A “M.U.D”. Never heard of ’em?
If you’re a gamer, I’m sure you’ve seen their successors:
ya i know MMORPGs. but wat the hell is a MUD
MUD stands for Multi-User Dungeon, and were one of the earliest forms of multiplayer games:
Back in the 1970’s, people only had access to computer terminals. You could only use the computer by typing in commands and reading what it output. At the time, computer games were purely text-driven and acted more like interactive novels. Themes were often fantasy-based (dragons, elves, swords and magic). These were single player games, and once you exhausted all the available options and chat options, you were done.
Then an awesome dude named Roy decided to develop a text adventure game of his own. But the difference was that he made it multiplayer by connecting it to ARPAnet (the proto-internet). Players could interact with each other via commands and experience a fictional world together.
Roy titled the game MUD. Needless to say, it was a hit and he probably made a bunch of money off of it.
And now I want to make one. I will make one.
Gilded Quest is the working title of my MUD-like experience. It currently features traditional mechanics such as instanced rooms, open chat/commands, turn by turn combat, and role-playing.
The overall gameplay flow is:
- Be assigned a character with a hidden role (The Hero, The Evil Lord, The Ranger Sidekick, The Rival That Turns Good).
- Get thrown inside a giant map of interconnected rooms with the other players.
- Wander around, make alliances/enemies. Maybe kill someone!
- Have fun while the dead players spectate how you fulfill your role to make it to the “finale”.
My aim is to create a fast paced “Dungeons & Dragons” session, lasting at a maximum of 20 minutes. I’ve never actually played D&D, and it’s far more complicated than my game, but its the closest game I can think of to describe my target “feel”. I intend for players to be talking to each other for most of the game. Gilded Quest is supposed to be about acting and improvising with strangers to tell a semi-coherent tale.
I’ll be relying heavily on my movie skills to keep the game “cinematic” and “moody”. Good sound design will be a must.
As an animator and artist, I’ve improved leaps and bounds these past few months. But I also have been sharpening my programming skills. More specifically, my ability to setup the code work to be done is bite-sized chunks. I’ve introduced Atlassian’s Bitbucket and Sourcetree tools into my work flow, and I’m having fun (yeah, FUN). Previous hobby projects of mine had no such tools to track progress. At the end of a coding session I would just halt work, hoping that the future me would remember where to pick up where I left off. Now I can commit (upload) manageable pieces of work, and attach a little message to remind myself “hey dummy, this was hard to fix so don’t mess with it”.
I’m also dealing with the multiplayer development environment quite well. It’s easy because I’ve started about 3 or 4 of these multiplayer flash games before. Working with PlayerIO (Yahoo Games Network) is becoming very comfortable.
Normally, this type of gameplay would be boring for me to design, but the introduction of online multiplayer excites me. No longer am I testing a game and waiting months for a beta release for feedback. I can code a feature from beginning to end and within the hour have live testers telling me how bad it is. Instant results is a mighty fine thing.
When will it be done Michael.
I don’t know stranger.
Actually, I can estimate it’ll be another 2-3 months before I get a minimum viable product (MVP) of my gameplay goals.
My hopes are that this first release will reveal whether or not this idea is any fun at all! I tried pitching this game to my brother (who is a marketing major) and I got a massive:
Which kinda worries me. He’s pretty well attuned to what makes an entertaining game.
But once I have the core features in…
…and players are playing out their roles…
…shouting witty one liners…
…and attaining fiero…
I feel like the experience will be delightfully unique.
What do you guys think of my idea? Are there any games similar to it that I can study?