- 1 Disclaimer
- 2 The First Age (1978 - 1985)1
- 3 The Second Age (1985 - 1989)1
- 4 The Third Age (1989 - 1995)1
- 5 DikuMUD ALFA (Alpha)2
- 6 Precursors of JediMUD2
- 7 A Word from Jeremy Elson (Rasmussen/Ras)3
- 8 The Fall of Sejnet and Hypenet2
- 9 The Fall of CircleMUD2
- 10 Early Stimpy2
- 11 JediMUD 1.02
- 12 The Early Clans2
- 13 Winter 19922
- 14 The Rise of the Clans2
- 15 Version 3.x2
- 16 The End of Official Clans2
- 17 The Lightning Strike and Version 4.0 2
- 18 Bards 2
- 19 Circle 2.0 2
- 20 Cedar Point I 2
- 21 Impale Log 2
- 22 Farewell to Aramina
- 23 The Split
- 24 Departures and HoloMUD
- 25 Onivel's "Other" JediMUD: Marble
- 26 Hayden's Stimpy
- 27 Torg's JediMUD 5.0
- 28 The Emergence of Kailyn
- 29 Mood Swings at Marble
- 30 The Marble Hack
- 31 Kaeli Takes the Reigns
- 32 Stimpy's Last Days
- 33 The Return of Conseq
- 34 Immortal Diet
- 35 Bitter Ends
- 36 The Death of Ren and Stimpy
- 37 NASA, 1994
- 38 Jedi@Keely
- 39 The Many Post-Stimpy Attempts
- A great deal of the following material was repurposed from Steppin Razor's original document, A History of JediMUD (c) 1997 Giovanni Ruffini, and edited for clarity by Vince De Quattro (Dank), without permission, but with the goal to remain faithful to the intent and context of the original document as possible.
- A portion of the following material was excepted from the Bershire Encyclopedia of Human Interaction, Bershire Publishing Group LLC, and is cited.
- MUDs are computer moderated, persistent virtual environments through which multiple persons interact simultaneously. Formally, the acronym MUD stands for "multi-user dungeon or dimension." However, different groups of people assign the acronym different meanings of use it to refer to specific kinds of virtual environments; also other groups use their own terms for what are elsewhere known as "MUDs." The reasons for this variation are essentially historical, and it is with an appreciation of the history of MUDs that they are best understood.
- To date, essentially five "ages" of MUD evolution have occurred.
The First Age (1978 - 1985)1
- MUDs are so called because "MUD" was the name of the first one. Written by Roy Trabshaw and Rich Bartle at Essex University, England, in 1978, it is now usually referred to as "MUD1" (to distinguish it from the class of programs that bears its name.) Almost all modern MUDs ultimately descent from MUD1.
- MUD1 itself had several influences, the most important of which were:
- Fantasy novels (J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings Trilogy)
- Single-player computer adventure games (Will Crowther and Don Wood's Adventure)
- Face-to-face role-playing games (E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson's Dungeons and Dragons)
- Three important features of MUD1 were to lead to later nomenclature issues: It was written to be a game; it used text to describe the virtual environment rather than graphics to show it; it was limited to thirty-six (36) players at a time.
- Although MUD1 is properly credited as being the first virtual environment, the concept was invented independently several times.
The Second Age (1985 - 1989)1
- Players of MUD1 soon realized they could write their own MUDs, and so they did. Neil Newell's 1985 Shades and Ben Laurie's 1985 Gods were commercial successes, as was MUD1 (as British Legends) on the online service CompuServe.
- A great flowering of creativity occurred during this age. By its end, most of the characteristics that are now regarded as core to MUDs were settled: open-endedness, communication, community, role play, immersion, player service/management, and a sense of place.
- MUDs were still primarily a British phenomenon, however. This situation was to change in 1989: At the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, Alan Cox translated his 1987 game AberMUD into the programming language C so that it would run under the UNIX computer operating system. He released it onto the nascent internet, and it rapidly spread across academic systems throughout the world.
The Third Age (1989 - 1995)1
AberMUD spawned its own imitators important of which were Lars Pensjo;'s 1989 LPMUD, Jim Aspnes' 1989 TinyMUD, and Katja Nyboe and colleague's 1990 DikuMUD (Datalogisk Institutved Kobenhavns Universitet MUD). From these three fameworks most subsequent MUDs were to derive.
Diku was a true "adventure MUD," distancing itself from other MOO, MUSH, and MUCK variants in that it kept close to the "dungeon" melee combat round play style introduced by Gygax and Arneson's Dungeons & Dragons in the early 70s.
DikuMUD ALFA (Alpha)2
- The history of mudding stretches back to early 1990, when Katja Nyboe, Tom Madsen, Hans Henrik Staerfeldt, Michael Seifert, and Sebastian Hammer, unsatisfied with the limitations in player base and world size imposed by AberMUDs, decided to code their own multi-user dungeon from scratch. The bulk of the code, in place by March of that year, would be named after the Department of Computer Sciences at the University of Copenhagen , at which the five students reputedly received course credit for their work. In Danish, the department was known as the Datalogisk Institutved Kobenhavns Universitet, the origin of the DIKU acronym. After nearly half a year of work, the project would culminate in Alfa DIKU, the first permanently operational site, at which the original implementors of the source set about performing massive debugging and further development.
- Alfa would continue its public run from the late fall of 1990 well on into 1991, but the DIKU team had, in the meantime, made public an initial release, which would give rise to such early DikuMUDs as Sejnet and Eris. It was at these other sites that much of the early world building for the “standard diku code” would be completed, the Alfa team taking submissions and working them back into their own product. Alfa came to an abrupt demise in May of 1991, but the project nevertheless reached fruition with the Gamma DIKU release.
- The rest of 1991 seems to have been spent by those not involved with the diku team in the creation of “sub-diku” code releases that were to define the major branches in the DikuMUD family tree. By February of 1992, Duke had begun work on Sequent, an active MUD that culminated in the release that would not only form the basis for the later Silly standard, but would in itself play a major part in the history of JediMUD. Work on the first release of Copper had also already begun, this server making a much more radical departure from the gamma code than did Sequent.
Precursors of JediMUD2
- In the fall of 1991, Jeremy Elson and Naved Surve enrolled in the same computer science class at Johns Hopkins University, and were introduced to the DikuMUD concept through their teaching assistant, who ran a copy of the original DIKU gamma code on a machine named whatever.cs.jhu.edu. The undergraduates in charge of WhatMUD had no inkling of the culture they would eventually lay the groundwork for:
- Jeremy chose the name Rasmussen, after the Star Trek The Next Generation character, and a legend was born. The WhatMUD's machine's fiery death that November prompted Elson to begin work on the now-famous CircleMUD, the original version running on circle.cs.jhu.edu. By the late winter and early spring of 1992, Rasmussen's CircleMUD had become home to two players named Jay Levino and Fred Merkel. The former selected the name Onivel, a not-so-crafty mirror of the letters of his surname, while the latter, a graduate student at JHU more often remembered as Torg after the JHU psychology professor, Torgeson.
- They decided to get more involved in mudding in March by allowing ApocalypseMUD to run on the machine at stimpy.psy.jhu.edu.
A Word from Jeremy Elson (Rasmussen/Ras)3
I was introduced to MUDding in my first semester at Johns Hopkins at the tender age of 17 when I noticed some friends playing an interactive, multi-user game -- WhatMUD , a MUD run at Hopkins by undergraduates Dave Reed and Justin Chandler . I began to play, choosing "Rasmussen" as my character's name (after the character Berlinghoff Rasmussen, star of that week's new 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' episode.) After WhatMUD was forced to close in November of 1991 due to a hardware failure, I found a copy of the DikuMUD source code and began developing my own MUD, finding that working "behind the scenes" at creating a MUD was far more enjoyable and interesting than playing one. It was also a nice distraction from the usual college life of class work, planning my personal budget, and not going on dates.
After a couple of weeks of learning how the DikuMUD source code was organized and adding a couple of elementary new features, my fledgling MUD was (covertly) tested for the first time by several of my friends and me. Dubbed 'CircleMUD' in honor of the DECstation on which it was running (circle.cs.jhu.edu ), the MUD seemed to work well and (still covertly) was opened to players on a very limited basis.
A Circle is Born
Development and limited play-testing continued for several weeks, and Circle began to get a fair amount of word-of-mouth popularity on the Hopkins campus; between 8 and 12 people could often be found logged in at once. At this point (January 1992), I decided to take the big plunge and inform the Computer Science system administrator (at that time, Tim Stearns ) of CircleMUD's existence, knowing it would either lead to the MUD's immediate demise or open the doors to running it in the open without having to hide it.
Happily, Tim responded positively, declaring that Circle would be welcome in the Computer Science department as long as I made sure it did not use more than 2.5MB of disk space. (A disk cleanup might have helped.) With that fateful email, I happily declared in Circle's MOTD (Message of The Day -- the message users see when logging in), "CIRCLEMUD IS HERE TO STAY!!" officially opening Circle to players on a full-time basis.
At first, Circle was plagued by the same problems many other MUDs have -- instabilities in the code and a lack of features. However, my advantage was that I was a programmer, whereas many other MUD administrators of that era (and even today) were solely game-players, not programmers, and weren't capable of fixing many of the more elusive bugs. Circle soon became an exceptionally stable and bug-free MUD -- a reputation which I think it still maintains to this day. I was also able to create other special features such as a MUD Mail system (commonplace today, but rare at the time.)
I never advertised CircleMUD in any public forum such as the DikuMUD newsgroup. Through word-of-mouth advertising alone, Circle became moderately popular; it became standard to find 30 to 40 people playing during the afternoon. The operating system under which Circle was running (Ultrix 4.0 on a DECstation 3100 ) limited the MUD to about 58 players -- a limit which was reached several times over the course of Circle's existence.
However, the dark side of MUDding soon reared its ugly head, as political battles ensued in Circle's later months of operation. I had appointed several players as "GODS" (i.e. administrators) to help the "mortals" (i.e., players) with problems, and immediately received a tremendous amount grief: some of the Gods opposed my policies and others disagreed with which Gods should receive promotions. ? Some "Immortals" (i.e., players who have received enough points to 'retire' from active play and are granted special privileges) also loudly opposed various policies. One of these IMMs likened me to Hitler!
Not all Gods and Immortals were displeased: many of them became close friends in "RL" (Real Life -- i.e., outside the MUD). However, finding that I was devoting more time to politics than coding, faced with the imminent loss of the circle machine as a site on which to run the MUD, and given an offer to work solely as a coder (and not as a political administrator) on a new MUD running at Hopkins called JediMUD, I chose to permanently bring CircleMUD down on August 26, 1992.
The decision disappointed many of Circle's players; at least eight of them offered to host Circle. However, not wanting to deal with the political problems of running a MUD on my own, or dealing with a "foreign" site to run my MUD from, I instead archived the CircleMUD code and became a full-time coder for JediMUD at the beginning of September, 1992.
It should here be noted that any individual who wishes to start his or her own MUD must first find a "code base" -- i.e., a currently existing MUD on which he or she can build. The original DikuMUD, released in 1990, was not desirable to many people because it had many bugs and did not have any "modern" MUD features which most MUDs of the day already had. Most MUD implementors kept their code closely guarded, not wanting to work for hours to create special new features only to have some other MUD use them.
Towers of Babel
The few MUDs which had released their code publically were better than the original DikuMUD, but were often difficult to find (you usually had to get them from someone who knew someone who knew someone who had a copy), and some were quite old and did not have many modern features. At least one publically available MUD, SillyMUD, did have many fancy features, but was large and unwieldy. In addition, many people did not want to start with a MUD which had fancy features -- they wanted to start with a very "plain" MUD, so as to be able to add their own fancy features based around their own vision of how a MUD "should" be.
Another publically available MUD, Merc DikuMUD , was compact an efficient, but had a very different "look and feel" than the original DikuMUD -- in fact, much of the DikuMUD code and area files were not even compatible with Merc, turning many MUD implementors away from it.
All of the publically available code, with the notable exception of Merc, also suffered from the problem of portability: if the person who released it was using a Sun running SunOS, and your machine an SGI running Irix, you were in for some major headaches getting the new code to work on your system.
Open Source MUD
In May of 1993, in light of all the above circumstances, in addition to the constant pleas on the USENET newsgroup rec.games.mud.diku from people asking where they could get a nice copy of DikuMUD source code, I realized that there was a big niche waiting to be filled in the DikuMUD world. A well-written, stable, bug-free, publically available and easily accessible DikuMUD code base was needed. A code base which was fancy enough to have the standard features which most contemporary DikuMUDs players and implementors expected, yet basic enough to allow each implementor huge latitude in customization, and which which would be easily portable to many different operating systems and hardware platforms. I decided that with a little work, CircleMUD would be perfect to fill that niche.
I pulled the original CircleMUD out of its archive, and for many weeks during the summer of 1993, devoted almost all of my spare time to modernizing and improving Circle. I infused Circle with much of the Diku code I'd written while working for JediMUD, in addition to dozens of other new features and optimizations.
CircleMUD 2.0, the first public release of Circle, was quickly becoming a reality. Circle 2.0 was specifically written to be very small and efficient -- indeed, the basic system used only about 2 megabytes of memory (an unprecedented amount at the time -- most MUDs of its size used 6, 8, or even 10 megs.) Circle 2.0 was specifically designed to be flexible, easy to expand, and easy to debug -- a starting point upon which other MUD implementors could easily turn their dreams of what a MUD should look like into reality.
- Levino, along with various players from both CircleMUD, Sejnet , and Hypenet, had decided to create what they felt, in their words, would be "the MUD to end all MUDs." Sejnet was shut down in February of 1992, and a handful of original players moved over to Hypenet. When Hypenet temporarily went down in April of 1992, many of the original Sejnet players migrated to CircleMUD. Onivel, known as Bert at CircleMUD, had been doing development on Stimpy, thanks to his connection with Torg, but by the time summer rolled around, he had made little progress. Stimpy did not have enough memory to support two muds simultaneously: and as a result, all that had been accomplished at JediMud, apparently, was a dysfunctional wizinvis. After an argument during the summer between Torg and the implementor of ApocalypseMUD led to a falling out and subsequent dismissal of Apoc from Stimpy, Torg gave Onivel the go-ahead to put his own creation, now known as JediMUD, into full operation on Stimpy.
The Fall of CircleMUD2
- CircleMUD was experiencing its own problems. Ras would chose to permanently bring CircleMUD down on August 26, 1992. With the demise of CircleMUD, Ras andTorg both came to code for Jedi, bringing with them several Circle refugees, including Romulus, who was known for her skills as an immortal public-relations official, and who also wrote many of the first new JediMUD socials. The first evidence of Ras presence in Jedi code can be dated to the first week of September in 1992, indicating that he did not waste any time before getting right to work.
- In addition to much of the work that Ras had done for CircleMUD, what emerged as the first version of JediMUD, a modified Sequent,also consisted of bits and pieces of code inspired by Torg's own copy of ApocalypseMUD. All of the code work after this point at Stimpy would be the product Ras and Torg, as well as Onivel and Aramina, whose rise will be discussed below. Also prominent in the code, although they were never active on JediMUD itself, are Fen or Fenris, and Gnort, listed in the credits and mentioned in several code comments. One of their accomplishments was the creation of a "trusted" sub-level to the immortal structure.
- What follows is a quick summary of the major code changes that made the first version of JediMUD fundamentally different from what had come before it.
Mail and Syslog
- The mail system, Rass first piece of code for a MUD of any kind, came fresh from Circle 1.0, totally replacing the Alfadiku mail.c written by Grooearly in 1991. Fenrisprovided the bulk of the syslog code. Torg, more active initially than he would be given credit for in subsequent recollections, worked out the ACMD macro, the subcommand system, and the SPELLO setup. These features, arcane to anyone unfamiliar with CircleMUDor JediMUDcode, would become the standard around which Ras would build his future Circle releases.
New Character Classes
- As these technical foundations were being laid, work on player-level expansion began at an even more striking pace: the paladin,anti-paladin, sohei, ninja, and jedi classes had all been added by November of 1992. Given the fact that only two classes (the re-mort classes of ranger and bard) would be added from 1993 to 1996, the initial pace was impressive.
- The bulk of the area files that formed the essence of this growing MUD were imports from previous public release codes. The initial release of Alfa DIKU had included the standards:Midgaard, Quifael's Haon-Dor, Redferne's Moria and the endless assortment of Sewers. Also featured was the outside writer, Raven, with the Northern Plains' and Ofcol. JediMUD' of course kept these areas, adding to them the more recent Gamma diku, Sequent, and Silly releases that included Mahatma's Arachnos, the Dwarven Kingdom, and Rorschach>'s influential trio of Drow'City, the Great Eastern Desert, and the City of Old Thalos. Added nearby were Duke's New Thalos, from the Silly release, and Onivels own Rome, originally written for ApocalypseMUD. Raven,already in the Jedi world files with the Northern Plains and Ofcol, co-wrote Weeden for Sejnetwith Chelliance/Triana, whose solo effort for Sejnet, Arctica, would also soon be added. The Balor area, presumably added during the same period, is now unidentifiable except for one clue; the piece of graffiti in the tree house that reads "Swiftest, he's alive, and has a girlfriend?" indicates the area was written by someone close to the Copper/Pirate release coder and area-writer of the same name. Sneaking its way into the city of Midgaard was the Cheer’s Bar, an excerpt from a CircleMUDarea, New Sparta, written by Jeremy Elson's friend, Naved Surve.
- During the first summer and fall of JediMUD, Aramina , for instance, was still a mortal, having begun Jedi after a long period at a MUD named Dark Shade. She did not become a coder at JediMUD until January of 1993, when, after immorting, she became known to Romulus. Upon discovering that Aramina, Sharon Goza in real life, worked for NASA and could code, Romulus was instrumental in her promotion, her largest contributions being the bard class and the now public alias code that would remain on JediMUD until the end. Interestingly, although Aramina recalled being drafted into service at this early date, the first evidence other than aliases of her work within the code itself cannot be dated until the beginning of April.
- Players from this period fondly recollect the various bugs and related abuses. A memorable standout among the early code loopholes was the spell bug, in which spells and skills could be used any number of times, and by NPCs as well. This took quite some time to fix, allowing people like BigH to immort almost solely through the use of that particular 'feature'. Along the same lines, kittens used to be worth tremendous experience: buy a bunch, earthquake, and rake in the levels. A similar approach was used with pink wands, a character named Twirl leveling from 1 to 30 in twenty hours with nothing but pink wands. Another bug arose when Onivel tried to prevent level 30s from fleeing to prevent reaching immortality. The code was fixed erroneously, apparently making a level 30 out of anyone that tried to flee. Another, somewhat more confused story describes a bug that rather curiously did not execute the flee command until after one was already dead: baffled players would go back for their corpses and find them wandering around town.
The Early Clans2
- Particularly interesting in retrospect is the birth of the first few clans. One player interviewed would recall that the informal group [GANG GREEN] was the first such clan to emerge. Much more is known about the MUD-Brothers, the Untouchables, JHU Alliance, INC, and Psi-Force. Although the first two would not long survive, the last two would surface in player titles until the very end. It is from the middle name that we can begin to trace the infamy and ill-repute of one of JediMUD's most famous and well remembered clans of all time. Because of the problems that Jeremy Elson's CircleMUD had faced from local JHU mudders, JediMUD had site-banned JHU from the very beginning. Unwilling to totally deny access to close personal friends and associates, Ras invented and coded the selective banning process that comes with SITE_OK flags, and a select group of JHU students began to play Jedi, and assumed the name of the JHU Alliance. The list of the original six members is an amusing one: Naved, Affirmed, Cortana, Brown, Kensai, and Helix.
- The last two names stand out in particular; it was not long before both characters had developed their own Fan Clubs, anti-clans of a sort that would eventually merge into KHFC, the four-letter word that is still makes high-level Jedi administrators flinch and cringe. As JHU Alliance began to die out, around December of 1992, Helix founded the Kensai Fan Club. To reciprocate, Kensai founded the Helix Fan Club days later. In January of 1993, the two groups merged into the pseudo-clan of KHFC. When clans became officially sanctioned on JediMUD, they were one of the first four admitted, Naved and Kensai reputedly taking less than five minutes to fill out an application to be allowed to 'pursue the true meaning of the mysterious 'K & H'.' At various times, almost every IMP or CIMP would jokingly add themselves to the clan list, the only exception being Onivel, who found himself an involuntary member when Torg enrolled him offline as a prank.
- During the winter, JediMUD continued to grow in popularity at an explosive rate. Version 2.0 went up sometime during mid-December 1992. Nearly every name that would at one point become prominent in JediMUD lore seems to have originated from either immediately before or after this point. The community seemed tight and friendly, not yet featuring the bloated player-base and nasty in-fighting of the version 3.x era. The future CIMP Doc, by his own estimation quite a cleric, began on Jedi with the help of a character named Drago. High-powered groups featured the likes of Tax, Tincan, Dyrewulf, and an antipaladin named Cthulhu. Cthulhu, who remembers helping Dyrewulf immort near Tiamat, would later claim Conan, Jelly, Wispen, Reaper, and Ape all as frequent associates.
- Another long-time player originating in this era was Dax, who would eventually reach his greatest name recognition as Genecide, a one-week member of PsiForce. Doc would reach immortality very shortly, in December 1992, making the equivalent of avatar the next month. Cthulhu also immorted at some point in December. A mortal named Moonbeam also dates from this same period. Neuro's original version, Conan, immorted in December as well, after beginning in October. He made 32, the AVTR equivalent, in January. Cthulhu followed him to AVTR around February. Future america.net CIMP Kailyn, after a long mortal life dating back to August of 1992, also reached immortality during this period.
The Rise of the Clans2
- As the original fall semester generation of JediMUDders began their rise through the immortal ranks, the birth of 1993 saw the emergence of a crucial phenomenon in Jedi history, that of official clans. Not to be forgotten on the fairly long list of important clans that emerged during this era is the Stein Brothers. Begun around March or April of that year, they were similar to KHFC structurally, in that they were a small, isolated group consisting mostly of real-life friends, with players including Lupis, At, You, Haplo and Kailyn, with few outsiders allowed admittance.
- The end of winter and the beginning of spring in 1993 marked the pivotal transition into the 3.x era. Doc would make the equivalent of DEMI in March, GOD in June. Tincan would make GOD in March at the staggering age of fifteen.
- Meanwhile, with the move into a new code version, the sewers and Spinal Tap were removed from the database, along with Kafka's Elven Village. In roughly the same era, Eagle's epic Sieged Castle area would be installed just east of Skara Brae. The rarely remembered DEMI had produced what would long remain one of the hardest areas in the game. Over the next few weeks, a crazy period of beta testing served as a sign of how chaotic and crowded the next few months on Jedi would prove to be.
- As time passed, the end of May saw a brief flurry of area changes immediately before the unexpected June downtime. Weeden, an obscure coastal villlage on the western edges of Haon-Dor, largely forgotten except by the guests to Kaeli's wedding to Spald, was finally removed from the database, with hardly a complaint to be heard. Doc would later recall trying to talk Onivel out of removing the area, or at least into moving its location, but Onivel was apparently not interested. Disappearing at roughly the same time were the Trials of Minos, near the goblin caves at the western end of the river. This area was one of Mahatma's initial two contributions to JediMUD, and still survives today on the standard CircleMUD distribution.
- Around the same time, an interesting, if confusing, area known as the Mages' Valley was installed in the forests of Skara Brae. For reasons unknown, this area would not last past the fall of 1993, and is remembered now chiefly for the lair of Khorg, the Red Dragon, and the death-trap known as Among the Armies. Also disappearing, although somewhat earlier in May, was the last refuge for player-killing, the Arena.
The End of Official Clans2
- In the meantime, the official life of clans was coming to an end. Problems for the clan system began in May, not surprisingly surrounding KHFC.
- The last few weeks of May also saw several important names make immortality for the first time, not the least of which were Infoteq and Trillian, one of several future JediMUD marriages. Infoteq, then a member of INC, had come to know Trillian in the late winter of 1993, during her one-time MUD relationship with Tree, who had just finished such a relationship with Moonbeam. In the spring of 1993, with Tree's presence on JediMUD waning, Infoteq and Trillian came to spend nearly all their time together. They culminated their mortal careers simultaneously, immorting on Elmer Fudd on 20 May, the same day as JMON. The trio was followed a day later by future coder Steppin, the last person on record to immort in Weeden before its removal. Out of the four big names to immort at the end of May, only Infoteq himself was clearly destined for higher things; his promotion to level 32 followed rather promptly the following week.
The Lightning Strike and Version 4.0 2
- All too quickly, the lives of Jedi players the world over were about to be affected by one of the largest practical jokes in JediMUD's history. A particularly bad storm hit the east coast, and a significant downtime ensued. Onivel, in fact, put up a sign on the port stating that the building that housed Stimpy had been struck by lightning in a freak accident, and the game needed to stay down. Here is the legendary port sign in its entirety:
- To those of you who play on Jedi, the mud is currently down and will remain down for the next few days. Unfortunately, Ames Hall - the building where Stimpy is located - was struck by lightning during the thunderstorms of June 8. Ren and Troland came through ok, but at last report, Stimpy was having hardware difficulties. Jedi will be back as soon as soon as the problems with the host machine can be fixed. We regret any inconvienence that this may cause.
- -- 'Onivel, on behalf of the JediMUD Implementation Team
- Onivel, (Jay Levino), fed up with the clan system and a porous code base, concluded that it was high time for a player file wipe and a new beginning. He pulled the game down, and wrote the infamous post, above, largely for his own amusement. As most of the playerbase believed the post, they were not surprised when the game reopened a few weeks later and found their characters gone.
- The first major overhaul in the new game was the removal of clan code support, followed by several minor changes that Onivel had been planning to make, all performed under the cover of the lightning strike.
- With JediMUD 4.0 in the works, it was a relatively busy period for everyone involved. Onivel was at work throughout June reworking the spell code. During the same period, Aramina began laying the ground work for the new Bard class, and a month later, halfway through July, she completed the aging code that would supposedly retire all players by the game age of 50. The code, although sending odd messages to characters about feeling older and wiser, never seemed to work correctly, and years later, during the period at america.net, the code was removed altogether after the oldest group of players passed the age of 50 without effect.
- A few weeks earlier, on the 25th of June, Onivel's OLC had been installed on the test port, with Infoteq and Tax placed in charge of the building projects that included Infoteq's Bardic Colleges, and a Sesame Street area initially co-authored by Kaeli, Kinski, and Tax. Tax's replacement on the Sesame Street project was none other than the rising immortal, former mud-wife of Tree, and future implementor-in-law in JediMUD Marriage #2, Moonbeam.
Circle 2.0 2
- Meanwhile, Ras, although still as present as ever in the world of the Jedi code, had begun to take steps that would lead him in another direction, one for which he would eventually became much more widely known. Realizing that the Merc and the Silly distributions were either too confusing or too bulky to be ideal for beginner implementors, he took his old copy of CircleMUD 1.0, and sat down to work. In his own words, he "infused Circle with much of the Diku code I'd written while working for JediMUD". Designed to be particularly small and efficient, the Circle 2.0 product, announced over Rec.games.mud.diku on 16 July 1993, would revolutionize the shape of the Diku community. The initial announcement featured an astounding list of features that everyone on JediMUD had long since taken for granted, but were still quite new for a public release at the time.
Cedar Point I 2
- Throughout all this, the second summer of JediMUD was remarkably lively from a player's standpoint as well. One of JediMUD's more hallowed offline traditions began this year, the Jedi convergence on Cedar Point, Ohio. Featured at this event were Aramina and her husband, Velvet, Treebeard/Nanette, Thundr, Unipuma/Minmei, Onivel, Moonbeam, Mzor, and Kinski.
- One incident from this period that has become the stuff of DikuMUD legend took place on 10 August between Forplay and Tearria. The so-called "Impale Log", a snoop session captured by Tincan and distributed initially through the KHFC listserv, would go on to be the most famous mudsex log in the history of JediMUD, if not of Diku in general. At last rumor, the couple had gone on to become JediMUD Marriage #3.
- If for nothing else, the log is useful to show that by that time, Kinski had made GOD at JediMUD, Eagle was still around as a DEMI, and Tincan had remained at the rank of GOD since his initial promotion.
- Because the log was a snoop (a direct input/output stream hijacked from the users' ports), the actions in the original log appeared in first person, causing slight confusion as the episode plays out. In addition, the original log is rather graphic nature, and so to allow presentation here to a wider audience, and to showcase a valuable time capsule in the early history of JediMUD, I have provided some editorial direction and commentary.
- For purists, you can still find copies of the original log on the web.
Farewell to Aramina
- Towards the end of the summer, Aramina had added autoexits to the code. Onivel, not happy with the decision to implement autoexits, had disabled her code and announced that autoexits would not be supported at JediMUD. Unhappy with what she perceived as an awkward lack of freedom, Aramina decided to resign. By the end of August, Doc was promoted by Onivel, largely to fill the CIMP spot vacated by Aramina.
- Even with the departure of one of Jedi's most productive coders during that era, code mods and area writing continued unabated into the fall. Kinski, Moonbeam, and Kaeli's Sesame Street/Muppet Theatre appeared online on 16 August. Onivel finished the bardic transporter code by the first day of September. Work continued to improve and eliminate bugs in the nuclear powered spells.
- On the 11th of September, a second graphic intro screen was added to the game, players to be greeted by one of the two at random. Just a few days before, the first batch of the Bardic Colleges began to go in, on the same day that it was made impossible for AVTR+s to self- delete. By the end of the second week of October, Ras had laid down the basis for the zone idling code that would remove infrequently visited zones from memory when not being used.
- By the end of the second week of November, 1993, Onivel and Romulus had both resigned their positions at JediMUD, citing irreconcilable differences with Torg. They were only the first of several high ranking implementors and area designers to go, many heading out in hopes that Onivel's new MUD, whatever it might be called, would be better than the current situation at Stimpy. Onivel had taken with him not only a complete copy of the code, but a player file that was only somewhat out of date, and it was this version of the game that would eventually end up running at marble.bu.edu.
The Impact of the Split
- Initially, the split seemed to improve JediMUD life at Stimpy. Temper announced with pleasure that Onivel's trademark policing policies would be thrown out the window, and that player-killing would make its long awaited comeback. Roused briefly from real life and work on his dissertation, Torg began to hint at the need to find a new coder, and mentioned to several people that he would welcome Aramina's return. It took him perhaps a little too long to tell this to Aramina herself; when he did, she cautiously accepted the offer.
- The top of the wizlist then showed Aramina, Temper, and Torg at IMP and Infoteq, Queue, Rebel, and Tincan at CIMP. Aramina's return, coinciding roughly with Exile/Rebel's start as an assistant coder and CIMP, and his eventual rise to the level of Implementor, was only one of several personnel adjustments made to fill the power vacuum after the departure of Onivel and his friends, adjustments that included, among others, Neuro's promotion to DEMI. Although Infoteq's post-split elevation to CIMP seems a logical culmination of his career, he would have little opportunity to continue his area work. He would later recall that his main achievement as CIMP was an ambiguously successful attempt to curb the Jedi economy by selling hit point, mana, and movement modifications for exorbitant sums.
- Initially, post-split Stimpy had Aelward, Arjuna, Cthulhu, Dranor, Elveron, Itch, Kwak, Lupis, Malfador, Thundr, Neuro, Kailyn, Setanta, and Elveron as DEMIs, with Setanta presumably promoted to CIMP after Onivel's departure. A player named Kelrin would make DEMI at some point during the remaining months. Gods included Free, Ian, JMON, Kinski, Lifetaker and Treebeard, and people like AJ and Skelar were AVTRs. Mortal names that would survive at least until the America.net era include Aiela, a low-level mage, Frodo, a high level warrior, and Shammy, M15. Also to be seen on surviving who lists are Video, a C30, Genecide, a mid-level cleric, and Anduril, a B30, and a member of KHFC.
- However, it soon became clear that the split would hurt JediMUD@Stimpy more than the team that remained there could have imagined. Torg, who had gone to work on Jedi 5.0 on a machine that did not allow outside logins, had rigged the current game to prevent it from compiling, thus effectively preventing Aramina and anyone else from adding new code. According to Alison Rosenstagel, "Stimpy was a departmental machine used for departmental statistical work and storage, so it just wasn't 'right' for Torg to provide new account access... "
- The most recent changes in the code, most courtesy of Ras, had taken place on the 3rd of November, 1993. Most significant of these changes was the new Shadow Storm code, a setup that randomized the exits to various zones throughout the game.
- October as a whole had been quite a busy month for minor code changes as well. On the 13th, code designed to remove empty zones from memory was installed with the intent of reducing memory and CPU usage, "resulting in less game-time lag." On the same day, "...due to lack of use, the Khordarg's [sic] Lair and Silvery Isle areas were removed from the .wld database." These two areas, along with a Hobbit and Hobgoblin Village, comprised the Mages' Valley area mentioned earlier. Further, various bugs in group spells were fixed, a "group all" option added, and the ranger skill 'track' temporarily removed. The changes file comment on that move stated: "Rangers will be available eventually; please stop asking about them."
Departures and HoloMUD
- After continued frustration with the adminstration of the new machines, Aramina once again departed for parts unknown. Leaving with her was Exile, who had been IMP no more than a month before his resignation. This spasmodic collapsing of the wizlist was as dramatic as the split, if not more so; three IMPs and two GODs vanished as abruptly as they had appeared.
- The product of those departures would be the opening of HoloMUD, whose wizlist read like a who's who of JediMUD: Aramina and Exile at level 37, Infoteq at 36, Setanta and Treebeard at 35, Lupis and Trillian at 34, and even the bard-extraordinaire Houston as a level 31.
Onivel's "Other" JediMUD: Marble
- In the meantime, Onivel had come to an agreement with the Marble mudding community, and had put his own JediMUD up. The immediate effect of this new MUD upon the players at Stimpy was an interesting one. Some were disappointed at finding lower level versions of their Stimpy characters at Marble, and thus never made the jump. Others embarked on a half-year attempt to ride both trains at once, while many severed all connections with Stimpy. Kaeli, who had been a DEMI at Stimpy with Milady/Kat, (the other star from the mass KHFC harassment freezing in June), came over to Marble for good, as did Doc, a longtime Stimpy GOD who had finally made CIMP. He would eventually resign his Stimpy CIMP in December.
- Ras , not knowing what to make of the split, and in all likelihood more interested in pursuing his own CircleMUD release code, did not wait too long before resigning his position at Onivel's Marble JediMUD. Elson's last commented piece of code to survive through to the latest release is related to zone idling, and dated the 14th of October, 1993. It is not known if he did any further work on either version of the MUD after that date. Although he nominally resigned his position at Stimpy as well, he kept a character that did not show up on the wizlists, apparently at Hayden's insistence. He most likely used one of the unknown maintenance implementors that Hayden claims were in existence at the time.
- Prospero, a University friend of Onivel's, was eventually given a promotion to fill the space left by Ras at Onivel's JediMUD, however, the relationship seemed doomed from the start. Jeremy Elson had left large shoes to fill, and although Prospero did much to get Jedi started at Marble, he had consistent net access problems, and did not feel that Onivel gave him the credit he deserved. Years later, frustrated with his eventual demotions and final rank of AVTR, Prospero would complain bitterly about the way in which Onivel supposedly butchered his Amusement Park area, the implementation of which was far from his original vision.
- In an example of how the split proved to be a little awkward, it is useful to cite Kinski's demise on the 17th of December, 1993. Pythe told Romulus that Kinski started a new player character on Marble, while logged into Stimpy. Kinski, of course, failed to see how his actions on one MUD could make him accountable on another. Romulus disagreed, and citing his "mass unbanning of sites", decided that Kinski had been guilty of "deliberate sabotage". She then proceeded to demote Kinski to 31st level, and issue a call for his freezing, an action she could have been perfectly capable of taking herself. At any rate, Kinski's various characters would never again make it past the level of AVTR on Onivel's JediMUD.
- It was shortly after this incident that a bored Kaeli, still a DEMI at Stimpy, loaded enough equipment to sacrifice, and, suddenly finding herself an IMM, was the first person to discover that the sacrifice code was one easy way for high-levels to self-demote or delete. This is but one example of the many undocumented features of the sacrifice code which would continue to cause problems well into 1996.
- A surviving WHO list from early JediMUD@marble.edu, posted years later by Setanta, shows Setanta as an IMM, future wizlisters AvengerV and Valaria as an A22 and a C25 respectively, Kith, from Marble's Three Kingdoms, as an AVTR, Cogitasne as a DEMI, Hayden's mortal Anavin as an M13, and future source of many illegal copies of JediMUD code, Destroyer, as a W23.
Onivel and the Removal of PK
- The version of JediMUD at Marble began to thrive remarkably. A number of rapid code changes and improvements came almost immediately. Onivel, looking back almost two years later, wrote that "One of the very first things I did when we ported to Marble in the fall of '93 was to make it completely impossible for one mortal to kill another." Although many complained that it removed an interesting and challenging element of the game, it did at the very least cure a large part of the anarchy that had been rampant on Stimpy.
- After this detail was completed, a rather hectic period of beta-testing ensued as the convoluted mount code resulted in crash after crash before it was finally yanked.
- Also new to the game at the time was the complex and extremely helpful prompt code that some say was written by the freelancer Merlin, a one-time and often-returning associate of Myst's DeathWish MUD. This was installed perhaps in the final week of March, and did not go in without a hitch. Several bugs were reported, and the prompt system as a whole seemed to be causing extreme lag before all the kinks were finally worked out.
- As for Jedi@Stimpy, the coding energy seemed to be waning, and many felt that the game there was beginning to die. Onivel's explanation, seemed reasonable enough. Posting to rec.games.mud.diku some time after the split, Onivel intimated that Torg simply did not care anymore, posting:
"When I left, Jedi-Stimpy started going into the dumper. Face it... it's stagnated... The split occured for many reasons, and Fred's apathy was one of the major ones.. How many IMPS/CIMPS have gotten fed up with the situation there AFTER the split and left?"
Torg's JediMUD 5.0
- For Onivel To say that Torg was completely without interest in the game is perhaps unfair. After spending most of fall semester buried in a Jedi 5.0 that would never emerge publicly, Torg came to the realization that work on his doctorate might be more important.
- Taking steps to fill his coding vacuum, Torg arranged for another coder to step in. According to Cthulhu:
"Torg wanted time off so he invited an older mudder or an IMP at another place to step in. The name was Furry I believe. This was some female at another site who had a bad rep for being a hardass... Torg didnt give Furry the trust flag so we had to sit there and try and figure out how to grant it herself which didn't happen".
- Furry's stay at the top did not last long; the name vanished for good after barely a few days. As was the case with Hayden, Torg's steps to ensure the continued running of the game rarely produced the desired results with Torg himself failing to take the necessary follow-up steps.
The Emergence of Kailyn
- This perceived apathy on the part of Torg led Kailyn, who had long remained loyal to Stimpy, to consider a belated switch to Onivel's Jedi. Although she would remain at Stimpy to the end, she "got fed up with Torg", and missed Doc's company as well. When Jedi@Marble began to take applications for prospective immorts, her application was eagerly accepted by Doc. She was given a DEMI right away, and made the promotion to GOD barely a month later.
Mood Swings at Marble
- In the meantime, Marble continued to grow and thrive, but not without turmoil. Milady/Kat/Furry, having been taken from DEMI to CIMP, in part for being Onivel's connection to the people at Marble, had some issues with the playerbase as well as personal health concerns including a recent bout with cancer. After she went on a binge of deletions, Romulus and Kaeli tried to get her frozen, the latter apparently emailing Onivel for weeks on end. Onivel refused to make the freeze, apparently still affected by his own brother's recent cancer-related death. It was not until Romulus had a direct conversation with Milady, and failed to get a reasonable explanation for her rampant freezings, that Romulus and Kaeli were at last able to change Onivel's mind. Milady was asked to take a "vacation" that effectively ended her time at JediMUD.
- She tried to come back only once, claiming to Onivel that she was logging in from a lap-top on her hospital bed. The resulting freeze put a permanent end to her career: the main product of that short stint being the massive undertaking of a revision of New Thalos, her re-location of the class guilds to Guildman's Row, and most notably, for the amusing and sometimes irritating special procedures attached to wandering prophets, tax collectors, elite guardsmen, and dockworkers.
- Included with these revisions was the sprawling Amusement Park area, Prospero's largest contribution as an area writer to JediMUD, (and the afore-mentioned source of Prospero's great bitterness).
- Milady was not the only one with health concerns on the Marble wizlist. A 49-year old man named Mzor had made GOD by this point, after what seems to have been a rather obscure and undistinguished career. Perhaps his relationship with Milady had been a contributing factor in his rise to prominence. This relationship was not meant to last, and Mzor's career came to a rather abrupt end when a heart attack forced his departure from the mudding circuit.
The Marble Hack
- Meanwhile, the last week of January at Marble shook the Jedi community. In a still inexplicable series of events, some unknown person hacked either into Marble or the game itself, creating or kidnapping an Implementor and using the character to wreak havoc on everyone on Jedi at the time before crashing the game. In Cthulhu's recollection, two characters named Imajica and SpooFuzz logged in from 127.0.0.1, the root site. Rosana and Cthulhu both noticed, but did not see them in game. A few moments later, a someone said over wizline: "just ignore it, we're playing a joke in the IMPs".
- Rosana went mort. The two materialize in Cthulhu's room, one as an IMP. They have a long talk about Lovecraft, Poe, and hacking. Cthulhu recalls the conversation as "nothing malicious... they were sorta decent". The two hackers, speaking German to one another, eventually went visible. SpooFuzz had been made an IMP as well; although Cthulhu recalled him bearing the title "the Stimpy Hacker", this seems somewhat anachronistic, if not completely false. The chat ended with, "Well Cthulhu, I think it's time for you to go to bed", as they first fixnamed him to Bitch, forcing him to make various gossips.
- He then found himself as Dedbitch, after he tried to order everyone to log out. Most of the players online got trans'd, slayed or fixnamed various things, and Cthulhu himself was finally forced to quit. In a bit of a panic, Cthulhu started making some emergency phone calls at 5:30 in the morning, but no one showed up to investigate until a more reasonable hour. Cthulhu would later find the two culprits on IRC, talking about hacking muds, but was never able to discover their real identity.
- A brief series of posts on rec.games.mud.diku implicated Mahatma, a theory quickly denied by Yaz, and others at the Marble community. In one of the more awkward moments in Jedi history, some loose-lipped rumor-mongering on the part of Dan Leopold sent no less than the FBI to Mahatma's doorstep to investigate, apparently interrupting the man as he was about to propose to his eventual fiancee. Later authorities insisted that it was Yaz himself, along with a few other Marble-group pranksters, that master-minded the affair.
- Reputedly the group had already decided that Jedi might be asked to leave, and decided to have a little fun. Naved, watching from the sidelines, could not help but post that "Onivel will NEVER escape the wrath of KHFC!" We can only hope that this was firmly tongue-in-cheek. Cthulhu at any rate described the marble hackers as mild and rational people out to have some fun, and clearly differentiates them from the later hard-core stimpy hacker who was "out for blood." In the aftermath of the hack, various super-mortals were made by the CIMP+s to make rebuilding some of the victims somewhat easier. Cthulhu rather righteously recalled his indignation at being allowed to keep the super-morts after the crisis had blown over.
Kaeli Takes the Reigns
- Meanwhile, Onivel, rapidly becoming too busy with a full-time job, began to look around at the CIMPs for someone to bring up to his level. His first choice apparently fell to Doc, who declined the invitation due to real-life time constraints. Kaeli, however, would accept the invitation, and became Implementor of JediMUD. Almost immediately, rumors began to fly that Jedi's days at Marble were numbered.
- The end, however, was not yet at hand, and events in March revolved almost entirely around Jedi at Stimpy.
Stimpy's Last Days
- On 9 March, 1994, Torg surfaced briefly from obscurity to make the following announcement on rec.games.mud.diku:
"I am accelerating the death of JediMUD and making all of the code and files available to responsible successors."
- It is of course doubtful that any of Jedi's former coders had been consulted in this move, but Torg was perhaps correct in his feeling that what existed at Stimpy was his to do with as he pleased. Despite popular report, he had in fact been quite productive in his own time on another machine. The product was an alpha version of JediMUD 5.0 that was completed by the 15th of March, copies of which survive in the possession of Ras, among others, to this day.
- Even Ras, who is revered for his popular CircleMUD releases, is awe-struck in his recounting about this version of Jedi. His interview comments in November of 1996 explain that it
"...Had some fucking awesome shit in it", including "this crazy new way of storing room links in memory that he and I worked out on a blackboard... we were just talking about it, and then he told me that he'd actually implemented it... it reduced memory usage dramatically, by like 20%."
- Unfortunately, this revision would never see the light of day.
- At any rate, the announced death of Jedi at Stimpy needed little help from Torg. Thanks to problems with the Stimpy Administrators, JediMUD had been forced to remain closed from 8 AM to 5 PM Eastern Time on weekdays.
- According to Merkel's rec.games.mud.diku post, this arrangement would last at least through the 1st of June, if not until Midsummer, when he hoped to have Jedi 5.0 debugged, running, and released. Onivel, meanwhile, posted a rather cryptic remark to rec.games.mud.diku claiming that Torg had approached JHU to take JediMUD down immediately, and that it was only at the Psychology Department's insistence that "such measures were unnecessary" that Torg had left the game up at all.
- Although Torg's surprising announcement drew little public response, other than a somewhat rude and disgruntled series of remarks from Setanta, it is hard to escape the sense that a mad behind-the-scenes rush broke out within minutes of the post.
- Thak and Flar, the implementors of ThunderDome, were quick to offer Torg their site, and although he never fully responded, the initial exchange seemed promising. Thak took his immortal all over Stimpy, telling any DEMI+ that would listen that he was to be the next Implementor of JediMUD. In an amusing, if not disturbing move, he managed to convince someone to promote him temporarily to CIMP, prompting a surprised and uninformed Hayden to issue an amusing public complaint that he had "mysteriously showed up as a CIMP on my Jedi".
- Despite all this, work on Stimpy's JediMUD 4.11 continued, the month of April showing the only additions to the changes file for all of 1994; a crash bug in the perennially problematic sacrifice code was fixed, and, in a rather baffling move, rent and cryo rates were both toned back, and "the 4-day flat fee for the Cryogenicist has been nullified", making cryo no different from rent.
- It is perhaps these changes that can be used to date a rather peculiar event. Prior to the last few months of Stimpy, Ras and Torg had remained the only people with code access to Stimpy. When Torg at last set up all the necessary accounts and access, Hayden, Queue, and, according to Hayden, "all of the people Queue gave the password to" finally were able to go under the hood to play with the code itself. This moment marks the beginning of a series of post-Stimpy JediMUDs that thrived on a copy of the code that Lifetaker obtained once he had the long-awaited access.
The Return of Conseq
- It is at this point that a player quite significant to the history of post-stimpy JediMUD resurfaces. After a considerable length of time suffering under a total ban initiated by Kaeli and encouraged by Kat due to some of No's escapades, Consequences was able to return to a Jedi he had begun in September of 1992, and achieve his first immortal in April of 1994. After pestering Lifetaker and Queue to no avail, he at last got Kailyn to agree to have him update the immortal handbook, incidentally making the level of QSTR some weeks later.
- During the third week of April, plans were announced in the IMOTD to "thin out the ranks of each level" of the Immortality Ranks, beginning with the idea of one-month inactivity demotions. The reasons for this are simple, and can be found in an immlist that held twenty-eight avatars (including BigH, Cogitasne, PsiHawk, Kensai, Moonbeam, and many notable others, most of whom were probably no longer active at Stimpy), nine quest masters, (including Neuro), seven ambassadors, (including the same Kep who was an immortal in 1992), and a bloated 220 immortals. By this point, Setanta had made GOD, along with Free, Ian, JMON, Kailyn, Kinski, and Treebeard. Queue had made CIMP, and DEMIs included AJ, Aelward, Cthulhu, Elveron, Itch, Jenn, Kwak, Skelar, and Thundr. Tincan, now a CIMP as well, might have been sixteen by the time of these events.
- As we have mentioned above, only Queue had at this point been given code access. Why the other CIMPs had not been granted access is hard to know. Queue in turn had given the password to AJ and Lifetaker, whom Hayden would later refer to as a "CIMP by mistake". Lifetaker himself had attained the level no more than three weeks before the final end of Stimpy.
- Kailyn, who was beginning the slow transition to Onivel's Jedi, was still making an effort to prop up the Stimpy game. She had become the person nominally in charge of making proposed revisions to the Jedi world files. Her list of projects planned at the time included Steppin's additions to the Skara Brae area that would not see the light of day for another year and a half. Also on Kailyn's list were Kinski's plans to revise Sesame Street, Elveron's proposals to redo Sanctuary, and new areas proposed by Noriko (Shattuck Hospital), ElvishParsley (Fawlty Towers), Hayden (a university), PsiHawk, Attrayu, Harper, and Athens.
- Another part of Kailyn's role involved taking a running tab on votes for area removal. At the top of her list of vote-getters were Nellix, Ofcol, and the Midgaard wedding shops. Another interesting development during this period of stimpy's history was the release of Ian/AJ's hacked version of DikuEd 1.0, known as JediEd, designed to give new ease to off-line world building. First announced in the last weeks of March, 1994, it went through a new version in April, and several more in May. Among those credited with helping AJ debug and test his new utility are Candrice, Ejj, Harper, and Mandragora, Kailyn's real-life husband.
- Meanwhile at Marble, after a repeated series of crashes, Kaeli posted to rec.games.mud.diku on 13 April 1994 to note that Doc had brought the game down until Prospero and Onivel would have a chance to go in and repair the code. The same day, Eric Parker, in the name of the Marble System Administrators, announced that JediMUD would in all likelihood be asked to depart from Marble, largely because as the member of their team that had been expected to be involved in the running of "the Diku", as he called it, had gradually had less and less to do with the project. In the final analysis, Jedi proved too much of a strain on system resources to make it worthwhile for Marble Administrators with no interest in DikuMUDs to continue to host the game.
- Yaz's own comments a few hours later gave even further insight, Brett citing the fact that:
"... As another IMP was created at Jedi and it was not I, my partners saw no real need to run Jedi at our site... the scene went from Onivel and I working on the site to Kaeli and I keeping Onivel's site alive".
- Kaeli, her own promotion one of the implied reasons behind the split, immediately posted the first announcement for a site search. It did not take long before Onivel's Jedi announced on the 12th of May that a new site had been found, surprisingly at government computers within the NASA system.
The Death of Ren and Stimpy
- As for the future of the original site at Stimpy, it has already been mentioned that JediMUD did not need Torg's help to accelerate its death. Forces were at work that nothing could have stopped; it was uncertain whether or not Stimpy would survive past 1 June, and as it happened, no one would ever know. Late on the night of 23 May 1994, an unidentified person took advantage of a flaw in the Stimpy OS to login as the root account and begin to vandalize the game. The last few minutes of Jedi at Stimpy have been immortalized by several different text logs of the quick series of events: immortals were demoted, equipment was purged, and players were noshouted, frozen, and deleted. After yelling off a long string of misspelled obscenities and racial epithets, the character, apparently named N GGER, shutdown the game and logged off.
- This much, any surviving log will show. To elaborate, it is worth quoting Hayden's recollection in full:
JMON called me at like 3am and told me something crazy was going on, that he thought we were being hacked, people were being frozen and hacked up and it was an emergency. So I got logged on and sure enough, got nailed myself, but I was quick to notice something else-- the hacker was on from Stimpy AND Ren. I called Jeremy and got him online, and called Torg in from his way off-campus housing. Jeremy got online only to be frozen... and dc'ed and locked out of his Ren and Stimpy accounts. In the meantime I had been on the phone with campus security, begging them to meet me at the lab and let me in so I could unplug the cabling to the outside world. They refused. Jeremy was the only reachable party with a key and we both took off running and got to the lab just moments after the hackers had erased the entire drives of both ren and stimpy, destroying the accounts of all of the faculty, staff, students, and researchers of the psychology department and erasing experimental data which Fred had failed to back up.
- When the smoke cleared, both Ren and Stimpy had indeed been reformatted, and every piece of data on the two machines lost. Kailyn's post on HoloMUD the following morning dated the hack to 3.30 AM, and claimed that the hack had originated from somewhere in Colorado.
- Although the hacker was never identified, a brief series of rumors implicated Aramina, who had nothing to do with the event, but admitted knowledge of a "large known loophole" at Stimpy that could have allowed such an event to take place. Hayden, seizing a perfect opportunity for humor, posted to rec.games.mud.diku to announce that Stimpy had yet again been "hit by lightning".
- It was clear that an era had ended. The people at Stimpy, already upset at JediMUD's drain on machine resources, now saw the game as a harm to the security of government-funded science research. No MUD would ever run on that machine again.
- Nevertheless, the so-called Stimpy "X Class" of high-level MUD Administrators refused to let the game go quietly. It has been recounted how Lifetaker had managed to get his own copy of the code through Queue-granted code access. Within two days of the hack, he announced that JediMUD was not dead after all, and that he, as the new Implementor, would be posting to rec.games.mud.diku regularly with details. At roughly the same time, and presumably in reference to Lifetaker, Video announced that Jedi 5.0 was in existence and being worked on. Although most people never saw this version of the game, many flocked to Video's Circle 2.2 Jedi Refugee Center to get whatever information they could.
- Meanwhile, Onivel, having finally established himself at Nasa.jpl.gov, made the decision to part with Prospero as head coder. A month of unexplained absences on Prospero's part ended with his descent to DEMI without any kind of warning. The episode culminated in Onivel's decision to put Destroyer in charge of further code development. By all accounts, this was one in a long line of Onivel's negative experiences with coders after Ras' departure.
- Destroyer, also known as Tom Hartig, survives in later Jedi code chiefly in the form of the Star War's Shuttle. Proving unable to resist the temptations of code access, he GZipped the entire game and walked off with it. It seems that he had made the premature assumption that Onivel would soon be hitting the MUD retirement scene, and that he would be able to take Jedi code and turn it into "the best mud ever". Although his own Infinite Plains would earn attention in its own right, it had little to do with his copy of JediMUD, which is, incidentally, the source of many an unauthorized copy of JediMUD floating about the net today.
- With or without Destroyer's 100% effort, Jedi's new site would soon face serious problems. On 27 May, Genecide announced on rec.games.mud.diku that, although the game was running at jedi.jpl.nasa.gov,
"this site is going to be lost due to the fact that the us govt will not sanction a mud"
- According to him:
"This afternoon on Holo, Moonbeam informed me that Nasa had indeed booted Jedi... based on a report released by the US Government that over the past seven months there has been an extreme amount of hacking on .mil and .gov sites"
- Doc quickly posted a retort pointing out that Moonbeam, as a GOD, did not have official information, and that in the meantime,
"Jedi-NASA is down for upgrades and should be up and running again in a week or two."
- Rumors would later circulate that Aramina and Rebel, perhaps more the latter, had something to due with the loss of the site at Nasa, which was in some way related to their real-life employment. The public announcement of the matter as told by the JediMUD Administration at the time is radically different. A rather lengthy post to rec.games.mud.diku, listing the names of Onivel, Kaeli, Doc, Destroyer, Romulus, and Threndor as the Implementation Team, denied that JediMUD was kicked off the NASA site, pointing instead to the fact that
"JediMUD has experienced extreme amounts of net-lag while operating at NASA... Over the last 5 days, the lag has become so tremendous during daytime hours that the MUD was completely unplayable, and this led to our decision to seek a new site."
- The post also gave a warm thanks to James Scarborough, a.k.a Threndor, the NASA site liaison, who "was everything we could ever had wanted from a sysadmin". Only years later did the truth surface; one day, Scarborough had made the sudden announcement that his superiors were pulling the plug on the project, and that they were to keep secret the fact that they had been asked to leave. Curiously, he is rumored to have done exactly the same thing to more than one other MUD given permission to run on his site.
- By September of 1994, more problems had arisen at Onivel's migratory Jedi. Although there was some optimism at the sound of his proclamation that "A new GOD structure HAS been designed," on the whole, the scheduled opening at the new site, keely.isca.uiowa.edu, on the 15th brought all kinds of complaints from disgruntled players. Several attempts at a smooth porting of the player files and rent files to the new operating system had met with very little success.
- To quote a JediMUD administration usenet post on the subject,
"Players were generally unhappy with the restoration work done on the playerfile regarding hit points and mana."
- Onivel took the opportunity to do something he seems to have wanted to do anyways, and wiped both sets of files clean. The public announcement on the subject claimed that the decision had been unanimous among the admin team, a group that now included Lucincia, the newest site liaison. Onivel also admitted later that "There was SERIOUS discussion... of laying Jedi to rest for all time," but that the high-level administration had agreed to give it a go. In the meantime, the same administration group was facing problems of its own. Destroyer, perhaps trapped by his coding commitment to two separate muds, had been sworn off by Onivel as "useless." After a nasty fight between Destroyer and Romulus, the assistant coder was removed from his position as CIMP.
- The same public post by Onivel refering to Destroyer also mentioned the departure of "a DEMI who was slated to be demoted anyway, and a GOD who has taken a coding position at another MUD (and asked to be demoted...)".
- Triana's promotion to GOD, presumably to fill the newly vacant GOD spot, and subsequent mistakes on her part in handling various world file changes, led Nexus/Warmachine to remort in disgust. A one-time real life roommate of Cogitasne, he had "vowed way back when Jedi was at Stimpy and the split just occurred if Triana *EVER* made GOD again, I'm leaving the immort structure".
- Although he was supposedly the DEMI slated for demotion, he never gave Onivel the chance, and never again made it past level 31. How long Triana had been world coordinator is unclear, but it certainly seemed to cause a ripple of unhappiness in some camps.
- Apparently even Kaeli had decided to walk, angered by an internal dispute perhaps related to the same promotion. In the end, Jedi@Keely got off the ground without much more trouble, with most of the players never noticing that anything had gone wrong politically among the upper echelon. Only rec.games.mud.diku readers noticed Kaeli's announcement on 30 September that:
"My staying or going really depends on where I stand as IMP. And while all of you are bashing Onivel, I will tell you that he HAS apologized. If we can agree on what exactly my responsibilities are, and stick to that, then I have no reason to leave."
- She closed the post with the hesitant and prophetic phrase,
"For now, I'm staying."
- Triana would stay at DEMI for the time being, be that coincidence or otherwise. The selection of Triana for world coordinator might have seemed puzzling to those unfamiliar with her qualifications. She was perhaps better known elsewhere by the name of Chelliance, under which she had co-written Arctica with Bingo, co-authored Weeden with Raven, and authored the Northern Plains and Ofcol. She had worked with Duke on the original Sequent code, had done extensive work for Sejnet and had been mudding since the emergence of Alfa -- she would later claim to be the third woman ever to have logged onto a DikuMUD.
At any rate, events moved quickly at the Keely site as well. Kailyn's husband Mandragora wrote a new Immortal (GOD) Complex to replace the less connected immortal area in use since the dawn of Jedi. The new area was completed on the 23rd of October, 1994, and no doubt installed soon after.
Unfortunately, a 40 player limit was in effect by the third week of October. Barely a week later, abuse of the same bug allowing NPCs to use character skills excessively that had been in the code since the first revisions caused the higher admin to opt for yet another player wipe. It would matter little in any case. Although the beginning of November would witness the completion of Cthulhu and Cogitasne's Star Wars area, it would also bring Kaeli's announcement on the 14th that Jedi had officially lost its site at Keely. Michael Melo was quick to post in reply:
- "Fleeing from Cylon tyranny, the last Battlestar, Galactica..."
The Many Post-Stimpy Attempts
- SAt the beginning of June, 1994, AJ, citing himself as "the current coder of JediMUD", announced that the ex-Stimpy game had survived a successful code port. By the end of June, the identity of the mysterious group running the game had come a bit more clearly into focus. Neuro had been eliminated. One public post listed Lifetaker, AJ, Kailyn, Tincan, and Queue. AJ and Lifetaker were the implementors at this site, mud.cc.geneseo.edu, the site at which Conseq was promoted first to AVTR, then quickly to DEMI. He later recalled that the site had roughly a dozen GODs and nearly twice that number of DEMIs. Tincan himself would soon become completely uninvolved in the project; one observer later felt that he had been blamed for the Stimpy hack, as it had been his account that had provided the hacker with an entryway.
- In any case, the absence of any of the Stimpy IMPs from this admin list is noteworthy; Torg never had anything to do with the project, and Ras, as Ras was prone to do with JediMUDs, only stopped by to say "hello."
- Hayden was quick to post several public denouncements of the new team. In her own words, the administration at the test port had been wracked by "copious demotions", in particular the two that took her from IMP to CIMP, and then to DEMI. While members of the test port team insist she was useless, Hayden maintained that their only reason for the demotions had been because she disputed some of the code changes that had been made. Whatever the situation may have been, she soon departed altogether, claiming that Lifetaker and company had no right to be running stolen code. Barely two weeks later, Queue announced that Jedi would be open for testing by the beginning of August. As time would prove, events would not be quite so smooth for this incarnation of JediMUD. AJ left to work on his doctorate, leaving the team without a coder. A character by the name of Shadow, better remembered as Anduril, had shown up and expressed interest in coding for the team.
The Ascension of Anduril
- A vote on the DEMI+ mailing list resulted in Shadow being made part of the team. He would eventually make implementor, and when it became clear that compilation at SUNY Geneseo's mud.cc.geneseo.edu could not be done with any ease, he invited the team to run a JediMUD on http://www.paranoia.com.
- Lifetaker began to have a personality clash with this powerful new figure right away, and as Anduril had a site, and the position of strength, the seeds were sown for Lifetaker's eventual departure from the team. Tazon, "Anduril's coder assistant", began at DEMI, and eventually made GOD and CIMP at the same time as Conseq.
- Who Anduril actually was seems to have confused many at the time. He was close with KHFC, and an important name in the larger mudding and hacking communities. He would later end up as one of the coders at Sojourn. At any rate, Anduril was good at what he did; he apparently rewrote Jedi's socket code in a day. Some tried to explain the fact that this character, whoever he might have been, went from being a nobody at Stimpy to the Implementor of the post-Stimpy site, by saying that when Stimpy was hacked, "Anduril was in Colorado." Anduril would later laugh at the implication, and deny any responsibility for that particular hack. In his own words, "Owning Stimpy was never any problem for anyone."
A Tale of Two Sites
- For a brief period of time, the post-Stimpy group straddled two sites, aiming to run a full port on SUNY Geneseo while doing compilation and testing on Anduril's new acquisition. Excerpts from an email written by Noriko on the first day of August help describe the problems caused by the situation at hand:
"Whenever I'm on the test port, there's a lot of infighting going on: arguments, disagreements, etc. After all, Tazon (I think) is paying $600 a month to maintain an ISDN link to his own Linux machine to run Jedi, which I doubt will continue...”
- Anduril posted a message, some say it was more like an order, asking players to make good on their promises to contribute cash to Tazon to maintain the site. Free retaliated and stated that he would never pay money to mud. Kinsey replied and toasted Anduril: 'We're poor college students and are not making a reported $100,000 a year'."
- It was not more than two weeks into August before it became clear that the site Lifetaker had acquired for full game use would prove to be problematic. As late as February 1995, those involved with the team admitted that an ex-Stimpy JediMUD had run at mud.cc.geneseo.edu 1313, Lifetaker's original site, for "three beautiful days in August." Some claim that the site had eventually gone down due to some sort of hard drive corruption. In fact, an announcement to that effect was made by school administrators during the third week of the month.
A Hacker Named Jesus
- The full story of the demise of Jedi@geneseo is somewhat more entertaining. By the 20th of August, someone going under the name of Jesus Eugenio Sanchez Pena ("Su hacker de confianza.” -- A hacker you can trust in) had taken the machine's root access. For the entire weekend, a panicked Lifetaker sat at his computer trying to figure out what was going on, while Jesus sent out message after message to the Geneseo admin mailing list, every one in Spanish.
- In the meantime, Genecide, whose involvement or lack thereof in most of the various incarnations of JediMUD remains largely a mystery, had begun posting to rec.games.mud.diku on his own behalf. On 11 August, 1994, he announced,
"I am now accepting applications for upper administration.... I am mainly looking to back up to the 2.x days, with the old admin from that period, and putting Jedi back on the right track. So, if you were admin from Jedi's early days, or are a [FOSSIL] of admin, and would like to see Jedi get back on the right track, please drop me a line."
- What site he was talking about would remain largely unclear, even from his future posts, which advertised chiefly jedi@Marble and Jedi ex-Stimpy sites, and not any of his own.
- Meanwhile, in a twist of events that muddies the Jedi post-Stimpy story further, Hayden, in an rec.games.mud.diku post dated 20 September 1994, announced that JediMUD was in fact still under development, and that Genecide was not part of the team. It was unclear from her post whether she was implying that Genecide had been removed from the team, or that a new team had been created altogether. It seems more likely that she had no team at all. Little was heard from Hayden ever again, and it is still unknown what happened to her particular incarnation of the code. A member of the post-Stimpy admin team later commented that although Hayden "claimed to have a copy of the code and claimed to have an immortal staff", she in fact did nothing but threaten to sue the Lifetaker team if they ever put up JediMUD. Hayden, who still claims to hold a copy of JediMUD 5.0, says she was not threatening at all, and simply pointed out that they were using stolen code, and "could" be sued. Genecide, in the meantime, had apparently never been a real part of any post-Stimpy admin team, and was "just allowed to hang out".
- Little was heard from the administration of the SUNY Geneseo Jedi incarnation until the beginning of October, 1994, when Genecide, continuing to post as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened, advertised Onivel's Jedi, Ensem, Holo, and an ex-Stimpy site, mentioned below, to be open in December. Conseq, who had gone from DEMI to GOD to CIMP in a matter of barely two months, began taking applications from all ex-Stimpy high-level immorts who might be interested in working on the project. With Anduril as Implementor, and Conseq, Tazon, and a local sysadmin as CIMPs, the new site at paranoia.com seemed to lack legitimacy as a neo-Stimpy JediMUD. Queue had gone AWOL. Even Kinsey was looking for a site, apparently feeling she was not welcome on Anduril's Jedi. Although class revisions were being coded, and Conseq was actively pursuing a full object revision, the progress would not last. The system administrator was asking for cash.
- While the idea of selling "Jedi At Paranoia" t-shirts was floated for a brief period, in the end, the MUD was once again on the move.
- Although October 1994 rec.games.mud.diku articles claim that Stimpy code variants had been made available for FTP, these posts cannot be verified. The same period also saw the confused announcement of a Jedi III @huey.ee.cua.edu 8400, on the campus of the Catholic University of America near Washington D.C., a site maintained by Glasgian and Derae, who soon used it to begin their entirely unrelated MUD. Apparently either Derae or someone named Tiera had had an opportunity to take JediMUD code during Onivel's stay at Marble, and had found the opportunity nearly irresistible. With the failure of the site at paranoia.com, Meanwhile, Conseq took what was becoming a common approach for ex-Stimpy admin: starting his own version of JediMUD. In Conseq's own words, "Anduril and I ended up at a couple of random sites in Europe, roughly four or five, before Anduril became system administrator at a site at his workplace."
- Little was ever known of this particular version at image.loronix.com, as it never made it out of the alpha stage. The team, including Queue as an IMP, JMON, Sagar and Tazon as CIMPs, soon grew to include Neuro as CIMP and Dyrewulf as a DEMI, neither of whom had been on any post-Stimpy project in any serious way until that point, and had in Conseq's words been "dug up" out of thin air. Even Thanateros, Kailyn's husband Mandragora, came on board for a brief period of time, joining her at GOD with Skelar and Tax. However, the team was forced out of commission when Anduril, Conseq's other implementor, lost his job, and consequently access to the site that held their version of Jedi. Although one version supposedly materialized back on Lifetaker's school computers, the administrators there were afraid of additional hacks, and they once again lost their site. It seems fair to admit that here, at last, the post-hack saga of Stimpy comes to a crumbling end.