Imaginary Realities 1999 October Edition

Summary of October 1999 issue of Imaginary Realities. Imaginary Realities was an ezine dedicated to MUDs.

Summary of "Art of Language Independence" by Ben Greer

Ben started ScryMUD.

Due to requests, the author has taken on the task of porting ScryMUD to support multiple languages. "There are four distinct areas of translations that are needed: the player commands, code generated messages, world database (DB) entries, and player communications." Player communication is proving to be the most difficult change.

Most of the article focuses on the ins and outs of rewriting 20th century C code to handle multiple languages other than English. The translations of the text that is currently only in English will have to be accomplished by a small army of volunteers.

Summary of "Ethics and Virtual Reality" by Chuck Haeberle

Chuck is known as Traveling Jack and Greebo on Legend MUD.

"'What morality exists in the context of a game? Do we treat a game as a subset of ethics or should virtuality reflect our ethics in reality?'"

The author investigates the difference between finite and infinite games. Finite games force players to play within a set of rules and the game ends. Infinite games allow players to play because of the rules and don't have a finite duration for the length of the game. There is an infinite number of strategies for playing the game. Real life is the ultimate infinite game.

Infinite games have many types of players, most of which limit themselves by self-imposed rules of varying magnitudes.

"The different types of players will seek different definitions of morality. The infinite player will desire only what enhances the play of the game. The finite player will desire what reflects his personal standard of rules. The timid player will seek a firm set of guidelines, and will conform, generally without question. Finally, the user will seek no set of morals, wishing to fulfill his desires without reproach and regardless of effect on the game or the players."

The author's argument is that choosing to play by a set of somewhat selfless morals will benefit the player and the community of players. IRL Bill Gates is used as an example. Some IRL morals should be carried over to MUDs.

Infinite games, like MUDs, are merely extensions or subsets of the ultimate infinite game, real life. By extension, at least a subset of the morality of real life needs to exist in all infinite games, because if real life is not really a game, then MUDs and other infinite games are not really just games either.

Summary of "It's Only A Game" by Kethry

Kethry was a staff writer and a player of Mystic Adventures MUD.

"As an administrator of a mud, one of my biggest pet peeves is the "lighten up, it is only a game" line which is often thrown at mud administrators for daring to enforce the rules they have established on their mud."

MUDs are ever-changing, open worlds where the player makes the character their own. It is much more than traditional games. There is a vast time commitment, and many online relationships formed. Even IRL marriages as a result of those online relationships. Mudding is far more than just a game.

The need for Out Of Character (OOC) channels is a great proof that MUDs are not just games. Players not only invest a large effort into their characters, but seek to share more of themselves with other players in a non-game chat. Some angry players make IRL death threats against admins that dare enforce the rules of the MUD. Even those shouting, "It's only a game!" feel strongly otherwise.

Summary of "You Were Different When You Were A Player!" by Selina Kelley

Selina was a staff writer and member of The Mud Connectors.

The transition from player to immortal can result in the loss of old player friends. Information you could share freely as a player becomes privileged and unsharable after the transition. There are strict rules on what immortals can share with regular players.

Knowing how the MUD works destroys a lot of the magic of the game. "When you know the inner workings, and know when you run into X monster in Y area that he'll have Z spells and Q hitpoints, the adrenaline rush that comes with attacking an "unknown" just never kicks in."

The fun in the game comes from different sources once you're an admin. The satisfaction comes from creating, then seeing other players enjoyment of the game.

Summary of "Tao of the Hunt" by A Shriner

The author is a "shriner" on Artic MUD.

The author understands that pkilling is frowned on by many players, but enjoys the hunt of other players in what is only a game. " Some play to role-play, some play to be part of a community, I play to be feared. I enjoy those other aspects too, of course, but they pale in comparison to the thrill of the hunt."

The author has a long monolog boiling down to it's a game. I have a normal life. You chose to join a PvP server, and should understand what that means. "Do not bleat at me, little sheep, for this path you chose of your own free will . you knew the wolves lurked here, you simply chose to ignore them."

Summary of "Role-Play vs. Multi-play" by Brad Smith

Brad, AKA Majick Salavari, had three years of MUD experience and worked as an immortal at

Playing multiple characters reduces the ability to roleplay. However, multi-playing is fun as a player. But, for admin, it is not fun.

"Should mudding be solely resticted to one character online per person? Perhaps. If you strive for role-playing, it's definitely an experiment worth trying. But, if your main interest is running a mud where players can create ten characters on two sets of equipment, or even a mud where role-playing isn't important, then perhaps multi-playing is right for you"

Summary of "Player Killers Exposed" by Lexley Vaughan

Lexley played MUD 2 and ran Witch? magazine.

Players can really feel horrible when another player kills there character. Typically, Pk'ers are hated, even though they are rarely successful at PK'ing.

Some reasons for PK'ing are not stigmatized by the MUD community. For example: self defense, PK'ing thieves, PK'ing bullies, and accidental PKs. Typically, the community does not label you as a PK'er if you had a good reason.

PK'ers fall into the following categories:

  • Newbie - they come from PvP games and don't know any better
  • Wannabe - they aren't any good at combat, so attack in packs
  • Achiever - they're experimenting to see if PK'ing is a good way to get points
  • Explorer - they just want to know how PK'ing works, out of curiosity
  • Broken Achiever - they're usually angry at being killed too many times
  • Broken Explorer - they snapped for some reason. They tend to be more dangerous than broken achievers.
  • Psycho - "They do it because they can get off on it, end of story." They tend to be poor losers, so if a party takes them out enough times, they quit.
  • Prover - Usually have an inferiority complex. "They prefer to show their skills off against much weaker opponents"
  • Big Whacker - Usually have a superiority complex and behave like rutting stags.
  • New Wiz - admins that abuse their powers by snooping, then use their experience to PK. They might succeed purely from skill, but death of their temporary characters doesn't mean anything to them, so their is no risk from their end.
  • Pkk - an over achieving PK'er that is disruptive to the MUD. Sometimes the admins cull them, they're so disruptive.
  • Spicer - an admin that shows up in mortal form and shows regular players in tournaments that they have a lot to learn
  • Auto PK - they are admins that flip between mortal and wiz constantly just because it is habit to PK anyone that come across

Common excuses for PK'ing fall into the following categories:

  • "I'm Only Role-Playing"
  • "The Game Needs Pks"
  • "Players Who Can't Fight Deserve To Be Killed"
  • "The Game Lets Me Do it"
  • "No Offense, I Need the Points"
These are all just excuses. The only type of PK'er that tends to not use excuses is the broken achiever.