- 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 simulatenously. Formally, the acronym MUD stands for "multi-user dungeon or dimension." However, diffent 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 apprecaition of the hiistory of MUDs that they are best understood.
To date, essentially five "ages" of MUDs 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 whatever 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 Sejnet with Chelliance/Triana, whose solo effort for Sejnet, Artica, 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 CircleMUD area, 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.
Impale Log 2
- 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<span style="fo</i> : nt-family:"Arial","sans-serif""> 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.</span> </span></span></span></span></span></span></span>
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 at Stimpy more greatly than most who remained there would have thought. 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. 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 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, an old school 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 Anavrin as a 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 RGMD 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 </span>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,