MUDs, MOOs, MUXes, MUSHes. The oldest form of immersive, alternate life virtual reality, these purely textual worlds are like dynamic, imersive, interactive novels without an end, often focusing on intense role play, and relying on imagination to fill in the gaps.
As with any good book, you have to have some writing skill to set the scene for a M** location. However, building experience is often also a good idea, as M* building - textually - is also radically different from normal writing. Due to the interactivity, sometimes you have to think carefully indeed.
Building a virtual world is different to programming it. Programmers create the infrastructure, builders create the content. Builders are responsible for adding areas to the world, managing existing areas, and generally building
the world the players see and hear.
The area creation section takes a look at building the areas within a world, and how to do it well. A good area suspends disbelief, and maximises immersion. A bad or poorly thought out area can destroy immersion at best. At worst it can destabilise the world with powerful items, and weak but experience-packed NPCs.
Building Blocks: Details
Details, points of interest within a room. This resource details the all-important, and oft overlooked process of creating objects with sub-descriptions within a room, so as to allow the players to explore and interact with the room in a common sense way.
Building Blocks: Maps
Mapping your world is actually one of the most important things to be BEFORE
you start to build. This excellent, and indeed, sorely needed article talks about how to construct logical
maps from your initial sketches, and then how to use them to create a much more elegant, much more immersive build.
Building Blocks: Names
A bit of a hybrid between a coding resource and a building resource, this looks at parsers, and the difficulty in getting natural language interaction between rooms, objects, and players.
Building Blocks: Rooms
This article looks at the basic locational structure of many worlds - the humble room. Orientated towards textual worlds, it looks at what should, and should not go in a room, to make it a readilly understandable entity.
Building Specifications for M** Rooms
Originally part of a larger article on "Building Specifications for Cruel World MUD", this section, discussing the best way to build rooms is applicable to any text-based virtual environment, and, as such, is a recommended read.
Developing a Setting for Fantastical IF
This resource, intended for building IF worlds, still has many vital, and infrequently observed lessons for area builders within virtual worlds. A large area within a textual world, is about the same size as an average IF landscape, and many of the same rules still apply.
A short resource that discusses the origins of settlements and other features that a builder should consider when creating a new urban area.
Third Person Mudding?
With the slow decline of text-based VR, the skill of writing engrossing descriptions in third person speech, engaging and immersing the user, has been a skill slowly dying out. However, such descriptive, self-inclusive prose has its place, even in the most graphical of worlds. This article gives a few pointers on how.
Curious Areas Workshop
C.A.W. were a DIKU builder's free area distributor in the early 1990's. Whilst their service is now discontinued, their site is still actively monitored, and they contain a healthy selection of areas - just give them due credit.