… Years later, I got into software development professionally – and I owe it all to MUDs. I even drop that tidbit during interviews, and it helps me identify the cool people.
This got me thinking about what have I gained from being involved with MUDs. I also began playing, then programming, although in C not LPC.
I've been self employed for about 4 years now, and a lot of what has enabled me to stand out against my competition is stuff that I learned from working on MUDs as well as MudBytes. I own a company in the general service industry for consumers, and the knowledge I gained making interactive websites and SEO has greatly set me apart from the other SME's I'm competing with.
I'm currently working along side an SEO/web marketing company for my business and they love it. Because I go out of my way to help them and make working on my site easier, they go out of their way to push the money I spend with them farther. It's a great relationship so far.
The ROI on my website is enough that without it, there'd be no company. I owe that all to MUDing, MudBytes and all you guys!
Same story. I learned C thanks to hacking on Rom MUDs for years, which ultimately led me to a career in PHP based web development. I've incorporated MUD patterns into my applications in the past, including a Rom nanny-style form handler for the Drupal CMS (I wrote a couple popular eCommerce plugins for it). Lotta fun!
I started a mud many years ago with a few friends. My role at that time was building. A month or so into it as the other cofounders had less and less time to spend on the project I soon became involved in other work including programming, eventually running the entire game. I had little or no interest in programming at this time. Indeed, it was very far out of my comfort zone. I was more interested in literature than technology and the text based aspect is what got me involved.
In any event, I took over the role and learned how to program from internet articles and books in the local library. This was about 1999. I can say with certainty that there was little chance of me pursuing any type of technology based profession without this influence.
Since then I've had a successful career in software development. Particularly, In the last 5 years I've been involved in quite a few tech startups. Some failed, others succeeded. Today I'm a cofounder of a medical tech startup making booking medical tourism easier in southeast Asia. We've raised about 11 million USD. I think I can safely owe much of this to what I learned so many years ago building a mud.
Mostly, I learned that players don't actually want what they say they want. :)
Working on a MUD with an active player base, you hear all kinds of requests, many of them coming from the majority of your players. But quite often, what they ask for is not really what they want, but rather it's the first thing that pops into their heads that they think MIGHT give them what they want.
The biggest example I can think of was when our players convinced us to raise the level cap on our game. In actuality, they didn't really want more levels at all. Some wanted it to be harder to get to the current level cap. Some wanted bigger numbers, and assumed more levels would yield bigger numbers. Some just wanted more content to explore and exploit. The PvP crowd wanted more skills, abilities, etc. NONE of this actually required more levels, but we were young and short-sighted and gave them what they said they wanted.
The end result, of course, was that the game was no longer as well balanced. Content at those upper levels was thin, and I would say the overall experience of playing from level 1 to the cap was not as fun… more grind, less content per level. But, it was too complex a change to back out of… especially once players started getting into the new levels.
It didn't kill our game (graphical games, the ease of setting up your own server and MUD, and the staff drifting away did that), but it didn't help either.
I started playing MUDs in early high school. At the time I was interested in biology and ancient languages. By the end of high school, although I had not joined any MUD staff, I had already started writing down ideas for my "perfect MUD". The desire to make it real, alongside other things (mostly artificial intelligence) drove me to enroll in a Computer Science degree. For a few years I got interested in bio-inspired artificial intelligence and artificial evolution, then about a year ago and something I decided to go looking for a commercial job.
At my first job interview I mostly talked about the MUD engine I had been developing during my Master in bio-inspired AI (I used to program it to get away/relax from the hundreds of papers I had to study, the classes and the exam preparation).