Hi Bill,
Well, if you are serious about creating a mud server from scratch, and wish to do it right, that is a pretty big undertaking. I don't want to be discurraging, but it is a rather big project. At any rate here is my take for a project like that. First, you need to get the proper software, tools, and environment to build your mud server. For games like mud servers I absolutely, totally, recommend using a dedicated Linux based computer to host the mud. The most accessible, blind friendly, Linux os out there is Ubuntu 8.10. You can download the cd for free from
http://www.ubuntu.com
and they have a getting started wiki on sight. Also check out the Orca wiki on
http://live.gnome.org/Orca
which has getting started information for new blind Linux users new to Linux screen readers, magnification, etc. There are howto docs on there how to install Linux with speech and so on. Plus the Orca list is another great resource. If you were absolutely dead set on using Windows for your mud server it can be done using a Unix ssubsystem such as Cigwin on Windows Server 2003 or 2008, but it is not recommended. There are a lot of reasons why I personally say go the hole hog and put Linux on an extra PC you might have laying around to act as your mud server platform. So why use Linux instead of Windows?


1. Linux is more reliable - Windows based servers tend to crash or freeze more often than Linux installations,
that generally run for weeks if not months without needing a reboot.
2. You can install and upgrade new software applications without the "you need to restart the computer to complete the installation" hastle Windows always gives you when installing software. That of course results in down time for a mud on Windows. 3. Better proformence - the same program, running on the same hardware (dual-boot) will tend to run faster under Linux than under Windows. Especially, when comparing a Ubuntu Linux server vs Windows Server 2008. 4. Much better networking with multi-user support - Windows Server 2003/2008 servers tend to slow down quite a bit when you hit about 100 simultaneous connections. By contrast, Ubuntu Linux is geared up to handle many connections at the same time, that is why most web
servers and mud servers are Linux, not Windows based.
5. Free software - things you need like the C++ compiler, SQL server, web server, and many other software applications are free under Linux. Since the entire operating system, screen reader and all, is free it will save you money and will cost you nothing but your electric bill to run your mud server. 6. More support - stuff like the "startup" scripts out there are geared to a Linux installation. 7. Better tools - installing snippets is easier with "patch" and "diff" which work best
under Unix (again, they work OK under Cygwin too).
8. Viruses and worms - you know most PCs these days are Windows PCs, and that is exactly what the worm/virus/trojan horse writers are targetting. With Linux you tend to be
left alone most of the time.
8. Better firewalling - Linux comes with built-in firewall tools (again, I know that
XP/Vista does too) which make it easier to secure your connections.
I don't really want to start an operating system "flame war", and I use Windows (for example to develop most of my software and like a lot of aspects of it, however for good, solid, mudding I think it is hard to pass by Linux as the mud server platform.

As far as a programming language goes definitely go with C++. Linux is geared mainly for C/C++ development, and to my knolege must mud servers are written in C/C++ using the gcc compiler that comes with most Linux distributions or can be downloaded for free if not. I've heard of some mud servers written in Java, and I suppose that is ok, but my vote is for C++. Keep in mind that you will have to get into some rather advanced topics such as socket programming just to make it online playable and that isn't the funnest or easiest thing to do in C++. What you might want to do when starting out is grab a free open source mud server to practice with, find out how they handled this or that, and use it for a template for your own server.
HTH.

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