Tag Archives: mud

i sii what you did there

Well, this post took me entirely longer to write than I planned. Actually it didn’t – 95% of this was done in January… but I was unhappy with just about everything about it and my entire family decided that it was a perfect time to get sick, so attempts at editing proved futile.

On the bright side, this extra delay allowed me to advance the character to GL6, which adds some interesting perspective to the whole mess. Also, this post may not be of very general interest… but it is a topic that interests me, so here we go.

– Al (Feb 9, 2018)

When I returned to 3k, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t expect my muscle memory to be able to take me directly to the ATM from the northern entrance to town. I didn’t expect the Witch and Warder guilds to have closed. I certainly didn’t expect to see mechanics for giving lower level players autoloading equipment in a game like this. But I did expect to see a new guild or two, and I was not been disappointed on that front.

This “new” (circa 2006 it seems) Sii guild appears to be based on a comparatively unique concept. Unlike, for example, the aforementioned Warders or the Juggernauts, who are based directly on Battletech’s Elemental armoured infantry units – which are not to be confused with the Elemental guild, who are… well, a bunch of elementals (like fire and water and stuff).

What follows is a (hopefully organized) explanation of this newfangled guild’s mechanics, and the things that make them interesting to me from a game design perspective. But like I said, it may not be of any interest to anyone other than myself (and possibly to new players of 3k who are trying to decide between the game’s roughly 20 guilds).

After several attempts at googling the Sii, I have found nothing but references to the guild itself. It’s possible that their exact analogue does exist somewhere in some sci-fi novel or show that I’m unfamiliar with… but I’ve read a lot and I’ve watched a lot more… so *shrug*

The sii are… well, they’re telepathic parasites.

Continue reading i sii what you did there

return of the three kingdoms

September 1996 changed my life forever. I was a naive college freshman trying to make friends with the other guys in my dorm. We were all part of a special technical program for younger students that I won’t go into now – but suffice it to say that we were a bunch of geeks.

The internet was still youngish and only one room in our entire building (a lab on the ground floor) was wired for ethernet. If we wanted to connect to the net, we had to tie up our room’s phone line. I had a 40mhz 486dx processor, 8mb of ram, and a 33.6kbps dial-up modem. This was better than half of the other computers on the floor.

Apart from all of the standard hobbies that one would expect (tabletop role-playing games, computer RPG’s, boardgames, MTG, SNES, usenet, anime, Star Trek, Babylon 5, Red Dwarf, etc…), many of my classmates spent a significant amount of time playing muds. Like a SIGNIFICANT amount of time.

And on September 6th of that year, under only the mildest of coercion, I dialed into the university’s modem bank, typed telnet, and logged into a mud for the very first time.

No client. Raw telnet. … Yeah.

Continue reading return of the three kingdoms

mud revived, sorta

With the recent acquisition of replacement hardware for our server, the SIMud project has been revived to some extent. I still don’t know how much interest there really is, and I don’t want to make any promises or encourage newbies to try to log in at present – but it at least gives me something to do when I can’t sleep at night 😉

I am currently in the process of slowly exporting copies of relevant posts from this blog over there; and all future Walraven/SIMud blog posts will be made over there first and will probably be linked on here. Ideally, the dev blog will see at least one post a week.

New posts:

mmo /played

How much time have I spent plugged in to virtual worlds over the years? Idunno. Can’t really track it very accurately because a lot of the numbers have been thrown away or were never recorded in the first place. I’ve been meaning to take this survey for a while now, and a few minutes of investigation have proven enlightening or at least vaguely entertaining (to me).

world of warcraft

I primarily play Allaryin, a dwarven hunter, my only lvl 70 char. I don’t raid and I burnt out on PvP a while ago. In fact, I hardly play any more. My account is currently pending cancellation (like the 4th or 5th time) as soon as my paid time runs out again.

Despite all of that, my total /played for all of my extant characters is about 53 days. 37 of those were spent on Al.

everquest 2

I’ve had 3 main characters over the years. That said, however, my total playtime on all remaining characters is barely 7.5 days. Half of that has been spent on my current ‘main’, Juvu, a lvl 35/31 sarnak shadowknight/armoursmith – my first serious attempt at playing a tank in any MMO in over 10 years.

city of heroes/villains

I don’t know what my CoH/CoV played time is. My subscription is not active. But I have two characters that I’ve spent the bulk of my time on, Tetris and Columns. I suspect Tetris’s /played time is 2x that of Columns’, despite their vast level differences.


I have no idea how much time I spent on FFXI. I don’t even remember if that sort of data was easy to acquire or not. My main character, Kikichikki the Taru WHM hovered at the lvl 20 boundary off and on for months before we finally pulled the plug on our accounts for the last time.

three kingdoms

3K is the mud I played the most during college, and despite my lack of desire to continue playing there, I have hosted several sites for different guilds over the years. My character has hopped between just about every class available in the game, and is finally back in Priests where he started. He is 65 days old.


The Discworld mud is probably still my favorite text-based game of all time. I’ve put in a lot of time into every class in the game, but all of my alts appear to have been deleted over the years. The only character I have remaining is my main, the current incarnation of Allaryin of the Venerable Council of Seers – 14 days old.


I guess it’s not much surprise that I’ve spent more time on my own game than anything else. Since I first added character age tracking, Allaryin has logged in excess of 260 days of play/idle time.

Of course, in all of these games, I’ve had other characters that took time but were eventually deleted for one reason or another. And then there are all of the games I only demo’d or beta’d… and the numerous derivative faceless Diku clone MUD’s and cookie cutter Korean MMO’s…

It will take a LONG time for these newfangled graphical games to even come close to the time I’ve spent on MUD’s.

guild of miners and gemcutters

Ok, it’s time for some more Walraven ideas/plans/dreams/wishes.

Since it was introduced, mining has been one of the biggest and most popular activities in the game. It’s easy to get into, it’s relatively safe, it practices skills that are later useful in combat, it produces valuable resources for crafting, etc… Oh, and it’s fun too 😉

Mining is so popular that it is traditionally one of THE first activities a newbie engages in – usually at the advice of older players.

The problem with this is that the materials newbies actually need for any of their crafting recipes are best found in the desert area outside of Candle Hill. This is not the safest place in the game. It is also relatively devoid of convenient lumber with which to construct the mine. Your average newbie who wants to go digging for copper is going to take 2 or 3 trips between the forest and one of the mountain ranges in the desert. Odds are high that he’ll get eaten by a lion. There aren’t many lions out there, but after that much travel, the newbie’s bound to bump into something aggro. And at that point in their career, they’re not prepared for it.

So… we need to improve the safety for newbies who want to dig copper in the desert and make it more convenient for them as well. Nobody wants to trudge across the desert 5 times just so they can dig a hole that they’ll accidentally flood two minutes later 😛

Second, the city of Candle Hill has a problem. They lack material resources. They lack economic activity. I’ve always planned on spurring this by introducing NPC merchants and quest givers. It is currently easier for high level players to do things for themselves than it is to get another player to do things for them. People have no reason to trade, it’s too inconvenient.

Enter the mining guild.

I’ve always planned that the Miners would be one of the more influential organizations in town. They were originally intended to be a place where players could buy and sell minerals and tools (an open market), where they could get some training, and where they could hire some pack mule type NPC’s to help them with their mines.

They’ll still be most of that. But the new idea expands on things a bit more:

  • As a crafting guild, the Miners will have a traditional apprentice/journeyman/master path of advancement. New members may buy membership in the guild for a small fee (first year’s dues up front), and should ideally have a higher level (master rank) member sponsor them. Any one master may sponsor any number of apprentices for now.
  • The primary benefit of membership is eventual access to a number of helpful building recipes for improved types of mines – and the recipe for mining camps (more on these later).
  • It will be possible for members to post jobs with the guild – ie mines that are looking for workers. Both guild members and non-members may accept these jobs, which will be recorded in the player’s quest journal.

Guild members will have access to special parts of the guild hall, including a private storage room where they may keep supplies safe from other players.

mining camps

The biggest elements to the new mining guild’s operations will all be centered around the mining camps. These camps will be very expensive to build, and will need to be built in rooms with existing mines (owned by the builder of the camp, of course). Players will be limited to the number of mining camps they are allowed to own at once. This limit will be based on their guild ranking.

Mining camps will improve their associated mines in a number of ways.

The mining camp is a large two-room tent with an attached storage bin and a place for vehicles to park (similar to docks). The front room of the tent will be suitable for setting as a home location and the back room will store food and supplies. The storage bin will be accessible from the outside of the building, and is meant as a place to keep ore produced by the mine.

They will come with a total of four npc’s. Two of these NPC’s will be guards that will help keep the mine entrance safe from wild animals. One will be a mining supervisor, who keeps the key to the mine, and the last npc will be a mine worker.

The worker will occasionally wander into the mine, pick up any minerals that players left lying around, and haul them to the storage bin. If he can’t find anything when he enters the mine, he will emote mining actions and will produce a very small amount of ore to bring up to the bin. Thus, any mine with a camp will constantly produce materials (howbeit at a terribly slow rate), even if it has otherwise been cleared out by players.

Mines with camps are nominally owned by the guild but are managed by the player who established them. The guild maintains a number of supply carts that perform a regular circuit of the camps, providing food and tools as needed. It is possible for players to hop a ride on these carts in order to travel to remote mines safely and quickly.

shipping cart

There is also a single shipping cart that the guild operates to help ease the delivery of minerals back to town from the mines.

At any time that the cart isn’t already in use, the player managing a mine may request a shipment be scheduled by the mining supervisor. A few minutes later, the cart will arrive. The worker npc will unload the storage bin into the cart. When he is done loading the cart, it will return back to the guild, where the load will be quickly dumped into the player’s storage vault.

The guild will keep a 10% cut of all goods shipped in this way, in order to pay for their expenses (ie, keeping the npc’s alive and the carts running, etc…). This is on top of yearly membership dues.

While the shipping cart is stopped at a camp, the supply cart will skip them on the rotation. Likewise, the shipping cart’s arrival will be delayed if requested while the supply cart is already parked at the camp.

Players may not ride the shipping cart.

guild line

Guild members will have a chat line, just like any other guild in the game. NPC’s will also be capable of chatting over this line as well. Announcements of new camps being connected to the network, players joining the guild or being advanced in rank, and the status of the shipment cart will all spam the channel.


Any mining camp will have the option to hire workers. Both guild members and non-members may take on jobs.

Players will be able to list jobs at the guild hall, requesting x-many of a certain ore their mine produces, and offering a percentage of the profit to the miner. Thus, if I established a copper mining camp in the Candle Hill desert, I could list jobs for 50 copper and a reward of 20%.

Thus, if a newbie takes my job, goes out to the mine, and digs 56 copper, they will be given 11 copper’s worth of cash when they return to the guild hall to report the job done.

Mining supervisors track the player’s progress on jobs. When a player arrives at the mine (probably having come on the supply wagon), they must check in with the supervisor. The supervisor makes a quick check of the player’s inventory and gives them a pick if they don’t have one. He then unlocks the door and lets them into the mine. When the player leaves the mine, the supervisor checks their inventory again and takes the pick away from them if he loaned one. They player is expected to dump the goods they dug into the storage bin. Upon doing so, the supervisor will check them off and give them a receipt for their work. The player must then return the receipt in at the guild for their reward.

These should be enough checks to stop casual theft attempts on the part of diggers.

More heinous thefts (and armed robbery of the camp itself) will be announced to the guild line. It’s not difficult to get yourself permanently blacklisted by the guild for misbehaving.

I don’t remember if there was any more to this idea, I wrote this post several days ago and never published it. So… may as well push it and hope for the best, ne?


After referring with Vopisk and Sora a bit on the subject, it’s been decided that a few more protections need to be put in place for mining camps. The following minor changes will be made to the above:

  • The insides of guild mines will be flagged as no-teleport, no-combat, and no-magic.
  • An NPC will tag along behind the player and collect all ore that drops when they dig.

This pretty much obliviates any way of stealing goods from the mine short of somehow scripting a bot to jump on the ore the instant it drops and hoping you get it before the npc does – since the npc should be entering in the grab command before players even see the message.

esme downtime, plans

I’d just like to point out that Esme’s current downtime is not my fault (18 hours and counting). Acius is the one who actually owns the account, so he’s the one who has to talk to the hosting provider about getting things back online. He’s well aware of the situation, but is apparently having problems getting in contact with hosting people to request assistance.

And the machine is down-down as far as I can tell. Binky can’t ping her (normally can), so it’s not just a case of apache and the mud going down at once. At the very least, networking is down, at the most… well, we’ve probably lost a great deal of work if that’s the case.

It’s funny, really. I killed myself this weekend working to get the mud back online – restoring from a 10-month-old backup I’d found. I started discussing mud-related topics with our playtesters again. I started cleaning up my todo list. I was all fired up to revitalize the project.

Then the mud goes down at 2pm yesterday afternoon. We had a newbie online at the time. Chalk up another player lost to faulty hardware.

The really fun part about the crash is that nobody knows why it happened. Nobody was doing anything on the machine. The mud was all but idle, just with the one newbie playing and me afking in my cave. I guess the web forums might have been seeing some activity, Sora gave me that impression. But… otherwise, nothing.


Maybe the machine heard our plans to decommission her in favor of moving services over to Binky and Tiff? Shrug.

Either way, this downtime confirms my intentions to move absolutely everything off of Esme as soon as humanly possible. While I’m decommissioning Esme, A’tuin is also coming down and some migration from the pair account will begin. All ancillary sites will be moving to Binky. Hopefully, I’ll finally even be able to bring Hedwig back online and make people’s old data available to them again.

DNS master, the mud, and the mud site will probably be moving to Tiff. I’d make her the DNS slave, but Binky’s already filling the role so nicely. The main simud.org mud site will be the only page hosted off of Tiffany… with the possibility of SIMud accounts allowing people some personal ~username style web hosting off of the machine. Yes, simud.org, not mud.simud.org. I’ll be attempting to eliminate that ugly splash page we’ve had up for the last several years…

Binky will be making regular backups of data to Tiff. Tiff will be making regular backups of some data back to Binky. I will be downloading some of each of these and burning them to DVD every month or so.

Tiff comes online Saturday. I hope to have some of these changes in place by Monday evening.