Waterdeep

In grade six, I remember we had dial-up internet at home, which was shoddy at best. So while some of my friends were on NewGrounds checking out the cool flash games, I was working at a slightly slower baud rate.

I had been dialing up Bulletin Board Systems (BBSes) in the past, and I was looking for something similar to door games and stumbled upon Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs).. telnet protocol games that let you connect and talk/interact/fight with and alongside other players.

The first one that I tried was a Star Trek-themed game, whose name I can no longer remember.. and I’ve tried to do a little digging, and have had no luck finding. But during this time, I’d been reading a lot of Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms books, so my tastes had shifted a bit into more of a Dungeons and Dragons-y direction.. leading me to the login screen of Waterdeep: City of Splendors..

> telnet waterdeep.org 4200
Trying 173.255.199.200...
Connected to waterdeep.org.
Escape character is '^]'.


            ;::::;                             Original DIKUMUD by Hans
           ;::::; :;                         Staerfeldt, Katja Nyboe, Tom
         ;:::::'   :;                        Madsen, Michael Seirfert and
        ;:::::;     ;.                       Sebastiand Hammer. (c) 1991
       ,:::::'       ;           OOO\
       ::::::;       ;          OOOOO\         MERC 2.1 Code by Hatchet,
       ;:::::;       ;         OOOOOOOO      Furey and Kahn. (c) 1993
      ,;::::::;     ;'         / OOOOOOO
    ;:::::::::`. ,,,;.        /  / DOOOOOO     RoM 2.4 Code by Russ Taylor.
  .';:::::::::::::::::;,     /  /    DOOOO   (c) 1996
 ,::::::;::::::;;;;::::;,   /  /       DOOO
;`::::::`'::::::;;;::::: ,#/  /        DOOO    RoT 1.4 Code by Russ Welsh.
:`:::::::`;::::::;;::: ;::#  /          DOOO (c) 1997
::`:::::::`;:::::::: ;::::# /            DOO
`:`:::::::`;:::::: ;::::::#/             DOO   WDM 2.0 Code by Waterdeep
 :::`:::::::`;; ;:::::::::##              OO MUD Entertainmant. (c) 2007
 ::::`:::::::`;::::::::;:::#              OO
 `:::::`::::::::::::;'`:;::#              O  Owned & Operated by Nisstyre
  `:::::`::::::::;' /  / `:#                 E-Mail:  wdmudimms@gmail.com
   ::::::`:::::;'  /  /   `#
           ##    ##  ####  ###### ######  ####  ######  ###### ###### #####
           ##    ## ##  ##   ##   ##     ##  ##  ##  ## ##     ##     ##  ##
           ## ## ## ######   ##   ####   ##  ##  ##  ## ####   ####   #####
           ## ## ## ##  ##   ##   ##     #####   ##  ## ##     ##     ##
            ##  ##  ##  ##   ##   ###### ##  ## ######  ###### ###### ##
                          C I T Y  O F  S P L E N D O R S
                                   [ Est 1997 ]

Why have you come....go away or choose a name:

This was what I wanted, starting as a level 1 human mage, and slowly growing in power and creating many characters to defeat the many dungeon bosses, survive (and die) to the player-killing, leading clans, and all-around having fun.

Run by Nisstyre, his brother Cyric, and a few of their friends, it was a crazy place.. and sort of buggy. A crash might occur, and take a bunch of peoples’ gear with it, or cause duping of data to happen. But it was home and it felt right.

By this point though, the players knew almost all of the intricacies of the game. The bosses were old hat and all of the gear that could be collected had been.

And that’s when the itch started to get me.. I needed to create.

Building

I applied to become a builder, and learned the basics of creating rooms and describing them. I created creatures and objects to pepper the areas with, storylines and intricate details to add flavour and depth– and most importantly, I learned “mobprogs”.

say Hello there, $n.  Would you like to buy anything?
grin $n
say We've got some new items in the back you might be interested in.
emote tosses an apply in the air and catches it.

Mobprogs are named after the terms “mob”ile (the creatures that walk around the game) and “prog”grams, which were essentially fairly rudimentary scripts that the game could interpret.. but they let you control the actions, speech, attacks, etc. that a creature could perform. This was the defining moment, the gateway drug, that led to me becoming the programmer than I am today.

I built and built, created some wonderful areas and met some amazing people whom I teamed up with to create some of the content that is still being played today.

The Lull

It was after this that I got a little bored of the game, likely paired with an upgrade to our internet connection, and more graphical games of the moment (Counter-Strike, Ragnarok Online, World of Warcraft, etc.) but Waterdeep always had a place in my heart.

Fast-forward a few years, many of them learning web development in PHP, and I think to myself, “I wonder if Waterdeep’s still going.” The same login splash screen greets me, and I feel a comfort that I haven’t felt in years. My characters have long-since been given away or deleted or forgotten entirely, and I start up a new character, saying hello to the few people who are still online.

The game was run by Kord and Bane at this point and some new features had appeared. By this point, I had some actual coding experience under by belt, and applied to join the team.. and surprisingly enough, was accepted. I helped get the codebase stored in git (yay, version control) and crushed some of the bugs that were lingering since the days when I had past played.

Running The Joint

But things had grown a little stale again. Bane was fairly inactive, after having completed most of the planned projects, he likely found his other projects to be more important and sort of disappered. Kord’s activity had been dwindling for weeks, and while he had a lot of great ideas, he rarely had the time to put them into play.

So I decided, “okay, let’s get this thing going.” I got promoted to owner of the game, hired some staff (builders, roleplayers, coders) and now I try to keep the place moving forward and running smoothly– which as of writing, it seems to be!

It’s an old codebase, running on heavily modified ROT (circa 1997), and we’ve got a web client going for it now if you’d like to try it out: https://client.waterdeep.info/

The Future

One of the next posts I’ll be writing will be what the future plans for the game include, and how we’ll be going about implementing them.

Stay tuned!