> the mud coders guild

MUDRammer Creator Jonathan Hersh Tells His Plans for World Domination

By Zachary Flower

If you’ve been keeping an eye on iPhone MUD client development lately, you have probably noticed MUDRammer. Created by Jonathan Hersh (@jhersh), MUDRammer is the newest, shiniest MUD client available for iPhones today, and holds the honor of being the only one still in active development.

I wanted to catch up with Jonathan to find out more information about him, the client, and the future of MUDRammer.

To start off, do you play MUDs, and if so, what games and for how long?

I commanded my first starship in the original Federation in 1995, eventually making it to Duke with my own duchy of planets. Alas ol’ Fed is now defunct, though a successor (Federation II) is going strong.

I’ve been playing Nanvaent (nanvaent.org) since 1998 and I lead guilds development there today.

I played World of Warcraft for years and I’m not sure it ever matched the depth of experience I’ve somehow extracted from lines of scrolling text. MUDs will be around long after the last gnome leaves Ironforge.

In your opinion, what MUD client, across any platform, has gotten it right?

The right client is the one that best enables you to play your MU* of choice. MUDs, MUSHes, MUCKs, and MOOs can have wildly different playing styles and most clients lend themselves more to some than others.

I used Rapscallion for many years on classic Mac OS. Long live PowerPC!

More recently I tried Savitar and Cantrip before settling on Atlantis, where I’ve accumulated so many triggers for my Nanvaent necromancer that I’ve self-inflicted a sort of client lock-in!

And on iOS, I use MUDRammer — the world’s only MUD client made in San Francisco from 100% sustainable artisan handcrafted dark-magicks.

What made you want to create a MUD client for the iPhone, instead of for OSX or Windows?

I tried all the other iOS clients and none of them felt right. MUDRammer is my attempt to write the iOS MUD client I wanted for myself.

MUDRammer is focused on speed, readability, and flexibility. It syncs your preferences with iCloud across your devices. It’s got Triggers, Aliases, and Gags. It takes you out to a nice seafood dinner and picks up the check.

“MUDRammer” is a character name of one of my more colorful Nanvaent acquaintances. It’s a very silly name but it still makes me laugh.

On a typical day, what does your development process for MUDRammer look like, and how do you determine what features to implement?

All of MUDRammer’s design and development happens in my spare time. I come home from work and do something too graphic to describe in detail here, but it involves a Ouija board, some duct tape, and three cases of Klingon blood wine.

I have lots of helpful suggestions from my users over email. There is much to do and I’ve miles to code before I sleep.

What are some of the unique challenges that you face with development of a text-based game client on a mobile interface, and how do you plan on overcoming them?

The hardest part of mudding on a touchscreen is the typing. When it comes to typing mud commands, autocorrect is helpful about as often as it’s not!

That’s why the movement gesture control was in one of my first updates — it eliminates a common use for the keyboard. That’s also why I added the character bar, with fast access to special characters while you’re typing. MUSHes in particular tend to use many special characters and the iOS keyboard is just awful for them.

I am looking into other ways to reduce typing, perhaps next by adding gestures for Aliases.

Who did you create MUDRammer for? Who is the ideal user?

MUDRammer users are invariably worldly, distinguished, occasionally hirsute men- and women-about-Internet, scholars, thinkers, and doers, masters of dynamic leveraged synergies.

How many users does MUDRammer currently have?

Enough to set in motion my plans for world domination! Ha ha!

** blasts off in personal spacecraft **

** lurks on orbital battlestation **

Any pro tips for future MUDRammer users?

Send a tell to Seuss on Nanvaent. There will be cake.

What’s next for MUDRammer?

In 2020, Thom Yorke glances down during a Radiohead concert and sees someone MUDRamming in the front row on an iPhone 14.

If you’re interested in trying out MUDRammer, you can find it in the iTunes store or at Jonathan’s website.