The VAX Incarnation of MUD2 Hat

These are documents I extracted from the VAX (so called because it ran on one) incarnation of MUD2.
Mitre A general message I sent to help defuse some of the perennial problems we get concerning wizzes' mortals. As with all such messages, it was written in the climate of the times, so don't expect it necessarily to apply to any MUD2 at the moment. It's fairly OK, though.
Mitre The discussion. In December, 1989, SKIFF the arch-wizard sent an email which sparked a long debate among the wizzes concerning the way the game should be run. This lasted for over six months, and virtually every wiz contributed with immense emails of their own. After a while, it became apparent that everyone had made their points, and that we could move on to discuss what we should do about it all. To that end, I summarised the main topics that had been raised, posting the resulting document for the wizzes to commentate upon. Although it marks only the half-way point of the overall debate, it is nevertheless a seminal document in MUD's history. Almost all the points raised are as true today as they were back then.
Mitre This is the summary I put together for the discussion. It's a flawed document, in that I made a number of alterations to it prior to posting of which I have no copies. Also, it was intended as a starting point for considering the issues, and not all the suggestions it makes are ones with which I myself would necessarily agree. In terms of content, it begins with an overview of what I later wrote up as Players Who Suit MUDs, and follows this with a little-seen further analysis specifically concerning wizzes. This acts as a springboard for two sets of proposed guidelines: one for preventing wiz-v-wiz conflicts; one for ensuring the game kept its mystique. I had hoped that we might get some real agreement from the wizzes after the long debate which got us this far, but it was not to be; sadly, many wizzes fell at this final hurdle. Although they were prepared to discuss in detail what they could do to make things somehow "better", when it came to actual action they reverted to type. C'est la boue...
Mitre The Boy from Walthamstow advertisement. See The Host in the Machine for an explanation.
Image size: approx. 6K.
Mitre The Wizard in Yourself advertisement. See The Host in the Machine for an explanation.
Image size: approx. 6K.
Mitre The famous the Host in the machine advertising theme. When MUD2 was launched, BT ran an advertising campaign. There were marketing flaws at every stage of this, but the one that summed them all up was the use of the slogan "MUD is ... the Host in the machine". This was always placed as the final panel in a series of 2 or 3 at the bottom of successive odd-numbered pages in magazines (the prededing panels were The Boy from Walthamstow and/or The Wizard in Yourself, plus a couple of others I don't have copies of). Although doubtless many potential players were aware that this was a completely ill-suited, feeble pun on the line "the host in the machine" from chapter 1 of Gilbert Ryle's The Concept of Mind, most of them were hardened programmers who knew that the host was the machine (the one that the server ran on).
Image size: approx. 7K.
Mitre The cover of the booklet that BT produced for new players, which is charitably referred to as the "first edition" of the Beginners' Companion. It was utter drivel from start to finish. Presentationally, it was rather good; if only they'd not printed it without showing us the text first, and then tried to get us to reprogram the game so that what their words said matched what MUD actually did... The current edition of Beginners' Companion (which is basically a MUD2 FAQ) is available online.
Image size: approx. 41K.
Mitre The MUD logo which BT had made up. I do actually like this - it was very high-tech for 1985 - but I wish they'd either taken out the two dots or added a third.
Image size: approx. 29K.
Mitre Adverting flier: weapons. This was issued at Adventure 89, to emphasise how far MUD2 technology was ahead of the competition.
Image size: approx. 13K.
Mitre Adverting flier: dwarfs. This was also issued at Adventure 89; recall that in those days, most MUDs that allowed fighting at all could not cope with a player's being in more that one fight at a time.
Image size: approx. 27K.
Mitre Adverting flier: swamp. A third Adventure 89 issue (although subsequently used elsewhere, too). This one had a tear-off application form at the bottom (not included here). Image size: approx. 15K.
Mitre A map of MUD2. This was produced to give new players some idea of the layout of The Land - something of a problem, given its topography.
Image size: approx. 25K.
Mitre The graveyard list of wiz epitaphs.
Mitre An interview I did for Wabit's Waffle. It was continued four years later in a follow-up interview.
Mitre The Adventurers Club Ltd. Member's Dossier articles, many of which relate to the VAX incarnation of MUD2.

Copyright © Richard A. Bartle (
21st January 1999: vax.htm