Mudding on Raspberry Pi (Part 1)

Back at university in the early to mid-90’s the internet was a little different. I’m sure you have already heard this before but I can best sum it up by saying that one day I had to use something called a “web page” (wasn’t sure what one of those was) and I was told to ask in the Library to see if we had something called a “browser”. They were not sure... but we did have terminals everywhere that had Windows 3.1 installed, maybe there was a browser on one of those?

I skipped the browser for a year... instead I discovered Multi-User Dungeons, aka MUDs. Wikipedia has a good introductory article to MUDs (and mudding). These text-based online games were the logical successor to games such as The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings that I had played on my Spectrum as a teenager. MUDs typically have a great community of people who become life-long friends (that has been my experience) and are great fun to play such games with. Unlike modern 3D online games, in a MUD if you want to kill the dragon with your sword you literally type in something like “kill dragon with sword” (while naively hoping that dragons can’t type fast as in reality the game server controls all aspects of the dragon), hence after playing a MUD for only a short period you suddenly find your typing speed and accuracy (“kill dagon with doard” just doesn’t cut it) going up and up, until you are pretty much touch typing all the way.

So it occurred to me the other day: what could be better than sitting on my sofa, wireless keyboard in hand, mudding away on my Raspberry Pi. To get me started, the following screenshot from my Mac shows what I am aiming to replicate, namely connecting to my favourite MUD of all time: Deeper Trouble (telnet deepertrouble.org 4242 if you are interested).

dt_mac

As the Raspberry Pi is a Linux computer it already contains a shell from which we can connect to any one of hundreds (thousands possibly) of MUDs and their related siblings. However this immediately presents a problem, namely the 10-foot rule (and not the Walmart one). That is to say that when I am sitting on my sofa about 10 feet away from my widescreen HDTV I can barely read the text in the terminal window. This is hardly ideal and something we will need to fix.

So our goal is:

1) To be able to sit on the sofa while playing.
2) To be able to read the text on-screen at a distance.
3) (optional) to not have a keyboard cable trailing across the floor.
4) (optional) to use a MUD Client for macros and related (more on this later).

And that’s the scene set. In Part 2 I will look at how to solve the above.

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