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MUSHclient -- Excellent MU* Client Now Freeware

While graphic games seem to have taken over the commercial online multi-player gaming market, free-to-play text-based MUDs and their later incarnations (MUSHes, MUCKs, MOOs, etc) -- collectively referred to as MU*s -- still live on, both for roleplaying and for social chatting. I've been an occasional user of social MU*s since I created a character for the then uber-popular LambdaMOO in June of 1994 -- only a few days after I got my first dial-up Internet provider.

While you can connect to a MU* with any telnet client, plain old telnet provides a very poor MU* experience. A client program created especially for MU*s provides a much better experience -- with features like macros, scroll-back buffers, colorized text, events that trigger when a specific piece of text is received, etc. I've used a number of MU* clients over the years, both for unix and for Windows.

For several years in the late 1990s, Zmud was my favorite client. I even paid for it when it switched from freeware to shareware, but after converting to shareware, it seemed like the author spent as much or more time changing licensing systems to stay ahead of crackers than he did updating the program. I eventually tried of the seemingly never-ending protection system changes switched to MUSHclient. It was also shareware, but the author regularly updated it and provided new features instead of wasting time trying to prevent crackers from getting a free copy. Over the years MUSHclient went from a nice little MU* client to a great MU* client. With the recently released version 4.x, MUSHclient is freeware.

MUSHclient has a huge number of features -- here is a list from the MUSHClient help file (note that this list is not complete or up to date -- for example, it doesn't even mention Lua scripting):

Fast MUD/MUSH/MUCK/MOO client for Windows. Written in C++ for high speed and compact size.

Has large scrollback buffer, command history, aliases, triggers, timers, keypad-navigation, speed-walking, and auto-say.

Supports scripting in VBscript, Jscript, PerlScript and Python, recognizes ANSI color codes, has user-defined macros, spell checking, proxy server support, chat system, built-in editor, and logging.

Also supports MUD extensions MCCP (Mud Client Compression Protocol) and MXP (Mud eXtension Protocol).

You can write your own plugins in any of the four supported scripting languages, or use ones written by others which are supplied with the program, or appear on our web site.

· Multiple worlds can be open at once
· You can automatically connect to a world (name and password)
· You can have multiple windows open per world
· Context-sensitive help is always available to explain how to use configuration screens, and other features.
· Details for an entire world, or just one of triggers/macros/aliases/colours/timers can be saved for re-use later.
· Supports MUD Client Compression Protocol (MCCP).

Output window
· Holds up to 500,000 previous lines in memory
· Fast scrolling back and forwards using keyboard or mouse
· Copy from output window for pasting into command window or elsewhere
· Can be frozen to review messages without them scrolling out of view
· Supports user-chosen font
· Supports user-chosen palette of colours
· Supports an additional 16 custom colours for triggers and other uses
· Recognises ANSI colours, hilight, inverse
· Automatic line wrapping at end of line so words are not chopped into two
· Selected messages from the MUD (eg. pages) can be displayed in a different colour to make them stand out (by using triggers)

Command (input) window
· Can be resized so lengthy commands can be entered
· Supports copy/cut/paste, arrow keys, home and end keys, and the mouse
· Last 5,000 commands entered are saved for recall and editing
· Previous commands can be viewed in a "command history" window for easy selection
· Commands can optionally be echoed in the output window
· Auto-completion allows partial words to be completed when you press based on a matching word in the output window.
· Spell-check automatically or on request

· Each world can log its output and (optionally) commands input
· Logging can commence automatically upon connection, appending to an existing log file if desired
· Logging can be filtered to remove pages, whispers etc.
· Filtering is controlled by using triggers
· Each log session can be prefixed and suffixed by identifying information (date, time etc.). The date/time can be automatically generated.
· Each log line can have a "line prefix" which may contain the date/time that line arrived

· There is a custom "notepad" (text editor) for editing commands or any other purpose
· Notepad has spell-checker
· Notepad can do case conversions, and other conversions such as Unix to DOS

Macros (function keys)
· Up to 30 different keys can be used for single-keystroke entry of commands (F2 to F12, Ctrl+F2 to Ctrl+F12 and so on)
· Various other keystrokes are available for macros (Alt+A, Alt+B and others)
· You can use the numeric keypad also for single-keystroke movement
· Macro commands go through the command processor so they can call aliases, scripts, speedwalks etc.

· Any number of "triggers" can be entered, per world. Triggers are used to match on output from the MUD, and then automatically perform a function (for example, page someone when they connect)
· Triggers can include wildcards (e.g. " * says * ") to match on variable text. The text matched on in the wildcard can be used in the response to the trigger.
· Alternatively, you can use "regular expressions" in triggers for precise matching
· Triggers can be set up to match the colour of incoming text
· Lines which activate a trigger can be displayed in a different colour, so you can use triggers to highlight certain types of game output.
· Individual words can be highlighted
· Lines which activate a trigger can also optionally play a sound file (a WAV file) so that you can use triggers to play sounds to alert you to certain events.
· Triggers can be used to omit certain types of displays from the log file (if one is open)
· Triggers can be used to copy the matched text back into the command (input) buffer for editing, if desired.
· Triggers can be used to send the matching text to the status line, or a notepad window, if desired.
· Triggers can call a script function.

· Any number of "aliases" can be entered, per world. Aliases are a shorthand way of entering commands, for example: CLW could send "cure light wounds".
· Aliases can match the start of a command, anywhere in the command, or exactly the command by using wildcards. For example, if you set up an alias of "c" to mean "cure light wounds" and make it match exactly, then it will not clash with "close".
· Wildcards used in the alias can be used in the substitution text, so you can make aliases that can take "arguments"
· Aliases can expand out the contents of variables
· Aliases can match using regular expressions.
· Aliases can be used to omit the matching line from the log file, or the output window if desired
· Aliases can call a script function.

· Any number of "timers" can be entered, per world. Timers are used to cause things to happen at a particular time (eg. 9 pm) or an interval (eg. every 10 minutes).
· Timers can call a script function.

Speed walking
· You can optionally use speed walking to move quickly from one location to another.

Command stacking
· You can optionally use command stacking to enter more than one command per line.

Status line
· Status line shows name of active MUD, when input was last received, number of lines received and other useful things. The status line can be updated by a trigger or a script routine.

Activity window
· You can open an "activity" window which is useful when connected to multiple MUDs. It shows if there is activity (output from) a MUD which is not the current (frontmost) window. A single keystroke then switches to that window.

Numeric keypad
· You can use the numeric keypad for movement in the MUD (press 8 to go north, 2 to go south, 4 to go west, 6 to go east, and so on). The actual commands that are sent for each keystroke are customisable.
· You can also use an "alternate set" of keystrokes on the numeric keypad by holding down the Control key. This lets you have a second set of actions (perhaps for during a fight).

· You can write scripts in Vbscript, JavaScript, PerlScript or Python.

· You can automatically map the direction you are going as you walk around.

· Related groups of triggers/aliases/timers/variables and scripts can be saved as a "plugin" - a separate file.
· These can be easily generated using an inbuilt "plugin wizard".
· Plugins can be shared between different worlds, saving the need to repeat triggers etc. in multiple worlds, and also makes it easier to fix problems in one central place.
· Plugins can be distributed to friends without them needing to understand scripting or load individual triggers into their worlds.

MUSHclient is easily the best freeware MU* client available for Windows. If you are into MU*s and have not tried MUSHclient, it really should. Now that it is freeware, I expect it will become the most popular Windows MU* client.

Rating: 5.0
Operating System: Windows 95+ (also Linux via WINE)
License: Freeware
Price: Free
Version: 4.01
Web Site: http://www.gammon.com.au/mushclient/mushclient.htm

[tags]Windows, freeware, MUD, MUSH, MOO, client, MUSHclient[/tags]

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Blog | by Dr. Radut