[Some info may be severely outdated. Design is outdated, too.]
What follows below is mainly information for MUDs, and more specifically, DIKU/MERC/ROM-based MUDs.
So just what IS a MUD? (Beginner Info)
The term "MUD" is an acronym for "Multi-User Domain". Some sticklers for history insist that I say the term originally derived from "Multi-User Dungeon", which is clearly addressed on the MUD FAQ and hardly needs to be addressed here. This term is very broad now, but basically a MUD is a place on the Internet where people can have fun and socialize. MUDs come in many different forms, from LPMUDs (Lars Pensj Multi-User Dungeon) to DikuMUDs (Datalogisk Institut Koebenhavns Universitet Multi-User Dungeon) to MOOs (MUD Object Oriented) to MUCKs to MUSHes (Multi-User Shared Hallucination). MUDs differ from IRC, or Internet Relay Chat, in that MUDs have virtual worlds (usually medieval) where people can kill monsters or "roleplay", whereas IRC sites just function as conference rooms for chatting or other *cough* activities.
For a more detailed look at MUDs and why they'll outlast graphical games, go read the official FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions lists). From MUD client info to how to log into a MUD, these FAQs explain almost everything.
I have created a handy reference page for your first stumblings on a MUD. Numerous people have found the page useful for looking up important MUD commands. Hope this helps.
On my computer, I have a program which will allow you to test areas on your PC. It is a barebones version and will save a lot of frustration for your IMP, so e-mail me if you need the program.
How Did I Get Into Mudding?
I've been playing MUDs for a couple years, which is also the same amount of time I've been on the Internet. It actually wasn't a large adjustment getting used to the MUDs; I had been a member of TSN/INN (The Sierra Network, which was later called The ImagiNation Network) for three years. I have to say that until AT&T bought this small network, TSN was THE best online neighborhood to hang around in. It had top-notch graphics and a great atmosphere. Its RPG game, called "The Shadow of Yserbius", was without a doubt TSN's main attraction. This place was run real-time, so I met many friends and fellow adventurers in the volcanoes of Yserbius. However, when AT&T bought TSN, TSN began to fall apart. It raised its rates and shortly after, a majority of TSN's members quit. A good deal of us retreated to the Internet, heading our separate ways. I went with my closest friends to the MUDs, where I've been ever since. As a result of INN's poor handling of its loyal customers, INN is now for the most part empty.
About my online handle (nickname)...long, long ago when I first started playing TSN, I had to come up with a nickname. After a long search, I settled for the name "RobinHood", even if I couldn't live up to ol' Robin's reputation. However, after a year or so exploring the depths of Yserbius's volcanoes, I gradually earned respect for being one of the more knowledgeable adventurers to pass through the place. This respect I built helped me fit the reputation of Robin Hood a little better. Now I hope RobinHood is a legendary name among the most noble adventurers of Yserbius. When I started mudding, however, I dropped the name to "Rob", to ease the agony of typing out the full name every time. *grin* I roleplay my character more as a sarcastic thief these days, a change from my good-natured, noble ranger on TSN. And yes, I'm quite good at roleplaying both.
These days, I don't play on MUDs that much. I'm too busy messing with this webpage or trying out some new Internet game that everyone's talking about. But I still go to Stick in the Mud often to just relax and talk to my girlfriend.
Stick in the Mud
I have to thank an old friend, Wynder, for showing me my first MUD, Stick in the Mud. The freshness of a new world to conquer and the relaxed atmosphere of Stick lured me into staying there. And yes, I still play there now. I highly recommend this ROM (Rivers of MUD)-based MUD if you're more interested in socializing than roleplaying. Be sure to read the 'motd' on your way in and read the 'rules' to avoid getting off on the wrong foot with the players and immortals. Where to go? Telnet to Stick in the Mud at mud.stick.org 9000. I must warn you, though. Mudding is highly addictive and may grasp you with its sharp talons before you know it. *grin* The fact that Stick in the Mud is almost always up may also make your addiction worse; you'll never leave!
Stick in the Mud now has an official homepage, designed by Paruda. It has some interesting links on it, and some others still under construction (read, they'll never be touched again).
Curious about the MUD's status? Is it down and you don't know why? Go to my Stick in the Mud Status Page for more info.
Stick in the Mud Quick Stats
Equinox MUD: My Own Invention
A year had passed since I first started mudding and I had wanted to start my own MUD. It was to be called Equinox, but I never found the time to invest into such an ambitious project. I had wonderful things like alternate dimensions, long- and short- range battle, help files in the form of libraries and books, etc. Oh well, it was a pleasant project to work on...
Clients That'll Make Your Life Easier...
Maybe you've already seen those people who seem to pull a gratz message out of their sleeves as soon as someone gossips, "Level!!" Or perhaps you've seen people who react instantly when you do something to them. They are probably using a MUD client, and if it's a DikuMUD, it's more likely that they're using Tintin. Tintin is by far the most popular DikuMUD client and is available for UNIX and some other OS's. Tintin offers things like aliases, triggers, highlight (allows you to add colour to your screen), gag (suppresses certain messages), and actions. I used it occasionally in the past and it helped a lot during play. Get the latest version, tintin++v1.5pl6.tar.Z, at ftp.princeton.edu/pub/tintin++/dist. A UNIX account is needed to use it. There are plenty of other mudding clients out there, of course, but I only play Diku-based MUDs and Tintin's the only good UNIX client out there.
For SLIP/PPP users, there are a couple MUD clients that I would recommend. First, there's zMUD, which is the best I've found for a graphical interface. zMUD offers it all: triggers, macros, tick counters, a connection wizard (with a large list of MUDs), a lot of Tintin's commands, and a configuration system which allows you to change just about anything (even the word wrap column size). I was impressed with the fact that zMUD was freeware and Zugg, the author, still found time to respond quickly... The other client, gMUD, doesn't offer as much, but still works rather well.
Interesting MUD Links