Sunday, 3 August 2014

MUD client installation

EDIT: This is no longer the recommended installation method. Install Gypsum this way instead.

RosMud is still being partially supported, even though I'm not planning to do any major development on it. There is an issue with the current installer and some of the newer Windowses (most notably Windows 8) as regards security settings; the main program runs fine, but the installer is rejected. The simplest solution is to unzip the archive manually. Start by downloading this, which is exactly the same code but without the installer:

Then unzip that into c:\RosMud, overwriting any files you have from a previous installation. Don't worry, all your settings are safe! You should now be on RosMud 1.7.0.

But there's a better option, and that's to install Gypsum. Installation instructions can be found here:

Yes, Gypsum officially supports Mac OS X (the instructions are specific to OS X Mavericks, as that's all I've tested on, but may work on other versions too). Gypsum also supports Linux, and in fact that's where I do most of my development, but as there are so many Linux distros, it's harder to give step-by-step instructions. Check your package manager (apt, synaptic, yum, pacman, etc) for Pike and git; if you can get Pike 7.8.866 or 8.0, that would be ideal. Then clone the Gypsum repository and run Gypsum!

$ git clone git://
$ cd Gypsum
$ pike gypsum.pike

If you're comfortable compiling C projects from source, building the very latest Pike will often improve Gypsum. Talk to me directly about why that is, or just spin yourself up a Pike 8.0.3 (as of 20140803) and see how things go.

The last time I posted, Gypsum didn't have many advantages over RosMud. That has now changed.

* The plugin interface is far less fragile than RosMud's, meaning that Gypsum doesn't have RM's occasional tendency to crash. It's also easy enough for anyone to work with - you don't need a C compiler now.
* Gypsum works with Unicode, rather than Windows-1252. You can work with text in other languages (even RTL languages like Arabic, although imperfectly), symbols and emoticons from the upper reaches of Unicode, everything. All text is sent UTF-8 encoded, as per many other clients and internet standards.
* Lots of ancillary information that RosMud had separate windows for is now on the status bar. Wastes less screen real estate that way.
* The Threshold Time Clock is now a full-on timezone conversion tool. If you don't use Thresh, you can still make use of this; it understands "local" (meaning your own time), "Thresh" (time in Threshold RPG), and every timezone in the Olsen database, like "America/New_York" or "Europe/Madrid". Conversions between timezones can be done extremely easily.
* Support for proportionally-spaced fonts. Probably not something you really want to do with MUDding, but if you like text to lay out that way, go for it.
* Command history search. Type the beginning of a command, hit Ctrl-Up, and it'll find commands you entered that start with that prefix.
* Idle killer / keep-alive. (This is the same as RosMud has, but is an advantage over most other MUD clients.) This is fully compliant with the rules of Threshold RPG, and does not affect the server's view of your idle time, but will help you get past routers that disconnect you for idleness.
* Numpad Navigation can use any key on your keyboard, not just the numeric keypad.
* Per-world aliases. RosMud theoretically had this, but it was never actually made available.
* Inbuilt pop-out editor. RosMud has this as a largely undocumented feature; it's now fully documented, and integrated into Minstrel Hall. (Integration with Threshold RPG would be welcomed; it will need server-side support though.)
* Settings import from RosMud. No need to throw away all that configuration you did!
* Live updates. Just choose Plugins|Update Gypsum and, normally, it'll bring you up to the most recent version! No restart required, you don't even need to disconnect.
* Quick reconnect. Just type "/c" in any tab and it'll reconnect to the world you last were connected to in that window. If you have, for instance, separate worlds for your main and alt (with autologin), this can keep them conveniently in their own tabs.
* And heaps of little features that I didn't think of while brainstorming this. :) Yeah, I know it's a cop-out, but given that I'm using Gypsum exclusively, and putting through an average of five commits (changes) per day, there are going to be all sorts of things done.

And that constant stream of improvements means there'll be more advantages as time goes on. If you're a programmer, feel free to dig around in the code; it's all open source, and should be mostly readable (there are a few obscurities here and there, but not too many). I want this to be the best MUD client for Thresh or Minstrel Hall, and you can help me make it so :)

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