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1.0 Basic Commands and Setting up a Character

1.1 Some Terms and Abbreviations

Frequently used terms:

The person reading this manual; the entity who types things on behalf of a character.

The virtual person or creature inhabiting the MUCK, controlled by a player. Players have characters; characters have players. The terms `player' and `character' are often used interchangebly.

A player-like object controlled by a character. A `virtual character', as it were. A puppet can move and act independently of the character; everything the puppet sees and hears is relayed to the character and player.

Same thing as a puppet.

Robot (or `bot):
An object programmed to act like a character, or a character under the control of a program that causes her to perform certain actions automatically. `Bots are sometimes called AI's (from `artificial intelligence').

A setting on an object that influences or restricts its behavior. Flags are also called `bits'. Flags are discussed in Section 2.1.

Object Type:
An object may be a PLAYER, THING, ROOM, EXIT, or PROGRAM.

A PLAYER is something that can be connected to via a name and password, can own things, and can act independently. Because this object type is called `player' rather than `character', many help documents (including this manual) will often use this term, though what's meant is the character object, not the living person who controls it. A THING is a mobile object that may be picked up, dropped, handed, and otherwise manipulated. A ROOM is a place in the world of the MUCK, though it need not be described as an interior room: rooms can also be described to simulate an outdoor area, or described in an abstract way so that moving through the room shows characters useful text (for example, a tutorial on building might be set up as a series of rooms, with the description of each room serving as a `page' in a maunal). An EXIT is a link between two objects on the MUCK. Exits may be created such that they serve as virtual doors between rooms, or they may serve as user-created commands. (EXITs are also called ACTIONS.) A PROGRAM is a special instance of class THING which contains the code of an executable program. The type of an object is determined when it is created, and indicated by a flag. An object with a P flag is a PLAYER; an object with an R flag is a ROOM; an object with an E flag is an EXIT; an object with an F flag is a program. If an object has none of these flags, it is a THING . The collective term for all of these is is `object': players, rooms, etc. are all objects.

Every object in the database has a unique identifying number: its `database reference number', or `dbref' for short. (Many objects may have the same name.) A dbref is usually preceeded by an # octothorpe, e.g. #123.

A program that replaces Telnet as a means to connect to the MUCK server. Clients have numerous special features specifically applicable to M*'s, such as automated logon, the capacity to switch between several worlds, hiliting certain kinds of text, line-wrapping, separating text being typed from text being displayed by the MUCK, paging, and scrollback. Different platforms require different clients. TinyFugue is a popular UNIX client. MUDDweller is a widely used Macintosh client. SimpleMU, Pueblo, Phoca, and ZMud are common Windows clients. A single client can connect to different servers... that is, you don't need a separate client for MUSH, MUCK, and MUD. Virtually all client programs are distributed as freeware or shareware, and are widely available over the Internet (see Appendix A).

The unit of currency on a MUCK. Money is usually a non-issue on MUCKs, though some commands require an expenditure of pennies. The administrators of a MUCK may set the name of the currency: it might be pennies, or it might be pop-tarts, fleas, or lurid fantasies. You will often find money simply by moving through the MUCK, and will see a message such as `You find a penny!' or `You find a reason for living!' Many MUCKs also have banks or other places where you can get more pennies.

A period in which the server backs up the database to disk. At scheduled intervals, the server automatically executes relatively brief saves in which only those objects changed or created since the last save are backed up (`delta saves'), as well as longer saves in which the entire database is backed up ('full saves' or `database saves'). In addition to automated saves, wizards may initiate a save via the @dump command. ('Saves' are also called `dumps'.) During a save, activity on the MUCK is frozen: commands you enter during a save will be queued and executed after the save completes. On a very large MUCK, a full save can take ten or more minutes.

(noun) A perceptible delay between the time you enter a command and the time it is executed. Lag may be caused by an overloaded server (too many people logged on or too many programs running), by an overly large database (the database is larger than available RAM, necessitating frequent swaps to disk), or by problems on the Internet. (verb) To experience lag or a `locked-up' screen.

(noun) Text scrolling by too fast to be read comfortably. (verb) To act or use programs in such a way that those around you are subjected to an excessive amount of frivolous or repetitive text.

To be logged onto the MUCK but not doing anything.

To say aloud something meant to be whispered. By extention, to say aloud something meant to be paged, or to whisper or page to the wrong person. Maving is a potential source of embarrassment or awkwardness. The name derives from a character in the early days of M*s who was chronically prone to this particular faux pas.

The MUCK's overall controller or administrator, and the player object with dbref #1. God has access to a few commands unavailable to all other players, and may not be @forced. The term `God' is used less frequently on MUCKs than on MUSHes and MUDs. In fact, leadership by a single wizard player is relatively rare. More often, a core group of wizards share responsibility for administering the MUCK, with each having access to the God character's password.

An administrator of the MUCK, and a player with the W flag. Wizards have control over all objects in the database, and may use restricted commands available only to them. ('Wizard' is often shortened to `wiz'.)

Realm Wizard or Realms Wizard:
An administrator of a certain area within a MUCK. Realms wizards have partial command over objects and players within their area, but cannot use wiz commands. Use of the realms wizard system is somewhat uncommon.

A non-wizard character. This term too is used less frequently on MUCKs than on MUSHes and MUDs. While wizards are technically players, people usually refer simply to `wizzes' on the one hand and `players' on the other. (Where the distinction is important, this manual will use the term `mortal'.)

A MUCK administrator, who may or may not be a wizard, and may or may not have access to restricted commands. A common staff position is `helpstaff': someone who agrees to help new players and answer questions, but seldom has access to restricted commands. Most wizards are staff, but occassionally a player will be given a wizbit without staff responsibilities and privileges. In other words, `staff' is an administrative rather than technical term.

An online programming language with a LISP-like syntax. MPI is available to all players. Because it is universally available, MPI includes a number of security features that restrict its power. MPI is covered in Section 3.

An online programming language with a FORTH-like syntax. MUF security is handled through a system of privileges. In order to program in MUF, one must have a `Mucker bit' (an M flag). Mucker bits range from M1 (highly restricted) to M3 (almost as powerful as a Wizard flag). On well established MUCKS, only highly trusted players with demonstrated programming skill are given M3 bits. The power and efficiency of MUF make MUCK readily user-extensible. MUF is covered in Section 3.

User-Created Command or User-Created Program:
These terms are not commonly used on MUCKs, but are often used in this manual, and so are mentioned here. Many of the commands people are accustomed to using on MUCKs are not part of the MUCK server, but rather separate programs created by players and wizards. Soft-coded commands, in other words. Some (such as the say, page, and whisper commands used on most MUCKs ) are enhancements of server commands. Others (such as ride, lsedit, and lookat) are basic utilities that do something the server itself cannot. A large MUCK will also have a great many other user-created commands and programs: some invaluable, some highly specialized, and some frivolous.

This term too is used quite frequently in the manual. In almost all cases, your permission to change an object is determined by whether or not you control it. For mortals, control is essentially synonymous with ownership: you control everything you own; you don't control things you don't own, with one exception: anyone can control an unlinked exit. Wizards and realms wizards have extended control: Realms wizards control anything in their realm, including players; wizards control everything.

Frequently used abbreviations:

Virtual Reality. The MUCK world or worlds. Characters live there.

Real Life. The world outside the MUCK. Most players live there.

M* or M***:
A generic abbreviation for all flavors of text-based, Internet-accessible, interactive programs, including MUD, MUSH, MUX, MOO, MUSE, and MUCK.

In Character. Acting or speaking as your character, rather than as you, the player.

Out of Character. Acting or speaking as you, the player, rather than the character. Medieval warriors arguing about Mac vs. Windows are OOC. In some situations, on some MUCKs, being OOC without signalling that you are doing so (by putting something like `(OOC)' or `notes OOC' before your poses and comments) is considered a breach of etiquette.

In My Humble (or Holy) Opinion, & IMO, In My Opinion

Laughs Out Loud

Away From Keyboard

Be Right Back

Be Back Later

TinySex. To make love or have sex on the MUCK, via the gestures and comments of your character. TS is both a verb and noun.

TinyPlot. A role-played, jointly-authored, predominantly improvised storyline acted out by a group of players. TPs are usually consensual: players agree ahead of time to participate in the TP, though other players may be drawn into the TP by the storyline's development. Usually players will plan the main conflict, premise, or events ahead of time — at least provisionally — and improvise their characters' individual contributions and reactions. (The terms 'TinySex' and `TinyPlot' derive from `TinyMUD', an early server from which MUCK grew out of.)

Role Playing. Acting IC in a way that is consistent with either the overall theme of the MUCK, a TinyPlot in which one is participating, or both. Some MUCKs are predominantly places to RP; some are mostly places to socialize, where RP is sporadic.

Sidebar: MUCK itelf is not an abbreviation or acronym. The names of other M* servers are: MUD stands for Multi-User Dungeon or Multi-User Domain; MUSH for Multi-User Shared Hallucination; MOO for MUD, Object Oriented. MUCK is simply a name with a sound and connotations rather like those of MUD and MUSH. Purportedly, the name derives from the fact that MUF gives players the ability to `muck around with' the database.

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