Editorial Hat


Imagine you are playing an adventure. You are happily exploring a fantasy world, indulging in a littie monster bashing, when an arrow appears in the middle of your chest. With dimming eyes, you read the following message: "You have been killed by Duncan, who is in the same building two floors above you".

This type of interactive adventure game is not set in the far-off future. It is already here.

The Multi User Dungeon (or MUD as it is more affectionately known) has been up and running at Essex University since 1978. Written on a DEC System 10 by Roy Trubshaw, MUD is a multi player, real time, interactive adventure.

Players start as novices and attempt to work their way up through various stages, such as champion and necromancer, to achieve the ultimate accolade of witch. Points are obtained through experience, combat, and by solving numerous puzzles and quests contained within the game. Players can even leave messages for one another by writing on objects inside the adventure.

But the main obstacle to MUD, and similar programs, gaining a wider airing is the cost of making a telephone call. Otherwise Micronet, or a similar system, could be running interactive adventures now, linking players over the telephone lines.

Richard A. Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk)
21st January 1999: pcwmar84.htm