Serious Question About Making A MU


  • Creator

    Okay, so we're a bit separated from my old far too fucking ambitious MU thread. A whole year away from me going through therapy and finding purpose and all that random stuff. So I've been thinking about things, regarding MU creation.

    So, let's say that you don't really desire a combat system, or if you had anything, it would probably just be some simple dice for emergencies. This isn't really a part of the question, but this is just saying that combat system isn't a factor in my question at all (I know this isn't a popular idea, but it's my preference for this).

    Now, let's say that you write up every single room desc, game file, and pretty much everything in Google docs, and you're like, "Man this is basically a fully formed MU".

    What next steps would you take here?


  • Pitcrew

    @HelloProject

    Find trusted opinion(s) and have them look over or at least describe your work to them. After feedback and/or interest check in concept then consider how many people would you need to make this work? During this stage consider codebase since that will heavily impact the staffing required and some fundamental culture aspects.

    If your trusted opinion(s) are positive. If you believe you have the staffing power to maintain it for the desired length of time. If you have an idea of which codebase you'd like then the next step is to setup a server, get hosting, read the wiki documentation to transition your google doc stuff to an alpha environment.


  • Admin

    @HelloProject You don't need a full combat system (or even stats for that matter) to have a game. You barely even need a grid, unless of course you want to have one.

    What you need is the inspiration to run said game, a bit of money and technical know-how (or assistance) to actually run it, and the willingness to sink time into it. That's it, in exponential order of importance.



  • @HelloProject said in Serious Question About Making A MU:

    Okay, so we're a bit separated from my old far too fucking ambitious MU thread. A whole year away from me going through therapy and finding purpose and all that random stuff. So I've been thinking about things, regarding MU creation.

    So, let's say that you don't really desire a combat system, or if you had anything, it would probably just be some simple dice for emergencies. This isn't really a part of the question, but this is just saying that combat system isn't a factor in my question at all (I know this isn't a popular idea, but it's my preference for this).

    Now, let's say that you write up every single room desc, game file, and pretty much everything in Google docs, and you're like, "Man this is basically a fully formed MU".

    What next steps would you take here?

    WB.

    From a technical perspective, if you have descs, news files, etc finished and do not believe you need more than minimal code, much of your game is finished. You need hosting, to pick a codebase (but without code requirements, any of them will work), and go through the varying levels of linux fu to install and run that installation, the effort of which will depend on which one you pick. You don't need all the features, but I believe Ares has actual install images, and will also cover whatever 'casual' code you need (and can handle combat if you decide you want that), so it might be a good choice. Also @faraday is a helpful person.

    From a more game design and management perspective, beyond what people have mentioned about staff, you have to think about intended play. You have ideas, but what do you intend for your players to do with them? What characters will you expect them to make, and what will there be for them to do? MUs are social, and often work around orgs or factions of some sort, even if they're not opposed: families, guilds/professions, military branches, etc. Do you have plans for these? Will players run them, or will staff participate? Same for plots: scale, PRP vs. staff run, etc.


  • Pitcrew

    I would look at coded systems next to see if theres anything that might be able to assist you in bringing your vision to life. I chose to work with Ares because I liked having wiki/game/webstuff integrated even if I'm having to rethink some of my RPG system (specific stat/skill/ect) so it will align with the ares system that's already coded. I have no background and not a terrible lot of interest in coding but I have been able to figure many things out with it because the documentation and support is there on a noob level.

    I have been trying to integrate other set of things such as factions, powers, and organizations with the actual coded system in mind too. Possibly this wont work for everyone, but its helped me be slow and steady and deliberate in a way that I think will help maintain the ability to keep up with things long term when and if it's open. And it's been a good learning exercise in how to focus appropriately and pragmatically.



  • Making a MU comes down to several key areas:

    1. Direction - the overall theme and hooks of the game. What it's about and what the players are going to do.
    2. Grid
    3. Code
    4. Information (theme, setting, groups/factions, etc.)
    5. Work

    It sounds like you have 2 & 4 pretty well covered.

    5 is just a matter of ensuring that you have enough help to make your vision fly. It's certainly possible to run games by yourself if your Direction is set up to support it. Multi-faction/antagonistic/heavily-plot-driven games will require more staff. So think about what you need and then recruit as necessary.

    1 & 3 go hand in hand, because your direction is going to drive what code you need. A Star Wars game centered around smugglers and Hutt crime bosses can probably get by without a coded combat system. A Battlestar or Gundam game with huge battles every other week would struggle without one. What kind of game are you going for, and what type of code will it need? Then you have to ask what kind of code you're able to develop in the timeframe you want. As @mietze says, Ares comes with a lot out of the box, but it won't fit every game. If it's not the right fit for you, then you have to figure out what platform is and then secure the coder resources necessary to build the game you envision.

    Good luck!



  • I feel like this is a required response.
    MUSHFlowchart.jpg


  • Banned

    @HelloProject Personally I love the FATE dice system as it does a dice+Aspects system that is flexible and usuable for any sort of tests that need to be made. They are six sided dice with two + sides, two - sides and two blank sides. Its a very simple system that rewards creativity and outside the box thinking inside the game mechanics themselves and I think it makes a great rpg system for non-combat oriented games



  • @Mercutio I would add to that a new branch:

    Do You Have a Coder?
    --> No
    Are You Willing to Run with the AresMUSH code as-is? (Bearing in mind that there are several plugins available for different skill systems.)
    ---> Yes
    Use Ares. You don't need a coder.

    Though I will put out my usual disclaimer that Ares is still in Beta. It's very stable, but bugs do happen.


  • Pitcrew

    @faraday said in Serious Question About Making A MU:

    @Mercutio I would add to that a new branch:

    Do You Have a Coder?
    --> No
    Are You Willing to Run with the AresMUSH code as-is? (Bearing in mind that there are several plugins available for different skill systems.)
    ---> Yes
    Use Ares. You don't need a coder.

    Though I will put out my usual disclaimer that Ares is still in Beta. It's very stable, but bugs do happen.

    I'll note that, as a noncoder, I've been able to set up discworld mush entirely in ares with support from @faraday and the discord.


  • Pitcrew

    @JinShei said in Serious Question About Making A MU:

    I'll note that, as a noncoder, I've been able to set up discworld mush entirely in ares with support from @faraday and the discord.

    Likewise. I mean, not with Discworld, but likewise. It's great a) to be able to have an out-of-the-box codebase that even an entirely novice coder can set up, and b) the help and support that Fara and the Discord (band name!) provide.



  • This has been a very encouraging thread for someone with no coding skill to read.

    I want to add something to @Jeshin's advice on asking people for feedback, though.

    Know when feedback is worthless. Know when someone's critique of an idea isn't an indication that your idea is bad, but that your idea isn't for them. You don't have to make a game for everyone.

    I have a good friend who thinks all of my favourite shows/films/artists are rubbish. Probably because many of them are female-dominated, camp or queer-friendly. He likes John Wick, I like Atomic Blonde. He likes The Crow, I like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I decided not to take offence recently when he indicated disinterest in a nonbinary/genderfluid concept of mine. We're friends for other reasons.

    Pursue an idea that you feel passionate about, first and foremost. There's no other reason to do anything IMO. Don't let general consensus water it down. Cater to the fringe you want to attract.


  • Creator

    Hi! Thanks for all the great advice. I didn't realize people were actually posting in this thread, RIP. But I read everything and I'm going to look into Ares.

    I'm not particularly picky about the codebase I use as long as it's convenient and simple.

    Since this thread is helpful to some people, I guess keep the topic going if you like!

    Once I've made some substantial progress I'll update you.



  • The original post didn't mention if @HelloProject had any code experience or willingness to learn some. But I note people in the thread are referring to themselves as wanting to make a game without any coding. Which is fine, by all means.

    But for the record, Ruby (for Ares) or Python (for something like Evennia) are languages that are simple to learn. Both are also worthwhile to know outside the hobby (unlike mush softcode which has no use outside the mush world).
    And the power even a little code-skill opens up to you is tremendous, far out-weighing the effort to learn it. It's what allows you to go beyond anything the engine dev imagined and make your game truly uniquely yours.



  • @Griatch said in Serious Question About Making A MU:

    But for the record, Ruby (for Ares) or Python (for something like Evennia) are languages that are simple to learn. Both are also worthwhile to know outside the hobby (unlike mush softcode which has no use outside the mush world).

    I have to disagree that learning to code for Ares/Evennia is simple. The underlying language itself (Ruby/Python) is more intuitive than MUSHCode by far, but that's not all you have to learn.

    There's also the MUSH-specific layer, the tools (GitHub source control gives many newbies fits just by itself), database stuff (to some extent, even though it's abstracted away), and the web framework. That's a lot of moving parts, and it can be pretty overwhelming at first.

    I say that not to discourage people, but to set expectations.

    I do agree that learning to code for the new gen servers pays dividends that are more transferrable to the real world. And it's definitely easier to find a buddy who knows some ruby/python than to enlist one of a dwindling number of softcoders. Also, both Evennia and Ares have coding tutorials and helpful Discord/IRC chats for support of those who do want to learn.

    It definitely can be done. I just don't want to oversell how easy it is.



  • You definitely need some solution to the code problem though, year before last I was working on a Fading Suns game and got to the point where I had a server, I had most of the grid on it, I had setting information along with maps and stuff that I had gotten looking pretty nice.

    But I was bad enough at coding that I could not get things like character sheets to work even though I had full access to the Star Crusade code and the blessing of the person who had made it to port stuff over. Something broke in it and I was too inept to get even basic commands like dice rollers and similar to function. It just sapped all impetus and things stalled out.

    It was a shame - I had gone pretty all out with a unique take on the setting, researching Nestorian Christianity so that I could put historical references in stuff, etc. Not to mention having the 'opposing faction' being a resurgent '3rd Republic' arisen from an isolated colony who had been forced to rebuild from scratch and followed a heterodox version of the main faith whilst being pro psychic technophiles with a representative democracy. (They were thus actually ruled by a shadow government of mind controlling psychics. Ooops).

    Also their technology was actually worse than the higher end stuff of the Known Worlds due to lacking the remnant infrastructure, relics etc of the old Republic's core worlds. They just had a LOT of tech and could readily produce more.



  • @Packrat said in Serious Question About Making A MU:

    You definitely need some solution to the code problem though...Something broke in it and I was too inept to get even basic commands like dice rollers and similar to function. It just sapped all impetus and things stalled out.

    That's not a problem that has a solution. Trial and error is an essential part of learning any code platform. You break things, you curse a lot and eventually figure it out, you get better. That's a universal truth whether you're talking about MUSHcode or Evennia or Ares, or iPhone app development, or whatever. It's just the nature of the beast.

    It helps a lot to have a supportive community. Ares has always had forums, but in the past year we also now have a Discord where it's easier to get "live" help with questions or code issues. I've heard that the Evennia IRC channel is also quite friendly.

    Coding is not easy. Full stop. Becoming a proficient coder in any language/environment takes patience and persistence. But it can be done.

    ETA: But just to reiterate - Ares is fully functional out of the box with several skill systems to choose from. Your particular game's vision may require custom code, but it's absolutely possible to run an Ares game without needing a coder.


  • Pitcrew

    @faraday can tell you that I am NOT a natural coder by any means. I live with a Ruby coder, and he has tried and tried to teach me to code. I used to be vaguely proficient at mud coding but it has gone the way of all my memory things...

    So when I say that you do not need to be a coder, I speak from being someone who is incapable to retaining the information to learn to code. Some of us are, you know :P You do, however, need to have persistence and use the support network @faraday has set up. There are a lot of moving parts and I have broken many of them.



  • @JinShei Thanks!

    @JinShei said in Serious Question About Making A MU:

    There are a lot of moving parts and I have broken many of them.

    Part of this is because, as mentioned, Ares is still in beta. There are many configuration items, and sometimes it's not as tolerant as it should be to improper settings. It's continually being improved, though.

    But as you know (but FYI for others), most cases are easily resolved on the Discord. "I changed the foo settings and now I'm getting this weird error on app review." "Oh, it's because xyz is blank." Having detailed error logs helps a lot :)


  • Pitcrew

    @faraday said in Serious Question About Making A MU:

    @JinShei Thanks!

    @JinShei said in Serious Question About Making A MU:

    There are a lot of moving parts and I have broken many of them.

    Part of this is because, as mentioned, Ares is still in beta. There are many configuration items, and sometimes it's not as tolerant as it should be to improper settings. It's continually being improved, though.

    But as you know (but FYI for others), most cases are easily resolved on the Discord. "I changed the foo settings and now I'm getting this weird error on app review." "Oh, it's because xyz is blank." Having detailed error logs makes it easy most of the time :)

    Yup! My routine is "Undo what you just did and work out why it did that", and then "screenshot and send to discord with wail for help"


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