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What would you think about a new zMUDXP Product
As an existing zMUD user, I would buy zMUDXP for half-price ($15)
33%
 33%  [ 46 ]
As an existing zMUD user, I would NOT buy zMUDXP...I'd just keep using the zMUD that I'm currently using
13%
 13%  [ 19 ]
I would be *so* excited that I would buy zMUDXP at half price and then upgrade to zMUDXP-PRO
28%
 28%  [ 40 ]
I would be really *upset* that zMUDXP wasn't considered a free upgrade to zMUD like you've always promised!
24%
 24%  [ 34 ]
Total Votes : 139

Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 4:02 pm   

zMUDXP Poll
 
I'm not sure I like this idea, but someone suggested it, so I thought I'd do a new poll about it.

What if there were a completely new zMUD product called zMUDXP. zMUDXP would be designed specifically for Windows XP and would use zApp technology for plugins, user interface, etc.

zMUDXP would have a normal version at $29.95, a Lite version at $20 (no mapper, no database, and other limits on functionality to be determined), and could also have a PRO version for $39.95 (with built in SSH and other enhancements to be determined). You could upgrade from zMUDXP-Lite to zMUDXP-Normal for about $15. You could also upgrade from zMUDXP-Normal to zMUDXP-Pro for another $15.

In addition to using zApp technology, zMUDXP would have a redesigned mapper that does not use Microsoft ADO/MDAC, and would have a redesigned database module that uses a real SQL database format. zMUDXP would also use DirectX to provide a faster text scrolling window and various enhancements such as background graphics.

zMUDXP also would not use eLicense for copy protection. It would use a new form of copy protection that does not "phone home" like eLicense does, and would not install any control panels or background services.

Sounds good, right? OK, here's the kicker and poll question. What if this new zMUDXP product was *not* a free upgrade for zMUD, but a completely new product that you had to pay for. Customer who have already purchased the regular version of zMUD in the past few months could get zMUDXP for free. Other zMUD customers could buy zMUDXP for half price by entering their existing zMUD reg code into a web form to buy a new zMUDXP reg code for half price.

So, this is really a poll for existing zMUD users. Basically, how would you feel about a new zMUDXP product like this with the above price schedule?


Last edited by Zugg on Fri May 26, 2006 1:31 am; edited 3 times in total
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darmir
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Joined: 10 Oct 2000
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 4:18 pm   
 
Sounds like a nice idea. I would buy ZMUDXP.
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Carabas
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:09 pm   
 
I would probably upgrade even though I rarely play MUDs anymore. However, I do have a few questions.

1) Would development of zMUD (not XP) stop except in the case of major bugs?
2) If not, then how would you be able to juggle both codebases around without going crazy?
3) Would you even want two products competing for the same niche market?
4) I hate to be the one to ask this, but are we just beating a dead horse here?

And a few comments.

a) If this is going to be a different product, then perhaps a completely different name is best.
b) I usually tend to stay away from software with "XP" in its name. It's corny.
c) No matter how positive these poll results turn out, this is bound to enrage some people.
d) I would personally suggest you get a public release of eMobius out the door before devoting any more time to reviving zMUD sales.

I am sorry if this post seems negative.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 6:01 pm   
 
Carabas, that's just the kind of discussion I want to have with people. As I mentioned, I *am* nervous about this idea and want to see what people think. To expand on your questions:

1) Probably. The current version of zMUD is stable. With zMUDXP at the same price, why would anyone buying a new copy of zMUD for the first time ever want the old version? The only reason for the old version would be if you have an old version of Windows. And for people with old versions of Windows, upgrades to the current zMUD probably don't make a lot of sense.

2) The two code bases would probably share some code. So, fixing bugs might be possible with both versions. But honestly, most development would happen in the new product and not the old product.

3) They really don't compete. As I mentioned, for old versions of Windows you'd still buy the old version of zMUD. For new versions of Windows there wouldn't be any reason not to buy the new product instead. And since the price is the same, it doesn't matter to me what version people buy.

4) This is an *excellent* question and one I've been asking myself for a while. Are MUDs dead? Probably a topic for another whole thread. But part of my thinking is that in a lot of ways zMUD *is* the MUD market (on PCs at least), and maybe the fact that I haven't been working on zMUD lately is contributing to the decline. After all, there is still a market for text-based adventure games (Zork-like games), and text based Rogue-type games, etc. In fact, maybe the fact that the graphical MMORPGs like World of Warcraft are bringing in new people means that the market is actually expanding? MUDs certainly are not a big market, but MUDs seem to be alive and kicking and have a greater longevity and appeal that I ever thought they would. Perhaps a new modern version of zMUD would help improve the entire MUD field?

a) Yeah, the zMUDXP name is just a working name. It's obvious for discussion purposes what I'm talking about. And I obviously want to build upon the zMUD brand name. So it won't be a *completely* different name, but you are correct that zMUDXP isn't the best for the long run. (Yeah, zMUD-Vista...right ;)

c) Yep. Part of this poll is to help me understand how many people this would enrage. But I'm at least willing to consider the possibility. And I've always known that I can't please everyone. In the past I have been very hesitant to do anything that would upset anyone. Adding eLicense was hard enough back when I did that. But it occured to me that without being able to bring in some money I can't afford to work on zMUD, and maybe by not working on zMUD I'm actually upsetting more people that I would by charging for a new version. So that's why I decided to do the poll and at least get a feeling. No matter what I do I'm bound to enrage some people...some people are probably already a bit enraged that there hasn't been much new in zMUD for a couple of years now.

d) Well, that wouldn't happen actually. The idea is that I could do a new zMUDXP product a lot more quickly than I could write eMobius. zMUDXP would bring in immediate money to keep us going. Most of the upgrade sales from people buying zMUDXP for half price would take place within just a couple of months. On the other hand, eMobius is a completely new market that I have to break into and build sales over time. It will take many more months to get eMobius to a public release quality, and the probably at least six months before money starts coming in. And by then it might be too late.

Also, making the zApp-version of zMUD would also help drive zApp sales itself. It would open a whole new world of zMUD plugin possibilities that never existed before. So it's a good way to make our new product (zApp) more appealing to our existing customer base (zMUD).

Your post isn't negative at all. It raises many of the hard questions that I have been struggling with for months.
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Carabas
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 7:50 pm   
 
1,2,3) I figured as much, but wanted to clarify a bit.

4) MUDs aren't dead, IMO. I believe that in time there will be more interest and more users in need of a great client. I know Medievia, for example, has been steadily adding new features and plans to start placing monthly ads in PC Gamer. Medievia is also suppose to be implementing MXP sometime in the near future. With only two clients supporting MXP, zMUD is likely to get at least a few additional sales when that happens.

a) Hah! zMUD-Vista. The zMUD brand will definitely help, but I was thinking more along the lines of clearly indicating that zMUDXP is a different product than zMUD. A different name might avoid some confusion.

d) Ahh, I didn't really think of it that way, but you've probably put much more thought into this than anyone else.

Quote:

Also, making the zApp-version of zMUD would also help drive zApp sales itself. It would open a whole new world of zMUD plugin possibilities that never existed before. So it's a good way to make our new product (zApp) more appealing to our existing customer base (zMUD).


That is another very good point I hadn't thought of.

Simply getting rid of the MDAC/ADO/Jet crap in favor of something else (sqlite?) and also updating the database module in the same way would be worth the $15 in my opinion.
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Rainchild
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 9:26 pm   
 
Carabas asked basically the questions I would've asked. I myself will buy a zmudxp-pro version right off the bat, and probably 2 more further down the track.

Using directX opens up a world of possibilities too, imagine a fully textured tile-based mapper, and MUD dependent, possibly even a roguelike map where you can see monsters and objects on the tiles.
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Sinema
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Joined: 14 Nov 2001
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Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 10:48 pm   
 
I know very little about anything that's stated above.. but I do know that I got the zMUD client in 01 I think.. so shelling out 15-30 bucks on a newer client isn't going to kill me..

True, I hardly play MUD's.. but it's nice to have if I want to jump online and look around...

( even though I think the features of the XP version will be wasted on me like much of the features on the current zMUD are.. but it's nice to support projects and watch them grow.. who knows.. I may get interested in MUDs again some day. )
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Guinn
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 11:03 pm   
 
I'd probably buy the new version, having bought zmud a few years back and used it as much as any program bar Windows itself.

Question though - I know you touched upon it, but where would zmudXP then rank in terms of importance for upgrades? Would it simply be a way of getting a bit of extra funding to tide you over whilst you worked on zapp and emobius, or would it rank alongside them in importance? I'd want to be sure I wasn't buying something that might be forgotten quickly.
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theNerd
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Joined: 01 Mar 2005
Posts: 277

PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 12:50 am   
 
Guinn, I think the neat thing about the zMUDXP application being based on the zApp technology is the fact that other people will very easily be able to extend the application's abilities in ways Zugg would not be able to do alone (I thinking more along the line of time constraints.) You can get a lot more work done with 100 monkies than with 1 monkey alone. Wink
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 12:54 am   
 
Guinn, the zMUDXP product would *not* have free upgrades for life, if that's what you are asking. I've learned my lesson on this. Like zApp, it would probably have free upgrades for 2 years or something like that.
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Vijilante
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 1:06 am   
 
I work quite hard for my money. and I know you do as well. I think maybe it is truly time to let that policy go. I would not be angered in the least by the change. I haven't really been using zMud much lately, because the only mud I still play on has terrible telnet support. The last mud before that, to which I devoted large amounts of time was simply taking too long for me to map everywhere and database all possible items. In other words it got boring. I guess I would likely buy a copy or 3 anyway simply because I love to show my support of Zugg.
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Tarn
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Joined: 10 Oct 2000
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 3:27 am   
 
I'd buy it for the improved plugin capabilities (seems like you could do just about anything including embedding your own display controls).

SSH alone is worth $10 above the base version, although having several different versions might make support in the forums more complicated.

Quote:

Guinn, the zMUDXP product would *not* have free upgrades for life, if that's what you are asking. I've learned my lesson on this. Like zApp, it would probably have free upgrades for 2 years or something like that.


Does that create a problem with your copy protection? (so that existing users who choose not to upgrade can keep using the version they paid for) Likewise, what would happen to the 7.xx users who don't upgrade- will they be migrated from eLicense, or will eLicense support their 90 day renewals indefinitely?

The forums might get a little fragmented, because not everyone is going to upgrade at each step (particularly if the upgrades concentrate on a feature they don't use).

-Tarn
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Belmyrddyn
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Joined: 17 Oct 2001
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 10:09 am   
 
My question revolves around the mapper - if it wasn't based around ADO/MDAC, would it be based around the same technology you just used to upgrade the MUD database?

I love zMUD, and I've been using it faithfully for years. While I would love to see a new version with some new features, and the ability to write plugins more rapidly and with greater power, I just don't think you're going to get a huge kick in sales. I mean, you're essentially talking about a complete re-write of zMUD, I think. I wouldn't be upset if I had to pay for a new version of zMUD, but I probably wouldn't actually used it (except for beta testing purposes) until all its features were on the same par as the current version of zMUD.

I think it's a very good idea - but I would suggest you wait until you've got a good stable version of eMobious out there. zMUD is more stable and has greater features than ever before. I'm personally thrilled with the current release.
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parrotslave
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Joined: 01 Jul 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 10:37 am   
 
If it significantly reduced the amount of memory the map uses I would pay full price for it.

I have only mapped about a tenth of the mud I play, 400,000 rooms so far, and had to upgrade my RAM to be able to continue using the mapper without massive lag.
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 4:15 pm   
 
In terms of importance, the new zMUDXP would rank at the top. All new development would go into zMUDXP, with only necessary bug fixes in the current version of zMUD. eLicense will continue to support the 90-day autorenewal of existing zMUD users, so that wouldn't change. But any *new* zMUD customers would be encouraged to buy the new product (since it cost the same price).

The current version of zMUD would still get some email support and forum support, but that would probably die off after a few years.

This isn't a complete rewrite and not something that is going to take a year to do. A lot of existing code (especially newer stuff) is very modular and could easily be used in the new product. We are talking about something that would take a couple of months, and not a year. I will have all of the features that you've come to love in zMUD, but with a new and better interface and more features that weren't possible in the current zMUD.

The new mapper would be using the same SQLite database technology that I recently added to zMUD 7.13. If you'd be willing to post your MDB map file somewhere I could download it, I'd love to use it for testing purposes. 400,000 rooms is about the biggest map I have heard of. But SQLite is much more memory efficient than ADO/MDAC, so it should be a great improvement for you.

Compatibility would be an important issue and would be maintained whenever possible. But it's likely that there will be issues with map scripting and database scripting that might be different. But the whole idea is that you'd be able to use your existing scripts and just run a comversion utility for your existing maps and database files.

As far as eMobius vs zMUDXP, zMUDXP would take priority over eMobius for at least six months if I decide to do this. Since zMUDXP would use zApp, zApp would also be a very important product. zMUDXP would ultimately replace the current zMUD as the primary product for Zugg Software.
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Ikyu
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Joined: 27 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 6:00 pm   
 
What might also be a good question to ask, is how many people/mudders use winxp?

As far as I know, when people can't run the fancy graphics games on their comp (because it is too old/slow) they will turn to muds. And that usually comes with older OS'.
Perhaps first ask how big a percentile of the people here are actually running winxp?
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Guinn
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Joined: 03 Mar 2001
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 7:23 pm   
 
I've used XP for a few years now, I'll have Longhorn the day it's out etc, I know a lot that're like me. I'd guess a higher % of zmud users have XP compared to telnet users?
Wonder if it's easy for Zugg to log visits to the site and make a note of what OS people are using.

There was a discussion a while ago where someone was complaining about the look and feel of zmud, claiming it was old and dated etc etc. Can't say I agreed with the person saying it but, that aside, Zugg argued that there was a need to maintain certain features to remain compatibile with users on NT or 95 (maybe even 3.x?). A new faster zmud with improved mapper, use of directx, maybe skins etc and less of a focus on support for older (obsolete?) OS' would be generally welcome.

I'm not a coder and know nothing about Zapp, but if ZmudXP were created then would it be compatible with most flavours of Linux - if so then you've got another market opened up right there for those that don't want to mess about with Wine or the other methods - also the eLicense removal would help Linux users, no?

Guinn
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 8:11 pm   
 
Here are the current site statistics for the Windows OS:

Windows XP: 82%
Windows 2000: 9.7%
Windows ME: 1.8%
Windows 98: 5.4%
Windows 95: 0.1%

There are significant differences between the "true 32-bit" versions of Windows (2000, XP) compared to the older versions (ME, 98, 95) that still has several 16-bit restrictions. The current version of zMUD is designed to handle these restrictions. A new interface that took advantage of stuff like DirectX would not necessarily run on these older versions. I'm not saying that it absolutely won't work on Windows 98. But I'm saying that I'd be ignoring Windows 98 and focusing on Windows XP functionality.

As you can see from the numbers above, even though they represent web traffic and not necessarily zMUD usage, there is little reason to focus on the older versions of Windows. It makes no sense to try and update zMUD and then end up restricting it's functionality by requiring Windows 98 compatibility. The only reason to write a new MUD client would be to write a new modern client that takes advantage of all of the new features in Windows that zMUD has never been able to use in the past.

This will upset those people who cannot use Windows XP for whatever reason. But the *majority* of zMUD users are now using Windows XP and I think they would welcome a new product that made great use of this version of Windows.

That's really one of the things this thread is about: in the past I have avoided as much as possible upsetting *anyone*. Now I'm starting to realize that I can't please everyone, and that the majority of people might be better served if I stop worrying about the minority. So, a minority of people will be upset that the new product isn't considered a free upgrade, and a minority will be upset that they can't run the new product on their old version of Windows. Well, they can still keep using the same version of zMUD they have been...it's not going to magically stop working or anything. They just won't get any benefit from the new product.
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nema32
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 8:30 pm   
 
I wouldn't be motivated to upgrade, mainly because what I'm now using does everthing I need. Even at a minimal cost, I'd be hardpressed to exchange something I know works well for something unknown. But, I've always been like this-- I ran 6.22 (a beta, i think) for years, amassing probably 90% of my experience on that version. I'm currently running 7.05 and see no particular reason to risk the latest version.

Same with longhorn. Since I never buy new pcs (always homebuild), I won't be on longhorn for a long time, even if it didn't further push its "trusted computing" which I am totally against, I would still prolong it for years.

As for migrating the display to DirectX, as a programmer who writes editors, I can tell you there shouldn't be any need to do this for speed. If you need additional features, then perhaps it makes sense. But you can make lightning fast scrolling using the GDI just fine. And if the issue is speed, I doubt that DirectX alone will make any difference w/out adjusting the algorithms.
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StonedMOFO
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Joined: 22 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 8:34 pm   
 
Add Unicode support and I'll purchase the new product Twisted Evil Add SSH and other goodie and I'll consider upgrading to PRO... but most likely not, seeing I would most likely want to get zAPP, which would cost me... well another chunck of cash.
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StonedMOFO
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 8:37 pm   
 
Actually, could you describe what exactly can we do with zAPP for zMud? Adding custom screen that display info ? I mean personally, I play Mud cause I find text description better than the crappy hack - slash 3D online game now days, so fancy graphics isn't really what attract me. Being able to accomplish great feat is what interest me :) as I found out recently how powerful zMud program can be, and how much time it would save me in a mud.
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IceChild
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Joined: 11 Oct 2000
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 11:47 pm   
 
*mic check, mic check* Is this thing on?

It's been a while since I posted here, and I realize that, however allow an old timer some room for a thought.

Owning a copy of zMUD myself, I would most certainly upgrade to zMUDXP-Pro, heck, if you run a beta group for it, I'd love to take part in the project.

But all that poll-ish stuff aside, allow me to spread a thought as to why I think it'd be not only a good idea, but a GREAT idea in terms of sales for Zuggsoft:

a) You're updating a well established program, to take advantage of the latest in technologies.

b) You're giving zApp a MAJOR flagship product. I mean seriously, to be able to say "Hey, look at zMUDXP-Vista-Con! It's powered by zApp!", now there's a selling point. So sure, not EVERYONE would likely upgrade, but you know what? zApp sales would increase as well, and hence forth, you're double-dipping.

c) I just think it'd be cool to see what (when you get the all-to-common cold while programming it) you come up with :P

Inspirations like this have lead to some of the most major advances in zMUD I've seen. And heck, I've been following the program since the 3.x days. (ahhh yes, the good ol' days)

So my advise Zugg? GO FOR IT!

Now, where do I sign up for the beta group?
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nexela
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 12:58 am   
 
I love the Idea and I would pay for a ZmudXP-Pro! But the one thing that I have noticed is that alot of Zmud users on the Mud I play only bought zmud because of its *free upgrades policy*. Most of the reasons people give for not using zmud are

*Its too slow //Really bad image from past versions that still stick
*Its too bloated //See above
*Its not free/easy to crack //I don't put much faith into this as most of the people who say it use MushClient which of course is shareware with a nag screen :P
*Can't use other scripting languages //Not to many people know that zmud now supports active scripting languages this feature came late in the game

I'll try and grab more info for you this weekend including some user/non user feelings on zmud
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Daagar
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 1:04 am   
 
As always, the mapper is the best thing going, and if you were able to switch to something like sqlite in the backend, that would likely be worth the price of admission. You've already said this, but just to concur with others: it would _need_ to have the same level of abilities as the current zmud product before switching would be feasible.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 1:20 am   
 
StonedMOFO, Unicode support is definitely something I'll be looking at. As I've looked into the current code (which uses Delphi 5), there are a lot of problems with Unicode, especially on older versions of Windows. A rewrite in the more modern Delphi 7 for Windows XP would make Unicode support *much* more likely.

The best way to answer your zApp question is to go over to the Products/zApp area of the web site and look at some of the demos and read some of the descriptions. zApp has nothing to do with 3D graphics. It's all about user customization of the user interface.
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