From GNU/Linux to Warhammer & back again!
I am encouraged by the the release of ebook readers and their massive popularity. As readers of this blog and listeners to the audio-cast will know, I am not a big fan of TV & Film, infact if it wasn’t for the PS3 and the once a year tradition of Doctor Who, I’d happily throw the insidious device away. Maybe the book will start to gain more ground on the film? You are probably wondering where I am headed with this article, but all will be revealed.
In the days when computers relied on imagination instead of overbearing fx- a concept sadly lost on many of the current generation and in the days when films were not pumped out at a rate of warp 10 to a apathetic consumer who slurp down the latest Hollywood “great” with a figurative “Please sir can I have some more?”, there was this strange pastime called reading books. Whats that? I hear many people exclaim! Where’s the SFX? where’s the over-payed shallow actors and actresses? Where’s the glitz and glamour? Where’s the Hollywood fat cat raking in money from a film with a plot so thin that a pondscater could not hope to walk across it without falling in?
Enough! I’ll bring this article back on track. In the early days of home computing (and still now) the idea of a MUD was almost as an extension of the book, albeit interactive. Think text adventure game but more open ended and the facility to play alongside other people online. For those not old enough or those who have never played, MUD stands for Multi User Dungeon.
Essentially Blowtorch is an app that brings these MUD’s to Android in a simple to use client and doing it surprisingly well. I’ve covered AndroMUD before on a smart-phone form factor, so with my recent purchase of a budget tablet (Arnova 10 G2 – running Gingerbread on a 10.1inch screen) I decided to see how the experience translates to the larger form factor by way of a new client to me (Blowtorch v1.1.3)
Perhaps the best thing about MUD gaming is that it covers a diverse range of genres. For those interested in taking a look at the sheer scale available, I recommend a visit to the MUDconnector which highlights many such games actively played right now. Think MUD games have a small user-base? At time of writing this, a very good MUD called Aardwolf has over players 400 online!
Blowtorch is happy played with either the tablet in portrait or Landscape orientation, although the latter provides the better experience since lines end when they should rather than being prematurely cut off and wrapped around on the next line.
As you would expect, a press on the input box will bring up the touch keyboard. Blowtorch offers support for programmable and readily available on screen buttons and anyone who has played a MUD before will appreciate the need for shortcuts et al.
Setting up the server on which you play is very simple and theres every conceivable function available for experience MUD players too.
Blowtorch is free and hardly pushes any tablets hardware in terms of demand on the system. Whilst this article is primarily about the Android platform, you will find MUD clients of various shapes and sizes on literally any platform/OS you can think of.
Whatever your platform, I hope you will give consideration to taking a look at the world of MUD. Fed up with the dumbing down of Warcraft or Elderscrolls? – there are some stat heavy MUD’s out there which will please even the most demanding of stat crazy rpg’rs! From sci-fi to swords and dragons, Batman to Bart Simpson – there’s a MUD game to suit everyone’s interest! And you can find a diverse range of them under the spotlight at MudConnector.
A few years back I covered another MUD client (AndroMUD) which I found was ideally suited to a small screen (in this case an HTC Hero/Desire) you can read that article here: http://openbytes.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/android-my-must-have-applications/
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