Stick in the MUD: 9000

The Origins of Stick in the MUD

In the beginning.... Well, perhaps that's a bit grandiose.... It all started around the end of 1993. Stick, an engineering student at the University of Toronto, and some of his friends and classmates were players on a MUD called Rivers of MUD, or ROM for short. In January 1994, Alander, the implementor of ROM, decided to shut down Rivers of MUD and release its source code (which itself was based on the Merc MUD code, which in turn was based on the DIKU MUD code).

Stick and his classmate Tarrant obtained the ROM source code shortly thereafter and compiled it on one of the SGI UNIX machines in engineering. Following the denial of a request for permission to run a MUD on the main engineering computers, and less than a week after Stick's first compile, Stick in the MUD opened on February 21, 1994 on a Sun SPARCstation ( 9000) in one of the electrical engineering computer labs at U of T.

For the first few months, Stick's user base consisted mainly of former ROM players and Stick's friends at U of T. Stick and Tarrant appointed Twig as a third implementor in the early going, but for the most part, Tarrant ran the MUD and worked on the source code. Tarrant added, among other things, popular features such as ANSI colour support, new races, mudwatch, and adverbs for socials, as well as fixing several bugs and security holes.

As the summer of 1994 ended, Tarrant's interests had moved on to other things, and for a brief time the MUD ran mainly under the control of the players and immortals... until October 8, 1994. On that day, a Saturday, the effects of the MUD running unattended were felt as the disk quotas in Stick and Tarrant's accounts on the SPARCstation were exceeded under the weight of the growing player database and log files. This resulted in catastrophic loss of data, and in the MUD world -- life!

One player who was on at the time (about 10 in the morning) was Paruda, a recent U of T engineering grad who knew Stick through Stick's girlfriend Jury. When Paruda detected the problem, he called Jury, who referred him to Stick. Unfortunately, Stick had been out all night and had gone to bed at 7 AM, and was in no state to deal with the problem. So he tossed the keys to Paruda (over the phone) and Paruda spent the day cleaning up log files and restoring players, and all was well again... until it happened again a week later. At that point, Paruda knew that he'd have to become more involved if Stick in the MUD were to have a chance at stability. It was at this point that more emphasis began to be placed on back-end stability -- notably backups and bug fixing.

The year 1994 saw the arrival of Stick in the MUD's first homegrown immortal players -- players who neither knew Stick in real life or from ROM, and by the end of the year (and a certain amount of conflict with the old guard), these players had laid down the foundation for Stick culture. Nyte, one of Stick in the MUD's first truly homegrown players, gives a more personal account of the MUD's first few months at her SitM History Page.


Last updated May 12, 2003. HTML 4.01 Standard