Judy Malloy, Editor

>The Living Room
>It is very bright, open, and airy here, with large plate-glass windows
>looking southward over the pool to the gardens beyond. On the north
>wall, there is a rough stonework fireplace. The east and west walls are
>almost completely covered with large, well-stocked bookcases. An exit
>in the northwest corner leads to the kitchen and, in a more northerly
>direction, to the entrance hall. The door into the coat closet is at
>the north end of the east wall, and at the south end is a sliding glass
>door leading out onto a wooden deck. There are two sets of couches, one
>clustered around the fireplace and one with a view out the windows.

Making Art Online Telematics Timeline, Walker Art Center

O riginally begun as a multi-user "adventure" program by Roy Trubshaw and Richard Bartle at the University of Essex in England, MUDs (Multi-user Dungeons) and the subsequent MOOs (MUD's object oriented) are text-based, programmable virtual communities that connect many users to the same place at the same time. In addition to creative social interaction, LambdaMoo, created by Pavel Curtis at Xerox PARC, also fostered virtual world building and allowed for a variety of narrative structures.

MOOS have been used as meeting places, for distance learning, to create text for performative works, and to create hypertextual and/or interactive fiction narratives and/or locative virtual narratives that many readers can simultaneously explore.

Participants who "enter" MOO environments are usually textually "visible" to each other, and they share a database of "objects" such as "rooms" and "exits". In MOOs where users have created detailed environments -- including, for instance, living rooms, kitchens, gardens, and libraries, tables, chairs, books, and flowers -- MOOs are highly "immersive", creating the feel of meeting in a real place.

New in February 2013 on this Authoring Software page on MOOs and MUDS are links to archives of the Electronic Literature Organization chats hosted by Deena Larsen on Lingua MOO; to Judith Donath's thesis on "Inhabiting the Virtual City: The Design of Social Environments for Electronic Communities and to John Unsworth's paper on "Living Inside the (Operating) System: Community in Virtual Reality", as well as new insets and/or images for Pavel Curtis, Dene Grigar and John Barber, Antoinette LaFarge, and much more.


Works Created with MUDs and MOOS
- Authoring Software Statements

Antoinette LaFarge

Antoinette LaFarge: "A diagram showing the communication flow among the various performers in Demotic 2006. The black area at left represents the telematic performers, while the white area is the stage and the gray is the audience."

"To start with, we gathered the Plaintext Players on a MOO, which is a virtual, text-based, multi-user domain of a kind that predominated on the Net before the advent of graphical worlds. The MOO performers improvised 'in character', in real time, creating a text that was partly written, partly performed. Only one of the MOO performers was situated in the same physical space as the actor and the sound artists, and this person served as a key link between the remote and local performers. The base text generated by the MOO improvisers was fed into the physical space of the stage in two ways: as visuals and as sound. The visuals took the form of scrolling text projections, which the stage performer used as a kind of teleprompter, responding vocally (by reading/improvising) and physically (with improvised movement). and other effects."

Visit Antoinette LaFarge's statement on the creation of Demotic to find out more.

Sue Thomas
Hello World: travels in virtuality

"@go #388
The Hot Tub
The hot tub is made of molded fiberglass: on three sides a bench will seat five comfortably (and ten who are friendly), and on the fourth side there is contoured couch for one luxurious soak. There are two rubber mounted buttons here. You may push either the right or left button. The rising sun puts a rosy glow on everything. The underwater light is on. The bubbling jets are on. You see thermometer and Hot Tub Bar here. Aaaahhhh! The water is at that perfect temperature where you can just lie in here forever. Splash!

"....Hello World: travels in virtuality is made with object oriented programming via the LambdaMOO Core; lots of post-its and small notebooks; manuscripts created with A4 paper and inscribed by nice black pens (medium tip) then typed up in Microsoft Word; ink, print and paper via Raw Nerve Books; PDF downloads; Typepad blogging software, and the user's imagination."

Visit Sue Thomas' statement on Authoring Software to find out more.

MUDS and MOOs - Papers, Discussions, and Narratives

  1. Richard Bartle, Designing Virtual Worlds,, Berkeley: New Riders, 2003

  2. Richard Bartle, "Interactive Multi-User Computer Games," MUSE Ltd Research Report, December, 1990
    M UD1 was written by Roy Trubshaw and Richard Bartle at Essex University on a DECsystem-10 mainframe. Trubshaw began in Autumn 1978, and Bartle took over in Summer 1980. Initially, the game was playable only by students at the university and guests using (what was then) EPSS. After a year or so, however, external players began to direct-dial from home using modems, and the game's popularity grew.

  3. David Blair, WAXweb, hosted by the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia

  4. Juli Burk, 'ATHEMOO and the Future Present: Shaping Cyberspace into a Theatre Working Place" in Stephen A. Schrum, editor, "Theatre in Cyberspace: Issues of teaching, Acting, and Directing NY: Peter Lang Publishing, 1999. pp. 109-134

  5. Juli Burk, "'The Plays the Thing': Theatricality in the MOO Environment", in High Wired: On the Design, Use, and Theory of Educational MOOs Cynthia Haynes and Jan Rune Holmevik, eds, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press

  6. Juli Burk, "MOOV-ING ONLINE: A New Venue for Making and Teaching Theatre", TCC Online Conferences, Kapi`olani Community College, University of Hawai`i 1998

  7. Amy Bruckman and Mitchel Resnick, "The MediaMOO Project: Constructionism and Professional Community", Convergence, 1:1, Spring 1995

  8. Marlena Corcoran, "Life and Death in the Digital World of the Plaintext Players", Leonardo, October 1999, 32:5, pp 359-364
  9. Pavel Curtis, "Mudding: Social Phenomena in Text-Based Virtual Realities", Xerox PARC CSL-92-4, April 1992
    T hree major factors distinguish a MUD from an Adventure-style computer game, though:

    A MUD is not goal-oriented; it has no beginning or end, no `score', and no notion of `winning' or `success'. In short, even though users of MUDs are commonly called players, a MUD isn't really a game at all.

    A MUD is extensible from within; a user can add new objects to the database such as rooms, exits, `things', and notes. Certain MUDs, including the one I run, even support an embedded programming language in which a user can describe whole new kinds of behavior for the objects they create.

    A MUD generally has more than one user connected at a time. All of the connected users are browsing and manipulating the same database and can encounter the new objects created by others. The multiple users on a MUD can communicate with each other in real time.

  10. Pavel Curtis and David A. Nichols, "MUDs Grow Up: Social Virtual Reality in the Real World," Xerox PARC, May 5, 1993.

  11. Pavel Curtis, "Not Just a Game: The Personal, Social, and Political Impact of MOO", in High Wired: On the Design, Use, and Theory of Educational MOOs Cynthia Haynes and Jan Rune Holmevik, eds, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

  12. Judith Stefania Donath, Inhabiting the Virtual City: the Design of Social Environments for Electronic Communities, Thesis Submitted to the Program in Media Arts and Sciences, School of Architecture and Planning, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  13. Tari Lin Fanderclai, "MUDs in Education: New Environments, New Pedagogies", Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine, 2:1, January 1, 1995 p. 8 February 1997

  14. Dene Grigar, "MOOtextuality", in Sean Williams, ed., special issue of TEXT Technology the Journal of Computer Text Processing, 2002. pp. 163-179
  15. Dene Grigar and John F. Barber, "Defending Your Life in MOOspace, and Other Stories of Academia on the Electronic Edge." in High Wired: On the Design, Use, and Theory of Educational MOOs Cynthia Haynes and Jan Rune Holmevik, eds, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
    O n July 25, 1995, Dene Grigar, then a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), conducted the public, oral portion of her dissertation defense in the auditorium of Lingua MOO, a text-based electronic environment located at UTD and designed for education and research.

    As far as is known, this is the first documented online dissertation defense..."

  16. Carolyn Guyer, "Hi-Pitched Voices", Making Art Online, Telematics Timeline, Walker Art Center
    W hat began as an idea to provide, with the HiPitched Voices project, a resource for women interested in writing collaborative hypertexts, has turned into a much larger concept with a far greater potential for strengthening the presence of women in computer technology. While the original proposal to gather a range of hypertexts into a deeply multiple web can and may still be developed, the diversity of ideas which have been suggested since the Voices email list was established just two months ago extends our platform to what might now be called a collective of women using technology to work collaboratively within hypertextual concepts."
  17. Leslie D. Harris, "Writing Spaces: Using MOOs to Teach Composition and Literature" Kairos 1:2, 1996

  18. Cynthia Haynes and Jan Rune Holmevik, Editors, High Wired: On the Design, Use, and Theory of Educational MOOs. Second Edition. Ann Arbor, University of Michgan Press, 2001

  19. Cynthia Haynes and Jan Rune Homevig, Lingua MOO, A Virtual Academic Community, School of Arts and Humanities University of Texas at Dallas

  20. Steven Jones and Neil Fraistat, "The MOO as an Arcade: Minimalism and Interpretive literary Games", TEXT Technology the Journal of Computer Text Processing 13:2, 2004

  21. Michael Joyce, "Songs of Thy Selves, Persistence, Momenntariness, Recurrence and the Moo", in Othermindedness: the emergence of network culture, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press 2000.

  22. Lori Kendall, "MUDder? I hardy Know 'Er! Adventures of a Feminist MUDder," in Wired Women: Gender and New Realities in Cyberspace, Lynn Cherny and Elizabeth Reba Weise, eds., Seattle, WA: Seal Press, 1996 pp. 207-223

  23. Antoinette LaFarge, "A World Exhilirating and Wrong: Theatrical Improvisation on the Internet", Leonardo, 28:5, 1995 pp. 415-422.

  24. Antoinette LaFarge, and Robert Allen, "Media Commedia: The Roman Forum Project", Leonardo, 38:3, 2005. pp. 213-218.
  25. Deena Larsen, Index of the eliterature chats hosted by Deena Larsen

    TrAce ForumLive & Online Meeting MOO/Chat logs
    A selected archive of logs of trAce online meetings and joint trAce/elo chats
    C olorado Hyperfiction writer Deena Larsen, who has been hosting biweekly discussions for The Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) since they began in January 2000...describes the biweekly online e-lit chats -- now held in collaboration with the trAce Online Writing Community -- as an 'open Algonquin Round Table in the Internet'. 'They cover a range of topics with a variety of guests and topics. Forums on teaching electronic literature have led to creating new syllabi and are helping new teachers of new media,' she notes. Additionally, 'the chat archives provide a sort of ship's log as we chart our progress through these new media waters.'" (Source: Judy Malloy, Arts Wire Current, August 28, 2001)


  26. Judy Malloy, "Public Literature: Narratives and Narrative Structures in LambdaMoo", in Art and Innovation - the Xerox PARC Artist-in-Residence Program, Craig Harris, ed, Cambridge, MA MIT Press, 1999.

    I nfluenced by the ubiquitous computing research (the creation of an environment where many invisible to the user computers are available) being undertaken in CSL, the kitchen was conceived of as a future communal eating space where interrelated devices integral to its functioning would record events in various ways. In Rashoman fashion, these devices would be capable of relating the details of things that occurred in a previous November in separate but related ways...Some of the devices (simulated video, simulated audio) disclose information that is seen (when activated) by everyone in the room. Other devices (electronic book, diary) disclose text visible only to the player who activates them. Players can sit at the table, order meals, and as is usual in LambdaMOO, talk with their "companions".

  27. Tom Meyer, David Blair, and Suzanne Hader, "A MOO-Based Collaborative Hypermedia System for WWW"
    discussion of the Hypertext MOO including Hypertext Hotel (begun by Robert Coover in conjunction with his Hypertext Fiction Workshop at Brown University and ported to Storyspace) Carolyn Guyer's Hi-Pitched Voices, and David Blair's WAXweb
    T The actual creation of hypertext authoring tools in the MOO was straightforward, consisting of adding functionality to the generic rooms, exits, and players which already existed in the system. Because the MOO environment uses an interpreted object-oriented scripting language, the development of this part of the system was quite rapid.

    Additionally, the import of the Storyspace documents into the MOO generally consisted of a one-to-one mapping between documents and rooms, and between links and exits. Because we were able to import a number of pre-existing Storyspace documents into the system, we immediately had a rich-enough environment for authors to begin to work with existing texts as a substrate.

  28. James Morgan, curator, Look Art, Turbulence, 2011
    with works by Thomas Asmuth, Alejandro Duque, and Christopher Poff

  29. Patricia Nolan, "TWUMOO: The Female Collected, and, The Female Collective, A Work in Progress on Women and the Technology that brings their Achievements to Life", Educational Technology & Society 2:3, 1999

  30. On Site Research and On-Byte Investigation: Three Views of Conducting Thorough Academic Research 1995 MLA Convention, December 1995; Chicago, IL
    __Tim Redman, Associate Professor; University of Texas at Dallas, School of Arts and Humanities
    "The Biographer's Kit: Actual and Archival Research Techniques"
    __Dene Grigar, Assistant Professor, Texas Woman's University, Dept. of English, Speech, and Foreign Languages
    "Detective El [ectronic] Queen, Sleuth of the Internet"
    __Cynthia Haynes, Assistant Professor; University of Texas at Dallas, School of Arts and Humanities. Jan Rune Holmevik, Institute for Studies in Research and Higher Education (Oslo, Norway), Co-founders of Lingua MOO
    "Synchroni/CITY: Online Collaboration, Research, and Teaching in MOOspace"

  31. Scott Rettberg, "All Together Now: Hypertext, Collective Narrative, and Online Collective Knowledge Co mmunities" in Ruth Page and Bronwen Thomas, eds New Narratives: Stories and Storytelling in the Digital Age, University of Nebraska Press, 2011 pp. 187-204

  32. Stephen A. Schrum, editor, "Theatre in Cyberspace: Issues of Teaching, Acting, and Directing NY: Peter Lang Publishing, 1999.

  33. John Unsworth, Living Inside the (Operating) System: Community in Virtual Reality" in Teresa M. Harrison and Timothy D. Stephen, eds. Computer Networking and Scholarly Communication in the Twenty-First-Century University Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1996.

Programming, Instructions, and Resources

  1. Judy Anderson, yduJ's Programming Tutorial
  2. Judy Anderson, yduJ's MOO Lore Pamphlet
    "@create $thing named Generic Wind-Up Toy,Toy
    You now have Generic Wind-Up Toy (aka Toy) with object number #12221
    and parent generic thing (#5).

    @create #12221 named Wind-Up Duck,Duck
    You now have Wind-Up Duck (aka Duck) with object number #12222 and
    parent Generic Wind-Up Toy (#12221)."

  3. The Barn
    A Repository of MOO Code and Resources for enCore

  4. Basic Moo Commands, VRoma Documentation Library

  5. Pavel Curtis, LambdaMOO Programmer's Manual For LambdaMOO Version 1.8.1, May 2004

  6. moolist.com
    The moolist.com MOO list currently contains 240 MOOs.

For information about the Authoring Software project, email Judy Malloy at jmalloy@well.com

Last update February 10, 2013

Authoring Software

Authoring Software
Tools and Applications


Writers and Artists
Talk about Their Work
and the Software They
use to Create Their Work

Mark Amerika
Stefan Muller Arisona
Mark Bernstein: __Interview wirh Mark Bernstein
Alan Bigelow
Jay Bushman
J. R. Carpenter
M.D. Coverley
Steve Ersinghaus
Caitlin Fisher
Chris Funkhouser
Susan M. Gibb
Dene Grigar
Fox Harrell
Dylan Harris
William Harris
Ian Hatcher
Adriene Jenik
Chris Joseph
Rob Kendall
Antoinette LaFarge
Deena Larsen
Donna Leishman
Judy Malloy
Mark C. Marino
Ethan Miller
Nick Montfort
__and Stephanie Strickland
Judd Morrissey
Stuart Moulthrop
Alexander Mouton
Karen O'Rourke
Regina Pinto
Andrew Plotkin
Kate Pullinger
Sonya Rapoport:
__Interview with Sonya Rapoport
Aaron Reed
Scott Rettberg
Jim Rosenberg
Stephanie Strickland
and Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo

__Nick Montfort and Stephanie Strickland
Sue Thomas
Eugenio Tisselli
Noah Wardrip-Fruin
Joel Weishaus
Nanette Wylde