Game talkWhat is a Diku?

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Jan 092009
 

I wish someone who has a good memory of these things and was there, would document that the key game design features of a DIKU are, if everyone is going to refer to MMOs as DIKU derivatives.

– a comment from Daniel Speed on Broken Toys » Wikicrap.

Glossing much here… Edit: this article is getting updated on the fly as people add comments and reminiscences.

DikuMUD was derived from AberMUD, which was similar mechanics, but had more of a scavenger hunt mentality in some ways.

At its core, it is a class-based RPG with the principal classes being fighter, healer, wizard, thief. (Later codebases added more). It was heavily based on the combat portion of Dungeons and Dragons. Advancement handled by earning experience points through combat, reaching a set amount of points, returning to town and “levelling up,” which unlocked new abilities. Classes were immutable (though eventually systems such as remorting, etc were added). Rewards for killing things also included equipment, which affected your stats and damage capability. If you reached the maximum level, common cultural practice was that you were invited to become a game admin (this practice dates back to much earlier, and existed in some form in MUD1).

Combat was generally on a fixed rate, with “faster attacks” in cruder systems consisting of actually running the same attack multiple times in a row (so you could only do damage on multiples: 1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, 6x, 7x, 8x, 9x). More advanced systems added true variable interval attacks. Tactics were centered around controlling which target the mob was attacking, and using special state-affecting attacks that did things like trigger periods of indefensibility (stun), periods of damage multipliers, etc, using stances.

Much of the gameplay consisted of moving about solo or in groups attacking monsters for XP and loot. Grouping was a typical strategy because it was a large force multiplier, permitting players to kill targets much more powerful than they were alone. Because of this, an array of systems including level limits on equipment, on grouping, and even on monster attacking were in place. A command called “consider” told you whether the monster was too easy or too hard.

Monsters spawned originally on time intervals called resets. At first, the whole zone reset at once, then resets evolved in Diku-derived codebases into per-monster timers. (A zone was a collection of world data, including rooms, monsters, and items — each zone could at first have 100 of each.). There evolved the practice of “rare spawns” and eventually “rare drops” as well.

Weapons, potions, and the like were all based on simply on performing spell effects, in the fashion today referred to as a “proc.” They were hardcoded back then, however. Players had the typical array of D&D stats, with the addition of “move points,” which were literally spent by moving from room to room and based on the weight of stuff you were carrying and your strength. You had to rest to recover these.

Death in Dikus involved losing all your gear, because everything stayed in the corpse. It also could set you back levels, as it cost you a fraction of your experience points. You respawned back in town at the central spawn point, and in later codebases at your “guildhall” (a class-specific spawn point and levelling trainer). You then had to do a “corpse run” to get back to your body naked and reequip your gear. In an inheritance from aspects of AberMuds, you could scavenge gear from the “donation room” which was a place where excess gear nobody wanted (usually from outlevelling or from trash drops) went when it was donated or “sacrificed” by other players.

This was not the only means of trying to keep the economy balanced. Every item had a cash value (the value for which it was sold in NPC shops). In some Dikus, you got a fixed limit on what you could save with your character, said limit based on a maximum cash value. If you saved your character at a point where you were in excess of this limit, you were saved with nothing. In others, you simply could not save your character state. (State saving was manual, and you had to go to an inn to do it). There were also systems whereby your save time was limited, because you had to pay “rent” at the inn where you logged out. The rent was proportional to the stuff you had, which drove people back to the game to keep earning gold.

Despite this huge sink, it was common for the economy to spiral out of control (termed “mudflation”) and for the admins to wipe all items or even all characters. It was also common for the mud to crash, and corpses and stuff on the ground did not persist, since Dikus were a character state system.

DikuMuds came with stock areas, the best known of which is Midgaard, the main city. Many mudders from the time period would judge a DikuMUD based on whether Midgaard was the first thing they saw. Midgaard came to also feature stock tutorials called “mud school” which saw you through the first fight. Zones were built by editing text files, though eventually forms of online editing tools (“OLC,” for “online creation”) were added. Because map building was relatively asy, many Dikus were based on popular hack n slash fantasy fiction such as Forgotten Realms, Fred Saberhagen, Wheel of Time, etc.

DikuMUDs did not come out of the box with any quests, because they were not a programmable game engine. They were about combat and levelling up. There was no crafting either. They did come with good chat features, grouping, etc. “Clans” were a common addition — you would call them guilds today, except that they were formed by admin command, not formed freely by players. (Honestly, I am not sure where free-form clan formation came from. I know we did it on LegendMUD, and we did it in UO, but I don’t even remember which came first!)

Believe it or not, Dikus DID have simple pets out of the box (usually summoned and non-persistent). They also had hunger and thirst (with a requirement to eat and drink regularly for good health), containers, inventory, in-game messaging and bulletin boards, chat channels (at first just via “shout”) and so on. They were quite sociable, because of the grouping requirements, the corpse mechanics, and the move rate factor. Towns tended to have fountains in them so you could drink and rest, for example, and people would gather there.

Eventually Diku games added questing engines, then scripting languages (see Worlds of Carnage), etc, and diversity developed. Because they were functional games with content out of the box, many “stock muds” were created, which had little differentiation from one another. If you knew some C you could customize the game some, and the single commonest means of doing so was to add more classes, more levels, and more player races. It got to be a common sight to see games advertising “20 classes, 30 races, and 500 levels!!!!!” without actually offering different gameplay.

It is important to realize that Dikus were the least flexible codebase at the time. The other dominant codebases were built to be programmable platforms out of the box: MUSH, MOO, and LPMuds all had significantly greater capabilities and flexibility. They were “scriptable” out of the box, had online creation support rather than requiring you to create content in flat text files, and most importantly, the core rulesets for a game were written “in the platform,” using the softcode tools that were available. Because of this, tracing the history of a given mud feature backwards will usually find that it didn’t originate on Dikus.

That said, Diku codebases did eventually popularize many of the major developments in muds. Procedural zones had been done before; in Dikus, you saw 1,000 room procedural dungeons.  Instancing, public quests, player housing (in the style we know today, as opposed to UGC systems), the modern scripting system model, the modern persistence system, and aspects of zone-based PvP all were developed or hugely elaborated on DikuMUDs. In addition, once scripting hit, DikuMUDs arguably saw the flowering of quests to a level unseen in other codebases (this is of course, a matter of opinion!). Diku derivatives gained things that got going first on other codebases, like banks, auction houses, PvP systems, player-formed clans, moods systems, player government systems, overhead ASCII maps, and even tags for sound effects. Many Dikus had strict enforcement of rules regarding roleplaying, and even required players to stay in character at all times, or submit essays as applications to play. Despite this, the core remained hack n slash, with many terming Diku gameplay “roll-playing.”

If Abers set the template, Diku was the root from which a huge portion of  muds sprang, because they were so easy to get running (though hard to customize). As the initial code was release as open source (though not under what we would today call an open license), many variants were made and also released, and many of these then also resulted in derivatives, etc. When I did the tally in the late 90s, Diku-derived muds accounted for around 60% of all muds running. Considering there were at least three other major codebases and traditions with radically different architectures and significantly more power and flexibility, this was quite an achievement. By the end of their dominance, the Dikus were beginning to rival other codebases such as MOOs and LPMuds in flexibility, whilst still retaining a simpler core architecture than either.

Because they were template fill-in-the-blank muds, most of them were very similar, and had to differentiate solely on their worldbuilding and fiction. However, few altered the basic combat equation. Among other terms “tanking” “nuking” and the like were common. (Thieves were sort of a nuker, in some ways — they were used to initiate combat with a “backstab” attack that did up to quadruple damage — they then they had to get out of the way! They were also used as scouts because they could move without triggering aggro). In fact, “kiting” also took place quite a lot, by leading high level aggressive mobs into low level areas.

Everquest was created by players of DikuMUDs (specifically Forgotten Realms ones — Sojourn, Toril, Duris), and even had the same wording for many server-generated messages (“it begins to rain,” which was completely superfluous for a 3d game!). It played so similarly to its inspirations that some wondered if  it actually was a DikuMUD, with graphics added on. See here for the resolution of that (false) rumor. Meridian 59 had DikuMUD players on its team. UO had three Diku players on the original core team (and a couple folks from other codebases). Of the early MMORPGs, UO played the least like a Diku, whereas the line of inheritance from Diku to EQ and thence to WoW is completely undeniable.

In the end, the central elements of phase-based combat, combat states, cool-down based special attacks, tank-healer-nuker triad, and basic aggro management are what you play today in WoW. A Diku player from the late mudding period would feel completely at home if you just gave them slash commands and a text box. They’d be astonished by the number of quests, would think the crafting system was insane, and would think that the entire PvP system was either a rip from an EmlenMUD or was teleporting you to HoloMUD, in the case of the battlefields. Even raids would feel a lot like a “group of groups” tackling a level 50, albeit at a scale smaller; I recall participating in a “raidish” encounter on Worlds of Carnage against a dragon in a tower which nearly “wiped,” consisting of a half dozen maxed out characters and an assortment of lower ones. My character, who was the lowest there by far, happened to get in the final blow and was the sole survivor, and gained five levels in one fell swoop.

While it is true that many of these core elements stretch back to AD&D, the fact is that as a pen and paper game, AD&D played quite differently when in the hands of an expert group. Similarly, even though there were plenty of of hack n slash tropes in place in AberMuds and various LPMud mudlibs (a mudlib is more or less a ruleset… that’s a whole other article!), or in standalone games such as the Wizardry and Might & Magic series, there was a very specific “feel” to how Dikus played, and this remained even across all the many children codebases (the DikuMUD home page has a family tree of these).

In the end, if you play modern MMORPGs, you are playing what to a veteran feels strongly reminiscent of what they saw when they headed out of Midgaard and towards Haon Dor to go kill giant spiders, in 1991.

Hope that answers your question! Everything above is from memory, so dinos, feel free to jump in and correct me.

  43 Responses to “What is a Diku?”

  1. You’re such a nerd. That’s more about DIKU than I ever wanted to know. I think that’s more about DIKU than anyone should even know… You’re such a nerd… ;)

  2. Truly fascinating. I appreciate the time you spent writing that.

  3. That was an absolutely amazing summary of DIKU mechanics. Wow.

  4. This is an excellent and really complete summary. However, I did notice one thing that seemed a little off.

    If I’m recalling right, respawning at guildhalls was a later innovation and wasn’t present in the earliest forms of DikuMUD. Early DikuMUDs, and codebases that forked off of the family tree early – particularly CircleMUD – instead had a type of room that could only be defined once per server. This was the respawn room (I forget the actual room tag), and was set on the Temple of Midgaard by default.

    I also recall that many early-style DikuMUDs had no restrictions – or very few authored restrictions – on the class-based usage of gear. Clerics, I think, were hard-coded to not be able to use weapons flagged as edged.

    One of the other “features” that has more or less disappeared in modern MMOs is a weight-based restriction on how much gear you could carry.

  5. Thanks very much Raph :)

    The wikipedia page on this subject says “hack and slash”, which I’ve always known did a disservice to the complexity of some MUDs, but I only ever played one, and never knew how it was similar to / or differed from any others. It’s very nice to finally get a summary of it, especially because I expect that a lot of people throwing the term around now, don’t know what it means first hand, but from an abstraction of which MMOs have been called most DIKU-like.

  6. I feel compelled to share my Diku Haiku from this Nerfbat thread

    Though not a clear term
    But often used to compare
    The diku abides

  7. Great read Raph. Thanks for the history. Template based game development, hmmmm I wonder who’s at the forefront of bringing that to todays devs :D

  8. All that said, Hack and slash is still defines Diku moreso than any other type of MUD. Worlds like Second Life are descendants of MUSH’s and MOO’s. Diku’s were and still are the most unabashed “games”, with most of the other MUD types exploring other aspects of virtual worlds.

    Today’s casual gamers really want to be playing something more like a MUSH/MOO, but beside Second Life the concept hasn’t reached critical mass yet. I think Eve’s ever forthcoming Ambulation expansion would be an awesome place to do a basic MUSH implementation though.

  9. Actually, the template-based game development approach is the default mode for MMORPG creation today, because it’s the only scalable solution. EQ’s original system didn’t have scripting either — quests were done via templates.

  10. You’re right… vanilla Diku didn’t have guildhalls. In fact, I don’t remember now whether the donation room was in Dika Alfa or not. It always seemed like a variant concept lifted to some degree from the whole MUD1-thru-Aber collection mechanic where you brought loot back to the well in the center town (or equivalent — the equivalent to the Zork trophy case) and threw it in there to claim the points. On many Diku-derived systems you used a “sacrifice” command to sacrifice stuff to the gods, which deleted it and gave you money or XP.

    It gets hard for me to disentangle what was in Diku Alfa vs ROM vs Circle and so on, especially since I started after ROM, and forked into custom Diku-derived codebases almost immediately.

  11. Raph, that was a glorious trip down memory lane for me. Shame I couldn’t have started in on MUDs earlier!

  12. You’re such a nerd. That’s more about DIKU than I ever wanted to know. I think that’s more about DIKU than anyone should even know…

    IMHO anyone who is a professional designer of MMORPG game systems should know the above. Just like anyone who designs 3d platformers for a living had better be able to tell me everything about Mario 64, and anyone who makes RPGs for a living really better be able to give me a disquisition on the differences between yellow spine AD&D and red box D&D.

  13. anyone who makes RPGs for a living really better be able to give me a disquisition on the differences between yellow spine AD&D and red box D&D.

    That was before my time. What’s the differences?

    I’m taking notes here, seriously. =)

  14. anyone who makes RPGs for a living really better be able to give me a disquisition on the differences between yellow spine AD&D and red box D&D.

    That was before my time. What’s the differences?

    Ack. Get thee to a used bookstore. You only need the two red box books (staple-bound) and the two original yellow-spine books, the Player’s Handbook and the Dungeon Master’s Guide.

    D&D was born as D&D, then gained detail, grittiness, and complexity, and turned into AD&D. Then the name D&D remained applied to simpler versions used as a gateway to get people to play. This worked — it was the “red box D&D basic set” that was the big thing spreading D&D into the popular consciousness.

    Imagine AD&D today, with a bunch of the number-heavy rules whacked off. Alignment collapsed from two axes to one: good, evil, neutral. But the most important difference was unification of classes and races. You could be a human fighter. Or an elf. You get the idea.

    Yellow-spine AD&D was the last incarnation of 1st edition AD&D. It was just a reprinting with different covers of the older 1st edition books, which had very varied spines. The changes from 1st ed to 2nd and 3rd are not my expertise, because I didn’t like 2nd much and never played 3rd.

  15. I only played one or two games with 2nd edition, before 3rd came out. Skipped 3.5 and am now going to join a 4th edition campaign starting tomorrow.

    Though once the newbies get a hang of it, I hope we’ll convert over to Mutants and Masterminds 2e.

    Thanks for the lessons, prof!

  16. >If you reached the maximum level, common cultural practice was that you were invited to become a game admin (this practice dates back to much earlier, and I believe existed in some form in MUD2)

    It’s older than that – it dates back to MUD1.

    Richard

  17. I find it interesting and perhaps a bit ironic that 4th edition AD&D plays a lot like WoW. The ouroboros of WoW being inspired by MUDs being inspired by D&D which is now being inspired by WoW… Is this an evolution of gaming, or are we simply entering into a cycle of self-referential development?

  18. It’s interesting to look at the meta-features of DIKU that have not been adopted by MMOs, such as transformation of player to game admin, player/admin/owner created content, and of course the DIY nature of having source code and a prebuilt worldlet available.

    Speaking of source code. The advice has been given in other threads to “download the source code if you want to understand it.” I did a while back (DIKU and a few others) and went through it, and found it very enlightening. It’s sort of astounding how simplistic it is.

    I also created my own MUD server (CoffeeMud) on my dev box to mess around with it. Also very enlightening when it comes to understanding MUDs. I also found it a very useful tool for virtual world prototyping, because with a few sentences I could create a whole space, easily shuffle my virtual world around, add new paths (or remove them), add NPCs, interactive objects and so forth. No art required, and trivial to change a concept by just changing a text description.

  19. The other favorite first mod to a DIKU mud (one of my roommates and i started one back at UMD called Nitemare, then changed the name to Arcane Nites to get in the A section of mud connector :P) was to add ANSI color support. OMG THERE’S COLOR ON THIS TERMINAL!?!!!! Ah, the good old days!

    Adding “hero” levels or re-mort and other ways to do things without changing the original level system was a pretty common modification too.

  20. Raph:

    anyone who makes RPGs for a living really better be able to give me a disquisition on the differences between yellow spine AD&D and red box D&D.

    I guess I’ll never be an RPG designer… My “disquisition” would focus more on the differences in positioning, strategy, and social footprint than on the differences in mechanics. I think designers should also be familiar with the more business-y aspects of their products, but I suppose not everyone can be you. ;)

    By the way, after reading the entire post this time, I was surprised that I was familiar with everything there. I just never associated the DIKU name. I came to MUDs much later than you (probably around 1996) and was more attracted to SMAUG, which blended Merc and DIKU, than I was to simply DIKU.

    I had a SMAUG server running and a few builders. We never took flight, but at least we replaced Midgaard. Ah, I wish the glory days of MUDs weren’t over…

    (Oh, and back then, “blogs” were just news publishing systems written in Perl.)

  21. By the way, if you look at http://www.mudstats.com/MainPage.aspx , you can see how popular various types of MUDs are.

    The most popular fantasy are custom code bases, from Simutronics and Iron Realms.

    Is Aardwolf a DIKU derivative?

    I belive that Discworld (way down on the list) is the largest LPMUD left… but I could be wrong.

    Notice that MUCKs and MUSHes are the most popular in MudStats. I wonder if it’s because most of the Fantasy MUD players went to MMORPGs. Furry and MUSH players have moved to second life, though maybe in not as eagerly as the Fantasy MUD exodous. RPI MUDs still have no graphical equivalent.

  22. Man, I’m too tired to finish just yet, but what an interesting history… that ‘rent’ concept is brutal! Lol, these days I bet they’d love for you to sign up but never play!

  23. I disagree with some of that history as it relates to the development of innovation. (But it’s overall a great write-up!)

    LPmud was scriptable from the get-go; Diku was probably the last significant codebase to get scripting. LPmud predates Diku by about two years, and from the beginning, LPmuds were extremely quest-driven. By the time Diku arrived on the scene, the big LPs already had dozens if not hundreds of quests and wizards (privileged users who could extend the game in LPC).

    Nearly all the innovations you cite (your list with procedural zones, banking, etc.) were in LPmuds, and sometimes actually part of public mudlibs, long before Dikus got scripting — and indeed, a fair number of these innovations predate Diku itself.

    LP (and its derivatives of MudOS and DGD) got a lengthy head-start on Diku, in large part because the initial need to code everything in C severely hampered the ability of individuals to innovate. LP — where everything, including the LP kernel, was real-time OLC — made it trivial for very large teams to collaborate on a single MUD, and to have an array of complex systems that could either interconnect or be standalone.

    So for instance, free-form clan formation on LPs dates back at least to 1991, and may go back even earlier. Because of the flexibility of LPC, it was pretty straightforward for an individual wizard to code a guild. Even if your LP did not provide a core framework and standards for doing so, you could still do it as an individual coder.

    In the end, the burgeoning complexity of LP derivatives killed them. You can get a stock DikuMUD running trivially, and many people did just that, and built from there. Conversely, over time, LP got more and more stripped down, until what you had was the equivalent of virtual operating system services, and that’s it. On top of that foundation, you needed to have a mudlib, which was in and of itself an incredibly complex coding project, if you wanted to be non-stock. (The cool modern mudlibs are all unfinished, leaving people who want to work with something stable and proven to use 1995′s Nightmare IV mudlib.) Now, the number of people who still know the drivers, understand how to write a mudlib, and also have time to implement the actual game on top of that, is vanishingly small, and pretty much nobody actually gets to opening new LPs these days. That’s been true for basically the last decade.

    More broadly, I think increased rarified sophistication really accelerated the doom of the hobby of MUDding in general. The hard-core become ever more hard-core, demanding tremendous amounts of effort go into creating a polished game from the get-go, and also becoming less and less tolerant of noob incompetence either from players or admins. So we still get a lot of valiant attempts that die on the vine, because no one has the time or will to deal with a lengthy development cycle, especially when it’s unclear whether or not the effort will actually yield players.

    Or to put it another way: We have not had the equivalent of the “casual games revolution” in MUDding yet.

  24. That’s why I said “popularize[d]… developed or hugely elaborated on DikuMUDs.” Both LPMuds and for that matter the children of Tiny* had scripting before Diku existed. Heck, scripting MUDDLE was there from the get-go for MUD. :) It is probably more accurate to say that Diku was one of the few codebases born without scripting.

    As you say, the big issue with LPMuds was also their strength. Yes, there was OLC. But you had to use LPC to make innovative features, and that was just about exactly as hard as it was on Dikus. But the whole mudlib thing was in some ways an additional barrier, as you cite.

    LPMud wasn’t “scripted” in the modern way, which owes more to the Diku style of doing things. It had the three-part driver-mudlib-content setup going, but in practice the mudlib and the content were made of the same code, LPC. The more typical MMORPG way would be to have a system of scripts as event-driven special behaviors layered on top of a hardcoded engine.

    One of the side effects of this was that you saw a LOT of code swapping and content swapping in the Diku world that I never saw to the same degree on the LP side. Scripting languages, guild systems, spells, all sorts of stuff was passed back and forth, including across child codebases. You can still find converters for change area files from one codebase’s file format to another, for example. The mudlib system seemed to limit this somewhat to within one mudlib family of muds.

    So for instance, free-form clan formation on LPs dates back at least to 1991, and may go back even earlier. Because of the flexibility of LPC, it was pretty straightforward for an individual wizard to code a guild.

    When I say freeform clan formation I mean, a system for a group of players to get together and create a new clan on the fly. No coding required. As I said, I have no idea where it came from… on Legend we were omnivorous about grabbing good ideas.

    As far as quests — again, same applies. Quests were “code” in LPs, and “content” in Dikus. By the late 90s, the quests done in the lightweight scripting found on Dikus were eclipsing the stuff you tended to see on LPs, IMHO. YMMV of course. :)

    I played LPs considerably less than Dikus, but my sense of them was that they had highly uneven feature sets, because of mudlib differences. When I started playing muds, many LPs did not yet have persistence for equipment. And an awful lot of them were never finished, as you say. Finally, many of them ended up playing basically like Dikus anyway.

    That said, I think that the overall mudlib model is GOOD. Both UO and Metaplace have more in common with LP architecture in some ways …

    The whole thing about a codebase’s strength also being its weakness applies just as much to all the codebases. In Dikus, templates were strength and weakness. LPs, it was the mudlib architecture. In MUSHes and MOOs it was the softcode architecture…

  25. I just finished playing LegendMUD for hours and hours. (Look at the timestamp.)

    What I’ve always liked about MUDs is their sense of community. In a MUD, you can ask for help without everyone insulting you. No, you actually get help with the systems, features, mechanics, etc. They’ll point you in the right direction, teach you things you need to know, and even come to your rescue if you ask. You don’t get that in games like World of Warcraft where the experience is largely impersonal.

  26. Excellent! This question of what a DikuMUD is has come up in several conversations lately and this page is a great link to give people to explain that. Yes another page of Raph’s added to my bookmarks!

  27. Neat timing, Raph! For the last few days, we’ve been having some interesting discussions over on the MMORPGMaker forums about DikuMUDs, their history, and the relevance of the name to modern MMOs. ;)

    http://mmorpgmaker.vault.ign.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=8406
    http://mmorpgmaker.vault.ign.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=8478

    The first is more an argument over whether any MMO can accurately be labeled a descendant of the DikuMUD, and what that means… The latter is a more interesting discussion about whether or not the industry has effectively plumbed the maximum depth of the well of what can be done with the Diku model.

    Now we’ve got a thread linking to this blog post, too. ;) It was a good read, and the timing was excellent for the discussions we’ve been having, thanks!

  28. I just wanted to point out that, thanks largely to the effort of one developer, you can run a clean and modern Nightmare-derived mudlib, Dead Souls, on unix and Windows. He’s also done a lot of work to make older mudlibs easier to use for someone new to LPs, and has set up lpmuds.net as a central repository.

    Regarding Lydia Leong’s last comment about a casual games revolution for muds, in the last year I’ve noticed a great acceleration in development of Flash-based clients and muds. Honestly I’m surprised it took this long, and it’s too early to tell how it will pan out, but you can see some of what the revolution might look like at mudgamers.com and avenshar.com.

  29. I wish you’d not use the past tense when writing about DIKUs, given that they’re an ongoing concern, not just a part of the past! There’s a tendency not to understand that text MUDs are not just part of the past, but that there are hundreds of active text MUDs (granted, with very small playerbases).

    Mike Rozak wrote:

    By the way, if you look at http://www.mudstats.com/MainPage.aspx , you can see how popular various types of MUDs are.

    The most popular fantasy are custom code bases, from Simutronics and Iron Realms.

    Is Aardwolf a DIKU derivative?

    Yes.


    I belive that Discworld (way down on the list) is the largest LPMUD left… but I could be wrong.

    Pretty sure Batmud is bigger than Discworld but not positive.


    Notice that MUCKs and MUSHes are the most popular in MudStats.

    No, that’s an illusion created because the culture on those games is to allow for excessive idling and MudStats bases population on reported online player counts (they undercount many MUDs since many MUDs don’t report player counts or don’t report the real online player count). By allowing lots of idling, they drastically boost their player counts (often only about 20% of online players on something like Shangri-la are actually there, playing).

    For instance, I once compared the idle times (how long since a player last entered a command) on Achaea to Shangri-la. The longest idle time any of the online Achaea players had was 24 minutes. The average idle time on Shangri-la was 26 minutes. You sit afk on Achaea (and many other MUDs) and you risk being kicked off by admins or being PK’d. I’d assume the same isn’t true on Shangri-la.


    I wonder if it’s because most of the Fantasy MUD players went to MMORPGs. Furry and MUSH players have moved to second life, though maybe in not as eagerly as the Fantasy MUD exodous. RPI MUDs still have no graphical equivalent.

    They did actually, but not that I’m aware of now. Underlight was an RP-enforced graphical MUD/MMO.

    –matt

  30. The big thing about LP muds for me was that in the 1990 – 1992 timeframe most of them did not persist much of the character record and that was a huge turn off for me. Diku’s didn’t offer most of the cool thing I had heard about on LPs but in the end what it did offer didn’t need to be played again when you next logged in. I never really looked back so I have little idea how they developed into the latter half of the 1990s. Lack of persistent state drove me away. Either that or I didn’t find the one shining example that had character persistence which I’m sure someone will happily point out for me. Nearly all, if not all, Dikus had it on the other hand.

  31. I wish you’d not use the past tense when writing about DIKUs, given that they’re an ongoing concern, not just a part of the past! There’s a tendency not to understand that text MUDs are not just part of the past, but that there are hundreds of active text MUDs (granted, with very small playerbases).

    An excellent point.

  32. I want to play Sojourn again. That was 15? years ago. Jesus.

  33. Raph you’re so cool. I’m sorry I called your poem gay.

    Love,
    Bonedead

  34. Dude, talk about a late reply. :)

  35. That brings me back to my glory days on Arctic MUD…..Good times!

  36. [...] landscape.  What about you with more playing experience than I?  What do you want out of a non-DIKU [...]

  37. [...] a key part of the Holy Trinity that to date every DikuMUD (muds descending from Diku code bases, as Raph Koster’s magisterial analysis describes), and the core combat mechanic hasn’t really changed that much in the intervening [...]

  38. [...] a key part of the Holy Trinity that to date every DikuMUD (muds descending from Diku code bases, as Raph Koster’s magisterial analysis describes), and the core combat mechanic hasn’t really changed that much in the intervening [...]

  39. [...] looks for news). I wasn’t planning on playing it; it’s nice to see alternatives to the Diku-esque model of most recent major MMOGs, but I don’t think Darkfall is for me. Apart from anything [...]

  40. [...] business model, a persistent world to share with others, the character advancement system, and the DikuMUD-derived base gameplay. The community and social systems are a major reason that players are happy to play [...]

  41. [...] deriva de la mecánica de juego de los DikuMUD (este artículo explica en qué consiste un MUD y este articulo de Raph Koster explica detalladamente en qué consiste esta mecánica. Véase también este [...]

  42. [...] the “diku era” (or frankly, the WoW era at this point what with the new role of quests and all) has to [...]

  43. [...] Raph’s Website » What is a Diku?Jan 9, 2009… at UMD called Nitemare, then changed the name to Arcane Nites to get in the A section of mud connector ) was to add ANSI color support. [...]

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