A drier part of the Swamp

Since getting a working version of MUD on my TOPS-10 system using the binaries from the MUD tape, I have been wondering why I can’t get it to work from source. Whilst investigating this I have found a number of useful things:

  • The MUD in the Richard Bartle Stamford sources is a version from 1986, and there were some technical errors (high bit set?) in some of the files.
  • The MUD on the Johnny Eriksson Tape is from 1984
  • There are differences between 1984 and 1986 versions, mostly in how they work
  • The game file sources are different between 1984 and 1986
  • When you recreate the database using DBASE, it needs to load the MUD binary, add the created database (.DMP) file, and then SSAVE the whole thing back as MUD.EXE along with the creation of the MUD.??M database files, but it only seems to do this when you run DBASE on [2011,2776]
  • MUD.MIC is a command macro that builds the EXEs from sources. This seems to work but the EXEs that are output are the not the same size as the binaries on the tape. This is because DBASE needs to merge the MUD EXE with the created database and SSAVE before you can have a working MUD.EXE. With the 84 sources, DBASE tries to NSSAVE which won’t work with Monitor 7.04, so you need to manually type SSAVE when DBASE has completed and the NSSAVE has failed.
  • You only need the game source files, not the code source files, if you want to change text in the game. However, the game and the code are intimately linked, so be careful what you change. Re-generate the game using DBASE when you have made your changes.
  • The Wiz Mode password and Arch-Wiz maintainer Richard is hard coded in the 84 sources and binaries on tape. This is not the case for the 86 sources.
  • The *.DBA files are required by the game at run time.

All of this learning has led me to being able to reliably build both the 84 and the 86 MUD from source. In the next couple of posts I cover how to do this for both MUD 84 and MUD 86.

About Quentin

Im just a normal bloke.
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2 Responses to A drier part of the Swamp

  1. soobidou says:

    OK. May I know what’s inside that “pdp10_start” script?

    I would follow your detailed instructions, but I’m confused from the start, at “use kermit to transfer (MUD1 files) to a PPN of [2011,2776]”
    PPN means nothing to me, and I know kermit protocol from DOS/BBS era but how to use it in the context of SIMH, I’m confused.
    I guess your tutorial require some experience in simh+tops10 OS to get started?

    Your ready-to-run MUD1 video looks perfect for a neophyte like me that just want to play the game 🙂

    For now, I installed simh on my ubuntu, have the pdp10 command ready.
    foo ~ $ pdp10
    PDP-10 simulator V3.8-1

    How do I proceed from there? I can run simh.exe from windows as well.

    • Quentin says:

      You need to run ./pdp10 pdp10.smh

      pdp10.smh contains the configuration instructions for SIMH PDP10 to mount and start TOPS10 which are as follows:

      set cpu tops10
      set cpu idle
      set tim y2k
      att rp0 disks/t10b.dsk
      att lp20 printer.out
      set lp20 enable
      set dz 8b
      set dz lines=8
      att -a -m dz 2020
      ;att -a -m dz 23
      boot rp0

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