BABBA Magazine, Issue 7 - September 1993, pages 11-14
An introduction to MUD
(By Kristen Ruggio, Goddess of the
Shadows Of Reality MUD)
A MUD is the Internet equivalent of a single-purpose
BBS. Using the Telnet utility, you
"log in" to a BBS-like entity. MUDs are available to anyone
who has a fully functional Internet account.
MUD is a general purpose abbreviation
for these BBS like programs. MUD usually
stands for either a:
- Multiple User Domain (A general BBS-like program)
- Multiple User Dungeon (An adventure/chat Game)
- Multiple User Dialogue (A chat "BBS")
MUDS are most often implemented as text based
adventure/chat games, although a few have file
collections. People take MUDs seriously.
Multiple User Dungeons are by far the most popular,
so that kind of MUD will be explained here.
Many concepts are very similar for other types of MUDs.
A MUD is a computer program which users can log
into and explore. Each user takes control of a
You can walk around, chat with other characters,
explore dangerous monster-infested areas,
solve puzzles and even create your very
own rooms, descriptions and items.
You can also get lost or confused if you
jump right in, so read on, before starting.
There are about 15 different types of
MUD programs out there on the Internet.
I suggest that you experiment around to see what
you find is the most interesting. If there's one
thing MUDdom has, it's variety:
- Tiny - This family of MUDs are usually more 'social'
in orientation. The players on these MUDs gather, chat,
meet friends, make jokes and discuss things.
- MUCKs or MUSHes - These extend the Tiny MUD
programs by including a usable programming language.
- LPMUDs - These are based on roleplaying adventure
games. In these, your character runs around
killing monsters, finding money and making
experience in the quest to become a wizard.
LPMUD wizards have access to a very powerful
programming language with which they can add
more sections to the MUD library.
- BSXMUDs - These are LPMUDs with simple graphics.
- DikuMUDs and AberMUDs - These are simpler than LPMUDs.
Wizards don't get access to the programming library.
- MOOs- These have an object-oriented programming
language, and are more 'social' in nature.
- UnterMUDs - These can connect to each other
directly, and have both a scripting language
and a programming language.
How do I get onto a Mud?
The most common method of connecting to
a MUD is via the telnet protocol. Telnet
should be available on all UNIX machines
on the Internet. If not, contact your sysadmin.
A good place to start is with a popular
LPMUD called Moral Decay. It can be addressed
via the command (telnet zeus.csee.usf.edu 2002)
and has been running for several years.
If you get a message saying that the MUD is
currently full please try back later.
Moral Decay has a limit of 40 users on
at any given time not counting wizards or
extremely high level players.
Also, watch the USENET newsgroup
Every Friday a complete listing of MUDs
is posted. If you can't wait till Friday,
you can mail MUDlist@glia.6iostr.washington.edu
and ask for one. They are also available by
FTPing from caisr2.caisr.cwru.edu
(188.8.131.52) in /pub/MUD.
What do I do Now?
I will use the Moral Decay mud as my example:
telnet zeus.csee.usf.edu 2002
Opening connection to zeus.csee.usf.edu 2002
escape sequence set to ^]
Enter your username:
(At this point you must create a username.
This should be a fantasy name but can be
anything you want. Most MUDs trap profanity
in user names and if you receive a message
about that name being banished or in use,
Enter a password:
(Select a password as you would on any other
system. Use a unique password.)
Many MUDs, including Moral Decay, will then ask
you to choose a sex and a race from a list of
fantasy races. Race decision will influence your
I suggest sticking with your real sex.
Many relationships are formed over MUDs
and I am aware of several weddings
that are about to take place from people who
have met over the MUDs. If a MUD asks for your
email address please supply it. It is a security
procedure and that information will not
be given out to users.
Why read Instructions?
At this point, you should do what is least
intuitive: type (help), read the instructions and
understand them. Play around with the commands
until you understand them and are ready to begin
Some people are easily annoyed when other people
clearly have no idea what they are doing, even if
they were recently in that position themselves.
Many players will even kill you for annoying them!
Most MUD players are helpful, and asking them
"Could you answer a quick question?" will often
work just fine.
You shouldn't do anything that you wouldn't do
in real life, even if the world is a fantasy world.
The important thing to remember is that a MUD is
a fantasy world of possibly hundreds of people.
It is not just your world in particular.
There's a human being on the other side of
each and every wire! Always remember that you
may meet these other people some day, and you
can come to regret something you did in your
Wait a minute!
It is still undecided whether
"Muding" is just a game or an extension of
real life with game-like qualities. Either way,
treat your MUD world with care.
Is it a game, or an extension of real
life with game like qualities?
It's up to you. Some jaded cynics
like to laugh at idealists who think it's partially
for real, but I personally think they're not playing
it right. Certainly the hack-n-slash stuff is
only a game, but the social aspects may well
be less so.
Demand things. Steal things. Whine.
Follow others around. Page or bother them over and over - after
they've asked you to stop. Shout something obscene.
I have seen one user say "Why can't I wield
the F***ing sword" bring 20 people
bent on killing him!
Most MUDS have a core of similar commands which
players use to move around and interact with
each other. For instance:
(say), (look), (go), (west), (get), (wield), (drop),...etc.
MU* - Muds in general. It refers to all MUDs.
RL - Real life.
lag - A bog on the network often causing
you to freeze up.
newbie - A person who is new and
has little idea what he/she is doing or where they are.
Wizard - A coder for the game.
Often having won the game.
Archwizard - A senior coder. If there is
a problem with a wizard, take it to them.
They however are often very busy.
They may also be referred to as admins.
God, Goddess, Root - All refer to the senior
level operator of a mu*. They are the Sysops.
They have put in many hours providing you
an area to play. Be nice to them.
Feelings - The commands convey feelings.
(smile) causes your character to smile.
Most MUDs have these commands that provide
invaluable assistance in social conversation.
Mudsex - Mudsex is putting the above feelings
to use in an erotic situation. Mudsex can
be very powerful emotionally and can ruin
friendships. Do not go around asking every
member of the opposite sex as it
is a good way to get your character
killed, or if you are profane, deleted.
Mudder - The people who play the MUD.
More about 'Wizards' and 'Gods'
Gods are the people who own the Muds. In most Muds,
wizards are barely distinguishable from Gods -
they're just barely one step down from the
God of the Mud. An LPMUD Wizard is a player
who has 'won' the game, and is now able to create new
sections of the game. LPMUD wizards are very powerful,
but they don't have the right to do whatever
they want to you; they must still follow
their own set of rules or face the wrath
of the Gods. Gods can do whatever they
want - to whomever they want - whenever they want.
I suggest asking a wizard before mailing
a God as many Gods are tremendously busy
keeping wizards in line. Moral Decay is an
excellent MUD to start on because the God
'Exedore Xand' keeps his wizards on a tight
leash so there are seldom problems with
wizards and when there are, a quick letter
to him will get it dealt with.
Wizards receive nothing for what they do so treat
them kindly. They provide the world you play
in and spend many hours working with the MUD
and other wizards to keep it going. But remember,
they are people too, and like to make friends
just as much as the next person.
Finding out more
There are several Usenet newsgroups
associated with MUDs:
rec.games.MUD.admin - Postings pertaining
to the administrative side of MUDs.
rec.games.MUD.announce - moderated group,
where announcements of MUDs opening,
closing, moving, partying, etc. are posted.
rec.games.MUD.diku - Postings pertaining to DikuMUDs.
rec.games.MUD.lp - Postings pertaining to LPMUDs.
rec.games.MUD.misc - Misc. postings.
Postings pertaining to the Tiny* family of MUDs.
If you feel you must post something to Usenet, please do it in
the group where it best belongs - no posts about TinyMUSH
in the Diku group, no questions about an LPMUD in the
Tiny group, etc.
"I've got an idea, I'll start my own MUD!"
More power to you, make sure that you:
- Are very good with the 'C' language.
- Are willing to spend a large portion of your life
as a Wizard/God; 8 hours a day is below average.
- Have a machine to run it on. Very Important: Get permission
from your sysadmin before setting one up because
MUDs are very processor intensive.
Usenet on your BBS?
(By Randy Just)
(Part 1 of 2: An Overview)
Recently, there has been a lot of attention in the media
about the Internet and Usenet. This focus has not
been limited to computer rags, but to mainstream
America as well. Several articles have appeared
in publications such as the San Francisco Chronicle
about this massive network called the Internet.
This attention is justified as the number of
users that are getting access is increasing at
a dramatic rate. Some sources indicate this number
as high as one million new users per month.
These articles have a tendency to describe all of
the wonderful things the Internet and Usenet are,
but never really describe the makeup of these
networks. These same articles usually end with
a list of phone numbers to call for Internet
access and stop there. Many BBS operators read
this information and wonder how they can connect
to this infinite network. But the writers of the
aforementioned articles never seem to discuss
this step. The focus of this article is a primer
for a BBS operator to do what is necessary to
Usenet versus Internet
Often Usenet and the Internet are mentioned in the
same breath, and therefore, to the average person,
they are thought of as the same. It is important
to understand the distinction between the two.
Even though there is a close relationship between
the Internet and Usenet, they aren't the same.
Usenet news may, and often does, travel over
the Internet, though it doesn't have to.
Although a user may have access to
the Internet, they may not have access
to Usenet and vise-versa.
Usenet may be referred to as news,
newsgroups or groups as well.
The concept is, for all practical purposes,
identical to CompuServe forums or FidoNet
echoes. The number of newsgroups available are
in the thousands, covering a wide range of topics.
Usenet is a network designed for news exchanging.
Internet is a network designed for transferring of
files and logging into remote systems around the
world at high speeds through Ethernet, leased phone
It is much easier for a BBS operator to connect to
Usenet as opposed to the Internet. A BBS operator
is unlikely to obtain a full Internet connection
as the costs are out of the reach of a typical
Costs can be thousands a month in fees alone,
and therefore outside the scope of this article.
In order for a BBS operator to obtain access to Usenet,
it is necessary to obtain a newsfeed or what is often
called a "feed". Very simplistically, a feed
consists of compressed packets of data that
make up the newsgroups. Available sources of
feeds are often "posted" as messages on Usenet.
Unless one has access to Usenet it can be
difficult to obtain a source for a feed and
therefore, the catch-22 situation.
Finding a Feed
One way to get a feed is to find a BBS that offers Usenet
feeds. An excellent resource is BABBA,
which enables you to search for all BBSs offering
potential Usenet feeds.
An ideal system to receive a feed from would be free,
a local phone call and an understanding Sysop.
While these systems are rare, they do exist.
If you do find such a system, see if a voice
phone number is available where you can discuss
with the Sysop what you desire to do. If this isn't
possible, then call the system and post a message
stating your intentions.
These BBS systems are often managed by professional
people that have a very limited amount of time
for hand holding. You should do your homework
before contacting a system for a feed.
As an alternative, it is possible to receive
a feed from a commercial system such as
HoloNet or CRL.
These systems will
provide a feed for a fee. The rate
schedules vary amongst these providers.
Some are a flat-fee with an unlimited
amount of connect time while others
charge for connect time and/or the amount
of data transferred. The operators of these
systems will often supply technical assistance,
but you should limit your questions to more critical
ones lest their patience be tried.
As a side note, it is also possible to obtain a
feed via satellite. Some providers are offering
the sale of satellite dishes with the appropriate
hardware and software for approximately $2000.
Part of this includes a limited number of months
of free service and then a monthly charge at
some point in the future. (Does anyone want
to see an article on this?)
As indicated earlier, there are a variety of newsgroups
available on Usenet. The newsgroups have names such
as comp.os.cpm (Discussion about the CP/M operating
system) and rec.food.cooking (Food, cooking,
cookbooks and recipes).
Your potential feed should be available
to supply you with a list of available newsgroups.
This list will contain newsgroup names that are
in a similar format to the above.
Your source for your feed may or may not have
all the available Usenet newsgroups. This is
often referred to as a "full newsfeed" as opposed
to a "limited newsfeed". Commercial providers
usually have a full newsfeed. Systems that
provide a free newsfeed will, more often than
not, have a limited newsfeed.
From the list of newsgroups, you can select
which would be desirable on your system. Most
likely, those chosen will be reflective of the theme
of your BBS. It is necessary to supply this list
of your desired newsgroups to the system operator.
You may need to put these in a pre-specified format
in an email message, or sometimes verbally.
The system operator will supply you with a
UUCP login (discussed later) and a password.
The size of a full newsfeed is daunting.
At the present level of newsgroups available on
Usenet, a full newsfeed at 9600 baud would
take the better part of a day to download and
Usenet and UNIX
The vast majority of Usenet data exchange happens
via computers using the UNIX operating system.
You do not need UNIX to participate in Usenet,
but you do need some way of "talking" to the
computers supplying your feed. The vehicle most
often used to do this is UUCP (Unix-to Unix copy).
UUCP is designed around serial cables and
modems using standard dial-up telephone
service as opposed to other more costly
networking technologies. UUCP is not just
one program, but a collection of programs
performing various tasks to facilitate the
networking of computers.
After a list of the needed newsgroups is supplied to
your feed, you should be able to start receiving
them onto your system. The process works as follows:
Packets of compressed data will be generated
by your feed source. These compressed
packets will contain messages for the
newsgroups that you requested.
Your system will download these
packets via UUCP. Once the packets are
downloaded to your system, it is necessary
for them to be uncompressed. When the
packet transfer completes,
this happens automatically, assuming you
have the appropriate software on your system.
The uncompressed packets will be in a text
format, but will have a mixture of
messages from the various newsgroups.
It is necessary to parse the messages
into the appropriate newsgroups. The software
will do this automatically after the download
is completed. After this step, messages in the
various newsgroups can be viewed using a "newsreader".
A newsreader allows for the viewing of messages,
as well as replying to messages, in the various
newsgroups. Different newsreaders offer different
features to assist in viewing messages.
If a user on your system replies to a message,
this reply is put into a packet and compressed.
When your system contacts your feed at the next
transfer, this packet will be uploaded and then
distributed to the various systems connected to Usenet.
Wrap-up (Stay tuned!)
Well, I'm out of space,
so I'll continue this article next month where
I'll discuss the specifics of what
software can be used on a DOS system to connect
to Usenet as well as some tips for UNIXheads.
I will also be discussing email on the Internet
and how that can be implemented on your system.
Two excellent books, published by O'Reilly & Associates, are
Using UUCP and Usenet by Grace Todino and Dale Dougherty,
and Managing UUCP and
Usenet Tim O'Reilly and Grace Todino. These
publications are oriented towards UNIX, but
offer an abundant amount of information about
Usenet as well.
Randy Just is the principal owner of Just Computers!,
developers of custom BBS and business
Usenet on a Waffle BBS
(By Steve Kong, Sysop of
Genesis/Mookie's Place BBS)
Some terms used when talking about
the Usenet and the Internet:
TCP/IP are protocols developed to allow computers
to share resources. TCP is an abbreviation
for Transmission Control Protocol and IP is an
abbreviation for Internet Protocol.
These protocols are used together
as the most common method of Internet
data transmission. TCP/IP is sometimes
referred to as the "Internet protocol suite" as it
provides standards for file transfers,
remote logins, and email.
Internet is the formation of many groups of
computer networks. The name Internet is
derived from "Inter-networked." Internet
generally uses TCP/IP to communicate in
real-time. Internet is the physical network,
not the information available on it.
UUCP is Unix to Unix CoPy. UUCP is a non-realtime
network system where email is stored and then
forwarded later. If you send a piece of mail
to someone at another site, it will go through
many systems before arriving there.
This is done to save money.
Usenet is a group of Newsgroups (forums)
usually available on the Internet.
Called "groups" for short, these are similar
to a SIG (Special Interest Group) or a
conference on a BBS network. Usenet is a
network of data and messages. The groups
originate from local Internet sites and function
similarly to BBS network hubs.
Unix to Unix Copy In Copy Out. This protocol is used
to get or send mail/news between Usenet sites.
Feed - A (usually local) Internet communications link
between two systems for the sending/receiving
What's on the Net?
Using UUCP, people can access both Usenet
groups and the Internet network. Usenet has
forums on every subject and originates all over
the world. Usenet group topics range from
Waffle BBS software support to Dave Barry fan clubs.
Anything that you can think of is on Usenet.
Who's on the Net?
Internet is a network originally set up by the military,
but is now used (and supported) by universities and large
companies. On Internet you can send mail to anyone in
the world who has access to it. Internet has links to
MCImail, CompuServe, AppleLink, etc.
Internet also has features such as FTP (File Transfer
Protocol) and TelNet. (Telnet is a feature for
logging in to remote Internet sites.)
Waffling into the Net
We started our BBS with the intention of getting
a link to the Internet. Since the Spectrox Systems BBS was
running the Waffle BBS package with Usenet so well,
we opted to use the Waffle BBS package too.
The Waffle BBS package includes the UUCICO network
interface. After we installed Waffle, we started
looking for an Internet link. We hit a stumbling
block when we found out that the Spectrox Systems
BBS feed "openings" were all full.
Getting a Feed
We briefly looked into commercial sites for a feed.
Fees start at around $39 for a basic feed.
You get a choice of the Usenet forums and an
Internet address for your site. They also
offer help in registering your site on the
Using BABBA, we found other Waffle BBS
sites in our area code and left feedback
to the Sysops that we needed help. The
next day we had two email messages
from different Sysops asking if we wanted
to join the SBAY.* feed of Usenet.
The SBAY.* is a local feed only between
BBSs in the Santa Clara/Santa Cruz areas.
Of course we said "sure!"
The Sysop of The Land of the Garg BBS,
Bob Van Cleef, helped us get set up. He started
'feeding' us Usenet. We opted for a feed from
only a few Usenet sites next to us because we
had no need for a large feed. A small feed (for us)
takes between 16 to 21 megs of disk space. A
larger feed can run between 45 to 60 megs a day.
A full feed is a lot more than that!
After we got our trial feed working, we checked
back with the Spectrox Systems BBS. As luck
would have it, they had an opening. We inquired
about getting a small feed. Aaron Anderer, the Sysop,
said "yes." We have been getting a feed for Usenet
That's how I got Internet on my Waffle BBS.
I did not investigate other
kinds of BBS software.
BBS Software of the Month: WAFFLE
(By Steve Kong)
If a Sysop is going
in the direction of Usenet/Internet,
they should consider Waffle BBS software because it's
easy to set up and use.
It's a great piece of software, especially if you
want to receive Internet/Usenet. Waffle has built in
support for Usenet. Waffle is a "UNIX style" BBS. UNIX style
BBSs can take a little while to get
I set up my net connection within a day. Unlike
other BBS software packages, Waffle does not
require a mail tosser and/ or a front door
program. Mail tossers and front door programs
are used to interface network mail with local
BBS systems. Setting up these external programs
is a pain.
Setting up Usenet with Waffle is a breeze.
Not only does Waffle BBS software make it easier to
join Usenet, it saves you money. When you pay the
small registration fee for the Waffle BBS package you
get all of its built-in network utilities.
(Some other BBS packages require you to pay well
over $100 for a mail tosser and/or a front door
program - in addition to the cost of the
Many BBS networks require the caller to
"Hit Escape twice to start the BBS." This is
sometimes a stumbling block for the BBS
caller. A Waffle BBS connected to Usenet
avoids that inconvenience.
Page 14 had an ad for the PhoeniX Software Solutions.
End of page 14. Go back or go to
page 15 or to
Mark's home page.