My name is Michael Schmitz, founder of Geeks Infinity. We are a team that are currently producing two web-based games simultaneously - each with blend of traditional styles of gameplay along with standard-shattering new concepts. This is our goal with the games we produce - to create a truly unique gameplay by taking what we love most about certain genres and adding our own "flare" to them.
In my recent travels around the world, I have discovered that MUDs are truly easy to access and are very imaginative, however what I find most interesting is the hidden strength behind the genre- one strength that many game developers overlook these days.
With my limited experience with MUDs, I do not believe there is a concept close to the one rolling my head - an online computer hacking simulation game. Considring how close a MUD interface is similar to a command prompt, as well as gameplay being very similar, this idea would be very simple to implement, and yet contain strong game qualities.
With this simple idea in mind, I intend to go forth and create such a MUD game. However, my experience with coding is minimal, and I would need coders, such as yourself, to help me to make this game concept the come true.
If you are interested in creating Error, a Massively Multiplayer Online Hacking Simulation Game - MMOHSG - with me, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get started as soon as possible. All necessary funds for the game will be taken care of, and though I cannot promise pay in the beginning, I do promise you will not go unrewarded if you choose to help us.
Thankyou for your time,
#Mike Schmitz Founder of Geeks Infinity
To avoid any future confusion, i would like to add that the setting would be futuristic, and the hacking, as shown in the game, would be unrealistic. I do not support illegal activities and would not condone any sites that do support said illegal activities. Due to its nature, the hacking game would not be able to instruct you on how to hack, solely be a form of entertainment, similar to all other MUDs and video games present. Thankyou for reading.
I'm not a lawyer but I do believe in the united states that would be illegal, considered a tutorial on how to break the law. It would fall under the same law as the websites that have been taken down for teaching people how to cook meth in their garage or how to get away with murder. You may want to check on that before you get started on a huge project such as the one you are proposing. I wouldn't want you to get in trouble or anything.
that's not necessarily true, if you view the case concerning Steve Jackson Games versus the Secret Service. Also, there have been multiple hacking simulations(uplink would be a good example, I'd recommend it) that have been sold in America. this is a simulation game, and would bot be a tutorial on how to really hack. IT would be watered down in some ways and in other ways completely unrealistic.
Thanks for bringing up something I'd forgot to mention - the game would not be realistic per se. It would not use conventional, or even always realistic ways to "hack". It would be set in a more futuristic world, fighting for specific goals that do not meet up with the technology of today.
I do understand your concern, however, and I thank you for mentioning something like this. I want to clear things up before any assumption are made.
P.S. For information on what happened to SJG, you can click here
While I sadly don't have any free time to donate elsewhere, this sounds like something novel and fun to play. Best of luck with getting it off the ground, and I'm looking forward to trying it out some day :)
I don't believe that the hacking being discussed in this game has anything at all to do with real-world hacking. So while the "practice hacking" sites do apparently legally exist (although one might want to read up on their legal disclaimers to understand what one means by having "nothing at all to worry about"), they're not comparable to what's being discussed here.
Thank you so much for all the nice words about the concept so far. Unfortunately, without coders there's no movement, and I don't have time myself to code such a game. If we want to see a MMOHSG like described above, then we need to pull together and work as a team.
I'm currently working on game mechanics(rather, how i would view the game mechanics to work), as well as the continuous storyline. Everything seems to be working out so far as expected, and I think this could turn out better than I originally thought. However, as stated before, I need people to help me - from designers to coders, from players to "gods"(in this case, two conflicting AIs gone awry).
You can reply to this thread or email me at email@example.com.
I would certainly give it a try and would end up playing it regularly if it was done right, so I guess the answer to your question is yes. The real question would be how large of a market is there for such a game.
you didn't say viable, I answered your question correctly. If there is one person interested in something then there is a market for it. Granted if its ONLY 1 person then it's a very very small market but still a market.
My name is Michael Schmitz, founder of Geeks Infinity. We are a team that are currently producing two web-based games simultaneously… … Unfortunately, without coders there's no movement, and I don't have time myself to code such a game. If we want to see a MMOHSG like described above, then we need to pull together and work as a team.
So how does Geeks Infinity do it without employing programmers?
We do have programmers, however they are currently working on the previous two games I mentioned, one being a viral MMORPG based in PHP, as well as a downloadable game for Windows. When I said that we don't have programmers, I was referring to this current project, which will need it's own coders and concept designers. I figured it would be best if I asked members of the MUD community to help with this one, seeing how the MUD community is strong and would know what approach would be best with such a game.
I understand your concern about what audience we are targeting. In many ways we are making a new genre for online gaming - taking audiences from sci-fi, adding a hint of realism, and adding the feeling you get when you watch a "Hollywood hacker" on the movie/television screen, not to mention the already thriving hacking community as well as the hacking simulation community. We don't have a specific market, rather we take audiences from many genres and ages, and unify them to create a new community. Yes, I suppose you can say we are targeting "script kiddies" as well, but that's not our only focus. We're breaking barriers, and when we do we cannot say that one market has the right to play over another. Also, with the system we are currently setting up, we are very welcoming to both casual players, as well as those hardcore MUDders and hackers.
So, to answer you question in a roundabout way, we don't have a specific "Market", seeing how many things we are implementing are new. However, it's the same thing as people who first play a MUD in this age of time. You first look at the black screen and think, "why should I play this?", but when you finally get into it, you really get into it. You just have to try it out for yourself before you can say "it's not for me".
I hope that you're satisfied with that answer, Shigs, and I wish the best of luck to you and your MUD that you're developing. And Tyche, I'm sorry for not stating that we had programmers before, but I was making the assumption that you would know that we needed programmers for this game. I'll try not to make any assumptions from this point on.
I think Shigs's question wasn't so much "is there an established playerbase", but rather, "who do you predict will be playing this, and is that group of a viable size?"
What is your "hacking" going to look like? Are people going to be dealing with simulated assembly language of some kind, or are you going more for a Netrunner-the-card-game type of thing? (in which you are nominally "hacking", but it's all done through prepackaged action cards instead of actually having to know anything remotely technical)
If I have misinterpreted the question, then I do apologize to Shig. Like I said, I hope many players from many genres come and play this, due to its unique gameplay. I cannot estimate how viable the diverse group will be, but seeing how there has been large communities for the hacking simulation genre, as well as sci-fi and real hacking, I would say the the group's size would be substantial enough.
Considering the nature of MUD, the system will be a simulated command line. The actual hacking will consist of the same set of over twenty commands, which will be used in different ways to achieve a certain goal. We give the players all the tools they need to start with, and so it will be how they use these tools that will make them stand out above the rest. The players will also have the ability to buy "programs", which will open up new commands for them, if they so choose. For example, I can connect to one room, and bounce to five other rooms to get to my destination. When that destination is reached, I can look at the Dir to see what files are on the server of that room, then upload, download, or delete a file(or virus). This would be the MOST basic of missions, and will not be the entire game of Error. Other basic commands would be trace, crack, kill, transfer, IM, IRC, and Run. there is currently a list of twenty-one commands, and a list of thirty-eight programs, all with their own commands and functions. More can be added soon, though I would like to quality-test the current commands and tune them as needed.
I'd also like to mention at this point the "levels" of the game. The missions you do can be divided into two groups, crime and anti-crime. Depending on how the player plays his game, from roleplaying to his actions, he will receive negative or positive points, which will increase and decrease the play's level. The lower the player's level, the more crimes are open to him, as well as specific programs. They will also gain the status of "Black hat". This stands true for high levels, who gain the status of "White hat". Neutrals, those that have kept their level as balanced as can be, are considered "Grey hats" and will be the beginning status of all new players. Your actions in game affect the way you play the game.
"I am very excited to start a mud. I don't know how to code for muds, but I have a super great idea for one. All I need is for folks to come do what I tell them."
This, in many different phrasings, is one of the most common requests for help on mud forums. It very often generates hostility and ends in sadness. I'm of the opinion that there should be some standard FAQ-style answer to it, in order to minimize the pain that this sort of request generates. This open letter is an attempt at that standard response.
Open Letter to the Newcomer Who Wants to Start A MUD
Welcome! I am very glad you're excited about muds and I hope you stay and become a frequent participant and contributor to this forum. I also extend to you my most sincere wish that you succeed in your game. The community benefits from more good games.
Please forgive any hostile posts you receive as a result of your request for assistance. You may not be aware of some important things about the community of folks who create and run muds (mud developers), and this letter is meant to guide you through some things you ought to know.
* We are volunteers. With very, very few exceptions, mud devs don't get paid for it. They do what they do for their own pleasure, and help others out of love for the hobby. Remember that! If we seem testy sometimes, it's often because we think we are trying to defend something we love.
* We have been hurt. There are literally thousands of muds that started, got nowhere, and closed in short order. I'd be willing to bet there have been tens of thousands. Many of us have donated our time, our creativity, our sweat to such muds. Some of us have had it happen more than once. We may still be sore about it. When we see another forum post advertising a mud that we think will do the same, sometimes we have a hard time giving the benefit of doubt, and we say rude things. Please forgive us.
* We don't want others to be hurt. When we see a post for a mud that looks like another of these "wasted my time" muds, we sometimes ask very pointed questions to determine the viability of that project. It's not about being jealous of your idea. It's not about hatred of things that are new. We really want to know how serious you are, and how likely you are to waste people's time. Believe it or not, we can usually tell. The fastest way to prove your mud will go nowhere is to respond to such posts in a hostile and immature manner. Avoid that. Just accept that we're trying to help other mud devs know more about you and your project.
* Lazy people drive us crazy. I am not calling you lazy. But your post may have made you look that way. Some newcomers say things like "I really just can't code, I've tried." This sounds like you just can't be bothered, and are trying to get people to do your job. Coding is very hard for some folks, and it's ok that you're not good at it. But insisting on not coding, and not getting better at it, is a very strong mark against you. It may not *be* laziness, but no matter how you excuse it, it comes off that way. Don't sound lazy. And don't be lazy. Plan on improving your coding skills, and explain that this is your plan.
* We don't need you as a boss. If your idea is good enough, I can just make my own mud with it, and not bother involving you. You need to explain what role you will play, and why you are the right person to play that role. Remember that this is very much a job interview…but you're not interviewing candidates. You are the candidate. You are showing us why you're the right person to run the mud, and what skills and experience you bring to that job.
* Your awesome idea is one of 10,000. It is important for you to understand that. Just having an awesome idea doesn't even come close to convincing anyone that the idea needs a mud, and that you need to be the boss of it, and that people should want to come and work on it for you, for free. The idea is important, but it is not the most important part.
You might feel a bit bewildered at this point. Just what do mud devs want to see that might make them want to join your project? It's not an easy question to answer, but here are some things worth demonstrating:
- Maturity. Show us you're a grownup that can handle criticism well and doesn't think he is owed free labor.
- Planning. The surest way to know I should disregard a project is that you haven't bothered to research anything. If you don't know a mud host from a web host, you're probably wasting my time. If you have no idea which codebases to investigate for suitability, you haven't done your homework. If you're serious, you'll be able to show your planning.
- Commitment. If you really are serious about this project, you have work to show us already. Perhaps you've started testing on a codebase. Perhaps you have a design document laid out. Something to show you're not just begging on the street for someone to make you a mud. Explain the work you've done thus far.
- Motivation. I want to see the fire in your belly. If I spend my time and share my skills on a project, I want to know it's run by someone determined to make things work.
- Experience. Tell us about the projects you've managed. If they failed, why did they fail? Your experience need not be perfect, but you should show how you've learned from it.
The sad fact is that most muds that start will fail. You have to show prospective mud devs why your mud will not, and why they will not be wasting their time on it.
You might at this point be coming to the realization that you may in fact not really be ready to start a successful project. That is not shameful, it is not a sign of personal fault. We all have to start somewhere. If you're feeling like maybe your project won't meet the standards laid out in this this document, don't just give up. Find a project that can use a newcomer, and learn the ropes.
That's usually how it works, you see. Newcomers don't usually start as captain, they usually begin as beginners. There's no shame in it, and I'm pretty sure that starting the normal way is a very good way to prepare to eventually run a successful project of your own.
Re. Cratylus - agree completely. I am surprised at how often this pattern emerges and how tone-deaf prospective mud owners seem to be when it comes to building a team and marketing (yes, marketing!) their game.
It would be cool if there was an open letter like the one you wrote up that people could post a link to in reply to the sort of posts you describe.
When reviewing these sorts of requests, which I am sometimes interested in, I also look for some indication that the poster has a solid understanding of what makes an enjoyable game for people to play and keep coming back to, and some sense of who the prospective players are.
Thank you Cratylus for posting that; hopefully I have shown respect in all aspects concerned above. After answering Shigs's question, I will return to your post and explain a few things that you have brought up.
Error will have much more similarities to MUDs other than the command line. Many systems are the same as you would see in a regular MUD system, just wearing a different mask. Classes are operating systems. Abilities and spells are programs. Actions are commands. Equipment is hardware. Rooms are Servers. player homes are desktops. Items are files. Tells are IMs. Clans, cities, etc. are IRCs. Levels are replaced with Morals. Mana is similar to processing power. Even as in some MUDS, there are Gods, which are players as well, but instead be two artificial intelligences fighting over control of the web. As you can see, this is the same as a MUD in mostly every aspect, just with a different name. Also, the black screen of the Telnet client,whichever one we may choose, actually helps players get into character as hackers, and will stimulate the imagination.
The multi-user aspect of the gameplay comes in with the storyline. In the near future, two rogue AIs are attempting to take over the internet and all computers connected to it. One wants to destroy it, one wants to become it. This creates almost a realm versus realm feel to the game, for the hackers can choose to join the side of either AI, or to destroy both AIs with a coalition of humans who wish to preserve what they have created. Sometimes this means you have to take over a war server in enemy territory, or you may need to team up with others and activate keys on several servers at the same time. Teamwork will be the key to advancing your cause, but if you wish to remain solo(and neutral), there's enough work for you to do, as well. You could even trace down other player hackers and hinder their cause, if you dare. The game is Error, and everyone's looking for a Hacker for Hire.
The storyline will be continuous, and as hackers delve deeper into the game and their hacks, they will discover more about the origins of the two AIs and the dark secrets behind the Coalition.
Concerning the Open Letter to the Newcomer Who Wants to Start A MUD
Cratylus, I thank you again for posting such an open letter, and hope that this becomes the standard in all MUD communities. I will address here a few general concerns you, the MUD devs and members of MudBytes, might have about any of the criteria above.
About meMy name is Michael Schmitz, I am eighteen years old. I am a sophomore in college, and have dedicated this year to travel the world and serve those who need it most. I have recently been to Mexico, Costa Rica, and Germany, am currently in Nicaragua for three months(until the third of January), and will be traveling to India for three months and possibly Honduras for three months. I will have served three orphanages by the end of this year, as well as taught English full-time. This year is not for a scholarship, and is not necessary. I sold my car at the beginning of the year, and am doing this for personal experience.
About Geeks Infinity and the games withinGeeks Infinity is a belief that those who call themselves geeks are strong in numbers and can do the impossible when joined together as a team. We have two games in the making: Genetix Online, an MMORPG that encourages adventuring and experimenting, as well as Trixster, a viral MMORPG that has strong roots in PHP and HTML, and will allow anyone to play the game anywhere on the web, from forums to Facebook. Both are in the development process, and we have three members working on Trixster, and eight members of the team in charge of Genetix Online. Both have strong foundations and are filled with people who believe in the ideals and concepts placed within each game. Unfortunately, we have had a recent scandal involving our lead programmer in the Genetix team, and has left us temporarily crippled. We have another programmer stepping in and is currently working on the beta of the client. Our site, genetixonline.com, may be in ruins at the moment, but we are working hard nonetheless. I have recently met a HTML coder who is willing to help with the site.
About my experienceI have been customer support in three different web-based RPG's, which all ended in failure, due to poor leadership. I laid low for a while, deciding not to participate in any other projects, until the main concept behind Genetix came to me. I have kept myself busy with developing the game mechanics fully, as well as giving the idea to trusted friends to help fine-tune each concept.
PlanningWhenever I get an idea for a game, I stir it around in my head for a couple of days, test the validity of it, then take out a piece of paper and work it through. I believe in gameplay and story over graphics, which is why one game is based in PHP and the other is based in Java. If I don't have either one of those aspects in my game idea, then I crumble up the paper and throw it away. If I do have those two elements of the game, then I put it to the fire. What would work, what wouldn't, would others agree with the idea, how realistic is this game, and, most importantly, will this game be played. I assure you, I have looked at many possibilities for an MMOHSG, and have already realized how some mechanics won't work, and how some need to be fine tuned. I will not stop planning until I get the game that was orinigally desired, if not something greater.
Commitment and MotivationWhen I know for certain that I have a high-quality idea for a game, I will not let go of it so easily. I believe in Error, as well as using MUD as a medium. The unique style enough is would what keep me from leaving such an idea laying on the shelf. I want to see this game become a reality, not because of any benefit I could gain from it(which is none), rather because I myself would love to see a game like this exist. I would play this game, and though that's not basis enough for someone to create Error, I know that others would love to play a hacker simulator that's up to date, as well. I will take money out of my own wallet to see a game like this come into fruition.
I understand the fact that you are all being very cautious when a new game idea comes up/when a newbie asks for help. I don't need to be the boss of this, nor does this have to relate to Geeks Infinity in any form or fashion. Nothing gets me more excited than a community-built game, where all have a voice, and can help create the world together. If that's what Error has to become, I am completely fine with that, by releasing all rights of ownership to the Error game, story, mechanics, etc. We can create a superb game together, using MUD as a medium.
I hope that answers a few things and better explains my motives for this game. I'm looking forward to any future responses, as well as any participation with the game. You can still email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to help, or can simply reply.