatial representation of the virtual world
  2. Avatar representation within the space
  3. A sandbox to play in that offers persistence for some amount of the data represented within the virtual world

Others have taken a whack at it as well, of course; to wit, Richard Bartle comments in the opening paragraphs of his indispensable Designing Virtual Worlds

Virtual worlds are implemented by a computer (or network of computers) that simulates an environment. Some — but not all — the entities in this environment act under the direct control of individual people. Because several such people can affect the same environment simultaneously, the world is said to shared or multi-user. The environment continues to exist and to develop internally (at least to some degree) even when there are no people interacting with it; this means it is persistent.

He goes on to offer a list much like mine, which (paraphrased) gives the requirements list thusly:

  1. Underlying automated rules: a simulation running that defines the world’s physics.
  2. Players represent individuals within the world, at some level, though they may control more than one entity.
  3. Real-time interaction with the world.
  4. The world is shared.
  5. The world is persistent to some degree.

You’ll notice that graphics or text appear in neither of our definitions, and the reason is that word “simulation” that appears in Richard’s list.

Space and why it matters

Virtual worlds of all stripes are undeniably running a simulation model. Broadly speaking, the basis of this simulation is that it is modeling space, providing a sense of place. For example, the early hypertexts and the text muds both make use of brief database entries with a title and a block of text; they both make use of hyperlinks between these blocks of text to allow a user to move from one to the other.

Text muds, exploiting the power of hypertext, treated each block of text as a discrete location, but did not apply scale to the “room” that was described. In these room-based systems, therefore, you could move a very large “distance” by traversing a link. Many of these links were literally labelled with cardinal map directions (“north”), but some of them were instead “prepositional” such as “under,” “through,” or “into.” Indeed, more adventurous builders sometimes created links that were conceptual, carrying users to “places” that were not real, such as dream states.

Nonetheless, as with any node system with links, these environments could be mapped, using directed graphs. It’s important to note that nodes are therefore not required to rest on any form of coordinate system; nonetheless, mud maps reveal that frequently, the developers did indeed do this, for ease of navigation. Spatial relationships between nodes were generally established, and while the spaces may have been non-Cartesian or even non-Euclidean, there was an explicit desire to represent location.

It’s important to realize this, because the metaphor of location is a key characteristic. Space can be modelled in many different ways. The hypertextual directed graph is a model that compresses and elides; only locations of significance are included in its map. It’s akin to a subway map; only stops are shown, and moving to the next stop is assumed to involve an arbitrary amount of uninteresting travel. This doesn’t mean that you cannot build other maps of that space. The most obvious alternate method to use is the standard Cartesian coordinate system.

Many text muds employed Cartesian coordinates within their nodes. In fact, the modern successor to a MUD’s room is not a given location within an MMORPG, but in fact a zone. The term itself has a MUD heritage, where it meant a collection of nodes that were linked thematically or via database tags; but in effect, a zone today is a node in a directed graph, with an embedded Cartesian coordinate system. Its links to adjacent zones use a geographical metaphor, but are in fact hyperlinks just like a MUD’s exits.

Many muds even supplied “seamlessness,” allowing users in one node to look into another node to see what is going on via an explicit command (for example, the “scan” command on Diku derivatives). In fact, it is a trivial exercise to add something like the following:


if we're in a room classified as "outdoors" (and perhaps if visibility is good, etc)
for each room at the other end of an exit
if the exit isn't closed
list every person in that room, in the format "To the [direction], you see [person].
Also list any objects over a given size.

Thus giving something directly analogous to the very fancy code required to proxy avatars across processes for modern seamless MMORPG architectures.

It is equally possible to see space within a given node as a polar coordinate system, or some other scheme. Similarly, it matters not a what what scalar factors you use for your coordinate system; there is no intrinsic difference between a text-based world with a coordinate system measuring 1×1 within a room, a text-based world with a coordinate system measuring 10×10 within a room, an isometrically displayed world with a coordinate system measuring 256×256, and a 3d world with a coordinate system measuring 64kx64kx64k.

The real characteristic here is that nodes are just a convenient way to chop up the data. Nodes are still a characteristic of pretty much every virtual world system today, even if sometimes they get called “shards” nowadays.

Because of this, we have seen all of the following:

  • Text-based worlds with rooms that fall in implicit locations on grid maps
  • Text-based worlds with rooms that do not fit onto grid maps
  • Text-based worlds with rooms with Cartesian coordinates in them
  • Text-based worlds with no nodes, and instead text descriptions dynamically built based on what was nearby in a Cartesian coordinate system — think, exactly like a seamless 3d world, except that textual room descriptions were built dynamically as you moved around.
  • Graphical worlds with rooms (and a static picture)
  • Graphical worlds with rooms that do not fit onto grid maps
  • Graphical worlds with rooms with Cartesian coordinates in them, both with the ability to look into adjacent “rooms” and without
  • Graphical worlds with large, seamless Cartesian coordinate environments

This brings us to the next observation: that the client is stupid.

Nothing happens on the client

It is a core tenet of virtual world design that the simulation on the server is authoritative. The client may run its own sim, but this is generally done solely to cover up latency; the client’s sim concedes authority to the server in any cases where the two simulations disagree. Any cases where the client is modelling something that is not present in the server’s simulation are, as a matter of best practice, not transmitted to other clients. That means that as far as other people are concerned, things didn’t happen that way.

There are many reasons why this is done, but the fundamental to take away from this is that the client is a dumb terminal. It is merely a filter for displaying the results of the simulation on the server, and a means to poke and prod that simulation. It does not simulate anything itself.

Given a simulation, its method of display is arbitrary. Given simulations that have differing characteristics, you may well want to choose a display that is well-suited to displaying the nuances of the sim in question — but there are often reasons you do not (for example, you may wish to surface only certain characteristics). In the case of virtual worlds, the primary thing to convey varies depending on the end user. It is common, for example, for there to be custom clients that connect to a virtual world and do not display anything in a spatial metaphor whatsoever; instead, they display graphs and figures, node by node, and surface different elements of the simulation such as loop times, number of connected users, and so on, for the purposes of administration. This is just as real a client for a virtual world as the one you play the game with, even though it doesn’t even allow you to “move.”

This is an important concept, because what it tells you is that regardless of the design assumptions behind the server simulation, you can always build a client that filters the data differently. In that sense, the datastream down from a virtual world (and at this point, we must consider that as solely and exclusively residing on the server) is a lot like the datastream of HTML from a webserver: different clients can render it in vastly different ways.

The only thing a client cannot do is add data or rules to the simulation. A client could easily collapse a world with Cartesian coordinates into one without them, by simply not parsing that element of the datastream. What it cannot do is add a Cartesian coordinate system on top of a world that lacks one.

The scalable client

At one point during the development of Ultima Online, we had internally a mini-client written on a lark that got packets and displayed the results as text: a classic “collapse” scenario as described above. I’ve also played text muds that used ASCII graphics to display crude overhead maps updated in realtime as you moved around within their embedded Cartesian systems.

The real difference between the MUDs of yore and the modern MMORPG client isn’t the sim on the backend; it’s the fact that the datastream is tokenized. When you connect to a MUD and it attempts to inform you of the presence of an object, say a chair, it actually sends the definition of that chair down: the words that make up its description. When you connect to a graphical MMORPG, instead you are sent an index number, a token that lets you look up on your local client install the description of that chair (which these days, is likely to be a 3d model).

A client install is nothing more than an elaborate caching scheme. Tokens are used to minimize bandwidth during play, but these days we see more and more worlds returning to the older practice of sending down the descriptions of objects, and not just their lookups, with titles such as Second Life but also games like Dofus or Runescape, which “stream” off the web. Text was the original streaming technology. Non-streaming games are (to use a phrase that seems to get me in trouble a lot) a historical aberration, a transitional technological hack to get around bandwidth limitations and the idiosyncrasies of embryonic delivery systems.

Even with tokenized systems, it is trivial to have multiple clients where the tokens (which are from the server and therefore authoritative) can map to different sets of descriptions on the client end. Thus we get things like UO 3d versus the UO 2d client, just as we get selectable “themes” on webpages.

In the future, all virtual worlds will almost certainly make use of streaming, just as they did in the beginning; descriptions of objects within the world may be cached and tokens sent thereafter, but the basic premise will still be that the client will become dumber, something that interprets descriptive markup of some sort, rather than supplying descriptions itself.

The result is a scalable client; given a robust enough sim, a given client can scale down to display it under more limited circumstances. If a given client is incapable of displaying data contained within the datastream, it simply won’t, or it will substitute something it can display. Just as a WAP phone can browse a webpage, but not display the Flash nimation, so will virtual clients display what they can and skip what they can’t.

Different data, different datastreams

Different data surfaced by the server simulation will by necessity require different display methods. For example, a very common data type output by a server is text. Until such time as a server fails to supply text as an output, virtual world clients will continue to support text displays that perforce will look a heck of a lot like a text MUD. Hence the classic gripe about MMORPGs that “you can play the text window.”

The question isn’t whether the simulations the clients are connecting to are different — in virtual worlds, they aren’t significantly. The question is what display method is most appropriate for conveying the meaning of the information. A tree could be displayed as a graphical oak, with girth and collision volume conveyed iconically via a cylindrical texture-mapped 3d object, or you could get a textual description saying “there is an oak tree, diameter 1.21m located at coordinate 1114.42, 1274.63.” Clearly, for ease of use of the client, the former is more useful. The server-side data, however, is identical. The classic example of this is perhaps the way in which earlier graphical games such as EverQuest sent down text saying “It begins to rain” in parallel with the token indicating the graphical effect to play. One event: two media.

For the foreseeable future, clients will mix and match media to datastreams in order to convey meaning as efficiently as possible. This says nothing whatsoever about the nature of the simulation, and it says a heck of a lot about user interface design instead. Someday, the clients may well be truly immersive 3d worlds with direct cortical connections, and we may be able to skip text. But we’re a ways from that right now.

Because of all of this, the proper way to think of clients is as filters on the simulation. The sim that is a virtual world is always going throw off far more data than we even want to perceive. The method of display of said data is truly arbitrary; while different simulation models will suggest different displays, there’s nothing that specifically binds a given set of information to one method of display. There are only best practices, not mandates.

In conclusion: they’re the same thing, dammit, but clients do matter a lot

While clients are nothing more than filters, it’s undeniable that presentation has an enormous cognitive impact on the user of a client. Many variables may fluctuate massively, such as degree of immersion, spatial awareness, ease of parsing data, and so on. However, we must not forget that different brains have different cognitive strengths. A common mistake made by MMORPG exceptionalists is that graphics are necessarily more immersive. This is exactly the same sort of logic that says that movies must be more immersive than books. Different strokes for different folks, as always.

The thing we should never lose sight of is that in the end, what the player is participating in is actually the simulation on the server. Humans have an amazing ability to see abstractions behind displays, and to elide out insignificant information. Something like not being able to jump over a short wall because a 2d world is being represented as true 3d will definitely cause cognitive dissonance for a while; but it isn’t long before players see trees as collision volumes and milkmaids as XP bags, reducing displays down to functional descriptions.

As designers, we should make our best effort to supply the right sort of filters and displays for the sort of interactions we want to provide to our players. We design experiences and affordances, not just functionality. None of this discussion is to minimize, therefore, the importance of the client. But as designers, we should also be fully aware that the client is primarily a feedback agent connecting to something else. Feedback is critically important, but feedback is not the simulation.

The true typology of virtual worlds lies not client-side, but in the differing methods of handling databases, user interactions, and persistence. But that’s a discussion for a whole other day.

  122 Responses to “Are MUDs and MMORPGs the same thing?”

  1. MUDs, MMORPGs, Hypertext, and Space Raph Koster discussesthe similarity (categorical sameness, actually) of MUDs and MMORPGs, and on the way has many interesting things to say about textuality as well. For example, the fact that both MUDs and MMORPGs (someone needs to hire a PR firm to come up with catchier acroynms) are basically types of texts:

  2. Raph Koster onwhy MMOs and MUDs are the same thing, which of course strikes me as blindingly obvious (just as text and graphic adventures are essentially the same thing), but seems highly obscure to most people, who still seem to think that online games began with Ultima Online.

  3. koostuu ilmeisesti pitkälti käyttäjien itsensä tuottamasta sisällöstä. Second Life ei toisaalta tunnu aiheuttavan mitään samanlaista riippuvuusaaltoa kuin World of Warcraft. Mudeja innosti miettimään Raph Kosterin kirjoitusAre MUDs and MMORPGs the same thing?. Isometria

  4. Log in here to try out an Ajax client that talks to Second Life and gives you access to the basics of chat and teleportation. It’s the work of a student named Katharine Berry, and a great demonstration of why MUDs and MMORPGs (and virtual worlds!) are the same thing. (via Metaversed). 

  5. [...] In conclusion: they�re the same thing, dammit, but clients do matter a lot … Zumindest danke ich ihm schon mal f�r das "but clients do matter a lot" – es war schon nicht leicht ihm wenigstens das abzuringen Link: Are MUDs and MMORPGs the same thing? 150)?150:this.scrollHeight)”> __________________ The tools suck! — Raph Koster [...]

  6. but clients do matter a lot

    I personally thank you for that :)

    Of course you are right with everything and it’s a great Blog :)

    However, when I like to study what people like about cats, I should concentrate on what a cat is, not on what animals are – even when a cat obviously is an animal. A cockroach is an animal too.

    That’s what, from my experience, programmers sometimes forget ;p

  7. Text-based worlds with no nodes, and instead text descriptions dynamically built based on what was nearby in a Cartesian coordinate system — think, exactly like a seamless 3d world, except that textual room descriptions were built dynamically as you moved around.

    I haven’t heard of this one. One of the various things I’ve been trying to engineer is a feasible way to do this… can you point me in the direction of a particular one? Assuming it’s still up. If not… well, anything is better than nothing.

  8. Perhaps part of the reason why people think text MUDs are different from graphical MMORPGs is because:

    – Some books don’t make good movies, and vice versa. Same with my archerer example.

    – Text MUDs tend to be hobbyist based (or at least small companies) while MMORPGs tend to be from companies of 50+. This changes the way the company reacts to the players, players to the company, etc.

    – Text MUDs tend to be client-platform independent (aka: Telnet), while graphical MMORPGs tend to be PC only.

    – Do text MUDs attract slightly different demographics than graphical MMORPGs? (Just as books attract different demographics than movies.)

    – MMORPGs don’t have many blind players.

    – MUD is a lot easier to say that MMORPG. (Unles MMORPG has a silent P.)

    Using a strict definition, they’re the same thing. Using a fuzzy definition and they’re (slightly) different.

  9. One of the various things I’ve been trying to engineer is a feasible way to do this… can you point me in the direction of a particular one? Assuming it’s still up.

    This was a pretty active topic of discussion on the MUD-Dev list around 1998, but the archives are temporarily down. :( There were in fact working versions , as I recall, but I don’t think anything formally launched.

    Perhaps part of the reason why people think text MUDs are different from graphical MMORPGs is because

    All of the things you cite could be true for graphics-capable virtual worlds with a text client. ;)

    Yes, text muds do attract a different demo. Then again, so do isometric ones versus 3d ones.

  10. If it was PhysMUD, Yospe never responded to the one email I sent him… I never got a bounceback, but I don’t know if you can ever really know.

    - MUD is a lot easier to say that MMORPG. (Unles MMORPG has a silent P.)

    Morgue?

  11. This is good stuff. It reminded me of the feeling I sometimes get playing a MMORPG that the game is taking place in that small window where the dice is being rolled and not in the middle of the screen where I see my hero fighting. It’s not a good feeling.

  12. Since I started in a MUD (for online gameplay), I tend to think of MMOs, so far, as simply more restricted but pretty front-ends to a MUD. Games where nearly everything can be done with a ‘/’ command don’t help me escape this perception either.

    For all the pretty graphics, I was most immersed in that MUD I started with. But then I couldn’t get my friends (of whom don’t enjoy reading, especially fiction) to join me, as I can in an MMORPG.

    MUD is a lot easier to say that MMORPG. (Unles MMORPG has a silent P.)

    I do one of two things: either move the P and pronounce it M-Porg (how I pronounce it in my head when I see it on screen), or just lop off the RPG (when I’m explaining my hobbies to others).

  13. [...] Comments [...]

  14. When looking at the nuts and bolts, yes, they are the same basic thing. But just as you said, “presentation has an enormous cognitive impact on the user of a client.”.
    The fact is, on the client end, it makes it different.

    You can say that all barbecued ribs are the same thing, but I don’t think you want to say that to a beer-basting tailgater.

  15. [...] Are MUDs and MMORPGs the same thing? [...]

  16. I’ve found a lot of similarities between MU*s and MMO*s, especially in player behavior. Player psychology seems constant, even if the technology for allowing people to play together is different. :)

    Good writing, Mr. Koster.

  17. Raph’s post stresses the similarities between MUDs and MMORPGs. That’s handy to explain why developers, especially those who have implemented one or the other, tend to think of them as the same kind of thing.

    If you’re trying to understand why everyone else thinks of them as two categorically different things, maybe it would be more useful to look at the dissimilarities:

    – text vs. graphics
    – hyperlinked, contextual “space” vs. 3-dimensional Euclidean space
    – discrete vs. continuous movement through the world
    ..what else?

  18. Ah, an excellent post and very well written at that. I agree with you completely.

    Regardless of the stance I was taking in the other blog (the one this came around from), I never disagreed that a MUD and an MMORPG are entirely different things. I think of it somewhat like a Third Person Shooter and a First Person Shooter–gameplay tends to be pretty much the same, it’s just a view that changes it (and allows for some slight differences from one style or another), but they’re essentially the same–indeed, most people seem to call even TPS’s FPS’s, and some can switch back and forth freely between views, with no problem. I feel that it is much the same here. They’re the same, it is simply how the world is seen that is different (ie: graphical, not textual).

    …Regretfully, I personally am still iffy on if I’d call a lot of MMOs actual virtual worlds, as opposed to games–I do certainly look at those terms as different things. However, I’ve stated those reasons in the other post.

  19. - text vs. graphics
    – hyperlinked, contextual “space” vs. 3-dimensional Euclidean space
    – discrete vs. continuous movement through the world

    Well, I think I covered the text vs graphics. They are just choices of optimal display methods for the same data.

    The hyperlinked contextual space versus 3 dimensional Euclidean space is a design choice possible in either sort of virtual world, not an intrinsic quality of one versus the other. There are hyperlinked contextual graphical spaces — even 3d ones, like Underlight.

    Lastly, continuous movement is an illusion. We’re on computers here — all movement is actually discrete. All you are talking about is the size of the steps. :) As an example, I’d point out that we have no trouble calling tile-based isometric games “MMORPGs” even though their coordinate granularity is much lower than that of the 3d worlds.

    Therefore, I hereby declare all your objections to be moot! ;)

  20. That’s a very nicely laid out and well considered article you’ve written up there. I’m going to disagree in a sloppy and loosely reasoned snippet.

    “Well, I think I covered the text vs. graphics. They are just choices of optimal display methods for the same data.”

    I will begin by digressing, as I so often do. I love programming bugs. This is good, because my current job often involves finding them. A week ago Friday, I found a doozy. Complex interactions of old code and new revisions, wild hunt through multiple program libraries searching for something that was erasing financial records and leaving a peculiar data footprint instead, spotting the culprit moments before I was supposed to leave for the weekend. I was ecstatic, thrilled, and unable to contain my excitement. Many other programmers understood my pleasure, although the managers, who had to explain how this had gotten past testing and into production, were less happy.

    One of the older guys, who has been with the company several decades, commented that it was ‘just data’. Which is true. It was just data, just ones and zeros. But the interaction of that data was something special. On my way home, the just data comment sparked me into recalling a night from my time as a geologist. It reminded me that the full moon I watched setting on a mountain lake in the Canadian wilderness was just light reflected on water. But the memory is so beautiful it makes me want to weep.

    The presentation of data matters.

    “Given a simulation, its method of display is arbitrary. ”

    True, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t crucial. Movies are not stage plays; television is not radio; MMOs are not MUDs. The former are descended from the latter; practitioners of one can apply their skills to the other; practitioners may even go through nearly identical creative processes to create their art; but the method of display is primarily what differentiates them, and the experience resulting is significantly different because of the method of display, because, in the end, it is the perception of the audience that completes the art, independent of the experience of the creators.

  21. [...] Raph Koster discusses the similarity (categorical sameness, actually) of MUDs and MMORPGs, and on the way has many interesting things to say about textuality as well. For example, the fact that both MUDs and MMORPGs (someone needs to hire a PR firm to come up with catchier acroynms) are basically types of texts: Text muds, exploiting the power of hypertext, treated each block of text as a discrete location, but did not apply scale to the “room” that was described. In these room-based systems, therefore, you could move a very large “distance” by traversing a link. Many of these links were literally labelled with cardinal map directions (”north”), but some of them were instead “prepositional” such as “under,” “through,” or “into.” Indeed, more adventurous builders sometimes created links that were conceptual, carrying users to “places” that were not real, such as dream states. [...]

  22. “The environment continues to exist and to develop internally (at least to some degree) even when there are no people interacting with it; this means it is persistent.”

    This means that if a tree falls in a virtual world, and no one is around to hear it, it actually DOES make a sound.

    Philip Isles

  23. Evangolis: of course presentation matters a lot. But I think on the day that you can log into the same virtual world with a text, a 2d, and a 3d client, you’ll see that the difference is not really in the client.

    Does a painting cease to be a painting because the viewer is blind? (I think we’re in a koan mood tonight!)

    Philip: actually, the typical way that would be done is to send a broadcast message to all clients in range to play the tree falling sound; should there be no clients in range, no entity gets the message. If you consider the message to be the sound (which you should, given the argument I laid out in the article) then yes, the sound is made even if no one is around to hear it.

    Unless you put in an if check before sending the message, to see if there’s anyone around. ;) But I think you wouldn’t, because it’ll generally be more expensive to do that.

  24. “The environment continues to exist and to develop internally (at least to some degree) even when there are no people interacting with it; this means it is persistent.”

    This means that if a tree falls in a virtual world, and no one is around to hear it, it actually DOES make a sound.

    From what I’ve seens, most likely unless it’s a MMO about lumberjacks, a falling tree would probably *ahem* fall under “At least to some degree”, meaning the system doesn’t really think about the individual tree at all. Last time a player was there the tree stood, next time a player is there, the tree has fallen. No falling, no animation, no sound. So now it’s moved from the old question of trees making sound to Schrodinger’s Cat.

  25. The fact is, on the client end, it makes it different.

    In other words, perception is reality, and it’s same or different depending on who you ask, because people can’t agree on what either of them actually are!

  26. I think of MUDs and MMORPGs as fundamentally the same thing, but I also suffer from the aforementioned developer’s bias.

    I first became aware of what would one day be called the MMORPG, before Ultima Online came out, when I was in college. I signed on to work on a “graphical MUD” with a group of guys in my ACM chapter. To us, it was both a “graphical MUD,” and also “like Ultima, but multiplayer,” at the same time. In fact, we were calling it “Multima,” for lack of anything better to call it. (Amusingly, I was signed on to do art for the project, rather than code.) That project ended up dissolving due to holy wars, but you can imagine how I laughed a couple of years later, when a friend of mine told me he was flying out to Austin to work on this new thing called “Ultima Online.”

    I think the only reason MMORPGs didn’t happen sooner is because MUD developers for the most part lacked the graphics expertise they needed to pull it off.

  27. I think the only reason MMORPGs didn’t happen sooner is because MUD developers for the most part lacked the graphics expertise they needed to pull it off.

    My experience also seems to backup this idea. In the early 90’s the team of developers I was working with talked about the idea of a “graphical MUD”. We began work on the backend and had that fairly far along but the project died because the 3D client was significantly more difficult to do that any of us imagined. The difficulty of the game client development doesn’t take away from the idea that this game was supposed to be developed to work with telnet clients(backward compatibility) and with the new custom 3D client. Same server; serving both clients; so yes I to fall in the camp that MMORPGs and MUDs are fundamentally the same.

  28. You could make nearly any game I could think of text based. Some would work quite ok as a text based game, others won’t, but all of them will of course have very similar coding and games mechanic to their graphical counterparts.

    The only difference to MMOs und MUDs is, most games do not require a Client/Server environment, and most games do not have such a long text based tradition. That’s why people even come up with this topic at all.

    However, when I saw new MMOs being released, I often wondered if there should be a law for developers to first try their plan with making it a MUD and start the MMO only after that turned out be fun.

  29. [...] I find it depressing that this post from Raph was even made. To me, it is like the following:Professor Raph walks into the room. He writes on the giant black board, “advanced cellular biology”. The students watch, pulling out their notes.Raph: “Cellular biology explores the foundation of life itself. This is the field which allows us to manage bacteria, virii, cancers, drugs, and even genetic engineering, in addition to simpler things such as proving that grass and trees are in the same kingdom. In this advanced course, we’ll be first learning how to monitor retroviral-“Student: “Wait, grass and trees are in the same kingdom?”Raph: “Uh… yes. Yes, they are.”Student: “I don’t believe you.”:P [...]

  30. [...] I find this a little odd that we have been discussing this for a few months now and Koster just posted a lengthy article about the subject on his blog. Please take a few minutes to read it. It can be found here: http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/03/31/are-muds-and-mmorpgs-the-same-thing/ Perhaps we are the progressives in this space. [...]

  31. I must protesteth! The question is “Are MUDs and MMORPGs the same thing?”
    The question is not “are the clients the same thing?”

    To leave out the end result, the way they are perceived by the end user, is to do an incomplete study of the equation.

  32. If you do not look at the rose, but only smell it, is it not still a rose? Just because you choose to use the nose client while someone else uses the eyes client…

    Believe me, there really aren’t any major differences on the server side other than adaptations to scale — which could apply to text games just as easily if there were the need to do so…

  33. Just a few historical comments…

    MUDs built with a “dynamic space” concept or the like might or might not be based on Cartesian coordinates; they could have a traditional grid-style structure that was simply expressed by d-space linkages. T Alexander Popiel (“Talek”) pioneered the earliest d-space code I know of (beginning of 1992). The MUSH examples I can think of include Belgariad, Belgariad II, DuneMUSH, and Mua’Kaar.

    I built a couple of things that were based on dynamic areas generated off a Cartesian coordinate grid, although I don’t think I was the first to do so. The first example of my own work that I can remember was my Bazaar at Deva on MythMUSH (circa 1991, I think). Later I did a system that displayed, using text, line graphics ala Wizardry — generating a 3D maze with “graphically” displayed walls, on a coordinate system, supplemented with text descriptions dynamically generated from that data. That was Pax Magica in 1995.

    There were various attempts to do graphical MUDs in the early 1990s. My own foray into that was PennMAX, an X-Windows based 2D graphical MUD that looked similar, graphicswise, to Ultima V (fairly high-resolution tile graphics with double-buffer animation). It actually had tons of technical features that didn’t show up in the commercial world for a long time — distributed asset servers that streamed content to users on-demand, the ability to dynamically partition fairly arbitrarily along zone and gameplay element lines (meaning that you could distribute the infrastructure widely, and it did not need to all be owned by one person), and live editing of assets, among other things. Lots of stuff intended to get around the fact that it was 1993, Internet bandwidth was still pretty scarce, we were working with servers running at the blazing speed of 16 MHz with 64 MB of RAM, disk space was expensive, and a given server often could not handle more than 256 open file descriptors at any given time (OS limitations of the era).

    Yeah, I agree strongly with Raph — I think MUDs and MMORPGs are, at the core, the same things. The stuff you layer on top does matter, though.

  34. If you do not look at the rose, but only smell it, is it not still a rose? Just because you choose to use the nose client while someone else uses the eyes client…

    Believe me, there really aren’t any major differences on the server side other than adaptations to scale — which could apply to text games just as easily if there were the need to do so…

    Naa, Raph, looking at the rose is a different animal than smelling it. It may still be a rose, but you can only tell what color it is by looking at it. You can only appreciate it’s visual beauty by looking at it.
    However, yeah, I’ve had the sense you are leading up to something else all along. And that’s an interesting idea, if that was a hint.

  35. This discussion actually strikes a disturbing chord in me. Back during my earliest undergraduate days (I’m still an undergrad), and late high school, I did a lot of theological debate. One of my arguments was that something might change appearance based on how you look at it, but if you had an objective perspective, then it would of course be the same.

    Both of the best anecdotes have to do with the mathematical notion of rotation, or rather, the notion of having two spaces, S and T, to which you apply a Transform in order to shift between perspectives.

    You take a sphere and project it against a backdrop and of course you see a sphere. You take a circle and you view it at an angle and of course you see an oval. The thing is the same; the perception is different.

    MUDs and MMORPGs are the same thing until there are differences. AberMUD and CircleMUD are both MUDs; but they’re not the same. Everquest and DikuMUD have practically identical mechanics, but they also have differences. A lion is a cat, but a human isn’t; an insect is an animal, but a plant isn’t; a bacterium is a living thing, but a rock isn’t. They’re all made of atoms: aren’t they the same after all?

  36. And isn’t it something like a 97% same DNA in humans and chimps? I wonder right now if God is having the same debate with Cheetah and Tarzan.

  37. MUDs and MMORPGs are the same thing until there are differences.

    But, what, exactly, are those differences? What makes an MMORPG not a MUD? People call Furcadia an MMOG today, but I guarantee you that nobody called it that in 1996, when it came out.

  38. Okay… they are the same… now… what? :)
    Who cares. Let’s just play ;)

  39. [...] interesting post on level design, and Eleanor on the media’s portrayal of games. posted by Greg at 12:44 AM Comments [postCount(114404960036695735);] HOME – ARCHIVES – MY SITE – MANIFESTO GAMES-PARANOIA Everything here is solely and entirely my personal opinion, and should not be construed as representing the opinions of my employer, my ex, my cats, or any other person or entity in this universe or any other. Any resemblance between my opinions and the opinions of others, living or dead, is purely coincidental, unless it’s the product of a vast, left- or right-wing conspiracy. Oh, and I’m not going to bother with a Creative Commons thingie, but feel free to use anything here however you like, so long as you ascribe my words to me. And a link would be nice. [...]

  40. They’re all made of atoms: aren’t they the same after all?

    Dang, now we’re headed towards the string theory. Resonations, dimensions, spaces… and we call them “just games”?!

  41. [...] Like a Weblog by Greg at December 31, 1969, 4:00 pm (cached at April 3, 2006, 6:22 am)…which was originally a log of the websites you’d browsed and thought interesting. So here’s a list of recent stuff that struck me so:Raph Koster on why MMOs and MUDs are the same thing, which of course strikes me as blindingly obvious (just as text and graphic adventures are essentially the same thing), but seems highly obscure to most people, who still seem to think that online games began with Ultima Online. Which is obviously fallacious.These days I try to blip over esr’s political posts (because our politics are actually remarkably similar but I think he’s way completely fucking offbase on Iraq and this annoys me a whole lot more than it would if our politics weren’t aligned in other regards) and focus instead on his thoughts on software… this one on why closed-source software development breaks down when a certain level of complexity is reached is quite interesting. You must read the comments, which discuss the matter in more detail (and contains as a digression an excellent bit by Peter Bessman that provides a useful recap of the console wars).Which led me to rpg’s article on why worse is better in software development, which no doubt if I were a better geek I would have read years ago, but am glad to have read now.Patrick Dugan posts about why games will save the world which, you know, I don’t actually buy, but hey, it’s nice to see enthusiasm.Steve Davis challenges the conventional wisdom about online gaming (that “the client is in the hands of the enemy and all important data must be verified by the server”). A short piece that doesn’t really make his argument cogently, alas–he does believe distributed approaches can be rendered secure, but you need to poke around a bit more on his blog to understand why.GameTap recently slashed it’s monthly sub price from $14.95 to $9.95, which engendered some discussions among Manifestians (Manifestoites?) about how we respond to the inevitable challenge from VCs along the lines of “If Turner can’t make online sale of games work, why can you”? So I was interested Kim Pallister’s post on the subject in which he argues that, in essence, GameTap has no clear positioning, no clear message to consumers about why they might want what they have to offer. We surely don’t have the financial resources of Time Warner behind us, but we for damn sure have a message.Sean Ryan has an interesting 3D online avatar servince named Meez… but of course to me “meez” means your “mise en place,” meaning a sous-chef’s set up in a kitchen restaurant.Johnny has an interesting post on level design, and Eleanor on the media’s portrayal of games. old to new new to old [...]

  42. “Philip: actually, the typical way that would be done is to send a broadcast message to all clients in range to play the tree falling sound; should there be no clients in range, no entity gets the message. If you consider the message to be the sound (which you should, given the argument I laid out in the article) then yes, the sound is made even if no one is around to hear it.”

    This is comparable to the real world, wherein the action of a falling tree sends out vibrations, comparable to the broadcast message, which are interpreted by human ears as sound. Without the human, they are just vibrations. Without the client, there are just broadcast messages.

  43. [...] http://www.costik.com/weblog/2006_04_01_blogchive.html#114404960036695735…which was originally a log of the websites you’d browsed and thought interesting. So here’s a list of recent stuff that struck me so:Raph Koster on why MMOs and MUDs are the same thing, which of course strikes me as blindingly obvious (just as text and graphic adventures are essentially the same thing), but seems highly obscure to most people, who still seem to think that online games began with Ultima Online. Which is obviously fallacious.These days I try to blip over esr’s political posts (because our politics are actually remarkably similar but I think he’s way completely fucking offbase on Iraq and this annoys me a whole lot more than it would if our politics weren’t aligned in other regards) and focus instead on his thoughts on software… this one on why closed-source software development breaks down when a certain level of complexity is reached is quite interesting. You must read the comments, which discuss the matter in more detail (and contains as a digression an excellent bit by Peter Bessman that provides a useful recap of the console wars).Which led me to rpg’s article on why worse is better in software development, which no doubt if I were a better geek I would have read years ago, but am glad to have read now.Patrick Dugan posts about why games will save the world which, you know, I don’t actually buy, but hey, it’s nice to see enthusiasm.Steve Davis challenges the conventional wisdom about online gaming (that “the client is in the hands of the enemy and all important data must be verified by the server”). A short piece that doesn’t really make his argument cogently, alas–he does believe distributed approaches can be rendered secure, but you need to poke around a bit more on his blog to understand why.GameTap recently slashed it’s monthly sub price from $14.95 to $9.95, which engendered some discussions among Manifestians (Manifestoites?) about how we respond to the inevitable challenge from VCs along the lines of “If Turner can’t make online sale of games work, why can you”? So I was interested Kim Pallister’s post on the subject in which he argues that, in essence, GameTap has no clear positioning, no clear message to consumers about why they might want what they have to offer. We surely don’t have the financial resources of Time Warner behind us, but we for damn sure have a message.Sean Ryan has an interesting 3D online avatar servince named Meez… but of course to me “meez” means your “mise en place,” meaning a sous-chef’s set up in a kitchen restaurant.Johnny has an interesting post on level design, and Eleanor on the media’s portrayal of games. [...]

  44. Not sure if I *entirely* agree with the article, though I agree with it in spirit.

    Clearly MUDs and MMORPGs come from the same stable and they’re closely related. MMORPGs owe MUDs a vast debt, MUDs were the trailblazers back in the 70s, 80s and 90s. But, I’d have say that one is an evolution of the other. Imo, they’re analogous to cart and ferrari: they share traits, purpose & ancestry, but they’re not really the same thing.

    Call me a heathen, but I do think that to non game developers, there’s a difference between a game primarily in the written word, and one in images. Also, one other difference between them which I don’t see any mention of is the idea that a MUD is all on one server, whereas MMORPGs can be 1000s. Most importantly… if I show my 7 year old boy WoW in action he ooohs and ahhhhs, but when I show him my mud, he looks at me kind of funny!

    Nass

    wotmud

  45. In the end I think such conversations come down to usage and not a linguistic analysis of past semantics. Connotation regularly take precedence over pure semantics. That is, no matter what someone meant by the word “MUD” when they used it 20 years ago, and no matter how well that may apply to what is called an “MMORPG” today, if the connotation of “MUD” is that of a text-based online RPG then that is the meaning it will take on.

    In the end, language is a tool. If bickering over semantics of past words distracts us too much then we just have to redefine our terms and/or start using new words with an eye towards clarity and common understanding and not towards pedantic attention to what someone, somewhere used to mean by a word.

  46. I completely agree with that, StGabe. And really, I use the terms loosely quite often myself (remember how we got into it over the whole “are MMORPGs games” thing…).

    I’m more interested in driving at the underlying structures, in some ways, than I am in the terms themselves.

  47. So, would it be accurate to condense the above to the following:

    Developers see the server as the heart/core/whatever of the MUD/MMO, while users view the client in that light. Therefore, to a developer, MUDs and MMOs are two peas in the same pod, while to a user, they are as different as apples and orangutangs.

    In other words, the piece of the puzzle each touches the most is, to them, the essence of the thing… and we’re coming perilously close to the “blind wise men describing an elephant” parable.

  48. If you do not look at the rose, but only smell it, is it not still a rose? Just because you choose to use the nose client while someone else uses the eyes client…

    See, this is another matter entirely. If roses have a name under a context where they are smelled and then take on another name under a context where they are looked at, then the first name will likely take on the meaning of the “rose smell” and the latter will take on the meaning of “rose vision”. While you can argue that the original meaning of “rose” applied to both that is entirely moot if usage shifts to use the two words in different ways to denote two different things.

    It’s a mistake to read too far into an internal logic to language. Language is as language is used. And it gets used by imperfect, illogical humans, who reserve the right to change it at any moment.

  49. We’re not talking about the name under different contexts, though. The parable of the elephant still says that there’s an elephant under all the misapprehension.

    I (and Bartle) call the elephant, or the rose, “virtual world.” Ted Castronova calls ‘em “synthetic worlds.”

  50. Well what is the context? I took the context to be a reaction to people differentiating the terms “MUD” and “MMORPG”. In that context I think this is an over-reaction and a sort of category error. The linguistics in use has evolved from a experiential context where the important distinction is that “MUD” connotes text-based online RPG’s and “MMORPG” connotes graphical online RPG’s. It’s all well and good to say that you are not interested in such experiential differences, as with your rose or elephant metaphor, but if that is not the way that usage is derived then it is irrelevant linguistically.

    Consider a radio program that tells a story versus a movie that tells a story. Are they same thing linguistically? Absolutely not. Even though they may have the same underlying story, the experiential differences mean quite a bit to us as viewers (or as writers) and we clearly distinguish the two as different things. We also, of course, allow that while radio shows and movies are different things, that they both can be instances of the larger category of “stories”.

    Similarly I think MUD’s and MMORPG’s have come to denote/connote different things. One denotes an online RPG experienced textually and the other denotes an online RPG experienced graphically. This is simply the usage of the words which really doesn’t care whether we think it justified or not. The two concepts may have very similar server infrastructures, and be models of the same virtual mechanics, but the experiential difference is still important enough for most people to distinguish these two and to feel that the two terms express different, distinct things.

    I would say that:

    A radio show and a movie are different things, but they are both instances of “stories”.

    A MUD and an MMORPG are different things, but they are both instances of “virtual worlds”.

  51. [...] Stolen from Costik, Raph Koster attempts to point out the blindingly obvious. Which is annoying if his target audience is designers, but less so if he’s just trying to explain to the unwashed masses. The fact that he tries to explain how MMORPGs and MUDs are basically the same game through technical execution and not abstract design, however, is a bit worrisome. What makes MUDs and MMOs identical isn’t that the game is run on a server and the clientside application does very little, or that MUDs and MMOs both stream data to the client. It’s that the high-level game mechanics are identical. I could write a text-based version of chess, and even though the interface feels very different every single traditional chess strategy will still apply. [...]

  52. A radio show and a movie are different things, but they are both instances of “stories”.

    A MUD and an MMORPG are different things, but they are both instances of “virtual worlds”.

    I wouldn’t ever thing that MUD or MMORPG is superior or evolutionary from one another. MUDs, by the very nature of their text based interface do some things that graphical worlds cannot hope to accomplish. Conversely, MMORPGs present a world that text MUDs are not capable of. Each has its own strengths just as does the radio or movie show. There are some things that only radio can properly do and other things that movies do better than radio. Same context here so your analogy is pretty sound in my opinion.

  53. Perspective influences perception profoundly. I can see how a designer would see the similarities between MUDs and MMOs and regard them as the same. But as a player of both, that is not at all my experience. MMOs, particularly 3D MMOs give a sense of moving about space that MUDs never gave me. As a result, while text-based games are mentally stimulating, graphics based games tend to be more emotionally stimulating. The mechanics may be very similar, but my experience as a player is not, and, as a player, my game experience is much more important to me than the game mechanics.

  54. I read and reread your premise and conclusion. I agree that with relation to the virtual worlds and to the servers that simluate them, MUDs and MMORPGs are the same.

    But as you said

    The real difference between the MUDs of yore and the modern MMORPG client isn’t the sim on the backend; it’s the fact that the datastream is tokenized.

    So there is a difference between the two and that difference resides in the client and the way that it represents the data to the user.

    If you take WOW, remove the graphical client and replace it with a text based client does it become a MUD?

    If you answer yes, then that would say that there is a difference between a MUD and a MMORPG. If they were the same the answer should be it was already a MUD.

  55. I haven’t heard of this one. One of the various things I’ve been trying to engineer is a feasible way to do this… can you point me in the direction of a particular one? Assuming it’s still up. If not… well, anything is better than nothing.

    I believe KaVir’s latest effort is exactly that form of world and is running somewhere.

  56. [...] /right /travelform /switchback /root /moonfire /travelform /switchback /hearthstone /logoff (via) 04:24 EST | (5)Comments [...]

  57. Oddly enough I had the idea the other day to write a text-based client for playing the data files that come with the (single-player) game Oblivion. :P

    I think Oblivion as a text adventure would be fairly boring…but it makes one wonder if the same trick could be pulled with a pile of MMORPG content, to produce a MUD. Since Raph and others are claiming they’re really the same thing, the answer had better be “Yes”…

  58. moo- To convert a MUD to a MMO (as EQ “What would you like your tombstone to say?” did with Diku) you have to come up with a great big pile of pictures.

    To convert a MMO into a MUD, you’d have to come up with a great big pile of words.

    Hey Raph, (or any other old MUD hands out there) could you give us a sample room description for one or more of the locales in Oblivion? If that wouldn’t be breaking any copyright laws or anything…

  59. A picture is worth a 1000 words …

    “Hey Raph, (or any other old MUD hands out there) could you give us a sample room description for one or more of the locales in Oblivion?”

    To totally describe a cell (or just a room) in Oblivion would take a good deal of text. Since I never was into MUDs (but have played old text based RPGs) I dont know if it would be common pratice to leave out descriptions of interactive items. Oblivion is full of items that are nothing more than eyecandy. In a MUD would you really need these items since most of this would be left up to the players imagination? I always saw MMOGs as “Graphical IRC Clients where you can kill stuff”. Really you dont even need the graphics.

    As far as the question “are MMORPGs and MUDs the same thing?” I think that the answer will depend on what classification you are attempting to put them in (based on your point of view). If you look at them as “Virtual worlds” as Raph seems too, then yes they are basicly the same thing. If you look at them in terms of presentation, then no they are not the same. StGabe put it well. This is just me nodding in agreement :)

  60. I’m not trying to fight convention here, really. Obviously, common usage has defined different meanings for MMORPG and MUD that apply to subsets of virtual world. What has repeatedly happened over the history of the field, however, is that new virtual world implementations have been given names like that, and we then lose a common term for the field as a whole. It’s happened before: MUSH and MOO, for example, were considered by some to be categorically different from MUD, and it was a big debate for a long time.

    As far as describing a cell in Oblivion — the mud convention is to describe the area first, and then attach to that “room description” a set of keywords that can be examined more closely to reveal more information. The keywords aren’t exposed — the player needs to read the main description, which hopefully clues them in. These can then reveal more possible keywords to try, and so on.

    Many mud builders skimped on this stuff, because after all, if you’re there to kill monsters, why spend time trying to look at details on the painting on the wall? Many players play in a highly instrumental fashion, using a “brief” mode that doesn’t even show the full room description, just the title.

    Actual interactive objects are called out, because they are a different data type, and the way they are generally displayed is in a separate paragraph or list form the main room description.

    In more robust mud codebases, you can interact even with non-objects in the room, such as the aforementioned painting, because the code can trap the act of checking for an extended description…

  61. I have yet to find a mmorpg that is truly a 3d game, most of the mmorpgs are semi 3d or 2d games with 3d objects in them and some sloppy crash detction code like the one they had in Anarchy Online (you could zoom out and look over a building then shoot ur pal on the other side of the buildig). And yes i agree all mmorgps are nothing more then muds with a fancy graphical client but then again i been saying this since i saw everquest1 in beta…. eaven other games you see around you are noithing new just new graphics and fluff less content and they take more space and less play time to resolve, Think of great games like Elite by David braben it was huge size game on a 640k disk :). Or take Zork of the old Fantasy games a lot more content then u find in any game that is made today. I feel you game developers are going backwards when it comes to games,stop focusing on fluff and make games last a bit longer then 50hours to get trugh (and thats slow in some games).

  62. To totally describe a cell (or just a room) in Oblivion would take a good deal of text.

    I have yet to see a MUD that totally describes a room, either. But if you want something like that, pick up any book from Wheel of Time, flip to the first chapter (not the prologue) and read the first few paragraphs. I think that’s best text description of a “zone” I’ve ever seen.

    I believe KaVir’s latest effort is exactly that form of world and is running somewhere.

    I can’t seem to find it… help?

  63. I’m not trying to fight convention here, really. Obviously, common usage has defined different meanings for MMORPG and MUD that apply to subsets of virtual world. What has repeatedly happened over the history of the field, however, is that new virtual world implementations have been given names like that, and we then lose a common term for the field as a whole. It’s happened before: MUSH and MOO, for example, were considered by some to be categorically different from MUD, and it was a big debate for a long time.

    This is just the third such conversation where you’re saying something to a crowd that uses words in a different way than you and as such, the “meaning” of the words you use, for the context you are using them, is inappropriate and misleading. Go back the “singleplayer games are doomed” blog, for example and all the same comments apply. By redefining “singleplayer” in a contrary fashion to usage you given a statement that while true in your own sublanguage is mostly just confusing to anyone else.

    Anyway, I don’t see a problem with “MUD” and “MMORPG” denoting different things and don’t particularly see the value in figuring out why usage is as usage is. To get our conversations through we just need an overall supercategory such as “virtual world” or “online world” or “artificial world” to be a parent for these two awkward siblings. The term “MMORPG” isn’t synonymical to “virtual world” nor is the term “MUD”. Rather these are both subcategories of the term “virtual world”. Just as a radio show and a movie are subcategories of the supercategory of “story”.

  64. the “meaning” of the words you use, for the context you are using them, is inappropriate and misleading.

    It is just one of those things. He is looking at the “issue” from a different perspective. I have coworkers working on the same systems as I do and we have problems like this. Looking at the question from a system development point of view, they are basicly the same. The overall design is the same if you were looking at them as something like a basic workflow diagram. To the user who doesnt care about everything that happens behind the UI, then they are greatly different. The reverse is also true, You could make two totaly different systems that end up looking the same to a user :)

    I guess my question now is, why bring this up? Is the point to explore the possibility of creating a virtual world with multiple types of clients? Would the value to the player be enough to offset the added development costs? Could the end product be good enough to actually make it worthwhile to solve the problems associated with building it? (jack of all trades master of none)

    In theory this could be done, but I dont think there is demand for it. True I think if Blizzard made some type of “micro 2D client” that would let people play in the WoW world using something like a cellphone might actually have some users, but I doubt that there would be enough demand to warrent building it. At some point that might change.

  65. I call it “shaking up preconceptions.” :) Yes, common usage dictates the general meaning of a word. But I think the blog readers here aren’t common, and therefore can handle discussions that use more precise terms.

    BTW, on the single-player games thng, the more I play Live, the more I think I shouldn’t have backed off the hyperbole one iota. Just yesterday I read a post elsewhere saying “achievements make playing Live almost like playing an MMO…” Exactly.

    As to why bring it up — it came up in the other thread.

  66. [...] No sooner had I put down the Players Handbook, than I picked up the manual for World of Warcraft for the first time. I have no personal interest in this game, as I did my MUD time years ago (and none of the new MUDs – sorry – MMORPGs – actually offer any of the play I was enjoying anyway!) I can’t say I was surprised at the design of WoW, but I was disappointed. For a game with such beautiful art assets (the artists deserve tremendous praise for their work with this game), it lacks anything I personally would call game design. It even admits it – it’s one of those credits which allots the game design credit to the whole team. Well, that’s fine. But in the sense of the game designer as the person who co-ordinates the development of the design (which is how I use the term), this is in effect admitting the game has no game designer. And the mechanics show it. The difference between D&D and WoW at a mechanical level is rather less than might be expected for a time seperation of (exactly) 30 years. [...]

  67. KaVir’s latest is God Wars II – The Supernaturalis, and it’s using the system of rooms that I think you were referring to. Here’s the last paragraph of the writeup from The MUD Connector:

    Movement uses true-coordinates instead of rooms, and descriptions are generated dynamically on the fly to indicate your current position. Monster lairs are scattered around the world, and can be used to gather minor magical items by anyone with the skill to do so.

    The web site for it is at http://www.godwars2.com/

  68. Absolutely fascinating, Drey. This is definitely, and eerily, in line with what I was conceiving, but it, you know… works. Thank you. I think I shall waste away many hours screwing around in it.

    Oh, Raph: I wanted to show you this, but the only email address I have of yours is your SOE one. And your bio is out of date. =P

    http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~swilson/papers/wilsonartiststatement.html

  69. I call it “shaking up preconceptions.” :) Yes, common usage dictates the general meaning of a word. But I think the blog readers here aren’t common, and therefore can handle discussions that use more precise terms.

    But the problem is in thinking that usage is a preconception. Usage doesn’t have to make sense. In nearly every sentence we utter we mention words that have shifted greatly from their original usage. Usage just is.

    It’s really just a matter of qualification and clarification. If you want to use a word in a non-standard way then that’s not a problem IF it is clear that you are redefining the word.

    I can blue is black. (“singleplayer games are dead”)

    Or I can say, blue is black, if you allow me to redefine “blue” so that it basically means “black” (or, change my monitor settings).
    (“singleplayer games are dead, if you allow me to redefine singleplayer games to be, well, a set of games that probably never existed to begin with”).

    In this case I think what you really want to say is:

    “The server infrastructure for MUD’s and MMORPG’s are really quite similar and really it is just a matter of how an internally similar system is viewed through different ‘senses'”.

    Ok, that is clear and I agree. However, that point does not necessitate saying that “MMORPG’s are MUD’s”.

  70. This black and blue analogy really falls apart for me. And yes, I’m also biased by long-term exposure and developer goggles.

    To me this whole debate is like saying that chess played with physical pieces on a wooden board, computer chess, and human chess are three different games simply because of the “client”/interface changes.

    And I’ll admit that that may be an extreme example since the rules of the game of chess literally don’t vary between the three whereas they do between different MUDs and MMOs. Like I said, I’m jaded but I really don’t see any gameplay differences resulting from the client used that warrant a whole new color label.

    Yes, it’s convenient to instantly know if we’re talking text vs graphics, but that’s like saying human vs computer for chess. After all a MUD is just a MORPG.

    *ducks and runs for cover*

  71. “The server infrastructure for MUD’s and MMORPG’s are really quite similar and really it is just a matter of how an internally similar system is viewed through different ’senses’”.

    No, I said they are the same thing. I mean that. The server infrastructures are not “similar,” they are the same.

    Surely the multiple paragraphs I spent making this point serve as “qualification and clarification”? I don’t even see what I am redefining in this case — I let the terms MUD and MMORPG stand. They’re useful terms.

    However, insisting on categorical difference is exactly why sometimes you need to push usage to change. Particularly in aiding communication between practitioners (who pretty much all “get it” already) versus players.

  72. Ok, for the sake of argument, I’ll accept this, as a player.
    (I actually do, except that I think you’re ignoring the client side in this, pertaining to the graphics. But I understand what you are saying too. Yes, lets ignore the categorical aspects as you want, for the sake of the communication you are after.)

    So, if they are the same, then what can we take from this? For one thing, can we look at the history of MUDs and take something from that? What’s more successful in MUD design?

  73. And I have to admit something now. Once I’ve crossed that phsycological barrier of resistence, I’m completely in your camp. Funny how the mind works.

  74. Heh, that’s interesting.

    In any case, I think there is a TON that can be learned once you regard things in this manner.

    For one, I think it pushes you towards a sort of “client agnosticism.” That opens up all sorts of interesting design choices beyond the typical “play a subset of the game on a cellphone.” Stuff like FFXI’s PS2-and-PC clients barely scratches the surface.

    For another, I think it helps with the perspective on embedded games as well. Clients embed channels of media that assist in portraying the sim. OK, what other things can be simmed, and what other channels of media might fit?

    It opens up regarding the vast history of mud design choices as valid ones for MMORPGs. We tend to skate over this a bit, I think, considering them categorically different. Can mud-style puzzles and quests NOT be done? Why can’t we do the sorts of political systems that are in use in text? What about the (by most accounts) far better implementations of even turn-based combat? Even Diku went well beyond tank-healer-mage.

    I could go on, but I have a racquetball game in 20 minutes and need to head over there. :)

  75. I’ll meet you there. Hehehe

  76. Can mud-style puzzles and quests NOT be done?

    Sure!!!! However, the aspect of the numbers in an MMORPG comes into play. I don’t know how difficult they were in MUDs, but it seems to me that extremely difficult puzzles can be hidden by other extremely difficult puzzles, and make for a very interesting part of a game world. Most developers seem to think that everything has to be “used” by vast numbers of players or else it’s a waste of resources. “Used” seems to mean end game, everyone gets “one”. But I’ve dissagreed ever since I saw how many players in early UO stopped and checked on the levers in Covetous Dungeon. They only stopped checking when it became common knowledge that they were “broken”. So, even a really challenging puzzle, that maybe takes years for someone to figure out, and only rewards one player, still can have loads of interest. Interest means game play. Trying levers means game play. The trick is to first make sure the players know it’s not “broke”, and then to add enough surrounding it to give alot more play to the puzzle.

    A friend once mentioned how cool it would be to have an obelisk with unknown symbols on it. Players could be searching the game world for the meaning of those symbols. In everything they did, they could always have this search in the back of their minds.

    More proof in the puddin’, look how many players did this with various symbols in UO and other games. They mostly gave up quickly, but what would have happened if the game was built so that they suspected that a symbol might mean something? Suspected because the game had easier stuff in it that told them there was meaning.

    Another bit of proof, in UO there was a wide appeal for marked runes to places you couldn’t normally get to. I heard many times that “mages always start casting teleport around new places.” And it was true in times past.

    Players do seem to be willing if the game play is there. Even if they don’t succeed at finding anything.

  77. Politics is another thing I see a huge reward in developing in MMORPGs. I see this tied into empowering players in a community structure, cities.

    Turn based combat? Isn’t that what we have now? With swing speeds?

  78. Well there are subtle distinctions, but I think these are important ones.

    First of all, I don’t think you are arguing that MMORPG’s and MUD’s have the same servers anyway. Rather I think you have argued that there is an isomorphism between these two which is subtly different. It’s the difference between saying that the set of positive numbers is the same as the set of all numbers and saying that there is an isomorphism between them In this case, one of them has elements that the other does not. However because they are both infinite, you can map from one to the other, for example with the function f(n) = -1^n*n/2. One would not say that they these two sets are the same, but one could say that they are isomorphic which is itself a pretty strong relationship. Similarly I think you’ve described an isomorphism between MMORPG and MUD servers.

    However, even if we do allow that the servers are the same, it doesn’t mean that MMORPG’s and MUD’s are the same. As a reaction to those who say they are the same, it’s rather missing the point to ignore where this statement (and usage) is coming from and instead stipulate “the clients don’t matter”. The clients do matter for usage and for the context where people say that MMORPG’s are not MUD’s because usage here steps from experiences and perceptions and not server infrastructures.

    Most importantly:

    Why is it important to say that MMORPG’s and MUD’s are the same? If you just want to say that the servers are the same then why not simply state that? I know it sounds more sensational/provocative to say the former but I’m not sure what purpose that serves. Is the actual point, the isomorphism of servers, really interesting enough in and of itself? That’s what matters.

  79. I didn’t say the clients don’t matter — I actually said that presentation is extremely important. But I also think that it is important to understand that the model and the representation of the model are not at all the same thing. It enhances our understanding of both to see clearly where one ends and the other begins.

    As far as the specific case — I believe that the design possibilities of both muds and MMOs are enhanced by understanding the categorical equivalency of them. I really don’t know what else to say there other than continuing to provide examples.

  80. It’s not a matter of what also needs to be said but a matter what doesn’t need to be said.

    All of this can be said without the phrase:

    “MMORPG’s are the same thing as MUD’s”

    When the actual point is:

    “Looking only at the servers, there is an isomorphism between these two things.”

    Or another way to say all this is that this whole discussion leads us to the conclusion:

    “MMORPG’s and MUD’s are different things because of the experiential differences and not because of the worlds they model, because the latter are really isomorphic.”

    You are taking that too far to say that this means that they aren’t different things. They are obviously different things. Anyone here can play 10 of each and tell you which is which. They are clear, well-defined subcategories that, of course, also share a lot of similar properties.

    Upon determining that there isn’t much difference at the server level we don’t conclude that they are the same thing, we just conclude that the differences are not to be found by looking at servers.

    Anyway, sorry if I have beat this poor dead horse too much.

  81. Here’s the thing though — you can literally plug in any sort of client to any sort of server that is out there right now. A text client to WoW, a graphical client to LambdaMOO. You would need to reconcile the protocols, of course, but there’s no major hurdle stopping you. THAT is what leads me to say they are in fact the same thing. To my mind, the client is NOT part of the virtual world. It is merely a window we use.

    I don’t think that when people say MUD or MMORPG they are referring to the client. It’s more likely they are referring to the client+server experience. This is akin to saying that web servers are different because you connect to one via lynx and another via Firefox. It may be that if you took a random selection of people here and showed them only lynx and Firefox, that they would conclude that they were different things, but a deeper understanding of what is going on would reveal that’s not the case.

    Right now, the virtual world landscape looks very much like proprietary browsers tied to proprietary servers which all do basically the same thing. That is the perspective I am trying to convey here.

  82. It all depends on how you look at it. If you look at the overall picture, and see someone at a screen looking at 3D images, and see another looking at the screen and looking at text, it’s easy to see a difference.

    So, what’s the difference? It’s in the code, in what’s related to the screen. Ok, so, don’t different MUDs also have differing codes, and relate on the screen in different ways?
    Aren’t the mechanics and workings except for these changes exactly alike?
    So we now have graphical MUDs that simply substitute 3d images for the text. This is how they are the same.

  83. Last month, I wrote something that seems pertinent.

    On one hand, you can take any word and apply any definition on it. What you say it means is what it means to you. But the problem arises when you attempt to communicate with it. Does it mean the same thing to another person? What about the fact that you must use language to explicate language? Is it a bottomless pit?

    A definition, as commonly used, is a set of descriptive words about another word. A dictionary is a mediating authority between two actors attempting to communicate: it sets down basic societal norms to be followed.

    But when you take a word and you apply your own definition to it, in order to use it with yours, you have to convince everyone else that your definition is more useful than the one they had before.

    http://raccaldin36.livejournal.com/854354.html

    If a MMORPG is defined as “a MUD with a graphical client”, are you wrong, or are you right?

  84. Michael Chui: A dictionary is not an authoritarian source of information. A dictionary is supposed to be an objective reference book to be used appropriately to provide context within communication that supports the intent of the messages sent by participants. Unfortunately, we cannot rely on a dictionary to provide objectively accurate definitions for use in any context due to human element that drives dictionary projects. For an example of an incorrect and heavily biased definition, the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines atheism as "immorality". When a dictionary provides opinion that can be accepted or rejected, arguments can be made that the dictionary fails as an authoritarian resource, as a reference book, and thus, as a dictionary. An encyclopedia can provide whatever information desired for inclusion by the editors whereas a dictionary must be referentially formed using etymology and history. A dictionary quite simply directs users to information considered by the user as appropriate for whatever context. (By the way, I use WordNet, developed by Princeton University.)

  85. To my mind, the client is NOT part of the virtual world. It is merely a window we use.

    Sure.

    But clearly that is not the derivation of usage here. While the client isn’t part of the virtual world to you, it is to others. In common usage, it makes perfect sense, for example, to say that a MUD was turned into an MMORPG by creating a protocol for a 3d client and implementing that client.

    The key point here is that your usage is derived from a specialist perspective and is not that of common usage. And from that we conclude that common usage is not particularly concerned with this perspective and is based far more on experiential qualities of the games. You can create a new language altogether if you want but that will tend to isolate you in a self-created ivory tower. Far better, IMO, to simply use the existing language or create new terms that augment it. What is wrong with simply stating that the theoretical worlds that MUD’s and MMORPG’s model are isomorphic? It’s not necessary to force Raphspeak on to everyone else to make that point.

    It is basically impossible to be wrong with usage. If a community of language users decides that a word is to be used one way or another, that is what that word means to that community. Period. Theories and logic have absolutely nothing to do with this. Theories and logic come in only after usage has been set.

    It is only after the definitions of terms has been set that we can invoke logic. You can’t say that 2+3=5 until you have defined “2”, “3”, “5”, “+” and “=”. It simply has no semantic sense.

    So to argue that “MMORPG!=MUD” before we have defined MMORPG and MUD or what equality means in this instance is really missing the point. The definitions that we do have for these may not be optimal for the theorist but they are what they are nonetheless and it is quite possible to use these meanings as they have been derived and still say the things you want to say.

  86. Gabe, I not only do not expect to change anyone’s usage, I honestly don’t care what the terms are. This isn’t about usage — it’s about mental models. A big part of the reason to challenge the terms is precisely because it shakes people out of preconceptions.

    In other words, arriving at usage often forecloses possibilities. You can’t fight usage, but you CAN fight the mental models that accompany the words, and forcing people to closely consider the meaning of the words is one way to do that.

  87. StGabe:

    In Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science, Vol. 36, Issue 2, Ursula Goodenough commented, “Human consensus does not generate reality. Were it able to do so, the Sun would have taken to orbiting the Earth some time ago.” That statement rings true in every state of human affairs, including the argument you set forth in favor of the acceptance of popular choice. If a user community agrees to an action — while documented and researched evidence exists to the contrary of the reasoning for that decision — should that decision be accepted and the opposing evidence discarded simply due to popular choice?

    There is a line at which the need for communication and the need for precise communication must be separated and independently pursued. With verbal precision follows the increased effectiveness of a dialogue whereas with additional participants follows an expanded dialogue. Expanding the dialogue strengthens the requirement for effective communication; thus, the standardization of content for the satisfaction of that requirement should be planned prior to such an expansion. Unfortunately, such planning never occurred. The dialogue is expanding. Expansion, atomically, never consists of smooth transitions. Conflict will and does arise from expansion, as observed in particle reactions and even in the expansion of the ancient Roman empire. The conflict we encounter is that of communication — when worlds collide.

    The need for a formal grammar for game design has never been more persuasive. Raph, whose book A Theory of Fun for Game Design is a textbook in formal game design curricula, is an excellent candidate for pursuing the satisfaction of this need; however, I do not think he should be alone in this pursuit. (And he isn’t!) Collaborative response, instead of dissent, would be more useful to the dialogue.

  88. In other words, arriving at usage often forecloses possibilities.

    For those words sure. What is the problem with that, however? Words are just tools and if you need more words they are trivial to create. You do not need to change language in order to justify a principle! If the principle is important enough, describe it in the existing language and/or extend the existing language.

    I have no problem with “shaking up perceptions”. Never did. I have a problem with the notion that you must change language to do so.

    In Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science, Vol. 36, Issue 2, Ursula Goodenough commented, “Human consensus does not generate reality.

    Language is not reality. It is a common to mistake the two. 1+1 does not equal 2 in a “real” sense. It is defined as such. And it happens to be a very good description of what happens when you put items side by side. Language is a human-created tool for describing reality. If you want I’ll start quoting Wittgenstein back at you.

    In this case it happens that, for users of the terms “MMORPG” and “MUD” the experiential reality of these games is more important than the theoretical models that these realities are based upon. There is nothing wrong with that. It just happens that the audience of language users took these words and made them something that isn’t the usage Raph wants. That’s how language works though. Language isn’t created by writing a dictionary. Language is created by people talking. The dictionary comes later and describes patterns in how people talk (or at least, how people talked in one place at one time).

  89. Wanting MMORPG and MUD to mean the same thing is like wanting Spanish to use the word “yes” instead of “si”. It makes sense you might say, after all they already use the English word for “no”, why not “yes”?

    However this is not something you can argue about logically. You can ask Spanish speakers to use the word “yes” and that’s it really. You can ask the rest of the gaming world to use Raphspeak, but in the end they’ll use what they want to use and if we want to speak their language, we’ll use it too. Otherwise we’re basically just impolite American tourists demanding that the whole world learn to speak our language with the result that a lot of people will never hear us.

  90. Argh.

    Again, I am not asking anyone to stop using MUD and MMORPG in their current accepted usages. I even do so throughout the post myself, and offer up the notion that the usage references the client+server experience. I refer to the superset as “virtual world” in this post… what are we arguing about again?

  91. what are we arguing about again?

    Who gets the last post in the thread?

    *duck*

  92. This might have been covered already. But the “Nothing happens on the client” rule is making me…..uneasy. I made a Shockwave based MMORPG that distributes the MOB’s A-Star pathfinding out to be handled by the clients.

    http://www.maidmarian.com/sherwooddungeon.htm

    I get that hacking need to be managed, but isn’t this just a technical choice. If I no longer have a MMORPG, then what is this thing I’ve created? I’ve always considered the player’s experience to be the final arbiter.

  93. I do!

    Morgan:
    A dictionary is not an authoritarian source of information.

    In that case, people should stop referencing the dictionary when I dispute them on term definition. =P A dictionary is a socially accepted authority on the definition of terms; knowing what lexicographers do for a living, I hardly accept their efforts as absolute and Word of God. I’ve spent the last few years of my life developing definitions that will likely end up disagreeing with orthodox ones, and others that haven’t even made it into the books yet.

    No, I agree with you.

    Language is not reality.

    No, it’s not. But language forms the basis of knowledge. If you say that “pink” and “salmon” is another type of “red”, you will never recognize that there are more than mere primary colors. Similarly, if you fail to recognize that “pink” and “salmon” have significant attributes archetyped by “red”, you yet again miss out.

    It is much the same with MUDs and MMORPGs. The difference is that we don’t have a “red”. =P Unless it’s “virtual world”.

  94. Language is not reality.

    True. "Reality", however, is the word we use to describe that which we perceive — our individual perceptions of the world. Language, unfortunately, is the only utility through which we can communicate our models. A model does not necessarily inhere the common attributes of a scenario as popularly perceived. A model can also describe quot;realityquot; in a forward-looking manner or in a manner that supports certain objectives. If we communicate a certain model to a user community, where the model is accepted, then that model becomes "reality" to that user community.

    Language is a human-created tool for describing reality.

    I don’t think language is a human invention. ("Language", of course, is our word.) Language concerns the translation of symbols into meaningful representations of reality. Language is used throughout the animal kingdom; although, we only observe animalia using a physical language (as opposed to a written (codified) language) to communicate.

    … for users of the terms "MMORPG" and "MUD" the experiential reality of these games is more important …

    Consider the audience. In formal discourse, the models that describe the experiential reality of games are more important than the experiential reality of games. The problem here is apparently your desire to retain and apply the common vocabulary used by gamers to the language of game design. That vocabulary is not useful to the design of games, d00d.

    You can ask the rest of the gaming world to use Raphspeak, but in the end they’ll use what they want to use and if we want to speak their language, we’ll use it too. Otherwise we’re basically just impolite American tourists demanding that the whole world learn to speak our language with the result that a lot of people will never hear us.

    Even as a relativist, I disagree with your conclusion. The common primary language of business is, internationally, English. Within that primary language lay a framework for the grammar of business. For example, business model describes a specific utility in business; however, understanding "business model" in the formal sense is mostly useless to Wal-Mart customers. There are separate grammars for biology, chemistry, philosophy, political science, etc. What a certain word means in biology does not necessarily carry the same meaning into astronomy or into philosophy. Language is contextually specific — language is never all-encompassing.

    I don’t understand the reasoning behind your argument. I think you’re confusing the language of gaming with the language of game design.

  95. Gene, I don’t think that obviates any of the points I have been making. I do think that the transition to a distributed platform virtual world is a significant phase transition, so to speak.

    One can argue that even offloading things like A* (which have a predictable output, which is why they can be offloaded) is pretty analogous to simply sending a higher-level piece of info to the client and letting it decide hwo to accomplish the display of that… obviously not the same, but comparable.

    Ultimately, I think we will end up with peer to peer distributed architectures for virtual worlds, but even then, we will likely have client/servers that have firewalls between them, architecturally speaking.

  96. Sherwood Dungeon isn’t peer to peer, but the server basically functions like a dumb repeater, echoing messages to the other clients. Monster AI is handled by the players machine who’s avatar is closest to the monster. If the player drifts too far from the monster, AI control is passed to another player. As a result, no one computer is aware of what’s happening everywhere in the world. The monster’s “brain” drifts from computer to computer, until some player kills it.

    Is that what you had in mind?

  97. At the risk of putting words in Raph’s mouth (Can I call you Raph? Feel free to call me Rik) I think he saying that if we asked the question “Are MUDs and MMORPGs the same thing?” many of us want the answer to be “Not really” or “only at the most basic level” but the answer at the moment seems to be “Pretty much” or “MMORPGS have pictures”.

  98. [...] Raph Koster is an authority on virtual worlds. He’s designed several – including Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies – and has been on the “implementation side” of countless others since before virtual worlds were 3D-graphics driven. There’s a strange symbiotic and contentious relationship between the 3D-visual virtual worlds (we’ll call them MMOGs for the sake of argument) and those without the 3D graphics (we’ll call them MUDs). Or is there?Some people are precious about how different the two are, with MMOG-ists suggesting that their forum of virtuality is better because of its immersive qualities, and MUD-ists arguing that their virtual zones are superior because they don’t restrict the user with the visuals of someone else’s vision. I’d like to refer to Raph for his perspective on the similarities between MUDs and MMOGs: …it’s undeniable that presentation has an enormous cognitive impact on the user of a client. Many variables may fluctuate massively, such as degree of immersion, spatial awareness, ease of parsing data, and so on. However, we must not forget that different brains have different cognitive strengths. A common mistake made by MMORPG exceptionalists is that graphics are necessarily more immersive. This is exactly the same sort of logic that says that movies must be more immersive than books. Different strokes for different folks, as always. [...]

  99. [...] You’ll also notice that I left the question of display method and simulation type (2d or 3d or textual) out of the discussion. The answer to this is of course to use the right simulation model for the desired design intent. [...]

  100. [...] “regardless of the design assumptions behind the server simulation, you can always build a client that filters the data differently.” — Raph Koster. [...]

  101. [...] MUDs are MMOGs Raph Koster has made a wonderfully concrete post about MUDs and MMOGs. They are the same thing. There always seems to be some disagreement between designers and users regarding this. Raph observes that designers (and most people who have worked on MUDs) see them as the same. Players, especially players of only one type, don’t. The post goes about defining the simulation as run by a server, and the client as a filter for the streaming data. The back end, while increasing in complexity, has not really changed all that much since the first days of the text MUD. The client may be 3D, real-space, or text descriptions, but it all comes down to representing the data available from the server. [...]

  102. [...] You are viewing a public version of thomas’s links. Temp Links to Check OutSaveBattleDungeon v1.041 – Hunted Cow Studios 2006 SaveRaph Koster’s Home Page SaveRaph’s Website » Are MUDs and MMORPGs the same thing? SaveMechanics of Achaean Combat SaveBusiness Details. SaveThe Escapist – Raph Koster on Fire SaveOz Forex Foreign Exchange SaveFirstrade [Welcome to Firstrade] SaveTitanCalc by stonedonkey – A Titan Quest Calculator SaveBrownCoats.com SaveStar Wreck: In the Pirkinning SaveGamasutra – E3 Workshop: Will Wright Discusses Innovation, Ideas, and the Nintendo Wii SavePCWorld.com – Step-By-Step: Turn Your PC Into a Personal Video Recorder  [...]

  103. [...] I have talked before about what exactly MUDs and MMOs are, and why they all deserve to fall under the rubric of “virtual world.” Much of it boils down to the fact that client is a representation of a server simulation, and that therefore any given server could have many possible representations. [...]

  104. [...] Certainly having the entire game live on the server is not that radical a concept. As I have had occasion to mention lately and long ago, the default for virtual worlds, the “way they want to work,” really, is full streaming. I would be hesitant to say, though, that broadband alone can revolutionize the ways in which we develop content. Certainly it permits more dynamic content in some ways, but often that comes about simply because of streaming content that is always changing. We also shouldn’t forget (hard to, when you try going to a crowded area in Second Life!) that there are downsides to a totally dynamic environment as well: lots of latency and lots of packets coming down. [...]

  105. [...] Via Johndan, a discussion of whether MUDs and MMORPGs are the same thing. Short answer: Yes, they are. (I am not sure I agree.) spinuzzi's blog | login or register to post comments [...]

  106. [...] thing – i.e., that World of Warcraft is also a MUD.I would suggest you begin your research here: http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/03/31/are-muds-and-mmorpgs-the-same-thing/Once you’ve learned a little about MUDs and come up with some actual definitions for your question, [...]

  107. [...] thing – i.e., that World of Warcraft is also a MUD.I would suggest you begin your research here: Once you’ve learned a little about MUDs and come up with some actual definitions for your question, [...]

  108. [...] thing – i.e., that World of Warcraft is also a MUD.I would suggest you begin your research here: Once you’ve learned a little about MUDs and come up with some actual definitions for your question, [...]

  109. [...] http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/03/31/are-muds-and-mmorpgs-the-same-thing/ 1. Underlying automated rules: a simulation running that defines the world’s physics. 2. Players represent individuals within the world, at some level, though they may control more than one entity. 3. Real-time interaction with the world. 4. The world is shared. 5. The world is persistent to some degree. [...]

  110. [...] Log in here to try out an Ajax client that talks to Second Life and gives you access to the basics of chat and teleportation. It’s the work of a student named Katharine Berry, and a great demonstration of why MUDs and MMORPGs (and virtual worlds!) are the same thing. [...]

  111. [...] written from a Virtual World’s guru telling what I’ve been trying to tell people for years now: MUDs and MMORPGs are the same thing.cog is now officially the new TPF Community Relations Leader, congrats!When IP laws go into Virtual [...]

  112. [...] coordinate system is called Cartesian, and it is the one …www.scifi-az.com/articles/wwsf1006.pdfRaph’s Website » Are MUDs and MMORPGs the same thing?What it cannot do is add a Cartesian coordinate system on top of a world that lacks one. …… As [...]

  113. [...] where I point people at a few lengthy posts from the past, such as the one where I point out that client display is irrelevant to whether or not something is a virtual world. After all, Second Life with no users logged in is still a virtual world. Second Life with a [...]

  114. [...] Re: Love of Small MU*s Incidentally, good post from Raph on this very subject: Raph’s Website Are MUDs and MMORPGs the same thing? [...]

  115. [...] que esteve ligado criao de jogos como Ultima Online e Star Wars Galaxies) defende no seu site esta ideia. Outros optam por tratar os dois conceitos, embora com muitas similaridades, de forma [...]

  116. [...] Are MUDs and MMORPGs the same thing? [...]

  117. [...] Personally I consider them to be pretty much the same. Or as Raph Koster phrased it in his article Are MUDs and MMORPGs the same thing?, "…in many ways, there are far larger differences between certain kinds of text muds than [...]

  118. […] Re: Hi, hey, hello For those who are interested in the subject, there's actually a very good article by Raph Koster (who has a lot of experience with both MUDs and MMORPGs) entitled "Are MUDs and MMORPGs the same thing?" "This always comes up, and I often seem to be on the opposite side of the argument from many players. I’ve usually found that those who have worked on the implementation side of both tend to feel that they are the same thing, but that thsoe who haven’t see them as somehow categorically different. So here’s my stab at explaining why I think both are really the same thing; in many ways, there are far larger differences between certain kinds of text muds than there are between graphical and text-based games." Click here to read the rest of the article. […]

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