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    What is a codebase?

    A codebase in the context of multi-user dungeons (MUDs) refers to the underlying server software upon which a game is built.

    It encompasses the programming framework and set of instructions that govern the game’s mechanics, such as player commands, combat systems, turn management, skill usage, and event handling.

    Essentially, the codebase defines how the game operates and interacts with players.

    The concept of a codebase has been central to the development of MUDs since their inception. Initially, these were simple text-based games running on university networks, but they evolved significantly over time.

    The variety in codebases has led to a diverse range of MUD experiences, as each one can offer different features and gameplay mechanics.

    Codebase FAQs

    What is the difference between a codebase and a client in MUDs?

    A codebase is the server-side software that runs the MUD, handling game logic and player interactions. In contrast, a MUD client is the software used by players to connect to the MUD, usually providing a user interface for sending commands and receiving game text.

    Can you modify an existing codebase?

    Yes, many MUD codebases are open source, allowing developers to modify and customize them. However, the extent to which you can modify a codebase depends on your programming skills and the specific license agreement of the codebase.

    How do I choose the right codebase for my MUD?

    Choosing the right codebase for your MUD depends on several factors, including your programming expertise and preferred programming language, the type of game you want to create, and the features you wish to include.

    Researching and testing different codebases can help you determine which one best fits your needs.

    Are there different types of codebases?

    Yes, there are many different types of codebases, each with its own set of features, commands, and mechanics. Well-known codebases include DikuMUD, CircleMUD, and TinyMUD, among others.

    How does a codebase affect a MUD’s gameplay?

    The codebase significantly affects a MUD’s gameplay by determining the available commands, how combat works, how characters interact, and how the game world is structured and evolves.

    How important is choosing the right codebase for my MUD?

    The codebase you choose will set the foundational mechanics and capabilities of your game. It will also determine which programming language(s) you’ll be working in.

    Consider your technical skill level and the type of game you wish to create when choosing, and don’t be afraid to experiment with more than one before making your final decision.

    Can I switch my MUD to a different codebase later?

    Switching codebases is possible but can be highly challenging. It typically involves transferring data and adapting to new structures and rules, which can be time-consuming and technically demanding. This is why very few games ever migrate to a different codebase. It is much easier to modify the existing codebase to suit one’s needs.

    Myths about codebases

    One misconception is that a codebase is just a standard set of codes all MUDs use. In truth, each codebase offers unique features and mechanics, leading to varied game experiences.

    Another misconception is that modifying a codebase requires minimal technical skill. However, customization can be complex and often necessitates a good understanding of programming principles and the specific language used in the codebase.

    Codebase examples

    • DikuMUD: A popular codebase that has been the foundation for many MUDs, known for its class-based character system and real-time combat.
    • CircleMUD: An evolution of DikuMUD, offering enhanced flexibility and ease of modification.
    • TinyMUD: Focuses more on social interaction and world-building than on combat, representing a different approach to MUDs.
    • LPMUD: Allows for a high degree of customization through its own programming language, LPC, enabling unique gameplay experiences.

    See: MUD Resources for many more codebase options.

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    About the author

    Andruid is a writer, roleplayer, storyteller, and nerd who tries to live by Bill and Ted wisdom, i.e. "Be excellent to each other."