When EMuck was started, we had considered implementing a
jump command, and ultimately decided against it. This wasn't
a decision that was made due to the capriciousness of the admins,
but it was discussed and debated at length with the people that
attended our initial brainstorming sessions.
I'd like to go into detail what I remember about the issue, and why our current decision on not implementing it was made.
Jump is a program that allows people to go directly
from one location on EMuck to another place, without having to
figure out if there is a valid path to get to that place.
To use the program, a person simply types `
<playername>', where <playername>
is the name of a player that the person wants to visit.
The process gets a bit more involved, however. Some people do
not like being jumped to for whatever reason. So, a set of flags
can be set/reset to allow a particular person and/or location to be
allowed or disallowed use by the
jump program. That
is, if a person doesn't mind people jumping to his or her location,
that person can set the JUMP_OK flag on his or her player. And,
there are similar abilities for rooms (even though a person may be
set JUMP_OK, if the room where the player is located is not set
JUMP_OK, then the command would be disallowed.
The semantics of
jump seem simple enough initially,
and I must admit that writing such a program doesn't take a lot of
effort or time.
One problem with a
jump command is that there isn't
always an easy way to figure out if a given location or player is
"jumpable" -- it usually becomes a matter of hit or miss as to
whether or not the command will succeed. This means that there must
be more support for the command (additional programs, etc.).
Such a program is available on other MU*s, and it has its adherents and detractors.
Most people that are looking for a
have usually had some experience on other MU*s where such a command
is available. Usually, the reason for this is that a person wants
to communicate privately (using the
pose commands) with another person; the
command is a quick way to get from one location to another.
jump command, a player would have to
issue a sometimes-confusing set of commands in order to go from one
location on EMuck to another. A
jump could be
considered a short-cut to typing all those commands.
Jump's detractor's say that a
jump command takes
away from the theming of EMuck. In real life, if you wish to visit
a person in, say, Toronto, and you are living in Atlanta, you
jump to that person. You'd either need
to spend the money to transport yourself to that location (air
fare, bus fare, or gasoline if you are driving), or you'd call them
up on the phone. Similary, on EMuck, your choices are to figure out
the path from your location to the desired location and either type
out the commands, or compute a proper "run" command to get there a
bit quicker. Or, if you prefer, you could use the
cb commands to talk "long distance."
If using the
cb commands is a
jump's detractors say that you need to
learn the layout of EMuck... do some exploring. After all, people
have built all the rooms on EMuck so that people could visit them.
Just jumping from one location to another makes all those people's
works for naught. If you are really in a pinch, the robot r.Daneel
usually has a useful map and can tell you how to get from point "A"
to point "B" (well, most of the time, anyway!).
In the end,
jump's detractors won the day. The
command was disallowed on EMuck, and it has been this way since we
opened for general release in 1996.
Every once in a while, we get a request for the command to be
implemented. Not so often, those requests become tirades from
people who cannot imagine using such a broken-down place like EMuck
jump is not allowed. It's obvious that after
hearing the same arguments time after time, some nerves get worn
thin on both sides of the issue.
However, the fact remains that no compromise has yet been worked out that would satisfy people on both sides of the issue. I would imagine that some bright thinker may be able to figure out a way to appeal to both sides of the issue, but to date, nobody has done so.
jump program has been disallowed, and
unless somebody can advance some new argument or compromise, this
policy will remain.
I know that as an admin, I would be willing to hear any
commentary from people who think that they can achieve a compromise
lar3ry is the technical support admin on EntertainMUCK, having written a lot of the programming that has gone into the game server. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The articles presented in this newsletter represent the views and opinions of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of AmberThree Productions or EntertainMUCK.