Thursday, August 31, 2006

Last Day of Work

Well, tomorrow will be my last day of work this summer. My coop finished ill be moving in Saturday and shifting paces once again. Hopefully this move wont slow down my development pace too much. I will lose all my coding time Saturday though because of the move in, packing, and unpacking. Sunday I might have some time, I guess ill see when I get there. Once I'm at school however I predict a slight increase in personal time which will definitely create more progress.

The past few days have been pretty good, we just hit our 3000th page impression. I'm hoping that over the next few months we can pull off our second 3k hits. If you know people who might be interested in dynamic send them here, and sign up for page change notification!

Today I got a comment as well, I responded to the comment so scroll down and read the comments on the previous post to see that, but I think I will respond a bit here as well. A reader expressed concern with being able to play the game with visual impairment. I know Multi User Dungeons are a game played by visually impaired players, so I don't want to exclude them or break from the tradition. I believe that the auto generated room and player descriptions for example will make it easier without the map. A room description might note the number of trees or the room type, that state it is in etc. Surveys will work in two ways as well. A survey that will see beings and other moveable objects of interest, and a terrain survey to see physical land features in the near area. A mountain or forest will appear on these surveys and give the player a second option for navigating. I still believe that there will be some level of disadvantage not being able to see players on the map through highlighting like the game was designed to be played, but still fun and playable. I hope this will be enough, and if anyone has suggestions on this matter feel free to comment or contact me privately so I can try and make the game fun for all.

I don't think there is much else for me to mention tonight. Tomorrow I'm stepping away from coding and attempting to install SSH Server on my gentoo machine. If there is ever a dull moment in class ill at least be able to log in and code :P My next week or two after that is going to be an overhaul of communications. Fixing the channels already in existence and adding shout, socials, emotes, and the help system. Speaking of which ill need a 'Non-Story Content Developer' or whatever I decide would be a good title in the near future. Someone to write help files, socials, etc so I don't take time away from coding. Add this to the marketing position ill be recruiting for soon.

Anyway, I've rambled enough.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Post #100

As the title indicates, we finally made it to #100. A lot has passed since last October when I started taking this seriously and started my specification. I have toiled to hit quite a few thousand lines of Java so far with lots more to be accomplished. Every day I get a chance to code I feel like I move forward ever so slightly. Sometimes its the progress in the game, other times its personal progress towards becoming a better programmer. Someday I will finish and there will be joy had by all.

While software development is fun, I think it would be far more fun to have the game completed. I wouldn't mind waging war or hunting. Changing my world and living out a possibility that I cannot live out here in real life. Players being able to 100% change their world and influence the course of game history.... thats my kind of entertainment. To get to this point and get listed among the great computer games, MUDs, and mmorpgs of our day and next there is much left to be accomplished.

The next half a year or so will include some pretty exciting events:

* I will be looking to recruit a marketing wiz to help get the word out and create a brand and image that people will associate with this game.
* I plan to dust off my several year old python prototype and have a fun day or weekend where players will be able to see a tiny glimpse into what the final game will be like.
* Major testing will commence next January.
* A new blog layout will be set hopefully within the next 6 months, followed by a brand new website.
* A new name for Dynamic MUD, a world to go with the engine.

Anyone who might be new here might want to take this time to get on the site change notification page down on the right side bar. Anyone who is interested in testing or get some early info on the prototype fun day should check out the tester group link on the right side bar as well.

Thanks all for your continued support!

Change Detection Works!

It has been confirmed, change detection works! Please enter your email address in the box at the bottom right and press the 'Go' button. This will take you to the website that will handle notifying you by email whenever the blog is updated. I believe it checks about once every 24 hours, and if you register for free you can increase that to once every 12 hours. Anyone who is on the google groups page go here.

As for the google groups page, this will be the last post sent there, I will disable the automatic email to the group after I post this message. At some point in the next week or so I will either empty the google group of content or remove it all together, so please bookmark this page and/or sign up for change notification.

As always tell your friends now too. This is a great time to get people into the Dynamic MUD concept, I'm going to be posting hopefully at least once a day or every other day depending on time. There will be no better free online game then Dynamic MUD. Both MUDs and MMORPGs will pale in comparison, and most single player genres wont compare either when it comes to immersion, wether they be RPG, FPS, or RTS games..

Dynamic MUD For the Win!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Change Detection Test

I just added a change detection thing to the site on the right sidebar. I'm going to try posting something and see if I get any notification. I will endorse it fully once I've seen it in action a few days and see that it doesn't send notification on things that it doesn't need to, and make sure that it sends something appropriate when it sends notice.

Question: should I try opting everyone who is on the mailing list in and let them accept or deny if they do or don't want to be notified?


Progress Continues

I've been making progress as expected. The new faction stuff works well, and the test went well today. My aim for this next week is to improve the editfaction command. I want to improve the feedback and response of the command so it will be easy to use for staff members in the future. Right now it was kind of hacked together last minute to be ready for the test today. After that I aim to improve the performance command to hopefully be able to track a longer period of time and maybe even more accurately. The performance information is very useful for getting a grasp on how much work the game does.

After that I'm moving on to installing SSH server support for my linux machine. I want to be able to connect from the classroom once I'm at school if I have extra downtime or I'm bored. Being able to work on code or fix a server issue remotely will be something I need, and has been on my todo list for a very long time.

The next major block of changes after that is a handful or two of communications changes. Adding shout, allowing users to search for a specific number of lines in the communications logs etc. Oh and I almost forgot, ill be transferring to the new site change notification system in the next week, I just need to pick one I like and test it.

Until next time.

Test Results

We just finished our third test. Well more like an hour ago... and abruptly. My wifi connection cut out for an hour or so. The test was cut short and I couldn't even get any direct feedback. If you were there head over to the test group and join the discussion. If you weren't there join the test group and join in on the discussion!

Testing went well, no major bugs except one, and I think I've found it already. Just need to sit down and test to make sure. The faction save stuff is about 90% done now too. I just need to add some better feedback so it is more user friendly. Should be done tonight.

Also just so people know I think ill be killing off the normal mailing list group at google groups in the next day or two. I've basically confirmed that it takes away from the readers that would normally read at the blog instead. I will be replacing it with some kind of website change notification service. In fact if I set it up right ill be getting a notification on this post, and then ill be able to make the necessary changes to integrate it. The layout also seems to be improving things here too already.

As for now I think I'm heading out a bit.

Layout Changes

I changed the blog layout again today. I placed the ads under the posts, I think this is less intrusive and makes the site look far more professional. Anyone who might have the site cached might want to refresh or clear their cache to see it. I hope people like the changes.

The test is still on for this afternoon. I have a few more minor tweaks ill be making today and then things should be good. Factions now save and load nicely. I will be adding functionality so staff members can make and remove factions from the game, as well as change their names and allegiance.

I'll post again this afternoon, c-ya then.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Making Progress

I'm definitely making progress on the development front. Factions are almost completely liberated from their reliance on hard coded data. I have a lot of simple tweaks left for the next week or two before ill be in on something new and exciting I think but at least progress is being made. I really cant wait until I'm at a late stage and I can test some of the real features I want for the final game.

The whole concept of a MUD without the limitations of static zones and mobs excites me. I hate how MUDs and even modern MMORPGs all have zones and static game play. I don't want the same experience every time I play, I want to do something different. I think this is really best accomplished with competition between players and including the facilities for the players to change their environment and take charge. I think players will find it quite fun to try their hand at taking a stand and staking out their own part of the world, maybe even making the attempt to take over.

Tomorrow at 3pm Eastern Standard Time I'm running the next test. You guys can surf through the last handful of posts to find the link to the tester group and mailing list if you want to sign up last minute. Ill try and post the ip and port by 2pm ish and have the game up and running soon after. Come back tomorrow afternoon for the results of the test and information on another position or two that will be possibly opening on the Dynamic MUD staff in the next few months.

As always I'm tired, c-ya tomorrow.

Quick Note

I was looking at the two Google groups associated with Dynamic MUD this morning. There are a handful of people that have signed up for the mailing list that I don't know, welcome! If your interested in testing tomorrow go to: to sign up for the tester group and get info about that. And if any of you joined directly from finding the Google groups thing hit up our real blog page:

Another FYI to everyone who frequents the site..... im thinking I might drop the mailing list group. Having the information available in two locations hurts the traffic for the actual blog page, and thats where I can actually earn something from our ads instead of Google taking all the profit. The tester group would remain at least until our new website goes up and we have our own forums there.

Thats all for now.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Week Until School

So today marks the end of my second to last week working for Verizon Wireless. I have next week left, and next weekend will be attacked and brutally murdered by my move in to school. I should hopefully have more time to code once I'm back at school though. From what I've heard my job working for the facilities department won't be there waiting for me when I return to school so most likely ill pick up the extra 6-10 hours each week for coding or doing homework. Add in the extra weekends ill be spending at school and I should hopefully crank right along.

In other news I found another advertising provider that competes with Google adsense. Adster is different however, they provide flat rate advertising on specific pages. I think this kind of advertising would be great if I ran some sort of general knowledge website like a game review site or some set of guides and articles on a specific subject. As for now I think ill hold off and try and stick with google, I think it will work better for my situation.

As for this weekend my two main goals for programing are to: add another set of constructors for all my command classes, one that will allow AI controllers directly create commands more easily. Secondly I want to remove the hard coded factions and start storing them in the database and make them more changeable.

Also after next week I will be taking a crack at the Google Code Jam. Hopefully ill be able to get to the top 100 and make some cash to pay for my start up cost and server. If not then I hope I loose early and don't waste too much of my precious time. I think once I'm safely moved in ill try doing some simple practice exercises and maybe write some helper snippets that I can copy and paste in to make developing my solution for Code Jam more rapid to get more points.

And testing is still 3pm on Sunday. Get on the mailing list and tester group if you want a piece of that. We will also discuss the new name and ideas as well as the next few new positions ill be hiring for.

Anyway guys, ill post tomorrow about my progress.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sunday's Test

Heres an update on the test that is planned for Sunday. The time has been set for 3pm Eastern Standard time. Please sign up on the mailing list and the tester group if you would like to participate. The server ip and port will be announced on the tester group sometime between 2pm and 2:30 pm, and the server might be open once the ip and port are announced before the test begins.

The test should last about an hour. The main purpose will be to test the major internal changes since the last test before I head to school for the semester and put my computer behind a crazy firewall.

Also on the agenda for Sunday:

  • Discussion on the near and far future of DynamicMUD.
  • The new name for the DynamicMUD world.
  • Advertisement and voting.
  • New staff openings.
I hope everyone can make it for the test, if you can't be sure to check here on Sunday after the test for an update on the happenings during the test.

Thanks all, see you then.


The basic mapper is done for now. There is more functionality that could be there but I wont need it for a while so ill throw it back on my todo stack. I also made a few other minor changes.

I have grown the set of sites to post to once again: Ranking and Forums Forums and Listing Forums and Listing + Mini Banner
various roguelike and mud google groups

Please send suggestions if you have any ideas on good places to post links to this site!

I also noticed yesterday that google is running a programing contest with topcoder: Code Jam. I think ill try entering and see if I make it past the qualifing round into the top 1000 contestants. If I manage to make it into the top 100 then ill get to go to New York City to compete in the finals and win at least $750 dollars. Money for website and mud hosting! First place is $10000 which would be a sweet server and hosting for a while as well as business registration fees. Of course to compete in the two rouns before the top 100 and the championships ill need to miss some class, but I think computer engineering teachers would understand me missing class to destroy programmers from all over :)


Monday, August 21, 2006

Planned Posting

Graphics are starting to come together. Hopefully the layout will be set pretty soon and ill start posting the site in more places to build traffic. I wouldnt mind having a name too so I can officially start posting. The following is a list of the places I currently plan on posting to once the layout and name are picked: Ranking and Forums Forums and Listing

As always suggestions and ideas are greatly appreciated. I think the wikipedia page for muds had a bunch of sites that might be good, maybe ill look through them at work tomorrow. I cant wait to get this game out on the market. Anyway, time to get some sleep and read some more of the introduction to "The Art of War" by Sun-Tzu. Picking up a lot of history that might play well into the game's theme.


New Team Member

Im happy to announce that Qyae has joined the team as our new artist. He will be working on graphics for the website, blog layout, and other projects for us. He will be working closely with Raptre to improve the visual appeal of the website and layout that are currently under development. Hopefully later today or sometime in the next few days I will post some examples of his work and the other work in progress to get the website running.

I am planning on taking on several more staff members sometime in the next few months. The two positions im considering are a marketing/advertising position, and a non-story content position (help files, emotes, player guides etc). I also think I will be recruiting one or more people to help run the tests that will start in January. These people will play the role of leaders, and should be people familiar with the general game concepts and commands. More details on that recruitment will follow later this week as well.

Sunday this week is the planned day for the next test session for DynamicMUD. The time will be posted a little bit later this week. Please join the mailing list and the tester group if you want to be included in the test:
Mailing List
Tester Group

Until Later,

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

This for That

Tonight I ended up shifting my work from working on the map code to the blog. I found a free web stat tracking website that tracks quite a few things, hopefully it will allow me to optimize better and find out what brings me traffic. I also set up channels on my google adsense account to track which ads bring in the most profit so I can optimize those as well.

Tomorrow I probably wont have time to do much coding. I need to pack for my trip up to Vermont for the weekend and all that fun stuff. Come Sunday night and next week I will finish up the map stuff and move forward onto more features, I really cant wait to clear out this core stuff to move onto real code.

I think thats all for tonight, going to head to bed and read some more of the introduction to 'The Art of War'.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Good Vibes

Things are going well now. Finally got the graphics program working so I can edit images. Got new tunes to listen to while coding. Ive decided this week will basicly be dedicated to tweaking this map stuff. Im going to Vermont again on Friday so I dont have this coming weekend to code. The map reader is slow at the moment, it takes quite a few minutes to read only a few thousand colored rooms, I need it to be able to do about 4mil in maybe 15 minutes.

I am also compiling a list of websites to post Dynamic to once I have a name and a bit of a better website going. Heres the list so far, please comment to this post if you have suggestions, when were ready I want traffic here to explode so maybe I can afford a webserver.

Tell me where else to post if you know of any other mud or free game websites!

I am also working on a new name for the actual game to run on DynamicMUD. I have an idea but I dont want to release it just yet, if anyone else has suggestions also post a comment here.

Thanks all for your support, tell your friends!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Paint Programs for KDE

Man is it a pain to get a damn paint program to work under KDE. Kolourpaint which should be a simple one line command to install: emerge kolourpaint under gentoo should install it fine. For some reason its missing mimetypes or something, and ive wasted the whole day to failing the fix. Other packages ive tried today wont even compile, graphics hate me this week I guess. Im trying to emerge xpaint as I write this, hopefully this one will work. All I need is the ability to edit .png image files.

I also exchanged the crappy copy of "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu today for a better copy. The copy I got for my birthday had a paragraph from Sun Tzu and then like 5 from various interpreters, rinse and repeat. I hope to apply some of this reading to the Dynamic design. Warefare will be deeply rooted in the real world art of military strategy. I cant wait for large battles and combat in dynamic. A good stress reducer to go all or nothing when the day is going bad.

And back on the topic of paint programs.... xpaint is installed, can open my file and works, now if it had features id be all set. Never good middle ground, eesh.

Also, I need people to throw ideas at me for a name for the game world. I want to get this thing posted on topmudsites and else where. I also wouldnt mind hearing from people if they could tell me if they would vote or not on topmudsites.

Do any of you post regularly in gaming forums? Would you put a link here in your profile/signature? Im brainstorming ideas to grow traffic.

Anyway im tired.


Im going to start off and say Yesterday was by birthday, and thanks everyone who said "Happy Birthday" etc. I spent the morning developing the map writing code for dynamic, followed by playing Half Life 2: Episode 1. Was a decent short game, felt a little weak compared to the original Half Life 2, but the trailer for Episode 2 rocked.

Most of the map reading code is done, im waiting now on the install for some image editing software for linux so I can try drawing some stuff and test the reading code. Ill probably draw a whole lot of features onto the map and see if it loads ok and all that stuff.

The next test is currently planned for Sunday August 27th. Please click the link at the top right and join the Tester group if your interested in logging in and helping me test the core engine. Remember you need to be a member of the mailing list to be approved for the test group, that link is also at the top right of the page.

C-ya later all.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Testing Syndication

I think I found an option that might make it only show the first paragraph, Im going to write some here and see if it works. This will be a good time to remind people that getting in touch is great. If you have ideas or want to be considered for future staff positions make yourself known, I cant hire you if I dont know you.

I also think I forgot to mention that in the latest IEEE publications there was an article about a particular AI system that should allow me a scalable AI solution that could quite easily run maybe 50 to 100k mobs at a given time for me.

Anyway this should be enough for the test.

DataManager Fixed

I finished fixing the DataManager today. I also changed the resolution of my performance tracking from milliseconds to microseconds. Even with these victories the battle continues, I still have tons of stuff left on the core, but at least I am a little closer.

Besides coding I have what I would call two missions that I need to get done. The first is finding a way to get the mailing list to send readers to the blog instead of showing them the post content so we can get more website hits.

The second mission is choosing a name for the Dynamic MUD world so that I can list it on Top Mud Sites and hopefully gain some viewers and make enough money to pay for a domain and web host.

If you have ideas for either post a comment or email me.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Creeping Along

Slowly getting stuff done, I plan to really attack it this weekend. I keep coming up with ideas as I go so I really want to make sure this data storage stuff is perfect. Id rather change the hard stuff now then have to peruse many lines of code to make simple changes.

Here is the timeline for the rest of August.....

Weekend of 5th and 6th: Finishing data storage and internal refactoring.
Weekend of 12th and 13th: Improved Function Feedback, Improved Performance (nanoseconds wooo!), new javadoc, improving error framework.
Weekend of 19th and 20th: In Vermont Training (more woooo!)
Weekend of 26th and 27th: Coding data to map and map to data code, and the last test before I head back to school.

The rest of the year looks approximately like this:
September, October, Maybe Half of Novemer: Finish and Polish core... no testing due to school firewalls.
Second Half of Novemeber and Decemeber: Come up with a name for the game world, get listed on I also plan to starting hiring either story people or some people to help do documentation and help softcode things like socials. I also should be able to start coding content stuff like adding room types and items etc.
January: Heavy work on adding content. Massive testing because ill be home and have a lot of new stuff to work on.
February: Hopefully launch a website with money made from the blog because of the topmudsites voting.

Thats the overall plan, lets see if I can stick to it.