With the limited knowledge I have of MUD's I assume them to be Fantasy worlds with an RPG element. I have to admit I do prefer Sci-Fi to Fantasy, I assume ClubFloyd is more of a meeting place for playing as a group, cooperatively killing monsters then off to the ClubFloyd lounge to sit around chatting after a hard session of IFmud gaming! I've no idea really, I will have to go and take a look.
IFmud is really just a chat MUD. I believe players have created the odd quest, but mostly they just hang around in the Lounge and chat. The reason ClubFloyd is held there is because there's a bot (Floyd, in the Toyshop) which can play IF. Using Floyd makes it easy for everyone joining in a session to see what's happening and put in their commands.
Having had reference made to "old-school" puzzle games has got me intrigued, so are text adventure games now thought of as old style text games and IF as some higher form of literary work and not just simply a game, puzzle or otherwise?
To a certain extent, yes. You'll notice that many of the recent works considered "classics" in the community tend to have a more literary focus. On the other hand, a good game won't be rejected out of hand just because it's an "old-school" puzzler. (Well, okay, some people will reject it out of hand. Other people, who think IF has become too arty-farty, will be very happy. Most fall somewhere in the middle.) The main problem with releasing a game like that is that the games which get the most attention are those released in the IF Comp
, and those are supposed to be no more than two hours long. Releasing a game outside a competition often means it gets less attention, unless it's by an author with an established reputation. The Spring Thing
competition allows games of any length, but doesn't get as much attention as the IF Comp either.
I have a feeling that more puzzly games are making a bit of a comeback, but it's usually the shorter but very deeply implemented puzzle games that are the most successful. See for instance Lost Pig
, which won the IF Comp and the XYZZY
(IF equivalent of an Oscar) for Best Game in 2007, and Suveh Nux
, which won the One Room Game competition and the XYZZY for Best Puzzles the same year. Both are mainly focused on puzzles, but because they're so deeply implemented, being stuck and trying random stuff is as much fun (or more fun!) than actually achieving anything. And (as far as I can remember) there's no particular penalty for failure in either game, so you can fool about burning things and casting magic spells on random objects to your heart's content.
In general, there's more of an expectation of depth these days: if you mention an item in a room description then it should be examinable, NPCs should have replies for reasonable but unnecessary queries, and so on. There's also a general preference for games which don't let you get easily into an unwinnable situation (if you're going to make a game that's nasty or cruel by Andrew Plotkin's cruelty scale
, it's best to let players know that up front). Looking at IF Gems
, a collection of quotes from IF Comp reviews, will give you an idea of what people tend to look for in an IF game.