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PennMUSH Server for Win32

Click on Download PennMUSH to download PennMUSH Server for Win32

The current version is: PennMUSH 1.7.2, patchlevel 29

This server can be run on Windows 95, Windows NT or Windows NT Server (for Intel computers, such as 80386, 80486, Pentium).

What is included in the download?

By downloading the files from the location above, you will receive a .ZIP file which contains:

Help with setting up the server

PennMUSH server FAQs

Please click on FAQ for Win32 PennMUSH for a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about setting up the PennMUSH server for Windows,


Also, see FAQs about MUDs for general questions about MUDs, including how to find a permanent server for your MUD.

PennMUSH server forum

Finally, there is a discussion forum relating to the PennMUSH server where you can post questions and receive replies.



Further topics covered below:

What is a MUSH?

MUSH stands for Multiple User Shared Hallucination. MUSH games are a member of the MUD class of games (Multiple User Dungeon, or Multiple User Dimension, or even Multiple User Daemon).

MUD games are basically:


The MUD concept is based on the earlier text-based adventure games such as the "Original Adventure" by Crowther and Woods, or the Zork group of games (Zork I, Zork II, Zork III).

An example of such games is:

 You are in a large low circular chamber whose floor is an immense slab
    fallen from the ceiling (Slab Room). East and west there once were large passages,
    but they are now filled with boulders. Low small passages go north and south,
    and the south one quickly bends west around the boulders.

 > go north

Multiple User

One of the major features of MUDs is that more than one person can play them at the same time, unlike the earlier adventure games which were strictly one-user games. By using TCP/IP as a network protocol, anyone who is on the same network as the game "server" can connect to the game. Typically such games are played on the Internet, but there is not reason they couldn't be played on a private network (one not connected to the Internet).

In order for this to work there is a single copy of the game "server" running somewhere on the network. This is the "umpire" so-to-speak. Players connect by using Telnet or a similar program to establish a network connection to the game server. The server informs players if they are in the same room as other players, and allows users to talk to each other if they wish.

For example:

 You are on one side of a large, deep chasm. A heavy white mist rising up
    from below obscures all view of the far side. A southwest path leads away from
    the chasm into a winding corridor.


Obvious exits:
southwest and northeast
> say Hi everyone!
Frodo says, "Hi everyone!"
Bilbo says, "Hi Frodo, haven't seen you for some time!"
Gandalf looks pleased to see you.
Bilbo leaves.


Unlike earlier adventure games, MUDs allows the players to actually change their "virtual worlds" as they play. They can:

Because of this, you are not limited to a fixed, unchanging game. The extent of the game is limited only by your imagination.

Popular MUD games gradually grow in size, eventually containing thousands of rooms and objects.

Text based

MUDs rely on text-based descriptions rather than computer graphics or bit-mapped images to create an atmosphere. In many ways this is highly effective, as a text description can convey an "atmosphere" that is difficult to achieve with a simple image. For example, can an image ever convey the same effect as the passage below?

You are on the edge of a breath-taking view.

Far below you is an active volcano, from which great gouts of molten lava come
    surging out, cascading back down into the depths. The glowing rock fills the
    farthest reaches of the cavern with a blood-red glare, giving everything an eerie,
    macabre appearance.

The air is filled with flickering sparks of ash and a heavy smell of brimstone. The
    walls are hot to the touch, and the thundering of the volcano drowns out all
    other sounds.

Embedded in the jagged roof far overhead are myriad twisted formations composed of
    pure white alabaster, which scatter the murky light into sinister apparitions
    upon the walls.

To one side is a deep gorge, filled with a bizarre chaos of tortured rock which seems
    to have been crafted by the devil himself. An immense river of fire crashes out
    from the depths of the volcano, burns its way through the gorge, and plummets
    into a bottomless pit far off to your left.

To the right, an immense geyser of blistering steam erupts continuously from a barren
    island in the center of a sulfurous lake, which bubbles ominously. The far right
    wall is aflame with an incandescence of its own, which lends an additional infernal
    splendor to the already hellish scene.

A dark, foreboding passage exits to the south.

(Quote taken from the "Original Adventure" by Crowther and Woods).

Levels of players

You can play a MUD game on many different levels, such as:

Ordinary players merely play the game by entering commands such as "north", "south", "take", "drop" and so on. They participate in the virtual world but do not change it. This is analogous to playing an earlier adventure.

Builders use the "building" commands to make changes to the MUD, for example by adding new rooms, changing descriptions, creating new objects, making puzzles for others to solve. They enter commands such as "@dig", "@link", "@lock", "@describe", "@name" and so on to create rooms and objects, and attach descriptions and locks to them.

Wizards have extra powers, and are generally the "administrators" of the MUDs. They make sure that other players are playing within the "theme" of the MUD (if any) and deal with troublesome players.

The server operator is the person who physically controls the game (the owner or operator of the PC on which it runs). Because he can physically shut down the game, or amend the game files he has ultimate power over the MUD.

Why run my own MUD when there are plenty of "live" ones on the Internet?

Finding more about MUDs

You could set up your own MUD, and play it on your own PC with a single user (yourself). The objective in this case is to find out how MUDs work, how to build rooms, how to use locks, descriptions, exits and so on. At least you do not have to worry about Internet connect fees, slow response times, and annoying other MUD players with your inexperience. Later on, when you are familiar with how to play, you could connect to a bigger one on the Internet.

Design a game for your children or friends

You could set up a "virtual world" suitable for your children or friends to play. In this case you would be the "wizard" with powers to change the world, and you might limit their ability to change things, depending on their age and experience. If you only have one PC, then you would set up the game in advance, and then let them play when you were ready. You can keep their interest alive by adding new features as required.

Swap games with friends

Say you have a friend who is also interested in MUDs, but you cannot afford to be connected to the Internet for hours to play an Internet game. In this case you could spend time setting up a virtual world of your own design, while your friend sets up her own world. When you were ready, you could swap database files, so you are playing your friend's world, and she yours, solving each others' puzzles.

Play on a local network

If you have a few PCs networked together (at home or at the office) then run the server on one of them, and have multiple people playing simultaneously on your local network. If you are setting up a MUD at the office, the local administrator may wish to limit the hours of operation of the server to after business hours, as these games can be quite addictive!

Connect to a friend via PPP

Another approach is to make a "private" PPP connection with a friend. To do this you would need a PPP server (one comes built-into Windows NT Server). You would run the MUD server on the Windows NT PC, and the friend would dial-up into this and establish a PPP connection, and then connect to the game.

Make your game available on the Internet

Assuming that Internet connect fees are not a big concern for you, then you can start up your MUD server and allow anyone else in the world to connect to it via the Internet. If you are planning to advertise your game to the MUD community in general (rather than to a couple of friends) then you will need to be prepared to run the game 24 hours a day, as a game that is only available occasionally will not be very popular.

What is a "server"?

Because MUD games can potentially have many people connected, there needs to be a central point where the game "database" is stored (the database contains the room descriptions, and details about how to get from one room to the next). There also needs to be a central point which decides when multiple people are in the room together, allow conversations between players and so on. This function is provided by the MUD "server".

What is a "client"?

The "client" program is the method players use to connect to the MUD server. The simplest client program is Telnet which comes free with Windows 95 and Windows NT. To connect to the server you need to connect to the TCP/IP address of the MUD server, and specify the appropriate "port" number that the game is running on. The default for PennMUSH servers is 4201.

Other, more sophisticated, client programs are available for playing MUD games. These typically allow you to recall earlier commands to save retyping them, support "macros" (frequently entered commands), "triggers" (automatic response to certain messages), speed-walking (moving around with single keystrokes), colours, automatic wrapping at the end of the line, and so on.

I have developed my own client program, specifically for Win32 (Windows 95 and Windows NT). It was originally written for PennMUSH, and works very well with the PennMUSH server. However it is highly customizable, and can be used for virtually any MUD, MUSH, MOO or whatever.

For more details, click on: MUSHclient

Why a Win32 version?

Previously MUD servers have been compiled for the Unix operating system, and to the best of the author's knowledge have not been available to the Windows community. The server offered here is designed to operate under the Win32 operating system (as in Windows 95 or Windows NT for Intel computers). The server itself is not very exciting to look at, it just runs in a Console (DOS) window. Once it has started up you may as well minimize it and forget it. The fun comes when you connect to it via your client program (eg. Telnet) and start exploring the virtual world.

Further details

General information about PennMUSH is at the PennMUSH web site: http://www.pennmush.org

Comprehensive details about running a MUSH (being a PennMUSH God) can be found in the document: Javelin's Guide for PennMUSH Gods

Details about using PennMUSH (getting started, doing MUSHcode, various examples) can be found in Amberyl's MUSH Manual: MUSH Manual 2.008 - you will need to use WinZip to unzip the ".gz" archive.

For more details in general about MUSHes and MUDs, see the WWW page on Yahoo.com devoted to MUSHes etc: Recreation:Games:Internet:MUDs, MUSHes, MOOs, etc.:MUSHs

Source code

If you wish to examine the (C) source code which produced the MUSH (or recompile it with your own amendments), click here to download: Source Code ftp site for PennMUSH

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Written by Nick Gammon - 5K

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Page updated on Wednesday, 15 December 2004