Yet another beta rushed out hastily to fix some bugs in the last one.
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Rapscallion is a MUD client, written for MacOS compatible computers. It has now entered a beta phase, which is to say that all the major features are in, but it hasn't yet been fully tested except by myself. When I'm satisfied that it all works, I will probably release it as shareware, depending on the response I get from people who try it.
In the meantime, feel free to downloaded and try it out. I simply ask that you let me know of any problems you have, of any suggestions you may have for improvements, and of which parts you like - to do this, or if you have any queries at all, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
MUD stood originally for Multi-User-Dungeon, which is to say a text-based adventure game playable but several different people at the same time. They have grown into a colossal variety of systems which go by the terms MUDs, MOOs, MUSHes, and others. They are played/used in different ways, some for role-playing, some for adventure gaming, some are mainly social, they can be based on fantasy worlds, science fiction world, the works. There are literally hundreds of the things - the internet is littered with them, some good, some bad, some average, and the best way to find out about them is to play them if you haven't already done so.
A MUD client is a specialised program that enables you to connect to a MUD, and provides a variety of specialised facilities to help you play more effectively. There are a large number of things that a client can do to make life easier for players, and a large number of clients which try to do this, some better than others. There are however very few clients available for the Macintosh, which is why I wrote Rapscallion.
Clients are sometimes frowned upon by the people in charge of a MUD, simply because of their capacity for misuse - an over-reliance on triggers may be seen as cheating, especially if they're used to gain experience while the player is away from the keyboard, or if they are used to chuck enormous quantities of commands at a MUD in a short space of time, which can obviously slow MUDs down enormously. It pays to be careful and considerate at all times. Another tip is that the amount of things that can be automated with a client can give you a false sense of security. It helps to bear in mind that nothing is infallible - a client hasn't got the same adaptability as a human, so you still have to pay attention to what's going on onscreen...
When I started writing Rapscallion, I'd only seen a couple of Macintosh MUD clients, and thought that they were the only ones available. I will go out on a limb and say that I also didn't find them worth bothering with - they just didn't seem to offer many features, and the interfaces were clumsy and irritating.
I have since then seen a couple more, which are admittedly a lot better, but I still hold by my assertion that there is so much more that could be done. So I've tried to do it.
When I started designing the system, I sat down and thought about a number things:
|How can a client be made as adaptable as possible?|
|How can a client be made as easy and quick to use as possible?|
|What would I want from my dream client?|
|We have this wonderful multi-threaded windowing environment which provides such great interface potential. How can that be exploited for client purposes?|
From this, a large set of features have taken shape and been implemented. Some are common to a number of clients, and some I've never come across before. This isn't to say that they've never been done, mind...
One of the most common client features. You can tell Rapscallion to monitor for particular events on the MUD, and respond to them. This can be used to heal people automatically when they ask you to, or to give them magical shields and so on.
One trigger can consist of any number of strings to be matched, any of which will trigger a script of any length you like. Up to nine parameters can be extracted from a line (severe overkill) each of which can be used in your script.
A block is akin to a trigger, but all it does is stop certain lines from reaching your screen. This is especially useful if you don't want to hear anything from a certain person, for example. I don't tend to use them, because I feel there's always a danger in *not* knowing something, but they still have occasional uses.
A floating palatte allows you to turn triggers and blocks on and off very quickly, or to activate triggers by hand.
When mudding, generally a lot of things are happening at once - you may be holding private conversations with three or four different people, talking on one or more chat channels, and fighting a group of monsters all at one time. This can get confusing. Rapscallion allows you to separate these out into separate windows, which helps enormously. To talk to person x, select their window, type your message, hit return. Channels can be set to trigger automatically - I tend to have mine set up so that if someone tells me something or vice versa, they get their own window without my having to set it up. Again, this can be turned off on the fly.
An alias is simply a pre-defined set of commands which can be executed at will. One of the main uses of aliases is for travelling from place to place on a MUD.
Rapscallion aliases boast a couple of unusual features - you can vary the speed from five commands in a tenth of a second to one command every couple of minutes. Aliases are multi-threaded - you can do other things while they're executing (chat to people, for example, or lose creatures that are following you when you don't want them to) and you can run as many aliases as you like concurrently (subject to network constraints.) You can pause them mid-flow, step through them a step at a time, and even alter the speed while they're running.
As with most clients, Rapscallion keeps a record of the past few commands you've entered. In this case, it keeps track of the last hundred per window, and provides a few different methods of recalling them.
There is a "backtracking" and "home" facility for use with travel commands. These allow you to automatically reverse the last few travel commands (n, s, e, w etc - these are completely configurable,) and to retrace your steps back to the beginning of a journey with one keypress.
In addition to all the above, there are a number of smaller features, which include:
|ANSI Colour translation.|
|Hot keys for everything, for speedy use.|
|Edit Mode to make document editing & emailing and so on easier while playing.|
|Configurable window and text colours.|
|Reasonable drag and drop support.|
|Separate multi-moded single floating input window.|
|Supports multiple simultaneous connections.|
|Document style saving of session settings.|
|600 line scrollback per window.|
Rapscallion requires a MacOS compatible computer, running System 7.5 or later, with either Open Transport or MacTCP. It must also have the Drag Manager and Thread Manager installed.
Please be aware that the instruction manual is not finished, and is therefore not included with these downloads, so discount the following paragraph. You can look at the existing version of the manual here. It is constantly being updated, and should be finished very soon.
I'd like to thank the following:
|John C. Daub, for his invaluable advice and constructive criticism, and for his excellent HCmdButtonAttachment, which is used in almost every dialog box. Visit his web site: Hsoi's Shop, for more info on MacOS Mud resources, or for programming resources.|
|R. M. Felciano, for the Mercutio MDEF.|
|Marco Piovanelli, for the WASTE Text Engine.|
|Trygve Isaacson, for the Gray Council set of PowerPlant classes.|
|Jelane Johnson, for the free graphics I've used on this page. Try her web page for some really nice stuff.|