Thursday, May 29, 2008

MUD 2.0?

I loath hearing someone calling something 2.0 because it is something cool to do, but unfortunately I couldn't think of anything better to call this post :)

It is funny how real life can set in to distract you from your distractions. I haven't had a lot of time to work on the MUD project, but I came across this post and got a little rejuvenated when I read the following:
Where's the MUD with an AJAXed, Flash-ed, or Silverlight-ed web interface? Where's the MUD that puts stats in my Facebook profile the way Xbox live does? Where's the MUD that offers in-game news as RSS feeds individualized for each player? These are Web 2.0 features, and common MUDs are pretty much Web 0.5. As MUD developers, we need to catch up.
This really hit a lot of points of what I have been thinking about over the past several months, and I think we can even take it further.

We live in a web enabled world. A world where most cell phones can surf the web, or you can walk into an internet cafe to get instant access. I think one of the problems of MUDs today is their accessibility. Most people don't know how to use telnet, nor want to download a special MUD client and set it up. This is one of my main motivations to wanting to create a real web based MUD.

Moving the MUD to the web also opens up a lot of exciting possibilities. Extend the MUD experience to social networks. Give the users a nice, configurable user interface.
Include graphics and music to enhance the overall experience. Expose information as RSS feeds (and even alerts through SMS) so people can be updated with the latest stats and news. Even provide web services for gathering information and possibly certain game features.

This of course also creates a unique set of challenges. The web wasn't designed for the type of communication that happens in a MUD, but with the advent of COMET based technologies, I think we are at a good point to start trying. My first efforts are specifically in solving these problems, which I will then be able to use as a base to build everything else off of.

I look forward to the day when I can play the MUD at an internet cafe, check my stats and ranking on the way home over the phone, and have my conquests sent to all of my friends on Facebook.

1 comment:

James said...

You've pretty much listed off everything thats been going on in my CS class for the last six months.

Three of us from class got together to create a SaaS (software as a service) that provides a high-level language (converts down to lua JIT), a multimedia capable flash client and a micro-transaction API.

Once complete developers will be able to integrate item and service purchases in game, as well as purchase new libraries and components for the game itself, or pay for hosting.

We've been using AJAX in Flash, along with direct connection to the server using methods similar to FMUD (used for multimedia that ajax can't handle fast enough).

It all handles really well and is barebones but functional, if not a bit buggy.

Hoping to be all polished and ready for a commercial release here by winter 2010 :)

-Jim