Introduction to CauldronMUX
CauldronMUX is a social MUX providing a text-based virtual world where members of The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum can chat with each other, conduct online rituals and classes, etc. in a environment that lets them create rooms and props to use in these activities. If you do not know what a MUX is, this probably means nothing to you so, here is Bob's description of a MUX and his examples of what Cauldron members could do with a MUSH:
What is a MUX?
First, a bit of history:
Back in the 1980s, the MIT school of computer science, in an attempt to create a primitive AI, wound up creating what became the first TinyMUD. MUD stands for Multi-User Dungeon, and MUDs are primarily intended to be hack and slash games. MUSH came a little later, with the first game being PernMUSH. MUSH stands for (supposedly) Multi-User Shared Hallucination. On PernMUSH, players could create characters and act out those characters lives in the setting of Anne McCaffrey's Pern. There were dragonriders, harpers, holders, everything including fire lizards.
Over time, MUSH code got very intricate and complex. MU*s (the generic term for MUD/MUSH/MUX/MOO/MUSE.etc) in time started developing their own, purely internal, programming language with which players could create a virtual, well, anything.
On a MU*, virtual 'rooms' exist wherein the players interact with their environment and each other. Virtual objects (everything from fire lizards on Pern to computers on modern setting MU*s) can be created and programmed by players to do certain things. MU*s come with their own internal mail systems, their own internal chat systems, even their own 'furniture' in bars where people can have publicly private (does that make sense?) conversations within an In Character setting.
The system, at it's core, is text based. Players and staff create their objects and rooms, and then give them text descriptions. Ever play one of those old text adventure games like the original Zork? It's just like that, only far more interactive as you can have hundreds of players interacting with their environment and each other every minute.
Here's a sample of a room description and it's exits:
Here you can see the living room of a heathen geek. Computer magazines lie strewn about the room, one laying open across the top of an altar to Odin in the corner. Two electric guitars are in upright stands next to an ominous looking 4x12" Marshall amp. In various locations lie strewn empty bottles of hooch, and various bladed weapons festoon the walls. You get the feeling you don't want to ask the resident about the odd discolorations on the worn-out couch or floors, as then he might tell you about them in detail.
Bob, SKS battle rifle, Keg-o-Hooch
Bedroom <B> Bathroom <BA> Kitchen <K> Out <O>
Obviously, if a person wanted to leave they would simply type the 'o' key and press enter, which would presumably take them out of the apartment. And as can be seen by the contents of the room, Bob, his SKS rifle, and a keg are the interactive objects within the room. You could look at any of the interactive objects to get a description of the person or thing, and probably some hint as to their usage, thusly:
You see a large keg with an adjustable spigot. Perhaps you should check out the 'menu' to see what drinks are available?
As inferred, typing menu would bring up a list of further instructions for how to use the keg. This is just a simple example of how complex MU* inhabitants can make the world around them.
This is just a bare-bones introduction to everything that can be done with a MUX like what we're talking about. It can become extremely complex and intricate, quite a nice little virtual world, wherein the people have more control over their environment than they do in meatspace.
What Can We Do With CauldronMUX?
For The Cauldron, we're talking about a social MUX, one which is not set in any particular world other than our own, and existing purely for the purpose of socialization. I've seen pagans use MU*s to do group circles when not all of the members could be physically present, using preset macro commands to punch in the type of their ritual (to eliminate misspellings and the time needed to type them in by hand). Apparently they were quite successful. Their rationale being that the Internet, being that it is a coherent energy transport mechanism, would be ideal for transferring magical energy as well. I can't speak to that, not having done it myself, but they all seemed quite satisfied.
I've also seen MU*s with 'teaching rooms' -- programmed areas meant to impart lessons or to be used as teaching aids by students and teachers.
Members can use CauldronMUX in different ways. While a few will probably learn the nuts and bolts of the system and create programmed objects, others will not want to bother with the anything that complex and will just create and describe rooms or simple objects for others to use, and many will just use the system to chat with friends and interact with the places and objects others create.
Connecting to CauldronMUX
You can access CauldronMUX by telneting to mux.ecauldron.net port 24201 with your telnet program (this can be very confusing as most telnet programs do not have a separate typing area for input so what you type may get mixed up with text from the MUX in the telnet window) or with a MU* client on your machine. The MU* client is definitely the best way to connect to CauldronMUX as MU* client programs have many features to make using CauldronMUX easy -- like a separate typing area so what you are typing in does not get mixed up with what the MUX is sending you in the window). If you do not have a MU* client, here are links to some of the ones Cauldron staff members know of for various operating systems. Some are freeware, some our shareware.
(Should work on any system with Sun Java installed)
- The Bean [Free MU* Java client. Should run on any computer with Java 1.4 or higher installed.]
Some Windows MU* Clients
- Mushclient [Freeware. One of the nicest clients for Windows. Also works well under WINE on Linux.]
- SimpleMU [Shareware ($20). No annoying nags or time limits. If you do not pay, just a few advanced features are disabled.]
- Gosclient [Freeware]
- Mud Master Console [Freeware. A text-based client that runs in a "dosbox."]
- GGMud [Freeware]
Some Linux MU* Clients
- TinyFugue [Freeware. A very powerful text-based client.]
- MCL [Freeware. Text-based client]
- Kmuddy [Freeware. KDE-based client]
- KMC [Freeware. KDE-based client]
- GGMud [Freeware]
Mac OS X Clients
When you connect to CauldronMUX, you will see a screen like this:
Welcome to CauldronMUX, The Cauldron's Hangout
"connect <name> <password>" connects you to your existing character.
"connect guest" connects you to a guest account
To Obtain a character on CauldronMUX:
Log onto our message board, find the CauldronMUX Account Creation
thread, and follow the instructions there. A CauldronMUX wizard
will create your account and email you the password. You can then
log in with "connect <name> <password>". Until then, you can
connect as a guest.
"WHO" tells you who is logged in to the game (case sensitive).
"QUIT" exits the game and saves your character.
Once logged on, "help" gives help on specific commands, functions, and
special topics. Other 'help' commands include "+help" and "news".
If you do not yet have an account (character) on CauldronMUX, type "connect guest" and you will be logged in on a guest account. You cannot build things, but you can chat with people in public areas. Remember, you are bound by The Cauldron's Chat/MUX rules even as a guest (and understand that guests are not anonymous as their ip numbers are available to staff).
Accounts (characters) on CauldronMUX are available to members of the Full Member and Cauldron Supporter membergroups of The Cauldron's message board on request. Members of the default "Regular Member" membergroup may also obtain a CauldronMUX account in some cases. This message on our message board explains how to request a CauldronMUX account. Message board members unfamiliar with MU*s in general or CauldronMUX in particular should probably visit CauldronMUX as a guest a few times before requesting a character to be sure they are really interested in having one.
Once you log on to our MUX, you will be able to get help by type the command
and the command:
However, you can get a quick, one screen list of the most useful commands by typing this command:
You can download a copy of the help files (and a PDF building tutorial) as a zip file (about 400K) by clicking here. Note, however, that this probably is not something you will want to do until you are more familiar with CauldronMUX, and this will be information overload for most beginners.
You can also visit the Learning Library, by typing "LL" in Central Park (Central Park is the first area you reach after you leave the Grey Mists by typing "out." At the Learning Library, you can type "learn" to start a tutorial on some of the basic features and commands on CauldronMUX. Additional, more advanced, tutorials will be added to the Learning Library as they are written.
Finally, are some very basic commands to get you started. To say something to others in a room, type a double quote, then what you want to say. For example to say "Hi there! I'm new and confused." you would type:
"Hi there! I'm new and confused.
To make your character do some action, for example, smile. You type:
If your name was Joe, everyone in the room would see "Joe smiles."
To send a private message to another person (who does not have to be at the same location in the MUX that you are at) you can "page" them. For example, if you wanted to send the message "What are you doing for dinner tonight?" privately to a member named JimBob, you would type:
page JimBob=What are you doing for dinner tonight?
To move, you type the name of an exit. Most exits have a short form listed between less than and greater than signs. You can type that short form (without the less than and greater than signs) to save yourself a lot of typing.
When you enter a room, it's description is displayed. To see the description of the room you are in again, you would type:
To see a description of a person or item in the same room your are in, you type "look" following by the name of the person or item you want to see the description of. For example, to look at an item called "cute puppy", you would type:
look cute puppy
To find out more information (including their message board id) about a person, you can type "+finger" followed by their name. For example to find out more information about a person named "Randall" you would type:
To find out who is on CauldronMUX at the moment, you type:
(You can type the command "WHO" before you log in.)
To find out which CauldronMUX staff members are logged on at the moment, you type:
To quit CauldronMUX, you type: