After a far harder than expected time getting the Mud actually to run on
Palladio, we settled down again for what was to be a reasonable length of time. The
machine was a fast Silicon Graphics Indigo, with a highly impressive 70-odd meg of RAM. It
was legit, if not actively popular with the sysop, and we began re-accumulating some of
the players who had got lost along the way with all our moving about. Meanwhile the Mud
itself was expanding, and all manner of weird and wonderful things were cropping up. We
had our own web pages up, Eldrytch had come by a machine for his personal use, so eldritch.ee.ic.ac.uk
was available to us for emergencies, and we turned it into Heffalump, our
development copy of the Mud. It was only a PC, but as time went on, it was to become a
high spec Pentium, with 24 meg or so RAM, a fine back-up machine.
So time passed. We were paranoid about losing the site at any
moment, for no reason other than the fact that it was a decent machine and past history
implied some sort of jinx. On the face of it though, we were secure here for as long as
Groggie worked there. So, when months and months later Groggie announced he would be
handing in his notice soonish, we weren't so taken aback as we might have been. We'd got
used to it by then and, after all, we had eldritch.ee.ic.ac.uk at worst.
Events overtook us here though, as once again, we got
caught up in some stupid wording. Someone spotted a bunch of 10 or so students all using
the Silicon Graphics lab to play Net-Doom, and passed a new resolution in the dept: 'No
Games'. Our best efforts to explain that Mud wasn't a game so much as a social pastime
fell on deaf ears, and we prepared to move to Eldritch.
At this point, however, Ornan produced a trump. He had
become one of the Admin by this point (in fact quite a while before) - one of the main
administrators of the whole Mud, and second only to myself. He had also, upon graduating,
gone to work for Imperial College. But he was employed in the systems group in the
Department of Computing, and while they had a no games policy too, he had a rather clever
Sun Microsystems had donated a machine to DOC called
Sunsite Northern Europe. It was immense; a sparc 1000 with 7 processors, half a gig of RAM
and several gig of disk space. Best of all, Ornan was one of the people who helped look
after it. One of Ornan's colleagues thought it would be interesting to see how a Mud would
run on it. Basically, so long as nothing happened to cause us bad publicity and so long as
we did not publicise that it was there, we had ourselves a superb machine.
Naturally, we wanted to be able to publicise it,
and so Ornan and I starting thinking how we could best broach the subject with them. There
was no rush, as it would take something quite mindblowing to give us bad press. Certainly
far beyond anything that had ever happened before. Tens of times more even. So Elephant
reached its next site:
If we could get approval for the Mud (which from their
point of view would take little resources, and would get the word 'Sun' into the heads of
several thousand players), it could help change the whole ethos of muds in the UK. With
backing, Muds in general could become far more widely accepted, and not the 'bad' thing
that many people (who generally knew nothing about them) thought.
Time drifted by, and still we looked for the best time
and the best way to broach the subject. As I said above, time wasnt really a problem. It
would take something really major to cause us any form of problem.
Typically therefore, something major happened.
Some complete pillock, who, just because he could tie his
own shoelaces and was able to read alt.hackers.with.iq.below.three, had decided he
was a 'Super hacker,' decided to try and crash the Mud. He failed utterly but it so
happened that the attempt was noticed and caused a few waves. It was thus unfortunate that
the first Sun hear of 'mud' was in the same breath as 'attempted intrusion'. Although this
was an isolated incident by someone with an utter lack of life and who could be prosecuted
for doing it, it was deemed better to move quietly to avoid the waves getting bigger. It
was highly annoying though, as pillock effectively put the cause of UK muds back years.
Moreover, we were cursing that we hadn't spoken to them sooner about approval.
Fortunately though, a friend of Ornan's had heard about
what was going on and was able to offer us somewhere new.
In the beginning |
The pre-Ele days | A pachyderm is born! |
Ele goes legal | Disaster strikes |
Middlesex Uni | Back to IC |
IC politics | Elephant today