Playing text adventures with mudlet

Mudlet

I’ve been playing text based multi-user games on and off for years, or perhaps that’s decades.  When I first started playing them, all you had was telnet. Then this program called TinyFugue appeared which is still shipped by Debian. The generic term for these sorts of games are MUDs, or Multi User Dungeons.

Anyhow, I recently came across a new MUD client called Mudlet.  It’s a very slick program and works quite well. The way it does its triggers (reactions to what the mud sends you) and aliases (reactions to what you type) is done well and is fast.  For some people you may have 100s of potiential matches on a incoming or outgoing line so you want it to be fast.

After trying it out, my next reaction was “ok, so is it packaged in Debian?”. To my surprise, it wasn’t so the only obvious thing to do was for me to package it.  It is now sitting in the NEW queue waiting for our ever-overloaded ftp masters to have a look at it.

While the program is done well, as shipped it doesn’t play too well with a Linux system. The package carries about 4 different other packages around. I’ve changed that now so it uses the system libraries and fonts. All of them are shipped in Debian and I’m sure they individually get more attention and love then I would give them being a sub-part of the main package. It of course cuts down on build times and archive sizes too.

I still play muds, no matter what client. For me there they’re fun on two levels. The first is the puzzles and gameplay of the MUD itself.  I play some MUDs run by Iron Realms who continuously update them, giving you new challenges.

The second level is the scripting and customisation you can do.  Instead of typing “sip health” you can write some scripts to check your health level and get the script to do it.  Mudlet (and a lot of other MUD clients) use the Lua langauge to do this scripting. It’s a little funny language but is easy to learn and use.  You won’t be able to build some epic programs with it, but for scripting it is pretty good.

 

Languages in Hunspell

Mudlet uses the hunspell library for spell checking.  I have, of course, linked it with the Debian library. The difficulty now is what language?  I was surprised that when you intialise the library, you specify what language files to use right there.  Now for me its simple, the english dictionaries should be used!  What I don’t undertand is if there is a way of determining the right dictionary globally for a user.

I first though it would be one of the locale parameters, those LC_whatever fields. Mine is en_AU.UTF8, which there is no dictionary for as I’d use en_US or en_UK.  I could possibly patch Mudlet and find a dialog box somewhere where you can set the language, but to me an environment variable makes more sense.  Does anyone use the DICTIONARY variable, for example?

 

6 thoughts on “Playing text adventures with mudlet

  1. You underestimate Lua’s versatility… just check the Wikipedia page for the things it’s been used to build or embedded to script in.

  2. Ad languages: Keep in mind, that some people may usually use one language (probably their native language), but play MUD in another one (e.g. English, because there is better MUD or because they want to play with their foreign friends or whatever). So their LC_whatever will be set to one language, but they’ll want to have spell checking for different language in mudlet.

    For this reason, I believe the environment variable makes less sense. It only makes sense as a default.

  3. That’s a very good point that I hadn’t thought of. I was coming from the point of view of internationalised programs (which most of mine are with gettext) where the more translated to the user’s language the better.
    That’s different to muds, where you have to use the language it is written in. While your friends there may understand other languages, the mud interpreter won’t undestand “ottenere la spada” no matter how well the people there understand Italian, or how much you want that sword.
    In that case, an english default is a good default, perhaps with a mudlet specific override.

  4. It is certainly used in many wierd and wonderful places and is an easy language to learn. It’s not just that powerful as a language itself. I might be biased but I like pointers and structures and strongly(ish) typed variables.
    Still, for what it is doing in mudlet, its absolutely fine.

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