16K MUD competition - results

The Results Announcement

In April 2000, I announced the 16k MUD competition. Shortly, it was about creating the most interesting MUD in a mere 16 kilobyte of source code (not including blank lines). You can read more about the rules in the original announcement.

Finally, the results for the competition are ready. Below is the announcement mail sent out to all the contestants.

The 16k MUD competition results are finally available! The delay was caused by mostly by me being rather overloaded with work (I curse, among other things, the quirkiness of the WAP standard and the different ways the phones implement things ;) ) and for that I apologize. I have thrown in some extra prizes to make up for my tardiness ;)

I must say that many of the entries positively surprised me. Throughout the years, I have collected just about every MUD codebase imaginable, which comes to perhaps half a gigabyte of source and data. Several of the competition entries have still managed to come up with ideas that i have not seen before.

I have seen (through the magic of automatic referrer logging ;) ) that already at least two of the MUDs entered in the competition have been started evolving to something greater. I hope that the results of this competition will encourage innovation in the MUD competition, and that every other MUD announced on the MudConnector will have its own unique concept, rather than being a grand-parent of Diku.

As mentioned in the competition rules, there is a winner for each of the categories - H (for high-level languages) and L for low-level.

In the H category, the winner is Brebion Flavin's (brebionf@club-internet.fr) "Fantasy Lands" MUD. Brebion managed to squeeze in a unique multi-player full-color rogue-like game, programmed in Python and C. His entry included also excellent documentation and discussion of the design issues, which is IMHO worth as much as good source.

It was harder to decide a winner in the L category. After some consideration, I will award the first prize to Ben White (benwhite@senet.com.au) for his "Tank Mage Deathmatch" game. Ben succeeded in implementing very playable game into 16k -- the carefully designed combat system is excellent, requiring players to plan ahead and think very carefully what they were doing. Perhaps we will see similar tactical combat systems appear in mainstream MUDs, to replace the rather tired Diku model. I hope Ben, or someone else, will improve on the design, add features like lists of the best fighters, etc. and perhaps put up a MUD somewhere where it's publically available (as a sidenote, I think a system like the various CRobots (computer controlled "robot" programs fighting each other in an arena) games would work well with Ben's combat system).

Runner-up: With so many interesting MUDs in L category, I decided to award another prize to the runner-up. The prize goes to Telford Tendys (telford@triode.net.au). Telford's creation was a roomless, persistent MUD, with an auto-generated world and dynamic descriptions. The number of features is quite surprising, considering the MUD was written in C.

Category winners: I will also award 3 of the entries with a small prize for having the highest score in a category (this does not, however, include any of the entries that have already won). The prize is a USD 50 gift certificate to Amazon.com/Amazon.co.uk (but see below).

In Maintainability, the clear winner is Richard "Kavir" Woolcock's (kavir@kavir.org) "The Gladiator Pits" entry. The C-code is simply exquisite, with very light macro usage, instructive function names and superb commenting: every function is commented with its purpose, arguments it takes and what value it returns. In addition, plenty of user documentation is included, carefully describing every available command. Out of original Diku's 647k of code, about 70k (11%) were comments. For "Gladiator Pits", the number is 18k out of 39k (46%!).

In Features, the winner (although behind Ben and Telford) is Michael Clarke's (mykael@vianet.net.au) Java-based Medusa's Garden MUD. Extensive communication system, online creation of rooms, objects and socials/souls as well as full persistence.

In Technology, the award goes to Oliver "Nemon" Jowett's (icecube@ihug.co.nz) Python-based PygmyMUD. The MUD implements a classical driver/library split where the users can write code to modify the MUD but the code runs in a restricted environment. The MUD is fully persistent, with objects loaded from disk on-demand. Hopefully Oliver will provide a version of the code that is better-documented and without one-character variable names ;)

Prizes: The prizes is a USD 200 gift certificate to Amazon.com (or Amazon.co.uk, sponsored by me), a year's MUD hosting at Andrew Edgerton's Xbox service and a USD 100 certificate to Amazon.com (also sponsored by me). Ben will get to pick a prize first, then Brebion, then finally Telford.

NOTE: I am willing to exchange the the gift certificates to Amazon for cash (transferred probably via X.com) if so desired, since three of the winners live in Australia, one in New Zealand, one in France and one in UK.

Please email if you accept (or decline) your award. As this mail reaches you, this information plus a table with grades and judges' notes about the MUD should be available at http://www.andreasen.org/16k.shtml

Thanks to everyone for the entries -- and see you in the 32k MUD competition (just kidding ;) )

Download the MUDs

Here are all the MUDs that entered the competition. You can also download everything, as .tar.gz or ZIP file (size: 400k). These compressed files will unpack with one directory per contestant.

Author Download/
Language Score Award
Catherine "Zoia" Allen Homepage Tcl 33.10  
Brebion "Ysanea" Flavin Homepage Python/C 36.50 Winner, high-level
Oliver "Nemon" Jowett Download Python 32.00 "Technology" winner
Xholan Homepage Python 32.80  
Doug Swarin Download Python 27.10  
Peter Hanely Homepage Perl 33.10  
Mitch "Gikmo" Burton Download Python 27.90  
Michael "Borlak" Morrison Homepage C 25.80  
Ben White Download C 40.50 Winner, low-level
Ari Johnson Download C++ 29.00  
Blane Bramble Homepage C++ 32.60  
Russel ? Download C++ 32.50  
David Kristola Homepage ADA 28.30 Best ADA entry ;)
Richard "KaVir" Woolcock Homepage C 37.70 "Maintanability" winner
Karl Bastiman Download C 33.20  
Michael Clarke Download Java 35.30 "Features" winner
Jeremiah "Quzah" Myers Download C 26.10  
Telford Tendys Download C 37.80 Runner-up, low-level


Each MUD was given a grade in one of 5 categories. The final score is a weighted sum of those numbers (e.g. Features meant much higher than Stability).

You can see the grade sheet or you can read my notes about each category of each MUD to get a better idea of where the grades come from.

What's new
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