Special thanks to: Liza "liza" Daly for the original inspiration; Dan "inky" Shiovitz for helpful suggestions; Rob "Spatch" Noyes and Matthew "mamster" Amster-Burton for just being themselves.
It's a Gathering of Interactive Fiction writers and players. It's a very friendly place for chatting about almost anything, although the topic of interactive fiction writing and playing does come up occasionally.
First, you'll need a MUD Client. This can be as simple as a telnet application, up to something specifically designed for logging into MUDs. The ifMUD's web site has a good list of what's available, under the Platforms heading.
Instruct your MUD client to connect to ifmud.port4000.com, port 4000.
If that isn't up, many ifMUDders use daveMUD as a backup: zork.plover.net, port 4096.
Next, you can log in as the guest character. Simply type "connect guest guest" (yes, type "guest" twice), and you're in! Feel free to explore.
If you decide that you would like your own character on the MUD, point your web browser at http://ifmud.port4000.com:4001 and follow the directions. In almost no time at all, you'll be online and ready to go.
Finally, once your character has been created, log off as "guest" (by
quit) and log back in again as your new character.
There are several steps you should take in order to set up a nice, comfortable MUD experience:
By default, your real name is set to the same as
your login name. To change it, execute this command:
@field me=rname:<your name>
By doing this, people can know who you are. This helps to keep the ifMUD a friendly place.
For a list of other fields you can set, type
Yes, I know you just logged on for the
first time, but setting yourself to be expert makes interactions a lot easer
(see below for questions regarding communicating with others on the ifMUD). To set yourself expert, execute
@set me = expert
For a list of other flags you can set, type
Most people like to know to whom they're communicating, but, more importantly, many objects on the ifMUD respond with messages appropriate to your gender, assuming you've set it.
If you haven't set your gender, then the ifMUD will refer to you as
'it'. To set your gender, use one of the two following commands:
@set me = male
@set me = female
If you set both, then the ifMUD will declare you to be hermaphroditic. The choice is yours.
(To clear a flag that you've set, use a "!" in front of the flag name. E.g.
@set me = !male)
By creating a home, you have a place for your character to stay when you're not logged in. In addition, you can create your own little adventure for others to enjoy.
This step is much more complicated than the others. I would suggest waiting until you've become comfortable on the MUD before taking the plunge.
When you're ready, you can read instructions on how to create a
apartments for a good overview. The only thing missing from those help
pages is how to set your character's home to be the apartment you just built
(or "@digged" in MUDspeak). Simply go to the room that you wish to be your
home and type in:
@link me = here
From then on, whenever you log into the ifMUD, your character will start in the room you've just @linked to.
For detailed instructions on how to create your own ifMUD adventure,
help tutorial. There's a lot of information in the tutorial, but
again there's no need to go through it until you're comfortable with the MUD
When you enter a room (or log on), you will see the room's description, followed by a list of objects in the room, which is followed by "Visible Exits". Exits from rooms typically take the form of "east, north, west", and so on. You can just type the direction's name ("east", for example) to go in that direction. Most of the time, the creator of that exit has also made an abbreviation possible ("e" for "east", for example).
I've created a crudely-drawn map which shows the basic layout of one section of the ifMUD. There are many exits that aren't shown on this map but at least you can get a good feel for how it's laid out.
Here's a brief rundown of the rooms on the map:
This is where all new MUD characters start out. It is your character's home until you've created a new one.
This is where ceremonies are held. So far, it has been used for the XYZZY awards and not much else.
This is a room west of the Long Hall where most people hang out to chat with one another. If the mood strikes you, drop on by and join the fun. Don't be alarmed if it says something like "Adventurer's Country Ham House" instead -- rest assured, you are in the right place.
This was the original starting point for people to create homes for
themselves. Now the
Edifice Towers is the place to do that (type in
help apartments for a mini-tutorial).
This was originally intended to be an alternate hangout, but has been
superseded by the
This provides a connection point for most of the main rooms.
This provides a bit of atmosphere, and gives you a means of viewing the Edifice from the outside.
The 'Carousel Room' Bar & Grill
This is the place where IF author interviews are held. The latest schedule
for the interviews can sometimes be found through the
Edifice Towers Ground Floor
This serves as the starting point for the homes that characters can create. Go upstairs to find out what wild and wacky places people have created.
There's a special command:
which will teleport you to the Long Hall no matter where you are on the ifMUD. This will help you get your bearings.
will take you directly to the Adventurer's Lounge.
In addition, once you've created a home for yourself (see "Create a home for
your MUD character" above), you can use the
command to zip right back to your home. Until you've created your home, this will send you to Dorm A.
There are a few methods that the MUD has for communicating with others.
To do this, type a double-quote character, followed by the text you wish to
say. For example:
will result in:
You say, "hello, everyone"
Note how the MUD automatically puts the ending quote in there for you. If
your MUD character is named foobar, for example, everyone else in the room will
foobar says, "hello, everyone"
The ifMUD will automatically change the verb "say" depending on how
you end your sentence. If it ends with a question mark ("?"), then the verb
will be "ask." If it ends with an exclamation point ("!"), then the verb will
be "exclaim" (unless you set yourself
noexclaim). Here are a couple
If you type in
"Has anyone finished Spider & Web yet?
You will see:
You ask, "Has anyone finished Spider & Web
and everyone else in the room will see
foobar asks, "Has anyone finished Spider & Web
If you type in
"Get lost, you hoser!
You will see:
You exclaim, "Get lost, you hoser!"
and everyone else in the room will see
foobar exclaims, "Get lost, you hoser!"
To do this, use two periods (two full-stops) followed (without spaces) by
the name of the character you wish to talk to. For example:
..bazquux Nice to see you.
will result in:
You say (to bazquux), "Nice to see you."
Note how the MUD placed quotes at the beginning and ending of your sentence.
The character bazquux (and everyone else in the room) will see the following:
foobar says (to bazquux), "Nice to see you."
The character you talk to doesn't actually have to exist, though. You can
and the resulting output will be (for you):
You exclaim (at everyone), "Hi!"
Everyone in the room will see this:
foobar exclaims (at everyone), "Hi!"
For more information, type
This is called 'whispering'. You can whisper to someone using the following
w bazquux = What did you mean by that?
You will see this:
You whisper "What did you mean by that?" to
bazquux will see:
foobar whispers, "What did you mean by that?"
And everyone else will see nothing at all.
There is an alternate version of this command:
.bazquux What did you mean by that?
which does the same thing. The only catch is that it's easy to accidentally type two periods/full-stops and end up saying something out loud.
There are two restrictions on this form of communcation: (1) the character you whisper to must exist, and (2) that character must be in the same room as yourself.
You can abbreviate the name of the character, provided the abbreviation is
unique. For example, if bazquux is the only character in the room that starts
with the letters "ba", then the following will work:
w ba = Hi there.
Occasionally, someone will be logged into the MUD that you want to send a
message to, but he or she won't be in the same location as you are. In this
instance, you must use the
page command. For example:
page bazquux = Hi there.
You will see:
You paged bazquux: Hi there.
And baxquux will see:
foobar pages: Hi there.
You can broadcast a message to the entire MUD by using the
command. It is one of a class of commands which require an at-sign (@) to
precede it. To use it:
@holler Go east.
You will see:
You holler, "Go east."
And everyone currently logged into the MUD, no matter what room they're in, will see:
foobar hollers, "Go east."
There is one exception: people who have the
noholler flag set
will not hear hollered statements. To avoid hearing hollers yourself, just
@set me = noholler (and to start hearing them again,
@set me = !noholler).
This is done using the
emote command. For example:
emote hits himself on the head.
will display, for everyone in the room:
foobar hits himself on the head.
Since this is a very common thing to do, there is also an abbreviation for
it, using the colon (":") character. E.g.:
:looks around the room in shock.
foobar looks around the room in shock.
Then you want to use the "channels." If you type the command
you will see a list of all the channels that are currently available. To join a
@joinchannel followed by the the channel's name. For
@joinchannel cool_folk will allow you to join the channel
named "cool_folk". You (and everyone on the channel) will see a message
indicating that you've joined.
To talk on a channel, use the hash mark (pound mark, number sign)
followed by the channel name, followed by the text you want to say. For example:
#cool_folk Hi everyone!
[cool_folk] foobar says, "Hi everyone!"
to everyone on the channel. Channel names can be abbreviated as far as you like, so long as it's clear which you mean.
#co would send your
#cool_folk, for example, if it's the only channel
you're on that begins with "co"; if you're also on
however, you will receive an error message saying your choice of channel is
You can pose on a channel just like you can pose regularly:
[cool_folk] foobar sighs.
And you can talk to people on a channel too:
#cool_folk ..baz Hey.
[cool_folk] foobar says (to baz), "Hey."
There also is the concept of a "default" channel. This is the last channel
@joinchanneled or talked on. Once you've joined or talked on
a specific channel, you can use the semicolon
; to refer to that
channel. Let's say you just entered
@joinchannel inform to join
the inform channel. Now you can use:
which will display:
[inform] foobar says, "Hi everyone!"
Posing and "talking to" someone also work. E.g.:
[inform] foobar laughs.
;..lpsmith I didn't know that.
[inform] foobar says (to lpsmith), "I didn't know that."
help channels for even more information.
Why yes, there is one other way you can send text to your fellow
ifMUDers. Using the
@emit command (for which there is no help
text, by the way), you can display text to all people in the room without having it prefixed with your name (see the
: command in the question about
communcation above). An example:
@emit A giant meat hook swings down from the
will print out:
A giant meat hook swings down from the ceiling
This technique also works on channels. Using the
#cool_folk @emit baz says, "Argh."
which would result in:
[cool_folk] baz says, "Argh."
And using the semicolon shortcut:
;@emit baz says, "Argh."
which displays the same thing.
Not quite. There is a 'spy' flag, similar to the male and female flags
above. You can set it by using the command
@set me = spy
If someone has the spy flag set, and you enter:
@emit Grendel chuckles as he swipes off your
then it will show up on the screens of those people as:
(From foobar) Grendel chuckles as he swipes off
So it's not completely anonymous, unless the other person doesn't know about the spy flag (or have it set).
Similarly on channels, those people who have the spy flag set when you enter:
;@emit Armageddon cries!
[inform] (from foobar) Armageddon cries!
(assuming that the "inform" channel is your default).
Sort of. Almost. But it's beyond the scope of this FAQ.
Type in 'who'. Here's a sample of the output:
User On Idle I'll_*_you_that_MUD Adam 17m30 00m00 I'm a parrot girl! I'm a pear. I'm a mango! Alex 02d06 00m09 Waaah! There are no corknuts in 1900! Ratchet 50m20 01m25 Jearl 01h57 01m55 Huzzah! inky 07h20 02m17 Potato vampires are different Psmith 03h24 05m25 What's a nice @doing like you in a poll like this? Rob 01h27 05m57 Fish, trout, animal Marvin 32m42 06m25 Nothing worthwhile. Dilbon 02h28 07m48 Morning mood boucher 49m45 08m55 [brain terminated] katre 01h02 09m08 Save the whales. Club a seal instead. Ivan 01d23 01h01 Banzai, I'll see you in COURT! I mean, HELL! *Ryan 02d00 01h52 Arr! *Floyd 01d19 02h51 Playing underoos Uptime: 02d07; pollster: Gunther; Users online: 14 End of List.
The first column, User, lists the character names who are currently
logged on. Those with asterisks by their names are currently "zoned" -- type
help zoned for more information on this.
The second column, On, shows how long each character has been logged on. For example, Adam has been on for 17 minutes and 30 seconds, whereas Jearl has been on for 1 hour and 57 minutes and Alex has been on for 2 days and 6 hours.
The third column, Idle, shows how long it has been since the player last entered a command. For example, inky last did something 2 minutes and 17 seconds ago.
The final column varies and, as you can see, is usually something quite bizarre. See the question about PollBoy below in this FAQ for more details.
On the next-to-last line, you see the text 'Uptime'. This indicates how long it has been since the ifMUD was last restarted. In this case, it's been up for 2 days and 7 hours. Also listed is the person who wrote the current poll, and the number of users currently online.
To find out what the poll is without receiving an entire who list, just
finger command will give you a bit of information about an
individual. For example, type in:
and you'll see something like this as a result:
Login name: Jota In real life: Admiral Jota Location: Jota's Metaphysical Palace Gender: Male Email address: email@example.com Last login: 08/25/97 17:46:19 Plan: To care for and tend to my creeping features.
Use the command
help finger to find out how to set your own
PollBoy isn't a real character on the mud, but a service that's provided so
you can tell that someone has started a new poll. To see what the new poll is,
show poll to see the poll by itself or
to see both the poll and the current responses. People's responses are
usually unrelated to what the poll is. Some people set a response that never
changes. Others change their response as the mood strikes them.
@doing command will change your response. For example:
@doing Nothing right now.
will generate a response indicating that your @doing message has been changed. The response is random, and generally silly. To see that your @doing entry has taken effect, type in 'who' and look for your username.
Your @doing message must be less than 53 characters, otherwise it gets truncated.
@poll command was created so that anyone can start a poll. For
@poll What is the coolest MUD around?
The result will be that PollBoy will holler, "foobar has changed the poll!", and everyone will type in 'who' to see what you wrote. Some people will change their @doing messages to suit.
Like @doing, @polls must be less than 53 characters or get truncated.
One of the MUD clients, Pueblo, will display horizontal scroll bar if it gets a string of characters that (a) has no whitespace in it AND (b) is longer than the width of its window.
This tends to be annoying. Luckily, it is no longer as problematic as it
once was, thanks to a field called
debar. If you'd like a line
break to be inserted into any string more than 75 characters long, for example,
you would type:
@field me = debar : 75
and, provided your screen is more than 75 characters wide, you should have no need to cry "Eeeagh! Bar!" and log off, as people once did fairly regularly.
Although we'd really rather you stayed, type in:
And you're gone. See you next time!
It displays the hosts people are using to connect to the MUD. If you
connect as Jekyll one day and Hyde the next, and
that both connections came from flanz3.loomi.com, we'll have a pretty good
idea that the same person is using both accounts.
For more information, consult
@Gagging someone prevents that person's statements and actions
from appearing on your screen. The name of the command may be a bit misleading,
since @gagging someone has no effect on that person's ability to speak or act;
think of a @gag as more like wearing a pair of selective earplugs.
@Gagging someone is accomplished thusly:
You can remove someone from your gag list just as easily:
@gag by itself will display your gag list so you
can see who's on it.
There are a couple of disadvantages to using
@gag. One is that
it can make conversations less intelligible, since you're not hearing the whole
foo says, "I really enjoyed A Mind Forever
LoudBoy exclaims, "SHUT UP!!1! YOU SUK!!"
bar says, "Oh, THAT was enlightening."
would, to someone who has @gagged LoudBoy, appear as:
foo says, "I really enjoyed A Mind Forever
bar says, "Oh, THAT was enlightening."
The other drawback to using
@gag is that it can lead to hurt
feelings on the part of the people you've @gagged. If you're having trouble
with someone, perhaps the two of you could talk it over first? That said,
it is, in the end, your choice: they have the right to speak, and you have
the right not to listen.
First, remember what you learned about channels (question 8). The twist here
is that channels can be flagged as private:
@flagchannel foo = private
Private channels cannot be joined; people can only be added to them by the channel pope. (They can leave of their own free will, of course.)
There are any number of reasons why you might want to create a private channel. Perhaps you're working on a game, and want to talk about it with your beta-testers on the MUD without other people knowing about it. Maybe you want to talk about your love life with five good friends of yours without strangers eavesdropping. A much longer list of examples wouldn't be hard to generate.
Some people find the existence of private channels to be a rather dubious notion, but really, it's no different from paging several people in rapid succession. Private channels have been around for ages; the benefits have been tremendous, and the harms difficult to find.
Just as there are objects that only certain people are allowed to pick up, there are rooms (a very few rooms) which only certain people are permitted to enter. These are almost always homes. The door to your home in real life has a lock on it, no?
It's not the rooms themselves that are locked, of course, but the exits that
lead to the rooms. For more information, type
Possibly, but that's their problem, not yours. Some rooms (the lounge, for instance) are considered truly public space; others more clearly belong to one or more particular users, but nevertheless, truly private areas should be locked. You have the right to go anywhere the MUD will permit you to go, and if people are talking in an unlocked room, you have the right to listen in and participate.
Moving other people's objects around is generally frowned upon, however. Even if they're not locked down, try to leave them where you found them.
This issue has caused no small amount of friction among the ifMUD community. As of this writing, the lounge is certainly still the main MUD hangout, but when things get too noisy or the topic of conversation is just not to certain users' liking, people will occasionally migrate out to other areas and from time to time a second "gravity well" of conversation will develop. A number of MUDders like this phenomenon, finding that better conversations develop in smaller groups; others prefer that everyone congregate in the lounge, so as not to miss out on any of the action. The MUD is evolving all the time, and there's no telling what shape it might take in the future. Why, some of us even remember back when the Round Room was the chief hangout, and the lounge covered in cobwebs. It was back in aught-six, an' I was wearing an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time...
Well, it's fun to have props: furniture, toys, that sort of thing. The importance of the illusion of being in an actual traversable space is also not to be dismissed. And, as it happens, there are a few things to do other than talk: a couple of people have mini-adventures you can wander through, and the friendly bot Floyd allows people to play both regular IF games and specially designed multiplayer games right on the MUD.
Well, there's nothing stopping you, but it's not really part of ifMUD culture. A lot of us go by our real names; others of us use handles, but even then, they're just handles, not characters. Playing a character on ifMUD is a bit like showing up at a low-key potluck dinner wearing a Halloween mask. Sure, many MUDs encourage or even demand roleplaying, just as many parties encourage or even demand that you wear a costume. On ifMUD, however, we tend to just be ourselves. The space around us may be downright surreal at times, but the conceit is that it's just regular ol' us wandering around in it.
Now, one could make the argument that one's online persona is always different from one's real-life personality -- you might be chatty on the MUD but painfully shy in real life, for instance -- and that there's no clear line of demarcation between that phenomenon and playing a character. And sure, maybe there isn't. But despite what the deconstructionists would have you believe, that does not mean that there's no difference between the two. It's pretty obvious when someone in the room is putting on a performance.
Well, there is a charter (type
charter to have a looksee) that
is meant at least in part to answer this question. But a lot of the charter
boils down to this: ifMUD is an established online community. We're
evolving, sure, but we're not trying to find our identity -- we've pretty much
found it. Most newcomers can sense this, and some even ask about the "rules" of
conduct... but there aren't really any rules as such, no code of law. Rather,
we have unspoken customs, customs that we really can't articulate at
the drop of a hat. And we're quite happy with them.
It's been debated whether ifMUD is "newbie-friendly" or not. We don't chop up newcomers with our +8 Swords of Dood, so to that extent we're ahead of the game. We're generally pretty darn polite as these sorts of places go. But here's the "but": we are, as noted, an established community, and not looking to change. If you keep a low profile at first, get a sense of who we are, and decide you'll fit in well, terrific! If you keep a low profile at first, get a sense of who we are, and decide this isn't the place for you, well, thanks for stopping by, and good luck! But if you come in looking to shake us up with your exciting new ways, chances are things may not work out.
Reading the FAQ is certainly a step in the right direction, though! Thanks for putting in the time.
Are there any other questions that you think belong here? If so, send them to me, firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll do my best.