A MUME History

Ainulindalë (The Music of the Ainur)

In September 1990 a dark mist shadowed the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. A band of students discovered the Gift in a corner of the Internet, much less “in vogue” than nowadays. After years of paper and pen roleplaying games (from AD&D through RuneQuest to Chivalery and Sorcery) it was finally possible to play online!

The mud was Sejnet in Sweden. May its positronic ashes rest forever in peace!

One of us, Philippe Rochat (later known on MUME as Eru), decided in the fall of ’91 to take a DikuMud I engine and tried to make it run. Of course, since he did not know C at that time, he failed. But he was stubborn and finally managed to make it choke. He then proceeded on his first Herculean Work: adding a new functionality to this basic engine, the no-echo on password entrance - that took him one month but MUME I, Multi-Users in Middle-earth, was born.

Seeing that Eru did manage to do something of the code, Claude Indermitte (CryHavoc), Pier Donini (Manwë) and a few others that didn’t stay long (among which was Eric Moreau who stressed on building a consistent geographical world), then joined him on the project. We all learned C on the back of this poor MUD engine…

The main goal was clear since the beginning: we wanted a simulation of Tolkien’s Middle-earth, just before the War of The Ring and only that. This meant that we could import no areas from other muds and that we should have a consistent mapping for our zones. We then proceeded to build from Bree (which was at first very Midgaard-like) towards the Old Forest. An interesting question was also raised: “How to add The Ring and what to do with It?” The answer has not yet come.

Sejnet died in the winter of ’91, but, maybe one month before its fall, MUME even if not officially opened (it did open in January ’92), was fairly stable (i.e., it did not crash just after the reboot). We then tricked some Sejnet players to test our game; we just had to purge the Green Dragon that was buggingly loading in Bree Central Square at every reboot ;-)

Anyway, our original player file was (and still is; no player wipes ever were made) composed of Sejnet’s refugees.

A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then… Eru moved to other projects at the end of MUME II (see below for a brief chronology) while David Gay (Nada), the only one to have a real clue on programming languages in general and in C hacks in particular, was lured on MUME.

As a last note we would like to thank all the people that helped and help us to build MUME.

Valaquenta (Account of the Valar)

Some relevant additions to MUME’s engine:

At the same time that the MUME core has been coded in C, dozen of mudllers contributed to the coding of quests, mobile and object behaviour, etc.

Also, around 70 builders have added “known” locations (and the zones in between) in Eriador; like the Grey Havens, Fornost, Tharbad, the Old Forest, the Goblin Gate in the Misty Mountains and Moria (which is 1,400 rooms by itself!).