The Apple Conundrum
Grown out of the days of playing text-based games on dial-up servers with 14.4 modems, the world of
the Multi-User Dungeon has not faded away. MUDs such as Medievia persist even in the face of such
graphical giants as Everquest, World of Warcraft, and Second Life. This is primarily because running
a MUD rarely incorporates any sort of corporate sponsorship, is typically free to play, and is more
responsive to its players needs. Even the software needed to dive right into the most complicated MUD
can often be found for absolutely free, or otherwise relatively inexpensive. These specialized telnet
applications employ features which are only used in the worlds of MUDs. They even go to the length
that you can purchase one of the premier pieces of software available, zMud, prepackaged with all of
the Medievia settings built right in. It doesn't end there, though. There are extensive libraries
of scripts available on the internet which allows you the same access to the powerful tools that the
seasoned veteran uses. Yes, with the proper guidance, a person who thought that Zork was the last
pure text game in the world can be up and running with the most recent software and scripts available,
with all of the settings they need for Medievia built right in. It's just that easy, except for one
glossed-over detail which often gets neglected.
While most of MUD players use PCs with some recent version of Microsoft Windows installed, there are a
handful of us out there which have forsaken the broad paths supplied to us. Some of those, I grant you,
are using open source operating systems such as Linux or FreeBSD which require the user to know quite a
bit about what they are doing in order to keep the system itself running smoothly, that installing the
most recent build of TinyFugue is child's play. There still remains, though, one final option that
stings in the ears of Microsoft's shareholders every time it receives mention: Macintosh. With new
designs coming out on a consistent basis, and their new Intel-based platform, every new Mac seems to
be a monument to miniaturization. What Mac doesn't have is the silly notion that somebody with a Mac
would want to play a game that doesn't involve any graphics whatsoever. Add that to the fact that
Medievia (nor most any other MUD) does not give any hearty recommendation to Mac users, and you can
see how this can quickly become frustrating.
Veterans of Med would be quick to suggest that the Mac user simply come up with the cash to buy a
cheap PC and deal with it. Those people simply don't know the mentality of the dedicated Mac user.
To us, suggesting that we infect our Microsoft-free havens with a laptop, or even installing a version
of Windows on our Macs would be akin to suggesting that an avid Chevy fanatic should purchase a Toyota
Tacoma. I know, because when I reluctantly left Medievia over 4 years ago due to the lack of internet
access, I was using a PC. When I returned, though, it was with my brand new Mac Mini, and all of those
previous solutions were handed to me. The only solution I even stopped to consider was purchasing a
Windows emulator to run MudMaster. Even that, though, just seemed impure.
Every Mac addict out there knows exactly what I mean. They also know where my next step was.
It's an exhausting solution to the problem, downloading 3 or 4 clients at a time until you
finally land upon something that works for you. Then you find the bug that cripples your effort
and your back out again searching for more software. The fact that the often reviewed and
sought-after Rapscallion which is said to be even better than MudMaster and zMud has not been
(and, sadly, will not be) developed for the most recent version of MacOS is even more disheartening.
The good news is that I have already been through it and have found an elegant solution, and want to
share that solution with everyone so we won't be excluding the Mac user to the excellence which is
I present to you three options which will not affect your wallet. This does sadly exclude
Savitar, which is a fifteen dollar application with more features promised. Since this is a
professionally made app, the creators do respond to the needs of their users. Savitar is
also the app of choice for our very own Soleil, who recently has taken to toting
around a new MacBook. That said, here are the options I suggest:
MudMagic is not a true MacOS app. It uses the MacOS extension known as X11. The website does,
however, mention the process of installing X11 if you haven't already done so. My own experience
is roughly positive. Yes it works, responds quickly, and doesn't have much of a problem in
the area of lag. My problem arose when trying to create triggers, which had the curious effect
of disconnecting me. It also fails to provide an easy way to permanently save your Medievia
connection profile in its library. That said, the designers do mention that the current build
of MudMagic was not made for MacIntel. If the creators are responding to the requests of the
users, I don't see any evidence of it.
Atlantis is a better option, and one that I hesitate to say much negative about. I enjoyed using Atlantis, and the one complaint that I had about it seems to have been resolved in its most recent update. The client I had tested had a memory leak issue, which caused client-side lag. This is a problem for many clients, though, and mostly can be solved by reducing the amount of scrollback buffer. The one thing I really do like about Atlantis is the Growl support. Growl, for those who don't know, is an often implemented Mac app which change the way certain applications alert the user. Atlantis uses a forum in which the developers respond to their users' needs, and thus looks like it could be a very powerful MUD app when they reach their final release version.
MudWalker is my personal favorite, mostly because it was the one I was using when I figured out
how to replace my old favorite trading script. In MudWalker, this involves one feature I have not
seen in any other MUD: multiple windows built into triggers. For my taxed little Mac, MudWalker
seems to have the smallest amount of impact for the greatest ease of use. MudWalker's creator is
also fast to respond to questions over his email group, and there have been some hints on future
versions. MudWalker is, though, a one-man operation, unlike Atlantis, so development is a bit
slower. I have been encouraged to try out Atlantis again, but I'm waiting to see what their full
release is going to be like. In the meantime, MudWalker has yet to fail me.
Through all of my troubles, I have found that many applications listed in many places have
gone completely defunct. Cantrip, for example, seems to be a lost cause. Indeed, there is
an entire graveyard's worth of old apps just waiting for somebody to resurrect them.
Just about every Mac user out there would be more than happy to have (even pay!) for a new
Rapscallion. I'm just happy that I am able to hand out the faster solution.
I want to hear your opinion, too! Feel free to mudmail me questions, or respond to my blog
at http://medonmac.blogspot.com. I'll be more
than happy to answer any questions that I can.
Keep in touch, and together we can all make Medievia just as accessible to Mac users as all of
those other MUDs out there, and show them all why Medievia is the best.