MUD FAQ part 1 Hat

1.1. What is a MUD?

A MUD (Multiple User Dimension, Multiple User Dungeon, or Multiple User Dialogue) is a computer program which users can log into and explore. Each user takes control of a computerized persona/avatar/incarnation/character. 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 be sure to read this document before starting.

For a nice anecdote about the origin of the name, I quote Richard Bartle, co-author of the first MUD:

[...] I am WELL aware what "MUD" stands for, and maybe once every 2 months have to tell someone. The "D" does stand for "Dungeon", but not because the original MUD (which I co-wrote) had a dungeon in it; rather it was because there was a hacked-up version of Zork doing the rounds at the time, which bore the name "Dungeon". We thought that this program would act as the archetype for single-player adventure games, so we called our game "Multi-User Dungeon" in an effort to convey some feeling of what the program did. As it happened, the genre was promptly called "Adventure games" after the Colossal Caves game "Adventure", so we were wrong in that respect. By then, though, we had our acronym.

1.21. What was the first MUD?

MUD1, written by Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw, back in 1979-80, is generally accepted as the first MUD. Sceptre was developed independently about the same time as MUD1, and so has influenced some mud servers since then.

TinyMUD Original, the first of the Tiny- family of muds, was written in August 1989.

A more complete chronology of MUDs is being gathered - a good starting place is

Richard A. Bartle (
21st January 1999: mudfaq1.htm