TownMUD An Interface for a Text-Based Multiple User Dimension
Operational Concepts • Currently, MUDs are solely text-based games with a command-line interface. • TownMUD will be different: a MUD with an easily downloadable user-interface. • Buttons, drop-down menus, and simple graphics to display statistics will make the MUD easy to use • In addition to long-time MUD users who are attracted to the easy-to-use interface, TownMUD will be attractive to a new community without the technical knowledge to use a standard MUD over Telnet.
Use Case 1: Jane, a long-time MUD user, Googles for a new MUD. TownMUD shows up in her list of results. She is interested in a MUD with a user interface, saves the file on her computer, and runs the client. Running the client starts a program with a simple interface. First she creates an account and a character, in less than five minutes. Then she sees a window with buttons, text boxes, a chat window, and a description of the current room. She is able to type in commands, just like on a standard MUD, but can also use the interface to select his commands. Unlike a standard MUD, she can also always see his inventory and statistics, like her character’s hit points, at a glance. These features make the game easier to use without ruining the imaginative experience of a standard MUD.
Use Case 2: Joe, a normal teenager, is surfing the Web, looking for something fun to do. While searching for games, he finds TownMUD. Although he’s never heard of a MUD and it sounds a little geeky, it’s something to do. Joe clicks a link, and chooses to “Open” the file, which then runs the client. Once the client opens, Joe creates an account and a character. After character creation, the game begins and Joe is able to read a text description of a room and figure out how to click on the buttons to get items. Joe dies in his first fight against a game creature, but tries again and survives the next time. He uses the chat room as well, talking with the other characters about the game and life in general. Most importantly, he is able to do all of this without knowing what Telnet is, or anything besides general web-surfing skills and how to download a file.
TownMUD is . . . • An easy-to-use interface for a MUD with a client-server architecture • Downloaded off of the Internet • Useable by anyone with a Windows machine and an Internet browser who knows how to download files off of the Internet and run them • A fairly simple world whose main advantage is its GUI, not the richness of its environment. Significant changes will be made to the game TownMUD is based on, however development time is too short to focus on many game details. • Fun!!! (of course)
TownMUD is NOT . . . • An MMORPG • Graphically advanced (in fact, the only graphics are used to display graphics) • Hard to use • Only for the technologically advanced • An extremely advanced MUD with lots and lots of quests, enormous maps, and a rich environment
System Requirements TownMUD will: • Provide an easy-to-use downloadable client for a simple MUD that can be executed on most Windows machines • Work like a normal MUD, but with some additions: • Informative graphs and lists will display health, equipment, and other game stats at a glance • Players can still enter text commands by typing into a text box, but they can also use buttons and pull-down menus to choose actions • Be useable by anyone with a basic amount of technical knowledge • Have a simple, newly developed skill-based advancement system • Have some simple quests implemented and a very simple world for players to explore
System and Software Architecture • Client-side: The client side will be the file that the user downloads. It will be implemented in .NET 2003 C#. This part of the system can be thought of as two parts. • User-interface: The GUI which handles user input and displays information to the user • Client-server communication: The classes which will take user input and parse it into the appropriate form for the server code, and which will interpret information from the server and parse it into the appropriate form for the client • Server-side: The server side is the model of the world. Much of this has already been implemented by CircleMUD, an open source bare-bones MUD designed to be modified by other people. We will be modifying CircleMUD to make the exact MUD we want to make. • A Telnet connection to the server will be maintained by the client
Lifecycle Plan SERVER: C CLIENT: C# MODIFIED CircleMUD GAME USER GUI PARSING Telnet connection The user interacts with the GUI. The GUI calls methods in the parsing code, which translate the input into standard MUD commands. These commands are sent to the server, which maintains the game model. The model is changes appropriately by the server. The server produces output intended to be printed as text in Telnet. The parsing code receives this output and calls any appropriate methods in the GUI code to change the display the viewer sees. The server can also notify the parsing code when the model has been changed, in which case the parser will call appropriate methods in the GUI, which will change its display appropriately.
Feasibility Rationale • The group contains developers who are familiar with C#, C, MUDs, and Telnet connections • MUDs seem to have lost popularity as flashy game interfaces have taken over. TownMUD will provide an appealing interface while maintaining the connection with a community of gamers for free. These features, we believe, will be wanted • Donation-funded game. Developers will also receive bragging rights and a fun game to play in their free time