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What is the SciFi MOO?

Well, the MOO have a dozen definitions and concepts, but shortly, it can be described as a multi-user virtual reality based in text.
It is a program that runs in Unix machines (mostly). The original MOO is called LambdaMOO and was developed by Pavel Curtis from the Xerox Research Center in Palo Alto, CA, started from a basic program written by Stephen White from Waterloo university, and is running since 1990.

The main MOO program is called "server", it deals with input/output between the Internet and the MOO, and with what you type, and that's it. The program source code is avaible at http://sourceforge.net/projects/lambdamoo, it has been ported for a large number of systems like Linux, Windows and Amiga.

Another job of the server is to compile and run programs (called "verbs") writeen inside MOO in a language called MOO, that is a miniatura of C++ and LISP, it is a well documented language, but the document is not newbie-oriented being a bit scary at first sight.

If the server is the MOO's heart, a giant database, called "core", is the brain. Initialy empty, it defines the basic objects like $thing (generic object in witch all other objects are based) and $prog (generic programmer, a player with cabability to add more stuff to MOO). As players create more rooms and objects, the more this "core" gets bigger. The initial database is avaible at moo.mud.org.

As MOO is a mult-user enviroenment based in text, this means it is likely to the once popular IRC (chats), but it's programming capability is much more evolved, besided allowing a much bigger possibility for player interaction..

Telnet program showing a "tipical" MOO session


The Science and Fiction MOO came from an idea of Mestre dos Magos (LEandro Indruziak), that in the time was coursing Electrical Engineering at Federal University of Santa Maria (UFSM). In 1995 he got permission with the CPD (data processing center) to host the MOO in the esfing.cpd.ufsm.br server.
During this time, a lot of people started to connect in MOO, mostly from Engineering area, in the missed Informatic Sectorial Kernel (NSI) in the Technology Center (CT), MOO was then under the governance of Mestre dos Magos and Conan (Fabiano Denardin). This was the golden age, everybody was building and programming, and making SciFi the biggest MOO in Brazil.
But unfortunely, a technical problem made all MOO database being lost, all players had to be re-created, the same being true for all objects and verbs, what was, without any doubt, a big effort. When all seemed to be set, with most players back, a second DB loss happened. This time it was a strong punch, most players migrated to CPDEE, leaving SciFI. Besides the efforts of the Wizards that followed, SciFi never recovered the lost credit and the big number of participants that it had in the beggining.
The lend to a transformation in SciFi, you can tell that players that still connect are more focused in programming or just want to remember the old times, instead of the previous conversation orientation. Being so, SciFi became a laboratory for trying new technologies and ideas.
Recently Bart and Japah came together with an interesting project, to create in SciFI a RPG destined area, most specific Dungeons & Dragons. The system is similar to Circle MUD, as it is already well known and easy to use. This can lend a great transformation in MOO, and throught the RPG, bring back some users that left long ago.
Besides that, some protection verbs where added, because one of the biggest complains from the players that left SciFi was the lack of protection agains player movement by others, shots of all sorts, spam, and such.
Seen from this point, SciFi history shows how sad the present is, almost abandoned by those whom once liked it. But there are some working to not let the ga├║cho's MOO to stop existing.

Iuri Fiedoruk, aka Bart Simpson, current Wizard and SciFi MOO's mainteiner.

Read also a shot introduction to MOO.