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    What is a builder in a MUD?

    A builder is an individual responsible for creating the rooms, areas, objects, and non-player characters (NPCs) that populate a text-based RPG.

    Builders use specialized scripting languages and tools provided by the game’s platform to craft intricate and immersive environments for players to explore. Their role is crucial in developing the game’s setting, atmosphere, and gameplay mechanics.

    The concept of builders emerged with the advent of MUDs in the early 1980s. They were players or staff members who had the skills and permissions to contribute creatively to the game’s development, shaping the virtual world’s geography, lore, and inhabitants.

    Today, builders are often given the title “Builder” in the game, but they can also be called admins, staff, game masters (GMs), and similar terms.

    Builder FAQs

    How does one become a builder in a MUD?

    Typically, becoming a builder involves demonstrating a solid understanding of the MUD’s theme, mechanics, and language, as well as a commitment to the game’s community. Most MUDs have an application process that may include submitting a sample area or quest design.

    How do I start learning to build?

    To begin your journey as a builder, immerse yourself in the game’s world and understand its lore and mechanics. Start by creating small scenarios or rooms, and get feedback from experienced builders or community members.

    Learn the basics of the game’s scripting language or building tools, as this knowledge will be crucial for creating engaging content.

    Can I become a builder without knowing how to code?

    While coding knowledge is beneficial, it’s not usually necessary to start as a builder. Many games offer user-friendly building and editing tools that don’t require advanced coding skills.

    Begin with these tools and focus on storytelling and world-building. As you become more comfortable, you can slowly learn coding aspects relevant to the game to enhance your building capabilities.

    What skills are important for a builder?

    A good builder should have strong creative writing skills, attention to detail, and a basic understanding of programming or scripting languages. They should also be familiar with the lore and rules of the MUD they are contributing to.

    Can builders modify existing content?

    Yes, builders can modify existing content to update or improve the game environment, fix bugs, or adjust balance. However, they typically need to follow specific guidelines and obtain approval from higher-level staff.

    Do builders get paid for their work?

    In most cases, builders are volunteers who contribute to the MUD out of passion for the game and its community. Some commercial MUDs might offer compensation, but this is rare.

    What tools do builders use?

    Builders use a variety of tools depending on the specific MUD platform, including in-game building commands, external editors, and scripting languages designed for game development.

    They might also use a builder’s style guide or manual that describes the game’s preferred way to build rooms and objects or describe rooms and NPCs.

    See: How to write excellent room descriptions.

    Myths about builders

    One misconception is that anyone can become a builder just by applying; however, building typically requires a solid understanding of the game’s mechanics and lore – or, at the very least, a demonstrated willingness to learn.

    Another misconception is that builders only focus on creating rooms, NPCs, and objects within the game. In fact, builders can be essential for crafting narratives, plots, and character arcs.

    Builder examples

    • Designing a Haunted Castle: A Builder creates a sprawling, eerie castle filled with secret passages, ghostly NPCs, and cursed objects for players to discover.
    • Developing a Quest Line: Crafting a series of interconnected quests that lead players on an adventure across various areas, involving puzzles, battles, and story revelations.
    • Implementing a Crafting System: Creating objects and recipes that allow players to gather resources and craft new items or equipment.
    • Expanding the World: Adding a new forested region complete with wildlife, hidden enclaves, and mystical artifacts for players to explore.

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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."