Hold onto your pants. With FutureMUD development proceeding smoothly, it’s finally time to get the ball moving on LabMUD.
Wait, what is LabMUD?
LabMUD is, as evidenced by the header, a demonstration MUD. It’s meant to showcase the FutureMUD engine during early development, and to act as a platform for balancing and bug-fixing while still running as a fully functional RPI. That means it is (or will be) fully open to players, volunteer staff members, and be as (in time, at least) full featured as any future FutureMUD engine game. Roleplay will be enforced. Permadeath will still exist. The difference between LabMUD and, say, any other fledgling RPI with an evolving codebase is that LabMUD exists primarily to introduce new systems and code to unfamiliar players and staff members in a controlled, (hopefully) fun way. While LabMUD may outlive the development cycle of FutureMUD, it is not envisioned as a standalone game that continues without end, but rather as a stepping stone toward full release.
So, where are we now?
Right now, we’re focusing on getting the MUD finished, which means wrapping up all building and backend stuff. There are no rooms left to describe, the game world is linked in and most objects have, at this point, been completed. Skills have been finished. Culture has been finished. Ethnicities are being finished as we speak. Chargen has been tweaked to be LabMUD appropriate (rather than FutureMUD appropriate) but may require additional fixes before it’s ready. Still, that’s not a big issue. Time, celestial objects, and language are complete.
Helpfiles are NOT ready yet, but I’m of the opinion personally that if we launch with the bare minimum necessary, we can always add more as the game progresses. Ideally, I’d like to see a way to log what helpfiles are most commonly searched for by players, so staff can focus on what’s actually being searched for rather than wasting their time on every little esoteric command in the game.
We’re also still working on getting the website finished. This includes the forums. While they are fully functional at the moment, they are ugly.
When can we see LabMUD open to players?
Plainly? Whenever it opens. While the game is almost completely built, it does still lack certain coded systems. FutureMUD does not yet have (for example) a combat system, or a crafting system, or weather. LabMUD will probably open before crafting, or even weather, is complete, but we would like to see combat in its very basic form (at least) before throwing the door open.
So, yeah. Watch this space. Periodically, we’ll be posting updates and (should our fancy be tickled) narrative fluff. You can also follow us on Twitter if you’d like. We have one of those now.