September '95 Mud of the Month

  The main predecessor to JediMUD was CircleMUD, run by Jeremy Elson (also known as Rasmussen or Ras). The original creators of JediMUD were Fred Merkel (Torg) and Jay Levino (Onivel). All of the original high level players on JediMUD came from Circle. Ras, having grown weary of player politics, moved over as a principal coder and really gave the MUD a very dynamic feel. Torg hosted the game locally at a Johns Hopkins’ site, and Onivel pulled together the entire Star Wars theme.

2. Anyone who visits the rec.games.mud.diku newsgroup knows there were some rough times in the past with Jedi, can you summarize the problems you experienced?

  Jedi has experienced quite a few difficulties in the past, and even now has a great many obstacles to overcome. Torg and Onivel had irreconcilable differences and the MUD itself “split”. That is, they each went their separate ways with a copy of the code and let the pieces fall as they may. This incarnation of Jedi left the JHU site and has site-hopped from stimpy.psy.jhu.edu, to marble.bu.edu, to seahag.jpl.nasa.gov, to some place at uiowa.edu and finally, to america.net. What a long strange (and frustrating) trip it’s been!

We wanted a place that would not only accept a MUD, but saw it in a positive light, and we’ve really found that with Access America. Many players disliked the Imp and Co-Imps, and there were a lot of personal, fiery disputes, as well as a lot of frustration at the constant site-hopping.

  Without a doubt, and you’ll find this echoed *by* the players, it’s the players themselves that make Jedi a popular game. Our players come to Jedi to “hack’n’slash”, to slaughter multitudes of electronic bits, all in the company of their friends. When our players get together on a busy night, personalities just seem to click and before you know it, the gossip channel is lit up like a Christmas tree with jokes back and forth. There are precious few Diku MUDs running today that can lay claim to the kind of rich history that longtime Jedi players have shared. We have laughed together, cried together and shared unique experiences. At it’s best and at it’s worst, Jedi has always been about people coming together to enjoy a shared experience.

On the strictly game side of the coin, Jedi is relatively straight forward and uncomplicated. Many MUDs have all sorts of features that can really confuse new players. It’s nice to have features that the players can use once they have adapted to playing in the environment, such as aliases, combat mode blocking for slower connections, etc. We make these features available, but for the standard character just starting out, the defaults are very simple and understandable.

  We hope to stabilize Jedi and really build a strong foundation for the game so that it progresses smoothly throughout the next few years. Had we heard a question like this three years ago, we’d have probably laughed it off. I don’t think anyone expected the game to go on this long. Many nights we’d call each other on the phone to lament one problem or another and the “Let’s just take the game down” sentiment would invariably come up. But as we’ve grown older and grown with the game, the emotional keel of dealing with it has grown more stable.

  Primarily our first focus is to make the game as dynamic as it used to be; to have continuously evolving (and stable!) MUD code and to make the game, as a whole, much more responsive to the player and to player ideas and input. We’re far from that goal right now, but working steadily to get there.

  As for VRML development, well, we’re just going to see where VRML goes. 🙂 It’s most certainly a possibility. Our primary focus is to get the game stabilized and responsive to player input. Meanwhile, Romulus plans to keep an eye on VRML and she will nudge us into whatever other aspects of the Internet she discovers, much in the way JediMUD’s WWW presence was brought about.

  • From Jay Levino [AKA Onivel/Implementor]

    In short form, if it weren’t for JediMUD I wouldn’t be getting married, I wouldn’t have the job that I have, I’d have fewer good friends and I’d never have bought a Saturn as my first car.

    I first met my fiancee (change to wife after 10/7/95) in real life at a gathering of JediMUDers at Cedar Point in the summer of 1993. After getting to talk to her on the game, then on the phone, then meeting her in person, well, things just took off at that point. Even if I ignored all of the other good things that have happened in my life because of JediMUD, this one thing has made all of that work worthwhile.

    Second, when I first began working on JediMUD, I couldn’t program my way out of a paper bag. While there are some who say that I still can’t, the knowledge gained from working on JediMUD’s code and from using the Internet was enough to land me a job as a senior programmer for a software engineering company. Sure, ServiceWare, Inc. had tons of resumes from perspective programmers, but the fact that I had ‘hard’ experience in programming software that has been used by literally hundreds of people really got their attention.

    Because of JediMUD, I have made a great number of friends that I regularly keep in touch with. Romulus and I hang out together every few weeks. I’ve been to Atlanta to hang out with Doc, Baltimore to see with Ras, Detroit to visit Kinski and Moonbeam… the list goes on and on. I decided to buy a Saturn after falling in love with Romulus’s — she STILL cons me into changing her oil or waxing it or whatever else needs to be done. It’s been said that mudders are losers who couldn’t survive in real life. I don’t agree. The losers are those MUDders who can’t keep virtual reality and real life in perspective.

    Yes, running Jedi can be a real hassle and every member of the admin team has been tempted to walk away more than once. However, the good things that have come from being a part of JediMUD far outweigh the bad ones, at least for me.

  • From Cat Stanton [AKA Romulus/Co-Implementor]

    If it weren’t for JediMUD, I wouldn’t be living in Virginia, I wouldn’t have the job that I have, and I would have likely never left Georgia after I graduated from college. I came up to Maryland in September of 1992 to visit and meet Ras, Torg, Onivel, and another player on the game, Miranda. I enjoyed the weather and the area so much that I sent out all of my resumes to businesses in the DC Metro area as soon as I graduated from college.

    My wide-ranging experience with MUDs and with other aspects of using the Internet for more than just everyday work got me a few writing jobs with “Federal Computer Week”, a government magazine. Additionally, I ended up working for an Internet service provider up here in Virginia and don’t plan on moving anytime soon.

    On a more sociable side, I’ve made a great many new friends. Doc, another fellow JediMUD admin, used to show up in the computer lab where I worked at UGA to MUD on the game. We’d spend a lot of time hanging out together. Onivel and I meet up on a weekend every few months to spend some time yammering about non-game issues, and recently I even got to jaunt up to Pittsburgh to spend time with him and his soon-to-be-wife Moonbeam (but that’s for Onivel to answer for in his reply! 🙂 I’ve also had many enjoyable chats with Ras, and spent some time with him when I first moved up here, getting accustomed to life in a new state.

    I can’t imagine how dull my life would be without all of the people who entered it via the MUD. While someone out there will always say, “MUDs are for losers!” I know that if balanced out properly with a good dose of off-line experience, a game such as Jedi can really make a profound difference in your life.

  • From Chad Boswell [AKA Cogitasne/Co-Implementor]

    My involvement with JediMUD has given me an excellent outlet for my creative energies. For more than two years now I’ve kept myself occupied in off moments and between tests by world building. I might not be the fastest builder around, when I write things people like to read them. Having my work available for people all over the world to read really is a good feeling…

    I’ve learned many valuable lessons from watching people on JediMUD. I’ve certainly learned how to better allocate my time to the things that are really important in life… classes, my family, etc. If I was still operating on my old system of priorities I wouldn’t be much use to anyone.

  • From Steve [AKA Free/Co-Implementor]

    Well, in the beginning, Jedi was just another place for me to satiate my mudding addiction. After some time, I came to realize that this place was something truly special; not only did I enjoy playing here, but I came to care for the people I encountered in this imaginary world.

    I can honestly say that JediMUD has had a profound effect on my life; I met my girlfriend here. Our long-distance relationship was eased somewhat by the fact that we both played Jedi, and could “spend time together” on the mud. I moved from Boston to North Carolina to be closer to her; in the process, I managed to get a job with IBM which has improved my career.

  • From R. Wynne [AKA Doc/Co-Implementor]

    Gosh, I feel almost inadequate here. I didn’t meet my beloved on Jedi, and it didn’t help me find a better job. Well, it did increase my typing speed and crisis management skills, and i’m sure that helped, but honestly, the way it has changed my life the most is by helping me through the darkest period of my recent life.

    When I was laid off from my job in January, 1994, I was very distraught. Athens, Georgia isn’t really the best place to find a good-paying job, and the fact that the one I had was eliminated was terribly depressing. During the six months it took me to find a new position, I spent 60-70 hours a week on Jedi. It allowed me to keep myself sane and focused while I was out of work. I doubt if I have ever really told them, but despite the fact that I rarely see them in person, Onivel and Romulus are two of my closest friends, and I really don’t know what I would do without them.

    Y’know, much can be made of the features of a particular mud or its classes and code. But when you get right down to it, it’s the people that make the place fun. And oh, what fun Jedi has been for me.

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      In late March of 1992, Jay Levino and Fred Merkel both began seriously kicking around the idea of starting and running their own MUD. Having met on CircleMUD, they liked the idea of running a game of their own away from Circle. Fred had a machine at JHU that hosted the original JediMUD. The original code for Jedi (Sequent I) was downloaded at this time and they began work on the game. JediMUD officially came up out of testing on August 28, 1992.

      After some minor squabbling with another game running at the JHU site, Jedi’s popularity seemed to skyrocket. Fred (Torg), Jay (Onivel), Ras (Jeremy), and Romulus (Catherine) met up at JHU in September of 92 to discuss the game and meet each other for the first time. However, by late December, tempers flared and there were many disagreements between Fred and Jay, the implementors of the game. To add to the strain, JHU wanted to shut the game down due to the network load at the site. Jay moved a copy of JediMUD to a site located at Boston University and the copy running at JHU continued to run for several months afterwards.

      This incarnation of Jedi has been located at marble.bu.edu, seahag.jpl.nasa.gov and keely.isca.uiowa.edu. At all of these sites, we were granted access with the system administrator’s knowledge and approval. However, for security reasons or load reasons, we had to relocate the MUD from these sites. This had the unfortunate effect of making Jedi very unstable and at times, completely homeless.

      Our final location is now with Access America in Georgia. Unlike our previous sites, and many MUD sites which run on educational servers, Access America fully owns the entire setup and was willing to draw up a contract ensuring us a secure and stable home for the game. After much porting of the game over to yet another operating system, and an upgrade of Access America’s link, we’re happy to announce that JediMUD is back up again. It’s our sincere hope to keep the game online and accessible to our players until we flat out get tired of or are unable to run it!

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    From Naved Surve (aka Darkwing, Claisen, Naved and Ggevlnig):
    I have often asked myself (and people keep asking me) why I keep going back to Jedi even after I said some not-so-nice things about it.

    I think that what keeps bringing me back is that the players on Jedi are the friendliest, and most social I have seen anywhere. I have been on other muds where people group and kill, but never talk to each other. The fact that people can shooot the breeze here with a playerbase that has grown familiar with itself over the past 4 years is its biggest strength.

    From James T. Westbrook (aka Nexus):
    Why do I keep coming back to Jedi? Let me count the ways:

    1. Free Chick-Fil-A sandwiches loaded by Onivel himself.
    2. Ex-roomie and best friend a high imm.
    3. First MUD I ever played.
    4. All the people in my old dorm MUD on Jedi.
    5. Peeping at the arresting officer is bad.
    6. Rommie loads everybody a free beer if you break 1M coins.
    7. Great fun questing as a tree resting in the dump.
    8. Zapfreeze and Zapthaw. ‘Nough said.
    9. Those damn, pesky bards.
    10. Great socials.
    11. Empty *ALL* of the fountains using a Holy Grail and listening to the imms complain about who’s using massive tintin aliases to empty the fountains. *8)
    12. Those late night quests that make you stay up 3 days straight to finish that term paper you were writing.
    13. Logging in to see if DW got his drawer in the freezer back. *8)
    14. Only MUD where PAWs and PALs refuse to leave even though they hate it so bad.
    15. The bad get badder and the mages get tweaked.
    16. Aliases!
    17. Gargoyle statue in Enfan City munching newbies.
    18. I’m a DT and I’m OK.
    19. High Cliff.
    20. Running around as a level 20 mage that’s butt naked and nuking at random.

    From Giovanni Ruffini (Steppin):
    I play here because it was the first MUD I ever played, and I fell in love with it conceptually within minutes. I’ve tried dozens of MUDs but have always come back to this one because it is the only one that I log onto and feel comfortable, almost right away. This is because I know its history, I know its code, and I know its geography inside and out. I can be any place in the game and know exactly where I am in relation to everything else; this is a wonderful feeling, one I wish could be found in real life more often, and one that would take months of work to recapture on a different MUD.

    From Marie T. McDaniel (JackyBlaque):
    I had very very very little knowledge about computers, much less the internet and muds and such about a year and a half ago (or more?) and then my boyfriend at the time gave me some tips mainly so I could send and receive email regarding class assignments and so on. […] I jumped around to different muds, but the people here seemed nice, helpful and less sex-obsessed when it came to female players (I may be wrong, but at least it was the IMPRESSION!). Eventually, I felt out of anywhere I might have wandered on the net, I knew the most folks here and they sincerely seemed to accept me for who I was (at least online =)). I made some decent friends who even counselled me through some rough times. It hasn’t been the most stable site in times past, but for a reliable number of helpful and nice people and the feeling that I had some input, Jedi has made me feel that if I’m going to waste my time on the net, I might as well do it here.

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    [ Connect to JediMUD | The JediMUD Homepage ]

    Many thanks to Chad Boswell, Jay Levino, Cat Stanton, Steve, and R. Wynne for the content of this page and for their wonderful contribution to the world of mudding!

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