The first bit of code I ever worked on was ROM 2.4, a text-based MUD server written in C.  At the time I didn’t know the first thing about programming, but through trial and error I was able to feel my way around the source code and slowly learn how the language worked and how to make the program do what I wanted.  Some experienced programmers called me the “snippet king” because I used a lot of pre-written additions to expand m game, but I see it as part of the learning process.  If I were to work on a MUD again, I now have the knowledge to do all of the programming myself - but if it weren’t for my baby steps back then I may never have become a programmer at all.

Text-based gaming is all but unheard of now that games like World of Warcraft and Everquest have taken hold.  In my opinion this is a crime because the worlds created through words were so detailed and so interactive that replacing them with pretty graphics makes for a much shallower experience.  It used to be possible to make life-long friends and really share interested, now the genre has been opened up to the lowest common denominator and there is so much swearing and name-calling that many older, more mature players don’t even bother.

I learned a lot of skills from my days playing MUDs that have helped me in my professional life:

  • Programming (obviously)

  • How to interact with others online

  • How to type very fast

  • How to write with personality

  • How to be thick-skinned (when people think they are anonymous, they are quicker to criticize and personally attack you, especially when you’re involved in content creation)_ _