Harley Hahn's
Guide to Muds


Chapter 8...

Talking on a Mud

There are several ways to talk on a mud. You can talk to someone privately, or you can talk with a group of people. Moreover, you can follow multiple conversations at the same time.

There is a variety of commands you can use to talk. In this section, I will discuss some typical talk commands, so you can get a feeling for how they work. The actual commands may vary slightly from one mud to another, but the general ideas will be the same. For more information, check with the help system on your particular mud.

There are separate commands for talking in different ways. You can talk to a specific person, to everyone in the room (your current location), to everyone in the surrounding area, or to everyone on the mud.

Before we discuss specific commands, I would like to take a moment to discuss abbreviations.

As you know, typing is slow: you can't type nearly as fast as you can speak. For this reason, there are a large number of abbreviations that people use when they are talking on the Net. For example, if you are talking to someone on a mud, and he types "btw", you should know that it means "by the way".

When you talk on a mud, you will often see people use these abbreviations. To help you, I have prepared a list of the most important abbreviations, along with some hints to help you get started.

You will see these abbreviations are used wherever people talk on the Net: on muds, in chat rooms, and on IRC (Internet Relay Chat). You will also see some of these abbreviations used within email messages and Usenet discussion groups

To help you, there is a list of such abberviations in Appendix C of my book Harley Hahn's Internet Advisor. If you don't have a lot of experience using the Net, take a moment to look at this list. When you come back, we will return to our discussion of the talk commands used on muds.

Abbreviations Used While Talking on the Net

Harley Hahn's Internet Advisor: Appendix C

DikuMuds and LPMuds tend to share the same set of talk commands. TinyMuds (which are almost always social muds) have their own commands. For reference, I have summarized these two sets of commands. Following the summaries, I will show you some examples, so you can see how it all works.

Figure 8-1: Talk commands for DikuMuds and LPMuds

Send a message to everyone in the same room...

say  message
"  message
'  message

Send a message only to the specified person...

tell  name  message

Whisper a message to a person in the same room...

whisper  name  message

Broadcast a message to your room and adjoining rooms...

yell  message

Broadcast a message to the entire mud...

shout  message

Express an action or emotion...

emote  action
:  action

Note: The " (double quote) and ' (single quote) commands will not work on some muds. The say command will always work.

Figure 8-2: Talk commands for TinyMuds

Send a message to everyone in the same room...

say  message
"  message

Send a message only to the specified person...

page  name = message

Whisper a message to a person in the same room...

whisper  name = message
w  name = message

Express an action or emotion...

pose  action
:  action

Here are a few quick examples to show you how it all works.

Let's say your character's name is Harley and you want to say something to everyone in the room. You would type a command like:

say Hi, everyone.

All the people in the room will see your message:

Harley says: Hi, everyone.

For convenience, you could use:

"Hi everyone.

To say something to one person only, you can use the tell command (DikuMuds or LPMuds) or the page command (TinyMuds). For example, on an LPMud, you might type:

tell Carrie Hi, I missed you.

On a TinyMud, you would type:

page Carrie = Hi, I missed you.

(Notice the use of the = character.)

Only the person you specified will see the message. For example:

Harley tells you: Hi, I missed you.

Aside from talking, you can also whisper, yell or shout (see the command summaries above). Whispering is considered genteel, while yelling and shouting are frowned upon unless you have a good reason. If you shout too much, you may find yourself gagged.

You can also express emotions and actions. Use emote on DikuMuds and LPMuds, and pose on TinyMuds. For example:

emote does a dance of joy.
pose does a dance of joy.

For convenience, you can use a : (colon) command as an abbreviation:

: does a dance of joy.

Such expressions will be shown to everyone in the room. For example, if your character name is Harley, the previous commands would produce a message like the following:

Harley does a dance of joy.

Learning to use emote and pose imaginatively will add spice to your conversation.

DikuMuds and LPMuds also have feelings commands, also called socals. These are special commands you can use to express a particular feeling or emotion without having to type a specific emote command. For example, you might enter:

smile

Everyone in the room will see a message like:

Harley smiles happily.

For information on the feelings commands, you can use help:

help feelings
help socials

If you are a particularly emotional person, using the feelings commands can save a lot of typing.

All muds have some way to have group conversations. In fact, you can have several such conversations going on at the same time. On social muds, you generally have a group conversation by hanging out in a room and talking to everyone in that room. When you get tired of the conversation, you can go to another room.

On adventure muds, you can sit in a room and have a group conversation, but it is more common to spend your time traveling around the mud having adventures. Thus, adventure muds have ways to hold group conversations with people who are not in your immediate vicinity.

For example, there will be a variety of permanent chat lines which are used by different groups of people. There will be a general chat line for everyone in the mud, as well as special chat lines for specific types of people. For instance, there may be a chat line for new people, for administrators, for general announcements, and so on. It is also common to have chat lines that are restricted to members of a particular class or guild.

In addition, you can set up a temporary group conversation, called a party line or a group line. This facility will serve as a chat line, but only for people who have been invited to participate. The group of people on a particular party line is referred to as a party or group. A common reason to form such a party would be to fight monsters together. When the party is disbanded, the party line will vanish automatically.

— hint —

On a mud, all the conversations are mixed with the descriptions and actions on your screen display. At first, it is easy to be overwhelmed.

To reduce the clutter, you can turn off one or more of your chat lines until you become more comfortable.

Eventually, you will be able to watch everything at the same time, and what started out as a confusing babble will become perfectly understandable.

— hint —

Mudding on a regular basis is a great way to increase your typing speed.

People who mud well are usually fast typists. If you mud frequently, I guarantee your typing will improve significantly.