The crew running TorilMUD just announced that they have a beta HTML 5 web client available for people to try out. It offers some pretty reasonable features.
- Scripts in the Cloud: Create aliases and triggers once on the web client and use them from anywhere.
- Script packages: Organize scripts into “packages” that are shared throughout your account and usable by every character.
- Aliases: Create aliases with support for variable matching and multi-line commands.
- Triggers: Design powerful triggers with the use of full-featured regular expressions.
- History: Recent commands can be easily traversed via the up and down arrow keys.
- Scroll lock: Auto-scrolling intelligently pauses whenever you begin manually scrolling, and will resume when you scroll all the way down or enter a command.
- 256 Colors: Goodbye 16 colors – the web client has 256 colors all the time.
Right now the Web Client is only usable if you have created an account and rolled up characters through a traditional telnet client, but I imagine that if things go well, all of that will eventually be included.
The URL for the web client is in the article linked above, and it sends you to an account login page.
Welcome to TorilMUD
Logging in gives you a list of the characters you have associated with your account. The concept of an account login is still somewhat new as well. Back in the day, every character had its own login and password. Once logged in, you get a list of the character on your account.
A few of my choices
Once you choose a character, hey presto, you are in the game.
And you’re in!
From there, things look very much like a standard MUD client that supports ANSI color. That used to be one of the big things about TorilMUD, and its predecessor Sojourn, the full on support and usage of color in their text.
My old main character was still there.
He used to be level 50
You can go about your business in game, or camp out and select one of the other characters associated with your account.
The in game list
And it all looks good and responds quickly.
Now color is great, but not really required to play the game. You could open up the Windows command prompt and telnet into TorilMUD and play it if you so desired. Why people don’t do that instead opting for a purpose built MUD client is for things like triggers and aliases.
Triggers are automated responses to text coming from the game. I mentioned those the other day. The simplest ones can be things like drinking from a container when you get the “You are thirsty” message.
Aliases are short cut commands that set off more complex actions. One of my oldest ones would let my type in “cpff Rarik” which would then output “cast ‘protection from fire’ Rarik” to the game.
These two items are not required to play the game. I played Sojourn/TorilMUD for the first five years with an ANSI terminal emulator that supported 10 simple macros I could configure on the fly. Everything else I just typed by hand. (Which made me a very fast typist in time.)
But life is definitely better, especially doing zones… the TorilMUD equivalent of raids… when you have 15 other people in your group and you have set responsibilities and need to both see and respond quickly to situations in the midst of what can be an incredibly spammy flow of text. Buying zMUD back in the day was an investment I do not regret in any way. I think at one point I lost my key when a machine died and I just bought a second copy. It was totally worth it.
And the beta TorilMUD web client supports triggers and aliases.
You can create groups of simple triggers and aliases to help automate some of the more mundane tasks in the game.
Creating a ‘cast armor’ alias
And, anything you create gets saved in
my butt the cloud… well, on their server in any case. People throw around the term “cloud” pretty loosely, despite it having a pretty specific meaning. (Hint: If my data is on a single server or in a single location, it isn’t in any sort of “cloud.”) Anyway, scripts you create are there for you when log into the game from other locations.
So is this the end for dedicated MUD clients like zMUD or Tintin++?
Leaving aside some bugs in the current implementation, the HTML 5 web client for TorilMUD is like that basic Craftman tool kit you buy for somebody when they first get their own place. It has a couple of screw drivers, an adjustable wrench, and a few other items that will cover very basic situations.
A MUD client like zMUD, on the other hand, is like the super deluxe Snap-on tools setup that has you covered for just about every obscure need.
So with zMUD I can have conditional triggers, triggers that parse multiple terms in a single statement, triggers that turn off or on other triggers, triggers that highlight text, triggers that parse data and write to a log or a database, triggers to generate statistics, a whole world mapping subsystem, the ability to pipe specific data to other windows, and a myriad of other things that let you create your own custom client and UI.
Plus… and this is a surprisingly important point for me… zMUD maps the 10-key pad on your keyboard to be movement keys. The almost immediate, fall flat on my face moment for me with the web client was moving. I had to think about how to do it. I have to press “n” and then return to move north, rather than just spamming out directions on the 10-key as I have been trained to do for the last 15 years. Ah well.
No, what this web client represents is a way for new players to see a MUD in the best possible terminal emulation while giving them some of the basic tools of the trade, all within a browser interface.
It is an easy gateway into the world of MUDs. And for that, it is a fine solution.
See the TorilMUD web site for more details.