FutureMUD has been something I, personally, have been excited about for years and to hear that the first working demonstration is coming makes me drool in anticipation!
MUDs, or Multi-User Domains, are primarily text-based real-time virtual worlds that are generally used for Role-Playing Games. The technology is certainly nothing new, having seen early origins in the late 1970’s, but they are still used today with a dedicated fan base of thousands of players. Many players who use MUDs consider them to be extremely expansive with the amount of freedom that you can do in a game which isn’t limited by graphical budget and taxing developer effort. Whereas modern games would require a developer to design an animation to illustrate your character to do something like leaning against a wall, if you want your character to lean against a wall in a MUD, you merely have to type it. The only real limitation in MUDs, due to the freedom of text, is your imagination.
As a previous developer of text-based games myself, I find that the ability to describe a world in infinite detail to be unparalleled even though I thoroughly enjoy the aesthetic and flow of most modern games. To be able to freely control a character, only limited by the game’s rules, is something that today’s video games simply cannot do. Text-based development does require a bit of knowledge in computer sciences, however, as you have to program certain tasks yourself in the eventuality that the engine (of which there are multiple choices) doesn’t have baseline coding support for what you’re wanting to accomplish.
FutureMUD, however, aims to appeal to the game developer in a way that reduces the ease of use by having customizable, modular design without going into the code. Another design philosophy that is listed in their Mission Statement as a primary goal is to have exceptional – if a little ambitious and optimistic – stability.
“To have stability and speed – a crash, if it occurred, should scare the hell out of the staff and players because it’s so unheard of.” – Japheth
FutureMUD’s development officially started with a dedicated forum back in 2014, but the talk of the project has been on-going since at least 2010. The developers are working toward a May 9th release of LabMUD, which will be the first testing iteration to demonstrate the capabilities of the engine. More importantly, it is a milestone leading up to a working Alpha release for developers to play with. As someone without much coding experience, this is something I’ve been wanting to see finally come to fruition in a MUD Engine. I would love to see many more developers and players alike in this old school style of gaming and I think the world is ready for it to happen.
Do you play text-based games? Have you ever been interested in them? Post in the comments below!