Hosting and codebase recs



  • Okay, I'll be getting some hosting for my MU this week. I have seen some specialty MU* hosting companies out there. Any reason I should consider them over a simple VM setup? I have had one recommendation for Digital Ocean so far as well. For those who run the games, what works reliably?

    Aaand, for codebase, I'm not married to anything in particular. Seeing as I don't code MU at the moment, recommendations for easy codebases to work in OR codebases that I can get assistance with would be welcome.



  • @Atomic Would recommend chatting with @faraday about Ares. Pretty sure it can be set up on DO, and by all accounts, she is amazingly helpful. Also has a fair bit built in and ready to go.



  • I second Ares.
    Digital Ocean is easy to use, inexpensive, and Fara has instructions on the install process.

    If you hit any speedbumps (I did; turned out a change on DO required some tweaking of the install process), she is very quick to help and happy to do so. The Ares discord is a great resource.

    If you decide to go with a different hosting plan, I have a friend who provides hosting and support for $5/mo. He can at least install things for you and add stuff to server cron, etc. if needed.



  • Digital Ocean. I have directions for TinyMUX around here somewhere. If you want Rhost it's similar-to-identical and @Ashen-Shugar is also insanely helpful, as well as anyone on the Rhost Support Mush.

    Evennia's setup is also stupid easy. That's the end of its stupid-easy, but hey, options!

    For codebase: This depends 100% on your coder. I'm going to suggest Rhost over TinyMUX, but all of my code is TinyMUX so if you're starting there you're kind of stuck.

    Ares if you're using FS3 and love the Portal/Scene concept. There's a lot there to love, but be sure it's the system you want beforehand.

    Evennia if you're starting from 100% scratch and want to build a skyscraper taller than anything we've ever seen.


  • Pitcrew

    +1 for Ares on Digital Ocean.

    If you don't want to use FS3, you can take it out and replace it. This may not be easy, but it is doable. Or you can just turn it off if you're going stat-free.

    (If you don't want to use the Scenes plugin, you're insane.)



  • +1 for Digital Ocean. If you use my referral link, you get a month free (and I get a referral bonus). The only thing with DO (or any VM) is that you need to be responsible for security updates yourself.

    Rhost, Evennia and Ares are all good codebase options, but they offer different things.

    • Rhost offers a more traditional MUSH environment, including the full softcode experience.
    • Evennia is a great building kit for building exactly what you want with a modern codebase (Python+Django for web).
    • Ares is a MUSH in a box with an integrated website/wiki. It gets you going quickly, but may be more work if you want something very different than what comes in the box. Also, Ares is still in beta. It's very stable, but be prepared for some bug-related updates.

    I have a more detailed server comparison here.

    @krmbm said in Hosting and codebase recs:

    If you don't want to use FS3, you can take it out and replace it. This may not be easy, but it is doable. Or you can just turn it off if you're going stat-free.

    You can turn off FS3 with a mouse click. Plugins for Fate, FFG, Cortex and a simple Traits system are easy to install. If you want something else, you'll have to develop it from scratch, but that's true no matter which codebase you use.



  • Another +1 for Digital Ocean. When I want a test environment for MU* and I don't want to have to actually load it onto one of my real servers (which sort of creak under the load of hosting things a bit), spinning up a DO droplet is the simple solution I usually turn to.

    As for codebase, yes, it entirely depends on what you want to do. If you just want the classic old MUSH/MUX experience, and will load on an existing WoD codebase? Go with TinyMUX or RhostMUSH. If you want Rhost's particular codebase features, Theno's right that Rhost is not a bad choice; it's also more actively maintained than TinyMUX is these days. However, if you want Unicode support, last I checked Rhost did not have proper Unicode support (mind you, last I checked was years ago, so this may have changed). PennMUSH is adding Unicode, but TinyMUX is—so far as I know—the only classic flavor codebase with comprehensive Unicode support.

    If you want something newer—with integrated website, etc.—then I'd recommend either Ares or Evennia.

    Ares is a full-featured (and really quite awesome) codebase out-of-box that gives you a basic MUSH-like experience, with mail and forums already built in, wiki-style character pages automatically provided by the game, and a really spectacular scene-management system. However, the tradeoff is that Ares is a fully-coded game, and while it's not terribly difficult to add to it, it is—with a few exceptions—far, far harder to rip out and replace chunks of it. And the bits you can rip out and replace do come with trade-offs; last I checked, if you pulled out FS3.3 to replace it with a custom dice system, you lose a lot of the web integration (web-based character creation, web-based combat management, etc.). It seemed to be for solid technical reasons, mind you, but it's still a tradeoff. (@faraday can answer better than I can whether that's still the case; the only Ares games I've ever been on as a player use FS3, and I have let my own Ares coding fall sadly by the wayside of late. I'm like... ugh. Six or seven point releases behind current.)

    Evennia, conversely, is flexible as hell; if it's possible in Python, you can do it in Evennia. You can link TensorFlow into Evennia and use machine learning to control NPCs if you want! It would be insane, but you can do it! And Evennia is built atop Django (an ORM and web applications framework), which means you can design all kinds of really interesting things in it and can (with some limitations) use most Django plugins and extensions too. However, the tradeoff—and it's a big one—is that Evennia has basically zero functionality out of box. It is not a MU* itself, but rather a MU* construction kit; it's much more in the line of classic LPMUD type servers, where you have a very basic server and then it loads a game-specific custom codebase.

    For next generation servers, if you want to do something really out there, really mechanically creative and unlike any other game, and you have a good Python coder (or three) to work with you? You want Evennia. If you don't really code but you still want next-generation functionality and you're okay with sticking with FS3.3 for a dice mechanic? Set up Ares and start building; it will do right by you.



  • Digital Ocean is indeed a good choice. I set up a droplet to run Evennia with my Evsvaperoom game the other day and it was a breeze. I should write a tutorial for it one of those days ...

    As for servers, others have said it well already (your choice depends on what you want and your coding chops). I just want to point out that while Evennia is indeed a Mu* creation toolkit of sorts, and the core is deliberately 'bare', there are a lot of contribs to play with and build on these days. So you don't need to do many things fully from scratch unless you really want to. But there is also no denying that if you have no desire for any coding at all, Evennia is not the server/codebase for you.
    .
    Griatch



  • @Sparks said in Hosting and codebase recs:

    PennMUSH

    I am good with Ares and FS3, but I'll put a plug in for Penn as well. As pointed out for WoD and Rhost, you can find a few skills/game systems ready to drop in for Penn too, including WEG/Open D6 (there is love/hate for this, but the D6 (not Dahan Skill System) is easily customizable once its loaded in). Penn supports web socket, can do web client at least (not fully integrated portal as with Ares).



  • @Griatch said in Hosting and codebase recs:

    I just want to point out that while Evennia is indeed a Mu* creation toolkit of sorts, and the core is deliberately 'bare', there are a lot of contribs to play with and build on these days.

    I mean, yes, but most of the contribs are also for a very specific type of game; most seem built very much for MUD-like fantasy setups, which is also true of Ainneve somewhat. And while Arx's codebase is less MUD, more MUSH-plus-8-zillion-things, it's also very, very Arx; if you don't want to build an Arx-like game with discoverable lore and coded organizations and a very specific dice system, the Arx codebase is prooobably not a good starting point.

    If you want something more like a modern urban fantasy game with simple sheets and a basic dice mechanic for resolving disputes, none of the contribs will be particularly useful to you.

    @Lotherio said in Hosting and codebase recs:

    Penn supports web socket, can do web client at least (not fully integrated portal as with Ares).

    I will note that since Penn supports SQL integration, it is actually possible to do an 'integrated' web portal if you are creative. I've done it with TinyMUX's integration before, where there were locked pages on a mediawiki installation controlled solely by the game. When things were changed on the game, it would literally just manually add a new revision of a given locked page directly in SQL (which, hey, the lock is only valid from the web side of Mediawiki, since it's in the Mediawiki codebase; nothing stops you from rewriting the page when you control the database...) and thus update the wiki. It was horrible because of the indisputable formula MUSHcode + SQL + mediawiki templating = hell, but it worked, and had character pages on a mediawiki that live-updated from the game. Did the same thing with other integrations; a calendar system that was backed by SQL, the Invision Powerboard forum software, etc.

    It is not how I would recommend building a live-updating MU* website, but it's doable in Penn or TinyMUX. It is sheer hell to code, but it is doable.



  • @Sparks said in Hosting and codebase recs:

    It is not how I would recommend building a live-updating MU* website, but it's doable in Penn or TinyMUX. It is sheer hell to code, but it is doable.

    You know there's a codebase that could do it better and long before Penn, Mux, or Rhost? Muck. Or Moo.

    There's just a lot more support for the Mux, Penn, Rhost set. At least since Nuku went off to be a successful Furry RPG Game Company. ;)



  • @Sparks said in Hosting and codebase recs:

    last I checked, if you pulled out FS3.3 to replace it with a custom dice system, you lose a lot of the web integration (web-based character creation, web-based combat management, etc.).

    Not a lot, no. I've worked very hard to not make Ares tied to FS3, so that people who want to use other skills systems will be able to easily.

    If you don't use FS3 then it's true you don't get the FS3-specific web components, but that's a very small piece of the web portal functionality. You still get scenes, wiki pages, character profiles, web chat, help, etc. etc. You can even do part of chargen - just not setting skills unless your game has custom web code for their skills module. (But you'd need that anyway even if you used another codebase.)

    @Sparks said in Hosting and codebase recs:

    However, the tradeoff is that Ares is a fully-coded game, and while it's not terribly difficult to add to it, it is—with a few exceptions—far, far harder to rip out and replace chunks of it.

    This part I agree with, but just to clarify...

    There are several plugins that are designed to be optional in Ares -- FS3, weather, ranks, etc. These can be turned on or off with a mouse-click in the web config. Ares is also designed with a ton of config options to tweak how the systems behave.

    It is certainly more difficult to replace core plugins, because many of them depend on each other. The plugin system will let you replace anything, but it does require custom code and I wouldn't say it's easy.

    If you don't like the way Ares does things and are going to want to make extensive changes to core plugins, then yeah - starting from scratch might be the better option.



  • @Thenomain said in Hosting and codebase recs:

    @Sparks said in Hosting and codebase recs:

    It is not how I would recommend building a live-updating MU* website, but it's doable in Penn or TinyMUX. It is sheer hell to code, but it is doable.

    You know there's a codebase that could do it better and long before Penn, Mux, or Rhost? Muck. Or Moo.

    There's just a lot more support for the Mux, Penn, Rhost set. At least since Nuku went off to be a successful Furry RPG Game Company. ;)

    Thank you for mentioning these. MOO gets a bad rap around here and is likened to 'just for MUDS,' but I began on MOO and every one I played was as RP focused as a MUSH/MUX.

    MOO is an astoundingly capable codebase and could handle external connections twenty years ago. (I think fondly to our auto updating econ site for WNOHGB.... hell that game had a lot of code I'd still consider advanced. Programmable ship computers??).

    But like many of the others: you gotta know how to code it. It's where teenage me learned any code beyond web shit, so I don't think it's too bad.

    But if you want an out-of-the-box solution, @Alamias , like it sounds from your original post: Ares is the best option imo.



  • Oh no kidding, MUCK was pretty interesting. NeonMuck forked off of Fuzzball, then introduced a built-in webserver which could use in-game programs (written in Forth) as the source for pages, so you could have a completely dynamic web portal. It even had a built-in web based MU client. And this was in 1995-1996. The authors were certifiably nuts. And GlowMuck and ProtoMUCK and fb6 all introduced really neat stuff of their own.

    That's leaving out interesting stuff inherited from even older MUCK variants, like attribute trees.



  • Well, it looks like DO is the likely option for hosting.

    My system plan requires a simple character sheet/data repo, XP tracker, and die roller. Those are the only "non-standard" elements I need to get the game off the ground. It looks like those can be done in any codebase. If there's anything to drop in for M&M, it would make the decision pretty much automatic.

    I do want a nice wiki interface, I admit to rather liking those.


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