Learning to MOO

With all the excitement of the regular IRC discussions hosted by signposts, I thought I’d introduce everybody to another medium for instant conversation on the Internet: MOOing.

MOOs, or Multi-user Oject-Oriented, are best described as text-based virtual reality simulations. They are run on UNIX computers connected to the Internet; all one needs to participate is access to the ‘net and a telnet client.

Once newbies get used to them, MOOs are very easy to navigate in. Locations in a MOO, called rooms, usually have exits that correspond to the cardinal directions on a compass (“north,” “south,” “east,” “west,” etc.), as well as commonly-used monikers (like “out” to leave rooms like closets). You can talk to others in the room by typing say something or "something, which results in others seeing something like, CWhiz says, something. Objects as varied as TVs, helicopters, and parrots can (usually) be picked up, used, or given away as gifts. (There’s even a King James Bible, but the Gopher server that provided the text for the object seems to have been taken down.)

For geeks, a MOO is even more interesting because it’s possible to extend the virtual world by adding new objects and other commands (called verbs). For LambdaMOO, the most popular MOO and MOO server, all it takes is getting a programmer bit and learning a fairly simple, yet powerful, scripting language.

If you’d like to come visit my apartment on LambdaMOO, just let me know via my feedback form, and I’ll be happy to show you around. Or, if you’d like to explore on your own, just telnet to lambda.moo.mud.org, port 8888.