noun The means by which significantly different programmings of MUD are named.
Versions follow the DEC-10 naming convention, consisting of a number followed
by a letter, followed by another number in brackets: if the first number changes, the system was completely
rewritten; if the letter changes, major surgery was performed
but the database from the previous version should be pretty
well compatible; if the number in the brackets changes, it's a new release
of the same game, with bug-fixes and new additions but nothing that meant
heavy rewriting. The full list of major versions up to 4E is:
||Original Macro-10 shared memory test.
||BCPL (Essex MUD, CompuNet MUD).
||BCPL/Fortran 4 for CompuServe (BL).
||Fortran for PR1MEs.
||Apricot MS-DOS in Turbo-Pascal (development only).
||VMS Pascal for VAXen.
||Pascal under OS9 for the MUDbox (development only).
||C for Archimedes (development only).
||C for Unix (originally SVR4, but now many derivatives).
Version 1A was called MUD, although the main comment in
its code said "MUDD - MULTI-USER GAME OF ADVENTUROUS
ENDEAVOUR", a typographical error. It was conceived and written by Roy Trubshaw, with
helpful programming suggestions by Keith Rautenbach and others,
and encouragement/praise from Nigel Roberts and Richard Bartle.
Version 1A was not programmed as a playable game: it was a test
to see whether the shared memory system Trubshaw envisaged
would work (it did). The date on the earliest surviving listing
is 1979, but actually it was first run in 1978.
Version 2A was called MUD, but expanded the acronym into
'Multiple User Dungeon'; however, the more informal 'Multi-'
was always used, and this became the standard in version 3A.
Version 2A was coded entirely by Trubshaw, and its database was
run-time programmable by privved players; Roberts and Bartle
again chipped in with suggestions, and created rooms/objects in
the system (the 'ox', still in the database today, got in that
way). Programmability turned out to be something of a Bad
Thing: it used too much memory/disc space, and people kept
adding things which were not in character (sense 5) with the rest of
the game. The database-design module was therefore removed in
later versions, and the task of permanent game design done separately.
The heart of version 3A was Trubshaw's, amounting to perhaps 25% of the code
(the hardest 25%!); the rest was added incrementally by Bartle over the next 3
years. Brian Mallett and Ronan Flood each provided useful hacks to the low-level code.
Although the program was begun in 1979, it wasn't in a playable state until
Easter 1980, and therefore this later date is more often quoted concerning the
program's beginnings. The alterations to version 3A which made it 3B were
Bartle's. 3C was a recoded 3A by Mike Arnautov for the PR1ME system at Glaxo.
Version 4A was Bartle's work, and the interpreter made it
to 4B, with Trubshaw coding the FE and the inter-process
communication. Bartle converted the lot for 4C, and Jon
Thackray did the transliteration into C for 4D, working from 4A
and 4B; Thackray's database compiler is still used, with minor
additions by Bartle. Bartle did the transliteration to C for 4E
from 4C, with help (ha!) from a program called 'ptc'. 3D was a stripped-down
4E, with modifications to make it look and feel like 3B, by Chip Hayes.
See also SUD.