An LPC Renaissance
This is a long article. My time is valuable, and I presume you
feel the same way about yours. I will therefore begin with a
summary, then attempt to present my arguments in a structured way
to make things as brief as possible, while remaining informative.
There is horrendous and inexcusable bias toward one lib here.
I am its author, so I hope that, even if you don't forgive
me this bias, you'll understand it is just pride and not
disparagement of others.
* I am working on a way to promote LPmuds.
* My motivation and reasoning are explained in this article.
* The conclusion I've reached is that at this point, I need content.
* This means I need help.
* I ask for your help, either creating new stuff or donating content.
Progress So Far
Assessment of Viability
The Next Step part I
The Next Step part II
Lib coding is my hobby. I really enjoy it, much the
way a motorcycle freak spends his free time in the garage, or
like a gardening enthusiast constantly in his yard. My code
of choice and expertise is LPC.
It is more fun (for me) to have a hobby shared by
many people than a hobby shared by few. With more LPC coders
out there ideas and projects can be shared, and this is
a fun and cool thing.
I want to lure more people into using LPmud. The
more people use it, the more they will see how great it is
and either they will create their own LPmuds, or join
existing ones. Either way, the continued growth of an LPmud
community can build momentum toward a critical mass, where
a self-sustaining chain-reaction of continual adoption and
innovation can happen without relying on a couple of "movers
and shakers" to make things go.
This objective satisfies my intent, which is to have
more fun in my hobby, by having more people participate in it.
Progress So Far
I've sucessfully revived an old LP mudlib called
Dead Souls. It's been thoroughly debugged, updated, and
brought in line with the expectations of modern builders. I
don't feel any shame in saying it is, hands down, the best
LP mudlib you can download today. There are some thirty or
so development muds currently up and using Dead Souls.
I've partnered with Tacitus in promoting a site
called LPUniversity, which uses forums and a different
mudlib to advance the cause of LP.
Assessment of Viability (where I explain muds are not dead)
Probably the first objection any LP old-timer will
have is "what's the point? There are no more mudders."
From the perspective of the typical LP mud, this
probably seems like a clincher. Over the years, LP muds have
seen a decline in their playerbase, and one by one many
of the old LP muds have quietly winked out of existence. The
gjs router is loaded with moribund muds that barely breathe
one or two players a day, if that many. Muds, it seems,
This, however, is not so. That dust-covered old
LP geezer is mistaken. There is a strong and vibrant mudding
community out there. More than a thousand muds, certainly
thousands of players, with new ones every day. There is
a thriving mud landscape out there that the LP dinos don't
know about because they're in the old rut of seeing only
as far as their intermud network.
A couple of URL's should be a wakeup call. First,
take a look at http://www.topmudsites.com and scroll down
to the mud list. Connect to any of the top 10, or top 20, or
top 40, and tell me that mudding is dead. Consider also that
not only does the "top" list there go to 100, some of these
are *commercial* muds. People *pay* to be players.
"A few fools a community does not make," you might
say. Poke at a different site. Go to http://mudconnector.com/mud_listings.html
and connect to a few of the muds listed there. There's life
in muds, baby. Just because your mud is stagnant doesn't
mean everyone else has a foot in the grave.
What you are seeing is that LP muds have given up.
Like Detroit in the 80's. No innovation, no keeping up with
the market. Of course the LP intermud is a graveyard. The
world passed us by. Diku, once in ascendance, is now supreme.
But it doesn't have to stay that way.
LP muds are fabulously flexible and easy to learn
compared to the most popular types of muds out there. The mud
scene is largely composed of Diku and its derivatives, not
because of technical superiority or ease of use, but because
the fragmented LP community forgot to keep innovating.
The Diku muds have a dramatic advantage: since all
are written in C, for the most part anything written in one
will work on any other. There are vast repositories of
"snippets" that Diku admins consult...and by plugging this
here and that there, they can have a playable mud with
dozens of areas in a day. Or less.
Their disadvantage is that to do really fancy stuff,
they need someone highly skilled in C. As you know, that is
not so for LP muds. Just a fair knowledge of LPC is needed,
and this is an order of magnitude (at least) easier than
becoming mud-code proficient with C.
Dead Souls 2 has been specifically designed to
compete with Diku. It is super easy to install, and it has
an "On-Line Creation" system that lets you bypass line
editing when creating rooms, npc's, objects, etc. The big
stumbling block for beginners, the ed line editor, is now
just a minor inconvenience, if anything. It's heavily
documented, and I've gone as far as setting up a newbie-
friendly I3 router to support new adopters. It even comes
with a Windows version.
DS2 is poised to be the killer app that swings mass
interest back to LP, and this renaissance of LP adoption
is what I seek, to foster new development and innovation.
The Next Step, part I
Why do people write/run muds? If they just did it
for the technical pleasure, they'd just never open. The
majority of mud admins out there do what they do because
it's fun to run a game (or at least, they thought it would
be) and a game without players is, well, not much of a
A mud's success is most often measured in its
playerbase. Therefore, I have to consider this in my
LP Renaissance project. If people decide on an LP codebase,
or specifically DS2 as a lib, it's not usually because they
like me personally, or because the box it came in has a
cool dragon on it. My personality is insufferable, and there is
no box. The reason people would adopt is that they think they can
make a successful mud with it, and this most often means
lots of players.
My job, then, is to convince potential adopters that
players will come. So, what do players want? Good gameplay,
fun challenges, interesting areas. In short, players are
here to be entertained.
However, the stock Dead Souls 2.1 mud doesn't have
much in the way of areas. There are a few sample domains,
sure, and this is enough to demonstrate the basics of what
Dead Souls can do. But to really sell Dead Souls as a viable
option, it needs knock-em-dead areas. Areas that, when a
curious potential adopter installs and logs into their
test DS mud, makes them go "WOW!".
*That* is what sells a codebase. *That* is what can
make or break a lib. I am deeply proud of the work I've
done under the hood, but I do not fool myself about my
level of creativity or imagination. I'm smart enough to
know that I am great at lib work, but mediocre at content
And I've worked too hard on Dead Souls to resign
myself to mediocrity in one of its most vital aspects: gameplay.
To move forward, DS2 needs fun, exciting, *thrilling*,
stock areas. The current defaults are "just fine". They show
you how to do things, and things work properly. But that isn't
enough. When someone tries out DS2, I don't want them to say
"gee that was easy to install, and everything works properly."
I want them to say "This is GREAT!".
I therefore ask for your help. If you are a good
builder, please join my effort. It's your contribution of an
inspiring, exciting area for Dead Souls that will greatly
enhance its appeal and adoption.
In contributing to a Dead Souls area, you will be
ensuring that your work will live on, beyond just one mud.
Rather than have your work locked away in a single mud, and
hoping that mud doesn't fail, you can be sure that thousands
of people enjoy how you've expressed your creativity.
The Next Step, part II
This second part is closely related to the previous
issue. Let's assume that Dead Souls 2 is the vanguard of an
LP renaissance, and what is good for it is good for LP in
general (obviously this is tortured logic, but please humor me).
As wonderful as DS2 is, its Achille's heel is content.
Content, content, content. It isn't enough that DS2 is
technically superior in any way to any other lib. This advantage
is meaningless if people aren't attracted to it in the
first place. And the attraction for adopters is players. And
the attraction for players is content.
The request I'm about to make may well be unprecedented
in its bald, shameless effrontery. If you've read this far, though,
you can probably tell I've lost a lot of those normal behaviors
people associate with prudence.
The request? I want your mud.
Now, don't get me wrong, if you've got players and they
have fun and you run a game, I ask nothing of you. Ignore what
But there are a few out there that I'm speaking to. The
ones who can't really explain why their mud is still open, since
they haven't seen a serious player in months or years. The ones
that actually closed a mud, and maybe have a backup burned onto
CD, probably never to be played again.
You know who you are. Your content is great, and was once
enjoyed gratefully by many people, but now rather than collect
players, it collects dust. You're either flirting with closing
it, or closed it already.
I ask this of you: if nobody is gaining benefit from
that work, if all it will do is go to Old Mud Heaven...give it
What I want to do is build a showcase mud. I want to
provide potential adopters an example of what a Dead Souls mud
can be...with players and active creators and everything. I
don't just need content for the default Dead Souls distribution,
I also need content to run a Dead Souls Showcase that attracts the
kind of attention and energy that can make it an engine of
progress for LP.
I resurrected Dead Souls. Download it and see for yourself
how much effort and dedication went into it. You'll know I have
the skill and insane determination it takes to convert your
code, and make your mud breathe again.
Obviously you will admin your content, if you want. And
the Intellectual Property is yours...you wrote it, you have
What I want is not to take credit for anything. What I
want is to have a towering beacon of LPC goodness that can
call to new adopters, and serve as a source of potential
players and creators for the Old Guard.
Don't just say "Sounds neat. Hope it works." Help
me. I need your contribution. I can't do all this on my own.
Dead Souls Homepage