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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:40 pm   

CMUD Future Plans
 
The first Beta version of CMUD is only the beginning. There are many features and improvements planned during the initial beta period. After the first beta version is released, you can expect to see a new beta version every month or so. Each new beta version will fix bugs and continue to add new features. Here is a list of some of the features being planned for these future versions of CMUD.

(Note: everything in this thread is subject to change at any time)

NOTE: This thread has been replaced by the Planned Features for CMUD article.


Last edited by Zugg on Wed Sep 20, 2006 7:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:43 pm   
 
Improved Scripting
CMUD is being written in a way that is more "COM friendly". For those who don't know, COM is the "Common Object Model" used in Windows. COM objects can be shared and accessed across different programs.

zMUD had basic COM support, and allowed COM-based plugins. But accessing the COM objects in zMUD from another scripting language, such as VBScript, was a real pain.

CMUD will have a brand new COM interface and will make it *much* easier to use other scripting languages. Of course, you might not get the speed benefits of compiled CMUD scripts, but using other scripting languages will make it easier for people who are more familiar with existing languages. Multiple scripting languages can also be freely mixed. So you can have different packages written in different languages (or even multiple languages within the same package).
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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:46 pm   
 
Plugin Forms
Plugins have already been improved via the integration with packages and with the new COM support. But since CMUD is based upon the zApp Development system, a whole new world of form-based plugins will be possible.

Imagine a plugin (or even an alias or trigger) that can create an entire user-interface form to prompt for information or display information in a different way. In the future versions of CMUD, forms using the ZML syntax developed in zApp will be allowed. You will be able to display these forms in your scripts, set/retrieve information on the form, and use these forms in plugins.

These forms will be dockable to the CMUD interface. So this will make it possible to finally create "visual" plugins for CMUD that do almost anything.
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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:51 pm   
 
Functions
The current #FUNCTION command in zMUD is a bit wierd. It actually just creates a "Variable" without parsing it's arguments. CMUD will have a new settings type called "Function" that will improve this and will make it easier to create your own functions and methods and pass them arguments.
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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:55 pm   
 
New Database Module
The existing zMUD Database module isn't actually a database. It's just a big in-memory structure with no indexes or anything. It's slow, buggy, and the data can be easily corrupted (just like with a settings file).

During the CMUD beta cycle, the database module will be rewritten using a standard SQL database format. You will gain the power of full SQL queries and statements. In fact, the database module could be used as a standalone database program for accessing all sorts of non-CMUD databases.

It will be based upon the database components used in zApp, which support ADO, MySQL, SQL Server, SQLite, Oracle, DB2, Sybase, Interbase/Firebird, and more. The database module in CMUD will probably use SQLite by default, but you will be able to use these other formats as needed.

This conversion will probably result in a lot of differences between the zMUD database module and the new CMUD database module. I will attempt to maintain scripting compatibility between the two systems, but you can expect the user interface of the database module to be completely different with a lot more functionality.
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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
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Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 8:01 pm   
 
Mapper Improvements
There is a lot to be done here. One of the first tasks will be to better integrate the zMapper code into CMUD. It is very likely that "zMapper" will be replaced by "CMUD-Pro". In other words, players who have upgraded to CMUD-Pro will get the zMapper functionality integrated directly into CMUD. This means you will be able to better edit your map directly in CMUD, without launching an external program or plugin.

Most of the visual improvements to the mapper, such as tile-based map support, will be part of this CMUD-Pro expansion.

However, even in the basic CMUD mapper there will still be improvements and bug fixes. The current zMUD mapper stores the map in Microsoft ADO (Jet) format. These *.MDB files are Microsoft Access compatible, but the Microsoft ADO database system is full of bugs and problems that have plauged zMUD and zMapper from the beginning.

The new CMUD mapper will use the database components that are part of zApp. The default map format will use SQLite. However, you will actually be able to store your map in any database format you want (see above for database module formats). In fact, the CMUD mapper will allow you to access a map on a remote database server, although it will be slower than having a local map database.

In addition, work from the zExplorer project is being incorporated into the CMUD mapper to make it possible to track multiple players within the same game and to improve the support for large background images (like those used in AC Explorer and zExplorer).

The improvements to the CMUD mapper will be an ongoing project and will probably last a long time. The first beta version of CMUD will not have any changes...it will use the same mapper as zMUD. But the conversion to an SQL map format will happen before the first public version of CMUD.
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Zugg
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Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 8:03 pm   
 
New Gauges and Status Windows
The current support for gauges and status windows are a bit kludged in zMUD. In zMUD, special Buttons are used for Gauges. And there is only one status window, controlled using the same settings that control the status line.

In CMUD, new settings types can be easily added. So a new Gauge and Window type will be added. The Gauge will be based upon a new visual control that looks much more like a gauge and can be better customized than the existing Button. The Window type will be based upon the zApp Forms described above, allowing for incredible power of multiple status windows and forms.
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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 8:10 pm   
 
Customized MUD front-ends
Using the zApp Form technology along with the new window docking system, you will be able to set up a unique front-end for each MUD that you play. The sponsered MUD icons that are included in the initial character selection screen will also be able to make use of these new functions to set up customized front-ends. These features will also be added to the MXP system, giving MUDs much more control over their look and feel than ever before.

With the new user interface options and customized front-ends, many MUDs won't need to develop their own clients anymore. Even end-users will be able to create these front-ends, and they will be shareable using the Package Server to any CMUD user.

The days of the plain, boring, single text window interface for MUDs should be over. The ability to build new interfaces for MUDs should help attract some of the MMORPG players who have become bored with the graphical games and want something with more depth and more roleplaying.

MUDs haven't died with the popularity of graphical MMORPGs. Just like with books, MUDs are here to stay, and CMUD will be the best, fastest, and most customizeable way to play them.
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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 8:58 pm   
 
Other Miscellaneous Features
Here are some other, more minor, improvements that are being considered:
  • More HTML support. HTML in user notes, mapper descriptions, etc.
  • Better Chat windows. Improved methods for creating new chat windows "on-the-fly" for communicating with a specific player, guild, or chat channel on the MUD.
  • Character Equipment panels. Using the new zApp forms, it should be possible to create character inventory and equipment panels that provide some graphics and easy ways to equip/remove/get/drop/etc. It's possible that clever CMUD users might create these using the new scripts and plugins before they even become part of CMUD itself.
  • Improved Buttons. Buttons that overlap the main MUD window and can be moved and resized easily. Current Windows XP technology makes this difficult, but this is expected to improve with Vista/Longhorn.

And of course it doesn't end there. I have built the reputation of Zugg Software on listening to customers. I will continue to listen and implement the ideas that *you* have for CMUD.
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