MUD Bibliography

Compiled and annotated by Richard Bartle

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Bartle, R. A., Interactive Multi-User Computer Games, MUSE Ltd., December 1990. 225 pp.

A research report commissioned by British Telecom so they had something on the subject which they could completely ignore. Its main component is a comprehensive overview of what constituted the most important MUDs at the time, with no-holds-barred reviews (well, apart for the sugary one of MUD2!). It ends in a discussion of the future of such games, which, judging by BT's attitude, lie exclusively outside of the UK... Although necessarily commercially-oriented and from a UK perspective, the sheer size of this paper means that there's almost certainly going to be something useful in it for anyone with even a remote interest in MUDs. Ftp yourself a copy today!

Bartle, R. A., MUD Advanced Project Report, Dept. Computer Science, Essex University, January 1985.

A paper written at the request of British Telecom to show how MUDs could be used as a demonstration facility for imminent (then and now!) ISDN technology. Although somewhat loaded towards the comms side of things, it remains quite a good technical read concerning the problems involved in setting up a MUD independently. The hardware concerns have now largely been overtaken by events, but the program it describes, MUD2, is still successfully up and running.

Kort, B., Computer Networks and Informal Science Education, BBN Labs, Cambridge Massachusetts

A concept paper that lists well-established systems for learning via networks (eg. email) and describes some of the more innovative developments (eg. MUDs). It's written from the point of view of a teacher or researcher looking for interesting areas to explore, experiment with and exploit. Quite good: it provides a good many ideas, and takes the subject of MUDs seriously.

Lawrie, M., MUDDL Debugging System, School of Computer Studies, University of Leeds, 1988/89. CS3CT.

MUDDL was the name of the language in which MUD1 was written, but the compiler was notoriously unforgiving. This report explains Lawrie's implementation of a debugger for it. Most of the text is devoted to an introduction to MUDs in general, a history of MUD1 and MUDDL, and a description of MUDDL's syntax and semantics. There isn't much on the program itself, although it definitely worked because it was actually used on the MIST database for the MUD1 interpreter. As the only reference work on MUDDL except for the compiler itself, this report is essential reading for anyone wishing to discover how MUDs were written in the very early days.

Lebling, P. D., Blank, M. S. & Anderson, T. A., ZORK: A Computerised Fantasy Simulation Game, IEEE Computers volume 12 no. 4, 1979, pp 51-59.

This is THE seminal paper on adventure games, the fore-runners of modern-day MUDs. It describes the ZORK system in great detail, and is essential if you want to look into the area in any depth at all. It gives examples of play, outlines the control flow, and provides sample object/action definitions in the ZORK internal format. Although it does rather get messy with the now rather ancient object-oriented language it uses, this doesn't detract from the paper as a whole. Rush out and get yours now!

Mauldin, M. et al., ROG-O-MATIC: A Belligerent Expert System, Dept. Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, 1983. CMU-CS-83-144.

Technical, from the Expert System point of view. You don't need to know the ROGUE game to understand it, as it is outlined first. The program described is very strongly honed for ROGUE, but it nevertheless shows just what can be done if you want to compare human performance to that of a machine using the same interface. ROG-O-MATIC, incidentally, is about 50% bigger than ROGUE itself!

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