August '98 Mud of the Month

Perspiration and Perseverance: Building Dragons’ Star

Sipping Mountain Dew and madly pounding on keyboards, Infoteq and Dranor check each other’s work and discuss code semantics. The discussion leads to a question of how to implement fighting, and the two decide that they need to call for a vote. Infoteq calls across the room, “Trillian?”

Pulling off headphones and sighing, she looks over at the two and says, “Hope it’s important. That description for the Dragon of Night was really coming into shape.”

Infoteq apologizes, then continues. “We’ve got to make a decision here. Do we want to use the ob/db system that Tigger came up with?”

“What is it?” And as Infoteq explains the system, the three argue the ifs, ands, buts of implementing a new system of play. Trillian decides that another executive decision is needed.

“Where are we going to eat?”

Dranor wrinkles up his forehead, mentally running through the restaurants he knew. “Well, it’s 1:30 in the morning. Not much is open.”

And so their weekends went. The three working diligently in Infoteq and Trillian’s cramped living room on their individual computers: a lot of coding here, game description writing there, and many discussions and voting. After nine months of late nights, and thousands of Rice Krispie Treats later, Dragons’ Star emerges from the gamma testing stage to open their doors for real on October 31, 1996.

“A lot of sweat went into getting Dragons’ Star to the point of going real,” Trillian remarks. “I can’t even think of how many hours the three of us have poured into the game. It seemed like every weekend in ’96 until we went live in October was spent on developing the game.” Infoteq nods in agreement. “We never really slowed down during that time. We had so many ideas and just kept pounding them out until they were finally implemented.”

Dranor adds, “To say that we had no life is an understatement.” All three laughed.

Some important dates in Dragons’ Star’s history:

  • January ’96: Infoteq opens up CircleMUD 3.0. Dranor joins in the same week.
  • January-March ’96: Skeletal groundwork laid for Dragons’ Star- races, spheres, professions, the name. This was known as the Alpha (conceptual) test.
  • March 10 ’96: Skeletal version of Dragons’ Star appears as a refuge for HoloMUD outcasts.
  • March 20, ’96: Dragons’ Star housed at dragon.azstarnet.com 4242. Beta (development) testing commences.
  • September 17 ’96: Gamma (playability) testing stage begins.
  • October 31, ’96: Dragons’ Star v1.0 opens its doors for real.
  • February 10, ’97: Dragons’ Star v1.5 is released.
  • July 10, ’98: Dragons’ Star moves to its new home at dracon.net 4242 as v2.0.

Sapphires, Rubies, Emeralds: The Gem Dragons

A lot of the concepts and the game theme for Dragons’ Star originates from Dragons’ Rock, an area that Infoteq and Trillian wrote in ’95. Essentially the story concepts and background histories have been in development since that time.

“Dragons’ Rock is a mythical place where three sects of Gem Dragons reside and have built a fortress to test the skills of mortals.”

Infoteq continues, “I started thinking on the idea of mythical dragons encrusted with gems circling the top of a huge, natural mountain spiraling into the sky located in the bowl of a valley. These dragons would have wisdom well beyond our own experiences, and to travel through their home in the spire would be an experience that would change a mortal forever.”

Dranor emphasizes how the theme is central to Dragons’ Star. “We have three space stations, each specializing in one aspect of the game. The main one is Sapphire Dragon Outpost, which has a mall level with shops, the docking level for players with ships, the shuttles on the shuttle level. Then there’s Ruby Dragon Outpost, which is the center for research and learning. New players can learn more about the game here in the school simulations and begin their own adventures in areas created more for them. Finally, there’s Emerald Dragon Outpost, the station housing clan homes.”

Infoteq says, “Don’t forget UDA! That’s the United Dragon Alliance Spacedock. It’s where players with ships can travel to refuel, buy repair kits for their ships, get ships repaired, and… what have I forgotten?” He looks at Trillian for help.

“Eat an exquisite meal at the Eye of the Dragon restaurant,” she says with a laugh.

All things S: Ships, Space, Shuttles, Stations, Systems

In their quest for the perfect space-themed interactive game, the 3 tried several places, most of the time serving as staff, yet weren’t satisfied.

“It seemed that the places we tried cheesed out in some way while trying to be space-themed,” said Infoteq. “On one MUD it was just one character class, while the rest of the game remained medieval. Another game at least had alien races and a theme taken from Star Trek, but even traveling around the game was just a matter of running a simulation.”

“What we were looking for was close to realistic space that players could actually fly around in their own ships. We worked long and hard on this concept too, not scrimping on design just because we didn’t want to spend the time needed to complete it. And what we’ve arrived at is something that players actually pilot, as opposed to just having some item in their inventory called ship. We’re very proud of ships, and our space travel system as well.”

Spaceships allow players the ability to freely travel through three- dimensional space to solar systems, space stations, space docks, asteroids… wherever their adventurous spirits take them. Ships can be docked with other ships or stations, and each has their own intercom system as well as a viewscreen so that passengers can watch the travel through the stars. Players can also add their own personal touches, providing their own name for the ship and designing the interior.

“Quite a few players have expressed exasperation with the slowness of the public transit system. We felt that like modern day times, taking a bus will require more travel time than if you own your own car. If you want to get someplace quickly, it makes sense that you have to own your own vehicle,” Infoteq said.

Mazes and Monsters: Game Complexity

Dragons’ Star’s complexity stems from many factors.

“It’s having many choices that makes the game complex,” Dranor said. “We’ve created a game where players can truly customize their characters, not only by appearance, or how they enter a room, or their titles, but also in that they can choose which spells and skills they wish to learn,” Trillian said.

“We’ve created a magic/skill system which classifies spells and skills into spheres,” Infoteq said, picking up the conversation. “Each race excels in one sphere because those spells/skills are native to that race. Each race also can perform magic in some spheres much better than magic/skills in another. Because of this, race choice is probably the most important decision a player can make.”

“Add to that the professions, which are an entirely different set of skills, plus cyberimplants, clans, the guilds… A player definitely has many choices to make,” adds Trillian.

“We’ve purposely given the player many options. We wanted to create a game that could be different depending on what race the player chose,” said Dranor. “The game became dynamic and different if a player decided to choose a different race. No two people will play Dragons’ Star the same way.”

“You’ll see plenty of Altairs, Belarth, Cyborgs, Rheleign, or some of the other races when you sign on,” said Trillian, “instead of a MUD full of cyborgs or warriors.” All three chuckle.

But that’s not all. The game also uses a multi-currency system, with real exchange rates that update on a daily basis. In the future players will be able to purchase stocks as well. The equation becomes more complex with automated game quests, the addition of interactive areas with individual zone conditions and weather, objects that do more than just damage or carry items. It’s no wonder that players find the onslaught of information to learn a challenge in and of itself.

“Which is why we’ve worked so hard to provide as much information and help within the game, as well as on our web pages,” said Trillian. “The Ruby Dragon Outpost contains a QuickStart simulation which gives players enough information to get their feet wet. It’s quick to run through and even contains some decent starting equipment. After that I suggest playing an area or two to get started. Perhaps visit the newly opened Galaxy Toys or any of the other areas which can be reached by shuttles or simulations off of the transportation level of RDO.

“Then, after adventuring a bit, the player should definitely run through the Beginning and Intermediate school simulations on Ruby Dragon Outpost. It’s better than the old MUD school stock area, it’s specific to Dragons’ Star, and it’s chock full of good information and tips on playing. It’s been included in the game on purpose so that players can keep revisiting it as often as they like again and again. A lot of the information in the school sims is in the help system, which can be accessed anywhere. The information is available… players just need to read,” Trillian said, with a smile.

“We won’t hold anyone’s hand, and that can be frustrating for some first time players,” said Infoteq, “especially those expecting handouts.” “But we will bend over backwards for those players who help themselves.”

Motivations: Why Do They Do It?

“Several coworkers have been flabbergasted that we don’t make any money from the game. I was explaining to one person the creativity, time, and energy that we’ve put into Dragons’ Star. He asked me how much it cost to play and was astonished that it was free. ‘Do you get any kind of profit from it at all?’ No, I told him, and even explained how we’ve sunk quite a bit of money into making sure the server machines were very good. He couldn’t fathom that anyone would be that dedicated to something that didn’t bring a profit. ‘It’s a love of the game,’ I told him. ‘This is our hobby, just like anyone else’s may be crafts, sports, cars. It’s something that Infoteq and I as a couple can create together with Dranor, and we can all beam proudly when we’re complimented because it’s our hard work and vision that has made Dragons’ Star what it is.” Trillian

“Dragons’ Star lives and breathes through the three of us and through everyone that plays. It fascinates me, inspires me, and often surprises me. I could no more stop working on it than I could stop thinking. There are a lot of wrong reasons to run a MUD and only one good one. What makes us so successful in my opinion, is that our goal has been to have fun, not only for us, but also for our players. This attitude has translated into a more relaxed atmosphere than any MUD I’ve been on and encourages a positive playing experience for everyone.” Infoteq

“Dragons’ Star represents a large investment for me, not only in time, which believe me I’ve spent plenty of, but also of thought and emotion. A lot of my creative energy has gone into it. Working to bring thoughts and ideas to life can be quite worthwhile though. After spending all this time and effort, it’s nice to see it come to fruition, to look back and say that it was worth it all along. The ability to experiment with ideas and see what happens appeals to me. The time spent working towards the goal is at least as rewarding as the goal itself.” Dranor

Interactive Stories: Building a Game They Would Play

“We’ve always striven for quality vs. the short-term fix. Often a big problem can be addressed two ways. On one hand it can be handled by rewriting a fair amount of code. On the other hand a quick fix might patch it into functional condition. In the long run we have always opted to do it right the first time. It’s often very tedious work but it’s a good feeling to know that when all is said and done, the code is solid.” Infoteq

“We’ve felt stifled on previous MUDs. When we started Dragons’ Star, we dug into our idea boxes, blowing the dust off of past ideas and then implementing them here,” said Infoteq. “A good example of this is the remort race of the Wanderers who could get powerful effects from their magic, but had to allot portions of mana to a certain type/color. They’re the only ones who can cast magic in no-magic places.”

One of the first major changes implemented was the database format for areas. Infoteq wanted an easily expandable format that gave builders many freedoms in creation. “I became a master in the art of illusion when it came to area building on other MUDs. I always had to work around the limitations of the builder format to do what I wanted to area-wise. On one occasion I even pushed the zone file (which controls how stuff loads) past its capacity to process the logic. When we started Dragons’ Star, I decided that I wanted builders to spend more time on being creative and less time worrying about what they could or couldn’t do. I wanted to have engaging, interactive areas and I knew that to achieve that, we would have to have plenty of features and flexibility.”

“What makes a game interesting to a player is the ability to fully emerge yourself into the game, able to become part of its universe,” said Trillian. “To, in a sense, take a vacation from yourself and become involved so much that it’s as if you’re a main character in the story and not just reading it. And yet, when it’s time to go back to reality, you can easily step away, picking up the story later on. That’s the beauty of text-based games. They’re interactive stories. And our job, as Implementors, is to make sure that story is written well.”

–Trillian for the Dragons’ Star Implementation Team: Dranor, Infoteq, and Trillian. (07/19/98)

1. Describe your backgrounds with MUDs and MUDding. What led to the creation of Dragons’ Star?

Like a number of MUDs, the roots of Dragons’ Star were formed long before the thought of running a MUD had crossed any of the Implementor’s minds.

Our story begins rather inauspiciously in the winter of ’92 when two friends, bored of BBS’s and looking for something to do, decide to check out the world of MUDs. In their quest for an absorbing interactive space- themed game. What they found was not that, but that’s another story entirely. Donning the names of Infoteq and Dranor, the 2 both chose a class called Jedi and thus began their quest. Shortly thereafter they ran into a perky Jedi space cadet named Trillian, and thus the relationship formed that would later build an entire universe. Little did the 3 know that those monikers would stick with them throughout their careers.

The Jedi class was not widely regarded due to the slow and difficult beginning that each must face. This made it all the more interesting to the three for they knew that in time their efforts would pay off. And so it was that as they progressed to higher levels they amazed everyone with how powerful their characters had become. Dranor eventually joined the most infamous clan ever to walk the face of Jedi, KHFC, whose history is too sordid to present here. Infoteq and Trillian on the other hand spent most of their time online adventuring together.

After about 6 months of playing, it was time for a change of pace. Dranor had become staff and both Infoteq and Trillian decided to try their hand at it. During their first months as staff, Dranor took a break from playing but came back for awhile to assist Infoteq and Trillian in building their first area, the widely renowned Bardic Colleges.

As the practically legendary sundering of JediMUD took place, Infoteq had become a Co-Implementor and Trillian was high level staff in her own right. Dranor was around, but wasn’t as interested in the administrative stuff as Infoteq and Trillian were. Although quite exhilarating for awhile, the lack of change or power to effect change soon made the experience more of a burden than the fun that participating on a MUD should be.

At that point an opportunity presented itself. Two people, Exile and Aramina, were setting out on the design of a brand new MUD, free from the limitations of Jedi. Infoteq and Trillian jumped at the chance and became high level staff in charge of adding to and maintaining the areas that made up the world of HoloMUD. While working on HoloMUD, Trillian moved from Tennessee to Arizona where she gave birth to her and Infoteq’s daughter.

Dranor had been around during this time, mostly as a player. It wasn’t until the latter part of the three’s stay on HoloMUD, that he really had the opportunity to become an active part of the staff. Due to creative differences, Aramina left HoloMUD to start her own MUD and Exile had lost interest in continuing development.

Unwilling to lose nearly two years worth of work, Infoteq took up the mantle of coder, and invited Dranor to join him. Together, with Trillian, they brought HoloMUD from the brink of stagnation. HoloMUD had been in an overly extended testing period where nothing the players accomplished would be saved. Under Infoteq’s leadership, the staff worked diligently for two months and brought HoloMUD out of its testing phase.

Unfortunately, the ideas that they came up with did not exactly agree with Exile’s vision of HoloMUD. His interest in the game had returned, and rather than risk continued difficulties, they made the hardest decision they had ever faced. The three, along with some other good friends, sadly departed HoloMUD.

They were not without plans, though, for Infoteq had begun to tinker with CircleMUD v3.0. What better way to express their creativity that had been fettered for so long? And so it was that Dragons’ Star was born. A MUD where the players could choose every aspect of the path of their character’s development. A MUD where ideas would only be one step away from being features. A MUD where the staff were free to make the MUD better and not worry about the endless disciplinary work generated by overly strict policies.

It took 9 months to bring Dragons’ Star from a concept to a reality. And when they were finally ready to go public with Dragons’ Star it wasn’t considered the last step, but the first step in an ongoing adventure.

-Infoteq & Trillian

2. I was extremely impressed with the detailed help system available for new players. Please summarize here what Dragons’ Star offers to its new players to help them get started, and feel free to share any tips or secrets that might be helpful.

Cadets on Dragons’ Star receive the finest training and equipment available in the galaxy. Each cadet is issued a state-of-the-art ion disrupter and a fashionable RDO (Ruby Dragon Outpost) uniform including a shield, jump boots, shirt, space helmet and crimson fighting jumpsuit. In addition, cadets are equipped with a power beam to provide light when adventuring in darkened areas.

The black belt-pouch, also standard issue, is handy for storing life’s little necessities when travelling. And each cadet starts out with a couple of those necessities, a map of Ruby Dragon Outpost and a sheet of tips on how to get started. These tips will answer a number of frequently asked questions.

But training a new cadet doesn’t end with a simple sheet of tips, there’s information everywhere for the motivated cadet starting with the Beginning and Intermediate Schools on the outpost itself! These schools teach the new cadet everything from configuring their personal data assistant (PDA) readouts with color and a current readout of their condition to how to exchange planet currencies to cold hard credits or how to gain special skills.

Of course, after basic training, the cadet is ready to start learning skills in an area of specialization. To that end, RDO has hired the foremost trainers in the fields of Defensive Magic, Fighting, Healing, Offensive Magic, Psionics, Creature Summoning, Thief Skills, Transportation and Utility Spells, and Wild Magic. With offices conveniently located on the Intermediate level along their own hallway on the Ruby Dragon Outpost. If you get lost the map has most locations on RDO clearly marked. These trainers will, for a modest fee, help the cadet learn spells or skills for any adventure contingency.

Another good resource is the cadet’s PDA, which is always just a few keystrokes away. Cadets can find general information on almost anything by accessing your PDA using the word “help” and then the keyword of the subject with which you need help.

Now even the greenest cadet knows that not everything can be learned from a PDA! That’s where seasoned adventurers come in. Polite requests on the newbie channel are often met with the best responses, but sometimes everyone else is too busy. Being patient and trying to explore some on your own would be your best bet. If you have visited the training simulations and are comfortable with the information presented there, a trip to the Transportation level might be in order. The Transportation level is your gateway to the stars, where adventure awaits.

-Domino

3. If you awoke one day and found yourself living in the world of Dragons’ Star what would you do to survive? Which _career_ choices would you most likely take?

We have given several of our staff who were inspired by this question the opportunity to answer in their own individual ways. Each has chosen to place themselves at an opportune moment in the mortal character that each plays and envision how they would react.

Infoteq:

In order to answer this question I have cast myself into the role of one of the mortal characters I play named Shadowcat (no relation to the comic superhero) in his first days after meeting the Diamond Dragons…

Personal Log 3391.13.06-00:00

I awake as if from a dream. A thick fog seems to cling to my mind. The fleeting impression of wings beating echoes in my head. Where am I? What’s going on? I look around, and there is no one to answer these questions. I sit alone in a darkened room, the vibrations beneath me trigger a memory…I’m aboard a ship, my ship, the Shadowrunner. I sigh with relief. At least I’m safe, that much I know now.

I try to stand but sink back to the floor. I am weak as a newborn kitten. Maybe I’ve been injured! Sudden panic grips me, and I immediately attempt to cast a restorative spell. My mind is blank. I no longer remember how to cast anything. Whatever trauma I have undergone is likely responsible for my amnesia. It’s a good thing I keep a supply of healing scrolls handy. Rummaging in a drawer, I pull one out and begin reciting it. Nothing happens. No, that’s not quite true. The mana seems to have been drained away or nullified. Suddenly I notice my hands, the skin is black. Not just dark brown, but pure black.

With stunning force my memory returns. A majestic Diamond Dragon looking at me, weighing my soul, deeming me worthy to continue. A room of mirrors– I touch one and it flashes. I am now a Null, one of the rarest peoples that inhabit the Dragon Quadrant. That explains why the spell failed. My own body now acts like a mana sink, draining power from any active magic in my presence.

It will be a difficult existence to be a Null in a magically active universe. Many people will find it unnerving to be near me, but those with open minds will accept me for what I have become. Too many have become dependant on the presence of magic. I feel there is nothing that magic can provide that a properly trained mind and body can not.

I begin to make plans for the future. I have nothing but the clothes on my back, a few thousand credits and my ship. That is enough to get me started though. I set the ship on auto-pilot to head for the Ruby Dragon Outpost. There I will train in the ways of the Luischawn Monks. I know that the training is intensive and will take years, but the arts of the physical adept intrigue me.

When I have finished learning what the Luischawn can teach me, I will venture out on my own and hire out as a Mercenary. It is not the best of jobs, but it will feed the hunger for adventure that even now threatens to consume me. I want to travel to the far ends of the universe and back and see everything there is to see.

I smile broadly as these decisions finalize in my mind. I have gained a new appreciation for the saying, ‘May the Dragons guide your path’. For they have most certainly guided mine…

-Shadowcat

Dranor:

All is dark, as if all the lights in the universe have turned off, the stars winking off at a signal from some unknown orchestrator. Slowly the world brightens and comes into focus. Something is subtly different but I can’t quite pick it out yet. Familiar surroundings and sounds, the soft sigh of air as it moves about me, the sound of soft music flowing around me. This is my ship the Symphony, but how did I get here?

Last I remember I was in a room surrounded by mirrors each depicting me, but each one different all the same. Perhaps if I look around I can figure out what’s going on. I push myself to my feet but then slump back to the floor exhausted. Something is wrong, I have lost most of the strength of body and mind that I used to have, some foul magic must be affecting me.

Reaching out for magic to cast a simple spell to remove any possible curse I can feel the magic filling me as usual but lack the knowledge to direct it. All my knowledge of magic is gone, as if stolen or blocked from me. No it cannot be blocked I was able to draw the magic, but somehow it seems slightly different. Almost as if it had a different meaning, but how can that be, magic is magic isn’t it? Its the same comforting yellow it always was… wait yellow? Magic doesn’t have colors, what is going on here.

I gesture for the ship to form a mirror in front of me and look at my body, slumped on the floor, everything seems normal except for my hair, its slowly shifting colors but mostly yellow, just like the magic. Then it hits me like a lightning bolt, the Diamond Dragons.. they must have done this to me, I was seeking them out and by all appearances I must have found them. Perhaps this is what they meant by those that find the Diamond Dragons are never the same.

I feel a light brush against the back of my neck, a soft leathery feeling and a voice whispers within my mind, ‘Yesssss, new one, you are now a wandererrrr, one of the few who has seen magic for as it truly is and through that knowledge able to use it more effectively.’ What is going on, who is this talking to me, and what happened in that room of mirrors?

The voice speaks again within my mind, soft and reptilian, yet somehow comforting, ‘I am your companion for the moment, a dragon ssspirit sssent help you come to terms with your new exisstance, the one you chose for yourself when you reached out to the mirror and forever changed your life.’

I sit there for a while and attempt to come to grips with this new reality, but I can already feel that the spirit is right and that while I was forever changed the decision was my own. Slowly standing up I realize that wanderer describes more than just what I am, I can already feel the tug of new adventures, the desire to roam welling up from within me.

Setting course for Ruby Dragon Outpost, I quickly engage in a question and answer session with the spirit, learning what I need to know about being a wanderer, and current events. As I near the outpost I can feel the spirit slowly leaving me, the last thought I hear is a familiar but somehow more poignant, ‘May the dragonsss guide your path…’

Pulling into RDO I quickly visit the trainers eager to show them the wonders of magic, but they just cannot see it, their eyes are open but they cannot see the truth. After time to learn the beginning spells and buy some equipment with my slowly depleting credit I head out to SDO where I study for a while with the doctors of the area learning more about the healing arts.

Years go by while I perfect my skills but eventually the wanderlust takes me again, I’ve decided to hire on as a mercenary, while its a dangerous life, the skills I learned from the doctors and time wandering about should aid me to survive, and perhaps someday I’ll meet the Diamond Dragons again…

Trillian:

What I really wanted most to do with my life was meet my true love, have children, make lots of money, and disappear into my own writing and creativity. Be careful what you wish for…

“Jay, please get a bottle for Alyssa while I finish this story!” Chained to the computer by my own creativity, I pounded the keys as fast as I could as the words kept flooding my brain faster than I could write room descriptions. An endless process, I sat there for days on end, weeks, perhaps even months just writing and writing. Okay, that wasn’t entirely true. I still had to go to work too. So I exaggerate a bit…

In the midst of a particularly fruitless session (these happened more often than not), the strangest thing occurred. Indescribable, strange, odd, even laughable. You’ll get a chuckle out of this one folks…

I fell into the same game I had been creating all this time. No, not figuratively. Me, I, this person (*pounding my chest*) stood at Daybreak looking at a hologram of Trillian. No, you didn’t understand me-I STOOD at Daybreak. I was ACTUALLY standing at the foot of the staircase staring at a hologram of my game character. It was the weirdest thing in the world. Almost like looking in a mirror, but the mirror has been turned around so that you see yourself as others see you. Freaky.

Yeah, yeah, I know. How the HECK could that happen? Most geeks, myself included (*raising my hand*), have spent over 1177 hours, 56 minutes online, some even sleeping with their computers. But never once has anyone FELL into a computer game.

Don’t ask me how it happened. I’m just a technical writer–I have no idea how these computers work! I just write about them (are you scared now?).

It was freaky at first. My legs couldn’t move, my arms couldn’t move, my body couldn’t move, my head couldn’t move. The only thing that could move was my mouth. I must have screamed for 5 days straight. Game time to real time translation=6.25 minutes.

After the paralyzing spell wore off (why in the world would a low leveler (*raising my hand*) go up against the Dean of the Bardic Colleges is beyond my comprehension. I badger myself with a bat, knocking myself unconscious).

Well, since I’m stuck here, I say out loud to no one and therefore look like a complete idiot, I might as well learn something useful. I hit recall and am instantly transported (wheeeeeee…) back to Ruby Dragon Outpost. Walking around I notice the immaculate marble columns and walkways, the golden staircase and the exquisite architecture. I smugly blow on my nails then rub them on my shirt. Nice work, Kathy!

I couldn’t help but check out the QuickStart simulation. Works as planned! And, as usual, Death STILL cracks me up. Gee, I’m so good! And have a rather large ego to boot.

Well, the Dean was pretty nasty and weeeeeeehell above my level, so I decide to check out the Trainers on RDO for some spells. I’m human, I’m miffed, I’m average, and I need some spells and skills so I can survive. I pick up Cure Light, then an armor spell, Backstab, Detect Invisibility, and that’s it because I’m also fairly stupid too (I did run up to talk to the Dean of the Bardic College anyway! Someone needs to give me a clue!).

I pick up a clue while running through the Folchlucan maze in the Bardic Colleges. And a Bardic Ring and some serious silver chits! Woah, now I’m loaded. Remembering that my husband can be rather cruel in his area building, I maze and maze (amazing isn’t it?) to the end, hold that silly kazoo that looks like a teacher (yeah yeah, sure she’s angry with me. She’s a flakin kazoo!), and then complete the quest so that I can keep my clue. Recalling out to stop the simulation, I find myself back on RDO.

More and more I’m frustrated with having to just walk around the game. My Immortal character could just “go” to people, unfettered by the realism of walking from place to place. I, on the other hand (*grumbling*) MUST walk, MUST shuttle, MUST MUST MUST. When I’m 15th level, Iím becoming a hitchhiker! Succoring to others is so sweet! Guess I’ve been spoiled by being an Immortal for so long.

Since I’m stuck here on Dragons’ Star as a cadet where fighting is a reality, help is a blessing, gossip is entertainment, and the atmosphere most delightful, I decide to just kick back and enjoy it. And, if anything is really nice about living here now, I know that I will have a ship waiting for me once I get the money for a rigger jack from BodyWorks on Sapphire Dragon Outpost and piloting after I hit level 45 and can become a Navigator. Perhaps Jay will notice me missing and advance me to level 60 so I can enjoy the resort luxuries on Diamond Dragon Outpost, where the white sandy beaches are always secluded, the jacuzzi relaxing, and the shopping extravagant! What a way to spend all that money! Heck, I could always “make” some at that level anyway!

What would make this perfect? Maybe Jay will find a way to join me, bringing along Alyssa with him. And that is when I will have everything I’ve ever wanted in my life. Funny, I never thought it would happen WITHIN the very same game I’ve been working on. Be careful what you wish for, my friends.

–Trillian

Tigger:

Floating…but where will I end up? Heading towards something. A beginning it seems, with a few choices along the way, I have materialized on the Ruby Dragon Outpost. A place that I quickly find out is the center for research and learning in the Dragon Quadrant.

I am a Belarth and this is my first time off my home planet with an entire universe to explore. My natural abilities with healing ensure that I will be able to survive all but the worst situations. I have just arrived on the public shuttle to the Ruby Dragon Outpost.

I quickly travel to the Market Court to finish getting the supplies and equipment. I will need, stopping by the training hall to see what new skills I may learn. Now I’m ready to take on the universe.

Where to start? Never having even drawn my Ion Disrupter, I’m going to need some practice. Ahh, yes, a sparring partner– there are quite a few about. Finding some at my level, I quickly dispatch them and gain valuable experience in the process. I’m ready to move on. Exploring and lots of it. Finding friends and better equipment, I’m ready to progress on to the Sapphire Dragon Outpost.

I need a profession, something to enhance me on a daily basis, so many choices, so many skills, I could increase my knowledge of healing or even become a bounty hunter to track down my enemies. The possibilities are endless and intriguing.

I decide on a security profession. The ability to breakup a fight in progress will certainly save my life many times and the lives of my friends. Being a Belarth with all my knowledge of healing doesn’t make me a perfect person for this job. We are frail as a race, and having to always worry about the occasional mass destruction magic makes life interesting. With a little luck, and a little practice, I will be able to find my niche. This is still only the beginning. The begining of a hopefully long and rewarding life.

Pleasure:

There was never any question in my mind that I was special among humans. My mother ruled House Apeiros, and I was trained from childhood with the expectation that I would assume the mantle of Lady of the Whirlwind as her heir. Of course, for all our wealth and prestige on Earth, our House dwindled in significance with the discovery of the Dragon Quadrant. It fell to me to make our house great among the stars as it had been for so many centuries on Earth.

Much to my mother’s objections, I left Earth to venture among the many new races and planets discovered. As a gifted fighter, I easily landed a position in security, learning the magical abilities to quickly portal to endangered citizens and halt aggressive creatures in their tracks. In the meantime, I met a gentle Belarth female who became my healer, my partner and my friend, Pain. The more I learned, the more tasks we were assigned, enabling us finally to buy a ship of our own, the Xanadu.

But this was not enough to bring recognition to my heritage. Seeking further I joined Clan Continuum under its leader Guyver, a hero and ruler of several space fiefdoms. After many years service to Guyver’s clan, I was granted a mission of ultimate danger, but it was a chance to earn my house name in the clan! I couldn’t pass up the chance!

Guyver commanded that I retrieve the green scale mail shirt of the Mistress of Magic who lived in the very top of the High Tower of Sorcery! I was only successful through the forethought of having bought several clones from Darvan Life Insurance before undertaking this hair-raising mission. But victory was eventually mine! I returned to Guyver with the coveted shirt and he, in turn, granted me lands and title. To honor my mother, I declared the foundation of House Apeiros and took the title of Lady of the Maelstrom.

Never having been one to rest on my laurels, I joined the Heroes Guild and continue to rise through its ranks. Faithful lapis dragonet and knight protectors at my side (as well as my dear friend Pain), I still roam the galaxy seeking my destiny among the stars.

4. What is in store for Dragons’ Star in the future?

It’s funny you should ask that. We just recently had a discussion about this very topic. For awhile now we have simply been trying to finish the projects we set for ourselves from the time we opened our doors for real. Now as we’ve been wrapping up those projects, we have come to a point where we need to evaluate what we have done and where we are going.

What the players can look forward to is a firming up of the over all game play. We are shooting for a more cohesive, plausible feel to our environment. It is very easy to get too attached to a particular idea. We have decided that what we need to is try to impartially evaluate what is working and what is not.

It’s not always easy to let go of something that we’ve worked hard to implement. One particular feature that we felt was a really cool idea was Ethereal realms. The character would leave their physical body and travel to the Ethereal plane where the rules were different: some spells lost power while others gained. Your mental fortitude became more important than the strength of your body.

Given enough time we could eventually get it working up to our standards, but we’ve decided that, while a very interesting idea, it doesn’t fit with the overall direction that we are taking the game. That’s not to say that we won’t ever find a way to integrate it, but for now we feel it is better to sunset it and concentrate on other projects.

Some might ask, “Didn’t you know this before you implemented it?” The answer is no. The game evolves to a certain extent. Just because a feature is implemented doesn’t mean the players will immediately accept it. As a Implementor you have to be willing to take that chance. If you never create anything for fear of it being rejected, then what is the point of running a game? We like to think the point is to have fun and if we had fun coding it we at least got something from the experience, even if the players don’t care much for it.

I’ve talked about what’s going, but not what’s coming. What’s coming is, to put it simply, an invasion. The ancient foe of the Spaetor has been sighted at the outermost limits of the Dragon Quadrant and they aren’t coming for tea and crumpets! I don’t want to say too much more right now or it will ruin the surprise *evil grin*. Sufficed to say these changes will bring the MUD closer to an interactive story and not just an ordinary game. The best part for our players is that as always, NONE of these changes will require the player files to be wiped. We are very proud of the fact that in over 18 months since we opened our doors we have never needed to wipe the player files.

We hope everyone will continue to have as much fun playing as we do creating.

-Infoteq, Trillian & Dranor

Domino:

Call it serendipity. Dragons’ Star was the first MUD I played on any sort of regular basis and happily turns out to be the best I’ve ever played! Though I tried several other Diku and Circle MUDs, none have ever come close to the pleasure I get from logging into 198.102.68.193 4242 and catching up with old friends and new online.

The first thing to catch my eye on Dragons’ Star was the considerable creative effort that must have gone into writing the descriptions of everything from rooms to objects to mobiles in the Dragons’ Star universe. The feel of the MUD is rich with color and texture. Already an experienced gamer on paper, the newbie school was the perfect balance of information and background embellishment to immediately catch my interest.

As I explored this new world, I appreciated the efforts of the Implementors more and more. Not only is Dragons’ Star finely detailed descriptively, but the game mechanics are structured to be simple to learn while remaining complex enough to hold long term attention. In comparison with other MUDs Dragons’ Star is also highly automated. The payoff for players here is that there’s rarely any waiting for an administrator to come online to take advantage of many of Dragons’ Star’s custom features. A bonus for the administrators also, the high degree of automation gives them more time for new area creation and MUD improvements.

Dragons’ Star has more original areas than many of the other MUDs I’ve visited, even those with much a larger staff. And what incredibly entertaining areas! Though there are plenty of areas for the hack and slash player, Dragons’ Star has a bounty of puzzles and mazes, everything the thinking woman could ask for in a gaming environment!

The true heart of this dragon though is her people. Smart, humorous, silly, caring–players, staff and Implementors alike are what make Dragons’ Star the best MUD around. The Implementors and staff make an earnest effort to be even-handed and fair to players from newbie to seasoned remort, and the players in turn commit to improving the game through honest feedback. What Dragons’ Star’s people will do is put you at ease, whether its a helping hand on a difficult adventure, witty limericks on the gossip channel, or just shooting the breeze with a newly made friend. Dragons’ Star is a great place to be in the MUD universe, welcome home!

Dash:

I have been playing on Dragons’ Star for over a year and have found it to be a well-designed space-themed mud with a very immersive feel. The universe of DStar is coherently constructed; solar systems and planets, each with their own unique societies and challenges, fill a vast area of space. You can hop on a shuttle and take the public transportation over to these worlds, or purchase your own ship and fly to dangerous areas of the galaxy where even the shuttles will not pass. Or perhaps take a break from trekking through space, and check out some of the fantasy-based holographic simulations on the main space stations.

The philosophy of DStar seems to be quite the opposite of some other muds, where dictatorial Imps try to control what is appropriate for your character. Rather there is a great deal of flexibility in developing your character according to your personal tastes. Along the way you will make decisions which temporarily or permanently change your character – both physically and mentally. Role-playing is welcome, but not contrived or forced upon the player.

One of the best features of DStar, in my opinion, are the Immortal- run quests. These span anything from trivia to scavenger hunts to killing sprees, and never fail to be a huge amount of fun for all participants. At any rate, if you are looking for a futuristic MUD with a complex universe to explore, flexible character development, and fun quests, take a look at Dragons’ Star.

Avoozl lzoovA:

When I started playing Dragons’ Star, I received a warm welcome from the players, who immediately offered to help me learn my way around. The overall friendly feeling that is created whilst playing the MUD encouraged me to spend many of my leisure hours here, and I have not regretted it for a minute.

One of the most appealing aspects of Dragons’ Star that I have encountered whilst playing here is that the Implementors and staff are always hard working, trying to make a better MUD for the players, and are always willing to offer their help when required.

The numerous, vividly described areas that Dragons’ Star offers its players makes it a MUD that will never lose its appeal. With endless numbers of additions being constantly added, boredom has no place. Of the many hours that I now spend there, I have enjoyed every second of it.

Bauhaus:

Dragons’ Star is one of the most unique Muds that I have ever played. I have been with the Imp team since early beta and was so impressed with what Infoteq, Dranor and Trillian were doing even in the early stages of development, that I devoted my full attention to Dragons’ Star.

I have never regretted cutting myself off from other muds that I had been playing on to become part of the Immortal team that keeps Dragons’ Star great. Some of the things that stand out are the advanced scripting and OnLine Creation systems implemented which give Area Builders like myself a lot of leeway into creating rich, diverse adventuring areas for the enjoyment of our players. The lands you walk through literally come alive, and I could not imagine going back to any mud that has mobs that just sit there and wait to be killed.

We have a great staff, and a wonderful active group of players who really will help you get off the ground with tips on what to do as you start out. In a world where full online graphic games are taking over, Dragons’ Star is, to me, one of the good reasons to stay with text- based gaming.

Snowy:

I think the most commendable aspect about Dragons’ Star isn’t the worlds, although they are diverse and original. It isn’t the variety of spells, although they are plentiful. It isn’t all the creative ideas, although there are too many neat features to list.

I think, rather, that it’s the people. The Imps are always willing to listen to input, even if it’s criticism of how the current system is. It may not necessarily mean that they’ll agree and change it, but they’re at least willing to listen, and not blow you off, and that I think is the most commendable aspect of Dragon’s Star. A great mud starts at the top, and that’s what Dragons’ Star has.

[ Connect to Dragons’ Star | Dragons’ Star Homepage ]

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