On Winemaking

The MUD Coders Guild gamejam is underway and one thing I’ve missed in the community since the last one is the collaborative environment that forms around the effort. I’ve been in and around muds for as long as anyone and like many of us I was a kid in the earliest of those days.

Unlike some of us I was a kid programming muds in those days. I was coding before I was playing but I didn’t start what would become my own mud (TwinMUD) until I was 19. I started the lore and design 5 years prior but there wasn’t an actual twinmud until some drama drove me away from the mud I had been coding and building for.

Up until then I helped anyone who needed it to fix their code or implement new features. I still helped after that too but the asks were far less by then. I didn’t understand the isolationist attitudes. The code protectionists not wanting anyone to see the inner workings. The people who took code and absconded to make their own muds.

In our second episode of Titans of Text Acer made a point of mutual advancement for the good of both the community and genre as a whole. Fighting over players or features does no one any good. This is a fairly shared attitude among the regulars in the guild given almost all of our work is open source. All of my designs are put on a public subreddit for all to gain inspiration from or outright take. This is not only the attitude of many in the guild this is, to me, the foundation of Grapevine itself.

To me grapevine is a way to generate a communal space of collaboration and growth for all muds and the gamejam reminds me of this. 

The gamejam is not much different from the day to day but it’s a time of fast prototyping: fail fast, fail early and fail often. It brings others into the fold that are usually silent. Those that aren’t necessarily as interested in muds and text only games specifically for the sake of competition and glory. When it’s over and the lights are turned out on our itch.io profile for another year it’ll be back to the day and daily but for those 2 or so months it’s almost electric in the guild chat.