DeviousMUD

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Some of the few available screenshots from DeviousMUD
A forest in DeviousMUD as shown at RuneFest 2010
Another screenshot from DeviousMUD.

DeviousMUD (Devious Multi-User Dungeon) was a game created in 1998 by Andrew Gower that eventually evolved into the current day game of RuneScape, with various elements being adopted. It featured on Cunning and Devious Games, although Andrew Gower spoke most about it on his personal site. Possibly only about 20 people managed to play the game.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

DeviousMUD started out in 1998 as a game written solely by Andrew Gower at Fitzwilliam College in Cambridge. 'MUD' stands for multi-user dungeon. The game utilised oblique graphics. It was originally going to be text-based,[2] inspired by other text-based games at the time. However, he added the live graphics aspect to the game, inspired by Ultima Online.

The game was ready for testing after seven months in 1999. It was released as a beta release for a week, when about 20 people would test the game, some from the gaming portal Games Domain. Because of the limited release time, there are only a few screenshots in existence.

Another screenshot of DeviousMUD.

In October 1999, Andrew started a rewrite, this time with his brothers Paul and Ian. A number of changes were made, and the game was renamed RuneScape, the version that is now referred to as RuneScape Classic. The map used for DeviousMUD is similar to the one used today. Most of the places on the maps are still current. Four players were invited to alpha-test RuneScape in March 2000.

The first period[edit | edit source]

The game came out in 1999. The beta version was only released to the public for one week. Because this was such a short period, people did not take that many screenshots of it. However, it was a downloadable client.

The original world map created for DeviousMUD, although not implemented at the time of release.

Game mechanics[edit | edit source]

The information below is original site material verbatim but has since been removed.

  1. The whole game is written in Java, which means no waiting for downloads or installing software. You'll be able to just go straight to the webpage and play!
  2. Multiplayer! - You will be automatically connected to the main server, and your character will appear in the multiplayer game world, and vanish when you leave.
  3. Superfast oblique style engine, very optimised code with smooth 8 way scrolling.
  4. Detailed 3-dimensional map with hills, valleys, multi-levelled buildings, underground cellars and lots of variety.
  5. Efficient network code using lots of nice tricks to increase performance, and decrease lag. Only requires a bandwidth of 0.3k/sec for very smooth gameplay!
  6. Your game is automatically saved when you quit, so when you come back you can just resume where you left off, even if you are playing from a completely different computer!
  7. Minimal load times. I'm keeping the program as small as possible without decreasing the quality. Additional graphics and information are loaded as needed for plenty of variety.
  8. Graphical adventure style quest system gives you lots to do, and should ensure quests are easy to find and understand.
  9. A whole range of skills your character can try, which will improve with practice.
  10. Lots of different monsters and characters with different attributes.
  11. A variety of objects and weapons. What you are holding changes your appearance!
  12. Communicate with other players! Organise parties of characters with a range of skills to explore the dangerous areas. etc...
  13. Trading system, used to buy objects in shops, or trade with other characters.
  14. I'm writing the game in a very expandable way using script files, so once I've got the basic work finished I'll be able to make it huge very quickly.
  15. Multiple choice conversation system for talking to computer controlled characters
  16. Loads and loads of other cool features, far too many to list!

Updates in the second period[edit | edit source]

Andrew Gower listed updates that he had made:

  • 12 March, Fixed some nasty duplicate login bugs, and various other bugs...
  • 13 March, Started work on a player-2-npc multiple choice style conversation system.
  • 14 March, Continue work on conversation system
  • 15 March, Finished player-2-npc conversation system.
  • 15 March, Important background scenary can now be named, and manipulated by the player!
  • 16 March, Improved player-2-player conversation system.
  • 16 March, Started writing quest compiler. This is amazing, it runs everything from magic, to professions, to quests!
  • 17 March, Finished quest compiler! Although it doesn't support many commands yet.
  • 18 March, Spent ages debugging game - Fixed 19 (fairly minor) bugs!
  • 18 March, Wrote auto bug reporting system for client
  • 19 March, Started updating player 'Identikit' system.
  • 22 March, Finish identikit system. You can now choose your player's appearance! System can also be used for human NPCs -basically the skins-
  • 25 March, Finished designing a wood/forest to the left of the starting zone -same one as the McGrubber's Woods near Seers Village-
  • 28 March, Fixed some more bugs. I've not got as much done as I would have liked but I'm putting it online anyway...

To do after the second period[edit | edit source]

  1. Level/skill advancement.
  2. Player variables, so extra information about what the player has done can be saved
  3. Projectiles system
  4. Player-2-player trading
  5. Fix it so certain NPCs can cross zone boundaries.
  6. A really big map with lots of quests!
  7. Health regeneration
  8. Add lots and lots more features to quest system

The server[edit | edit source]

DeviousMUD's server could hold more people than the current servers in RuneScape. 2500 players could play on this server, but only 97 people played.

The bandwidth needed for playing DeviousMUD smoothly was 0.3k/sec.[3]

The skills[edit | edit source]

There is very little information about the skills in DeviousMUD. In the beginning of DeviousMUD, players could not level up, but this changed afterwards[4].

The skills known to be there but not known to be implemented were:[5]

  • Attack (players started at level 10)
  • Defense (players started at level 10)
  • Strength (players started at level 10)
  • Hits (players started at level 10)
  • Ranged
  • Thieving
  • Hiding
  • Prayers-Good
  • Prayers-Evil
  • Sorcery-Defence
  • Sorcery-Offence
  • Cooking
  • Fishing
  • Woodcutting
  • Firemaking
  • Fletching
  • Smithing
  • Mining

The equipment stats[edit | edit source]

There were equipment stats but there is no information on how they would benefit or affect the player.[6]

  • Weight
  • Armour Class
  • Weapon Class
  • Weapon Power
  • Magic Class
  • Prayers Class
  • Hiding Class

Talk[edit | edit source]

On the screen were the following options: Examine, Take, Drop, Use, Trade, Attack, and "TalkTo". One could talk with the last option, just like current mode of communication, public chat.

Shops[edit | edit source]

Two shops and only about 10 objects existed.[7]

Quests[edit | edit source]

There was only one, not fully made quest: Sheep Shearer.

Website[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • DeviousMUD had a resizable game window, something RuneScape had to wait many years for.
  • The planned map for DeviousMUD has some name differences from RuneScape. Edgeville was known as Enville, while Al Kharid was spelled Al Karid, without the H.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ Jagex. Andrew Gower's Twitter account. 12 June 2014. (Archived from the original on 20 June 2014.) Andrew Gower: "cant remember the exact number, maybe 20"
  2. ^ Jagex. RuneFest's Twitter account. 28 August 2010. (Archived from the original on 21 December 2018.) RuneFest: ""Devious Mud was originally going to be text based". Andrew Gower. #runefest"
  3. ^ Andrew Gower's original newspost
  4. ^ October 26th. (Archived from the original on 06:02, December 29, 2012 (UTC).)
  5. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtFTI_uqpeA
  6. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxRn_Qf8I1o
  7. ^ http://forum.runescape.com/forums.ws?133,134,708,59212662