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A MUD (Multi-User Dimension) is a virtual meeting place which contains objects and people which behave (in principle!) in a similar way to real-life equivalents. The system is based on rooms which can contain objects and where people can meet in real time. Communication is generally by means of typing a command word followed by a sentence in English. In general peoples' activity is restricted to the current room. A MOO is a MUD built on Object-Oriented principles.
MUDs and MOOs have great potential for educational purposes and professional communication.
Birkbeck Crystallography MUD
There are a number of different ways of connecting to the Birkbeck Crystallography MUD:
|Web browser telnet window||telnet://mud.cryst.bbk.ac.uk:6005|
|Unix X-term window||telnet mud.cryst.bbk.ac.uk 6005|
|Unix MUD client window (e.g. TinyFugue)||tf mud.cryst.bbk.ac.uk 6005|
|Other MUD client window (e.g. MUTT)||Address: mud.cryst.bbk.ac.uk port: 6005|
|Web browser interface||http://mud.cryst.bbk.ac.uk:6006|
Detailed information on the use of the MUD can be found by following the links on the Birkbeck Crystallography MUD page (who to contact, how it works, command reference, map of the MUD). There is also a quick reference card.
The advantage of using telnet or a MUD client is that the response should be much faster than the Web browser interface; however the nice feature of using the browser interface is that you can view the contents of URLs that other users in the MUD send to you, by clicking in the usual way.
In a telnet or MUD client window, connect using "connect <user-name> <password>" where <user-name> is your user-name, and <password> is your password (omit the angle brackets).
The time and date in the Birkbeck Crystallography MUD is in Greenwich Mean Time. Please use your watch rather than your computer time because computer clocks are notoriously unreliable!
If you cannot install a MUD client, you should use the following technique: when you want to speak, type a double-quote (or the word 'say') and press Enter immediately. You are then informed 'Now in blocking mode. Enter text for "say":'. You then have 5 minutes to type in your statement without MUD output disturbing you. You can do the same when speaking to a particular person, i.e. type 'to <name>' followed immediately by Enter. In each case, you should not press Enter again until you have typed in your complete statement: Telnet should automatically wrap the lines for you (you may need to set auto-wrap in the options menu).
Info pages at
Info pages at
Some sample clients (which have worked for staff and students of the course) and where to get them
David Houldershaw, Ian Tickle and Huub Driessen
Adapted for PPS by Clare Sansom