I played some valhalla.com uh I guess because daphaknee’s crazy GemStone IV UI screenshot https://selectbutton.net/t/shin-densetsu-no-screenshots-gaiden-2-022-everybodys-free-to-use-print-screen/12362/192 got me thinking about MUDs for the first time since like a friend of mine was way into Genesis when we were in college decades ago. And I did try Genesis just now too and it has a sort of elegant grey interface now–I mean I suppose it could have had that decades ago but probably not and anyway I was trying it on some weird old terminal in the university computer lab which wouldn’t have been able to do gray anyhow or a web browser for that matter–and starts you right off in this fancy tutorial town but in fact that’s completely boring; what valhalla did right was just put you in this weird room in a church or something and you go to the next room and there’s this weird guy there who’s just like uh hey buddy wanna help me out with something? Just nod your head and I’ll tell you about it. And you type nod because why wouldn’t you and the next thing you know you’re running quests for this guy and so I guess I played a MUD and it wasn’t too bad yet but I probably won’t log in again except for that time just now that I did to check something and I can quit any time I want.
It looks like Valhalla was a big roller in MUDs in the early 2000s or something maybe, even pay-to-play apparently, but has been pretty much dead since oh the mid 2010s--currently averaging two players per day, according to mudstats.com. I could have been half their traffic! : D
Although--by dates of reviews on mudstats.com--Valhalla seems to have been pretty low profile for the past decade, its DikuMUD engine was updated by one of the original developers in 2020 to version III, now supporting HTML 5 and websockets--which I suppose enabled the current agreeably zippy web interface on valhalla.com. And although Diku is the Danish acronym for the computer science department at the University of Copenhagen, where it was released by students in 1991, a traceroute of valhalla.com (the actual game login address is listed as ws://valhalla.com:4280/echo) resolves to NY, NY.
I'm a horrible noob who hasn't tried to play a MUD in 30 years but I got inspired to look into 'em this past week, and came across the free and open source Valhalla MUD aka DikuMUD III (or diku3, etc)--and found Michael Seifert, one of the comp sci university students who released it as the original DikuMud back in '91, still working on improving the game! And I got to talk to him on his Discord! He was super cool and answered all my silly noob questions. : )
Anyway I couldn't find any videos of this game, so I played a second session, recording this time, working on the third quest from Boldin, the weird dude at the beginning area who starts talking to you...
I recorded for 10x longer than I'd meant to so I guess I was having fun! 'D' I got a bunch of magical gear! And carrots! I almost died at one point! : D
Re: 5:15 DikuMUD & MUD history: I was wrong! Probably about a lot but also Richard Bartle's MUD2 *is* still running, at mud2.com and maybe at mudii.co.uk; both require an email address to play for real, although at mud2.com, without providing an email you can at least enter the game and walk around as a non-interacting guest (I used Telnet) and try the tutorial--it's a LOT of text and I found it rather hard to parse.
Valhalla MUD aka DikuMUD III login links: http://valhalla.com
Wikipedia on DikuMUD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DikuMUD
Roguelike Radio interview with Richard Bartle and other MUD developers: http://www.roguelikeradio.com/2017/11/episode-141-muds.html
Video on DikuMUD's contribution to the gaming landscape: (youtube)JqC66POqhY4
Notes to self:
consider - size up the opponent remove - un-wield a weapon or take something off status skills status weapons - show skill progress open [direction] door get [item] from [container] pour obelisk in barrel - : PPP
Michael Seifert told me the game has been hosted in the US since '96.
Although the game's opening text actually disses Telnet and recommends using the browser interface, Telnet still works: valhalla.com port 4242; I didn't find it as legible as the web interface, and it doesn't have the automapper and that other stuff in the UI on the right (I forgot to show the UI palette options widget there).
I also tried it with the Mudlet MUD client, but with more or less the same result, although I imagine that if you know how to work that thing--it seems uh complicated--you could rig up your own automapper and other stuff in it.