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Title: Mud1  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: MUD, Chronology of MUDs, MAD (MUD), WikiProject Spam/LinkReports/, MUD trees
Collection: 1978 Video Games, Mainframe Games, Mud Games
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia



Developer(s) Roy Trubshaw
Richard Bartle
Engine MUDDL
Platform(s) Platform independent
Release date(s) 1978
Genre(s) Fantasy MUD
Mode(s) Multiplayer
A screenshot from MUD1

Multi-User Dungeon, or MUD (referred to as MUD1, to distinguish it from its successor, MUD2, and the MUD genre in general) is the first MUD and the oldest virtual world in existence.


  • History 1
  • Reception 2
  • See also 3
  • External links 4
  • References 5


MUD was created in 1978 by Roy Trubshaw at Essex University on a DEC PDP-10 in the UK, using the MACRO-10 assembly language. He named the game Multi-User Dungeon, in tribute to the Dungeon variant of Zork, which Trubshaw had greatly enjoyed playing.[1][2] Zork in turn was inspired by an older text-adventure game known as Colossal Cave Adventure or ADVENT.[3]

In 1980, Roy Trubshaw created MUD version 3 in BCPL (the predecessor of C), to conserve memory and make the program easier to maintain.[4] Richard Bartle, a fellow Essex student, contributed much work on the game database, introducing many of the locations and puzzles that survive to this day. Later that year Roy Trubshaw graduated from Essex University, handing over MUD to Richard Bartle, who continued developing the game.[5] That same year, MUD1 became the first Internet multiplayer online role-playing game as Essex University connected its internal network to the ARPAnet.[6]

In 1983, Essex University allowed remote access to its DEC-10 via British Telecom's Packet Switch Stream network between 2 am and 7 am each night.[7] MUD became popular with players around the world, and several magazines wrote articles on this new trend.[8]

In 1984, Roy Trubshaw and Richard Bartle were approached by book editor and gamer Simon Dally to form a company to promote and market MUD, and to produce and market the next generation of multi-user games. As a result, Multi User Entertainment (MUSE) Ltd was formed in 1985.[9] The late Dally also wrote competitions for Acorn User magazine. He told the editor Tony Quinn that he found the minicomputer to run the game in a builder's skip.[10]

In 1984, Compunet, a UK-based network primarily for Commodore 64 users, licensed MUD1 and ran it from late 1984 until 1987, when CompuNet abandoned the DEC-10 platform they were using.[11]

In 1985, Richard Bartle created MUD1 version 4, better known as MUD2. It was intended to be run as a service for British Telecom.[12]

In 1987, MUD1 was licensed by CompuServe, who pressured Richard Bartle to close down the instance of MUD1, better known as 'Essex MUD', that was still running at Essex University. This resulted in the deletion of the MUD account in October 1987. This left MIST, a derivative of MUD1 with similar gameplay, as the only remaining MUD running on the Essex University network, becoming one of the first of its kind to attain broad popularity. MIST ran until the machine that hosted it, a PDP-10, was superseded in early 1991. [13]

MUD1 ran under the name British Legends until late 1999 and was retired along with other software during CompuServe's Y2K cleanup efforts.[14]

In 2000, Viktor Toth rewrote the BCPL source code for MUD1 to C++ and opened it alongside MUD2 on[15]

In 2014, Stanford University secured permission to redistribute the game's blueprints from the authors of MUD1.[16]


Computer Gaming World in 1993 called British Legends on CompuServe "your typical text-based multi-player role-playing game with an emphasis on magic".[17]

See also

External links

  • The British Legends website
  • Richard Bartle's MUD related website


  1. ^  
  2. ^  
  3. ^  
  4. ^  
  5. ^ Eddy Carroll (1995). "MUD Timeline". Roy graduates from Essex University, and Richard takes full control of the game, fleshing out the database and adding additional commands. A proper persona communication system is introduced, along with the concepts of points and wizards. 
  6. ^ Mulligan, Jessica; Patrovsky, Bridgette (2003). Developing Online Games: An Insider's Guide. New Riders. p. 444.  
  7. ^ Eddy Carroll (1995). "MUD Timeline". Essex University allows outside users to access its DEC-10 via BT's Packet Switch Stream network (PSS) during the normally idle period from 2am to 8am each night. 
  8. ^ Richard Bartle (1995). "MUD Magazine Bibliography". 
  9. ^ Richard Bartle (2002). "MUSE background". The beginnings of MUSE were in 1978, when Roy Trubshaw wrote the very first prototype of the computer game MUD. He and Richard Bartle created the bedrock upon which all subsequent MUDs were built, and such was the popularity of the game that in 1984 they were approached by book editor and games-player Simon Dally to form a company to promote and market MUD itself, while designing and implementing additional games. MUSE was formed in 1985, which makes it a comparative old-timer in the online games industry. 
  10. ^ Computer Magazines page at
  11. ^ Richard Bartle (1999). "CompuNet MUD". The incarnation of MUD1 on the CompuNet network in the UK, the first commercial MUA in the world. 
  12. ^ Richard Bartle (2002). "MUSE background". A new version of the game, which came to be known as MUD2, was written in 1985 to be run as a service for British Telecom. 
  13. ^  
  14. ^ Richard Bartle (2007). "A Brief History". Due in part to a fortuitous coincidence (MUD was written for the same DECSystem-10 computing platform that CompuServe used for its information service) MUD was licensed by CompuServe in the mid-1980s where it ran as a popular game until late 1999. It was eventually retired along with other software during CompuServe's Y2K cleanup efforts. 
  15. ^ Richard Bartle (2002). "Incarnations of MUD". Viktor Toth had had a copy of the BCPL source code for MUD1 for some years, and decided that now was the time to do something with it. In a 9-day programming blitz over Christmas, he rewrote the BCPL MUDDL engine in C++ and opened it up alongside MUD2. The ex-CompuServe players gravitated there, where it now runs as a direct continuation of the defunct original BL incarnation. 
  16. ^ Simon Sharwood (2014). "Source code for world's first MUD, Essex Uni's MUD1, recovered". The code has landed at Stanford University, which says it has secured permission to redistribute the game's blueprints from the authors Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw. 
  17. ^ "A Survey of On-Line Games". Computer Gaming World. May 1993. p. 84. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
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