Land of Hope and Glory Hat


We invented MUDS. Not us, specifically, but British citizens Roy Trubshaw, Richard Bartle and Simon Dally. They built the first real-time interactive role-playing system at Essex University back in 1978. Richard is still active in MUD building, creating MUD2 for BT's Wireplay service, and told us that there's a crucial difference between UK MUDs and those in the US.

"In the UK, the tradition for role-playing has always been open-ended: the games provide an environment with a rich variety of possible action, and the players act how they please within that environment. If they want to pretend to be elves, or they want to steal things, or they want to band together, then the game will let them do it in a freeform way.

"In the US, though, role-playing means that the game provides a whole slew of character races, classes, guilds, and so on, for players to join. The perception is that the more of these you have, the greater the roleplaying experience. However, in the long run it doesn't deliver the same quality of result."

And, of course, lag times are reduced when you're playing on a local server. As well as MUD2 at Wireplay (, you might want to check out NecroMOO. It uses the same core as the famous LambdaMOO and has proved popular among builders. Telnet to to claim your patch of MOOspace.

Talkers are like MUDs, but you don't have to charge around killing elves and casting spells - you can chill out and chat if you want. Surfers at telnet:// is a laid-out place to do just that.

Richard A. Bartle (
23rd April 1999: netapr99.htm