Medievia as seen by a player and coder


1. Thanks

2. Who am I

3. Medievia and DIKU/MERC


Thanks

I want to say thanks to several people that have either supplied me with information and assistance in my research or who had the guts to stand up for their convictions once they had made up their minds. This list is in no way complete. I also want to thank those that have written me to tell me that they appreciate what I've done. I've recevied several positive responses from players and immortals who are on Medievia. I won't list them here (unless they ask to be listed) because they might suffer some in game retaliation. Sad I know, but Medievia is like that. I'd also like to thank those that have sent me corrections for my page.

Who

My name is Kurt Schwind. I'm a programmer at Wells Fargo. I've been writing code professionally for a decade. I've also been a Medievia player since 1996 (My main character is Cestus.. [With the start of Medievia IV].
At the beginning of the year 2000 I started to look into the DIKU/MERC accusations being made against Medievia. At first, I did what most Medievia players do. I defended Medievia. At one point, I was made an AVATAR [a flag assigned to those Medievia players that have a lot of game experience and that want to help new players out]. In November I came to the decision that I would have to request that my AVATAR flag be removed. I could not, in good conscience, toe the party line anymore. You can read the letter of Resignation here.
Since then, I've stopped playing Medievia. My character has logged in thousands hours (over 3000 at last check) into this game. It was not trivial discarding all the work I've put into a character that I really enjoyed. You can contact me at kurtschwind@yahoo.com.

Medievia and DIKU/MERC


What is DIKU and MERC?

DIKU and MERC are codebases for M.U.D.s. Multi-User-Dungeon. A code base is the set of source code used to create the MUD program. The DIKU code base has been used and enhanced many many times. You can see the DIKU family tree at http://www.game.org/heirarchy.html. You can see that DIKU is the parent and that MERC is a great grand child of the DIKU code base. (DIKU -> Sequent -> Copper -> Merc). MUDs are fairly complex programs. Most people don't know how to "just code one" so a great alternative is to download a codebase and modify it to suit your specific needs. For example, you might change the 'theme' of a mud from medievial to sci-fi. The new mud that is created in this process is said to be derived from the original work.

What do the licenses say?

When you download a copy of a MUD codebase, you get documents with the licenses. I've included a copy of the licenses here. The DIKU License and The MERC License

The gist of the licenses is pretty simple though. You cannot charge money. You have to leave the DIKU authors names in the login sequence. And you have to have 'help diku' and 'help merc' commands that show you the credits of the original authors. It really isn't asking much when you think about it. They only want credit for their work.


Who is Vryce?

Vryce is the 'immortal' name that Michael A. Krause uses on Medievia. He owns all of Medievia. He is the sole owner of Medievia.com a class S corporate entity. [In other words, a "for profit" company].

What is with the donation items?

Medievia takes monetary donations for in game equipment. The equipment sells for 25 -> 50 dollars. Most of the 50 dollar eq is no-det (it lives forever in the game). All of the $25 equipment has a yearly charge. I'm not sure when, but at some point rule 7t came into existance. Via this rule, you can make personal swaps with characters for donation equipment. At some level SOMEONE had to either pay cash or pay in services, but it is possible now to come into the game and get some of the donation equipment by trading in-game equipment/cash for it. As of yet, I'm not sure if the nag-screen goes away about donating to Medievia.

What is a derived work?

A derivative work is a work based upon one or more preexisting works. You can read the US Legal definition in 17 USC 101. The Berne Convention also protects the original copyright in derived works.

What is an immortal?

An 'immortal' in game terms is a game admin. Often refered to as immortals or deities or Gods, these people manage, program and in general oversee the goings on in the mud world.

What does Medievia claim?

The current claim by Vryce is that Medievia was MERC/DIKU but since he has changed so much of the original code, Medievia no longer qualifies as DIKU/MERC. The statement directly from Medievia can be read here. I've got a version of the document cached here. AI also have received a letter from someone who has written Vryce and actually got a response. I post it here in full only removing the name of the sender.

To break it down a bit. I've got claim/counter here.


You are getting your information from biased sources. Have you even tried talking to Vryce?

I'm getting my information from people that have worked with Medievia or are currently working with Medievia. Many people are willing to give information 'off the record'. When I started to gather the information in earnest (and read up on copyright laws etc...) I sent an email to Vryce. He never responded to it. I asked for his side and never got it. If he wants to let his side be known, I'd be more than happy to post it here. I'm in the fortunate position to be about as objective as you are going to get. I played Medievia for many years. I have never broken a rule on Medievia. I was trusted to be an AVATAR for the game. I get no money from Medievia. And likewise, I get no money from people who have an interest in seeing Medievia fall. I'm not in competition with Medievia. I have no interest in spreading lies about Medievia. Nothing would make me happier than for Medievia to either code from scratch a new mud or to give the MERC and DIKU teams credit and to follow the licenses. I have also found many of the current developers to be pretty frank about seeing stock DIKU code in the game. This isn't a big secret.

I have information for you. Where do I send it?

First let me say what I'm not interested in.
I'm not interested in nudie pix of Med gods.
I'm not interested in slandering Medievia individuals.
I'm not interested in personal information on any of the Medievia staff.
I'm not interested in Medievia source code or snippets.
If you have information that you think is pertinent you can email me at kurtschwind@yahoo..com. I do get a lot of email, but I will try and answer any questions you may have.

I have been modifying and adding to DIKU code for some time. At what point is it no longer DIKU?

I've seen this question asked dozens of times. I've had it asked of me dozens of times. The short answer is never. If you are adding/changing/modifying the DIKU source you are still a derivative work. If your goal is to have a mud that is yours to sell or take full credit for or whatnot, you have to code it from scratch. The DikuMud FAQ is pretty clear on this. Here is a snippet:
"Do I need to follow the license agreement?"
	YES YES YES YES YES!! No matter how much you have or think you
	have changed in the code, you must included both the 'credits'
	file and the names of the authors in the initial logon screen.
	There are no ifs, ands, or buts about this.


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Last updated July 15, 2005