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    What is a room?

    In the context of a multi-user dungeon (MUD), a room refers to any location that player characters (PCs) can occupy.

    While the term “room” might imply an enclosed space within a building, in MUDs, it extends to encompass a variety of environments.

    For example, a room could be a literal chamber, a clearing in a forest, a cavern, or even a location under the sea!

    Each room is typically defined by its descriptions and the possible interactions or events that can occur there.

    The concept of a room in MUDs is foundational for building the game’s environment. It serves as a navigational node that players can enter from and exit to other rooms, thereby exploring the virtual world created within the MUD.

    Room FAQs

    What is the purpose of a room in a MUD?

    The primary purpose of a room in a MUD is to create a distinct, navigable space for players to interact with each other and the game environment.

    Rooms contain objects, NPCs, and other interactive elements that contribute to the game’s narrative and mechanical structure. They serve as the backdrop where the story unfolds and quests are engaged.

    How do players navigate between rooms in a MUD?

    Players navigate between rooms in a MUD using commands specific to the game, typically involving direction words like “north”, “south”, “east”, “west”, and other more complex navigational commands depending on the MUD’s interface. For example, in an Evennia game, an exit can be any keyword, not just a cardinal direction.

    Navigation can also include actions like climbing, crawling, or other movement-based commands to access different areas.

    Can a room change over time in a MUD?

    Yes, rooms in a MUD can change over time either through actions performed by the players or through scripted events within the game itself. These changes can be temporary or permanent, ranging from altered room descriptions to different objects and NPCs appearing or disappearing, reflecting ongoing developments in the game’s storyline.

    Room changes can also be made by a game master or builder with the appropriate permissions.

    What are room descriptions in a MUD?

    Room descriptions are textual representations of a room’s appearance and atmosphere, providing players with sensory and contextual clues about their location within the game world. Good room descriptions enhance player immersion and are crucial for aiding navigation, offering enough detail to envision the environment while being concise enough to keep the game engaging.

    See: How to write excellent room descriptions.

    How do room interactions work in text-based games?

    Room interactions in text-based games primarily involve reading descriptions, navigating between rooms, and engaging with objects or characters found in those rooms. Players interact with the room’s elements through typed commands, which can involve picking up objects, using items, talking to NPCs, or performing specific actions that influence the game’s narrative or their character’s development.

    Myths about rooms

    One common misconception is that a room must be a physically enclosed space. In the context of MUDs, a room can be any designated area that players can enter or exit, not confined to the traditional understanding of a room as an enclosed part of a building.

    Another myth is that rooms are static environments. On the contrary, rooms in MUDs often change dynamically in response to player actions, GM intervention, or preset game events, which can alter the game environment substantially.

    Room examples

    • A densely wooded forest area with a hidden path leading north, and the sounds of distant creatures rustling through the underbrush.
    • An underwater cavern where players can find rare aquatic plants and encounter mythical sea creatures.
    • A high tower room offering panoramic views of the surrounding kingdom and containing puzzles that players must solve to exit.
    • A small, dimly-lit tavern room filled with NPCs with whom players can interact, gather quests, and learn rumors.
    • A virtual classroom where players can learn skills, spells, and valuable information from seasoned characters or other players.

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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."