Introduction

Monster is a text-oriented computer adventure game. Like other traditional adventure games such as Zork and Adventure, Monster players issue simple commands to direct a "puppet" through an artificial world. Players can explore the world, pick up and make use of objects, and solve puzzles.

However, Monster is quite different from other computer adventures in two respects: first, Monster is a multiplayer game. In addition to the normal actions a player can effect on the simulated environment, players can also interact with one another. Player characters can fight, talk, trade items and explore territory together. Monster is similar in this respect to some multiplayer games available on computer networks such as the Source and Compuserve.

However, Monster allows players to do something that very few, if any, other games allow: the players themselves create the fantasy world as part of the game. Players can create objects, make locations, and set up puzzles for other players to solve. Game mechanisms allow players to:

For example, a player in Monster could create a room named "Great Hall", provide a textual description for it (which other players would see upon entering the rooms), and describe special features of the room (for instance, a brass plaque on the wall).

Here's what another player who walked into the room described above would see (lines beginning with > are the player's input):

  > look
  You're in Great Hall
  You're in the middle of a vast hall stretching out of sight to the
  east and west.  Strange shadows play across the high vaulted ceiling.
  The floor is set with smooth rectangular stones.  The walls feel slightly
  cold to the touch, and damp with condensation.  A copper plaque, slightly
  green with age, is set into one wall.

  > look plaque

  The plaque looks very old and corroded.   However, you can still make out
  the writing:

  " Monster, created by Rich Skrenta, 1988.  Play at your own risk. "
Now the creator of the rooms could add a secret passage, perhaps hidden underneath some stones in the floor. To do this, first the player would describe what the stones looked like, then make a hidden exit to another location with a special command which would activate it. Here's what the player would see after making these changes:
  > show details
  Details here that you may inspect:
      stones
      plaque
  > look stones
  The stones are rough and black, and cold to the touch.  Although the
  mortar work appears to have been expertly done, it has decayed with time.
  Many stones are cracked, and narrow spaces fracture the carefully laid
  pattern.  Some of the stones are quite loose.  You might be able to lift
  one of them with some effort.
  > lift
  With great effort, you manage to lift the stone enough to fit inside.

  Once below the stone, it falls back into place, sealing out the light
  from above.  You squirm down the narrow tunnel . . .
This example only hints at the details that actually go into the creation of a realistic game puzzle. To set up a rich game location, a player would have to specify:

Technical Aspects of Monster

Each player who plays the Monster game runs a separate copy of the game. Each individual Monster process shares a database containing all of the information about the simulated world, including: Each of the Monster database files are organized as a linear collection of fixed-length records. Monster uses the following files:
    roomfile:	file of records containing data on Monster locations
    namfile:	file containing names for objects, rooms and people
    descfile:	file of text description blocks (10 lines maximum)
    linefile:	file of short (one line) descriptions
    intfile:	file of various integer parameters
    objfile:	file of records containing data on Monster objects
    indexfile:	file of bitmaps for the other files; used to mark
		    free/inuse records for dynamic allocation
    eventfile:	file of records used for interprocess communication

Record Locking

When Monster tries to access a record in one of the shared data files, it first makes a read attempt on the record. If the record is available (no other Monster process is reading or writing it) VMS will lock and read the record and return successfully. If another process has locked the record, VMS will return an error condition. In this case the Monster process will wait a small random amount of time and attempt to read the record again. Then if the Monster program cannot successfully read and lock the record after a certain number of retries, it prints an error message and aborts.

In initial versions of Monster a count was kept of how many times two processes would "collide" when both wanted to read one record. The random wait dramatically reduced this hit count.

Monster's response time using this scheme is acceptable when the load on the VAX is not too high. However, it does have some drawbacks. The first is that a data record being read by a Monster process is locked for a short time, even if the process has no intention of writing to it. Also, the collide-and-wait approach is somewhat crude considering VMS has extensive record locking facilities which are capable not only of allowing multiple-read access to a record but also of queueing processes desiring to write-lock a record. Unfortunately, the use of these facilities requires special VMS priviliges not available to ordinary users.

Interprocess Communication

Monster processes communicate through a shared file. A communication from one process to another is referred to as an event; the shared file for communication is called the event file. Two player processes will only need to communicate if both players are in the same location, since actions in one room won't affect gamers elsewhere. However, when two or more players are in the same location, quite a lot of events may happen: Because only player processes in the same Monster game location need to communicate, each room has an associated event file record. Each event file record contains a circular list of events with a pointer to the most recent event. When a player enters a new room, either by moving or joining the game, the Monster process reads the event file record for the room and makes a local copy of the current event pointer. At periodic intervals, the Monster process will reread the event file record and compare its local pointer to the one in the event file. If they are different, other player processes have logged events to the event record, and the Monster process will pull them off the list, handle them, and update its own local pointer. When a process needs to log an event, it write-locks the event file record, writes a new event, and updates the event file pointer.

There are over sixty different events that a Monster process can initiate or handle; each event can be interpreted differently according to circumstances. For example, player A may whisper something to player B. Suppose player C is also in the room. Player A's process logs an event containing the message, the event type ("whisper") and the target of the whisper (player B) to the event file record associated with their current location.

  > whisper b
  >> Hey b, this is something I whispered to you.
Player B's process will receive and handle the event:
  A whispers, "Hey b, this is something I whispered to you."
Player C's process will also receive and handle the event. Usually C will only see A and B whispering together:
  A is whispering to B.
However, there is a small chance that C will overhear the message:
  You overhear A whispering to B:
    "Hey b, this is something I whispered to you."
This method of interprocess communication requires that all Monster processes frequently read the event file to see if any events have occured. This might seem less efficient than another scheme possibly using VMS mailboxes or shared memory. Lack of sufficient VMS privileges prevented me from using shared memory. Mailboxes might be more efficient, especially if used with the Vax's interrupt system. However, several problems would be present: The event file scheme of communication has proven flexible and is fast enough when the VAX load is not high.

Maintaining a Player's Existence in the Database

When a user runs Monster, it first checks a playerlog to see if he has ever played before. If so, the player is restored to the state he was in when he last played, just before issuing the QUIT command. In the user is not found in the playerlog, he is started out at an initial location, somewhat in the center of the world.

To place a player into a location, Monster scans the room record for a free "person" slot to put the player's index into. Once the player is part of the room record, he will be visible to other players who are also in that room (providing he hasn't hidden himself), and they will be able to interact with him.

A dangerous situation occurs when a player process dies or becomes disconnected for some reason. In this case, the room record shows that a certain player is in a location, but in fact there is no controlling Monster process for that player. There will be no process to handle events directed at that player. This is a bad situation because they player is not obviously "dead" to the other Monster programs, as interprocess communication only involves sending an event, and does not provide for receipt acknowledgement.

These "zombie" players were a serious nuisance in an early version of Monster. The Monster world appeared to be full of players, when in fact they were just ghosts left from players typing the VAX interrupt character or becoming disconnected from modems (Monster now inhibits the interrupt character to help prevent the casual creation of zombies).

There are two cases where a zombie game character may be detected: when another player suspects that a game character is not being controlled by a real user (either from a lack of response from the game character or by checking the VAX user list); or when the player who created the zombie character attempts to play Monster again (only one player per account is allow to play Monster at a time, so if a player tries to enter Monster and also appears to be currently playing the game, either 1) two players on one account are trying to play Monster at the same time, or 2) the player character that appears to be currently playing Monster is really a zombie).

To handle the first case, when one player suspects another of being a zombie, the player can issue the PING command. PING sends repeated events directed at the suspected zombie, with short pauses between the sends. If PING does not receive a response within a certain amount of time (currently about three seconds) it attempts to smoothly return the zombie character to the "inactive" (not playing) state. This involves taking every object the player character was holding and dropping them on the ground, updating the "time of last play" record and modifying the playerlog to show that the player is not currently playing.

In the second case, when no other player has PINGed away the zombie and the original player (the one responsible for the zombie character) attempts to reenter Monster, Monster will inform him:

	There may have been some trouble the last time you played.
	Trying to fix it . . .
At this point, Monster itself attempts to PING the player's character. If two people on the same account are trying to play Monster at the same time the PING will be answered and Monster will not let the second player into the game. Otherwise, the player will enter Monster normally after a short pause:
	All should be fixed now.

	Welcome back, Faust.  Your last play was on 13-MAY-1988 at 8:31pm.
Even with this solution, there are still situations where trouble can arise with zombie characters. For example, suppose a player is on a modem playing Monster and becomes disconnected. Another player PINGs away the zombie character. The dialup player calls up the VAX again, and reconnects to his disconnected process. Now his Monster process still thinks the player character is alive in the room (it has no knowledge of the disconnect) but the database shows that the player is inactive.

If only a few events have been logged in the associated event file record, the reconnnected Monster process will notice the fatal PING to itself (lingering in the event file record) and will abort. However, if many events have occured while the process was disconnected, it will not be aware of the change to the database. This will leave the database in an inconsistent state until the player QUITs the game. Fortunately, when the player quits the database will be fixed.

Since this problem will eventually correct itself (when the player quits) and because checking for this very rare situation would slow response time considerably (Monster would have to verify its existence in the database continuously) I decided to ignore this exception.

I had originally hoped for a smoother solution to the "disconnected player" problem. In a system where a central process drives all of the player terminals, this is possible. However, because control in Monster is shared between many identical processes, the problem is much harder.

Reflections on the Project

How the "Installed Base" Stagnated New Development

During the development of Monster I would periodically change the records that held the Monster database. Once changed in the program, this would render the existing database unusable, as the new program could no longer open the old files. Thus, I would have to destroy the existing world if I wanted to add any fields to the records that comprised the shared files.

In order to provide a stable environment for players who did not want to see their hard work making Monster rooms destroyed every time I made a change to the structure of the database, I installed a version with a separate set of data files than the copy I worked on for development. Players created rooms and tested the installed version, while I continued to develop my own copy. Eventually, the world in the first release of Monster had about 60 rooms.

About a month after installing the original Monster I replaced it with the new, greatly enhanced version I had been working on (the executable was about 4 times the size of the original) and started over with an empty world. I had provided expansion fields in the data records for the new release of Monster so I could continue to develop the game without having to work on my own private copy.

The second release of Monster was very popular. I continued to add features to the program, and made use of the expansion fields when possible. However, I felt more and more constrained by the limits of my database. I needed to change more about the data records than the expansion fields would allow. I wanted to erase the world a second time; however, players had put much work into creating over 100 rooms, and became quite angry when I suggested that I might throw away the current world to make a new one.

Some suggested that I write a program which would convert the existing database to a new format. However, I felt that the work to do this would be much greater than the work I was planning to spend to make enhancements to the game. Also, the style of my changes during development called for small frequent changes. I abandoned the idea of trying to write a translation program, and instead attempted to work around the limitations of the database structure. Eventually, however, my work stagnated, and new development on Monster ceased.

I never anticipated the work of my playtesters holding back further development. If I were to rewrite Monster, I would use a more flexible storage approach, one probably involving a form of dynamic typing which would let me add new parameters to the database without actually changing the record structure or size.

Appendix A: Specifyable Parameters for Monster Locations and Objects

Rooms:
------

nicename:	the name of the room
nameprint:	formatting control for the nicename
primary,
secondary:	textual descriptions of the room
which:		control for which room description prints:
			0 - only print primary room description
			1 - only print secondary room description
			2 - print both primary and secondary room descriptions
			3 - print primary description; then print secondary
			    description if the player is holding the specified
			    magic object for the room
magicobj:	the magic object for the room
trapto,
trapchance:	allows a player to semi-randomly be thrust through an exit
rndmsg:		eerie message that randomly prints
details:	details that may be looked at in the room


Exits:
------

toloc:		where the exit goes
kind:		type of the exit:
			0 - no exit; always fails
			1 - open exit; always succeeds
			2 - exits succeeds if player has key object
			3 - exit fails if player has key object
			4 - exit randomly fails
			5 - potential exit; doesn't exist yet
			7 - exit cycles between being open and closed
exitdesc:	short textual descrption of the exit
fail:		description if player fails to go through exit
success:	description if player succeeds to go through exit
goin:		what other players see when someone goes into the exit
comeout:	what others see when a player comes out of the exit
hidden:		what the player sees when he finds the exit (if it's hidden)
objreq:		key object for exit
alias:		name of the exit
reqverb:	requires the player to use the alias only (without "go") to
		use the exit
reqalias:	requires the player to know the exit alias; can't use the
		compass point
autolook:	surpresses the automatic "look" done upon entering the
		new room

Objects:
--------

oname:		the name of the object
kind:		type parameter for the object
linedesc:	short description of the object (the "on the floor" description)
examine:	close inspection description for the object
numexist:	how many copies of the object exist
sticky:		inhibits players from being able to pick up the object
getobjreq:	requires the player to be holding another object before
		he can pick up this one
getfail:	message printed if a player fails to get an object
getsuccess:	message printed when an object is successfully picked up
useobjreq:	object player must be holding to use this object
uselocreq:	place player must be in to use this object
usefail:	message printed if player fails in use of the object
usesuccess:	message printed if object is successfully used
usealias:	alias word to "use"
reqalias:	require player to know the alias to use the object
article:	whether "a", "an", "some", "the" should precede the object name


Appendix B: Monster Command List

Accept/Refuse #  Allow others to Link an exit here at direction # | Undo Accept
Brief            Toggle printing of room descriptions
Customize [#]    Customize this room | Customize exit # | Customize object #
Describe [#]     Describe this room | Describe a feature (#) in detail
Destroy #        Destroy an instance of object # (you must be holding it)
Duplicate #      Make a duplicate of an already-created object.
Form/Zap #       Form a new room with name # | Destroy room named #
Get/Drop #       Get/Drop an object
#,Go #           Go towards # (Some: N/North S/South E/East W/West U/Up D/Down)
Health           Show how healthy you are
Hide/Reveal [#]  Hide/Reveal yoursef | Hide object (#)
I,Inventory      See what you or someone else is carrying
Link/Unlink #    Link/Unlink this room to/from another via exit at direction #
Look,L [#]       Look here | Look at something or someone (#) closely
Make #           Make a new object named #
Name #           Set your game name to #
Players          List people who have played Monster
Punch #          Punch person #
Quit             Leave the game
Relink           Move an exit
Rooms            Show information about rooms you have made
Say, ' (quote)   Say line of text following command to others in the room
Search           Look around the room for anything hidden
Self #           Edit a description of yourself | View #'s self-description
Show #           Show option # (type SHOW ? for a list)
Unmake #         Remove the form definition of object #
Use #            Use object #
Wear #           Wear the object #
Wield #          Wield the weapon #;  you must be holding it first
Whisper #        Whisper something (prompted for) to person #
Who              List of people playing Monster now
Whois #          What is a player's username
?,Help           This list
. (period)       Repeat last command

Appendix C: Customization Subsystem Menus

Room Customization:
-------------------

Custom> ?

D       Alter the way the room description prints
N       Change how the room Name prints
P       Edit the Primary room description [the default one] (same as desc)
S       Edit the Secondary room description
X       Define a mystery message

G       Set the location that a dropped object really Goes to
O       Edit the object drop description (for drop effects)
B       Edit the target room (G) "bounced in" description

T       Set the direction that the Trapdoor goes to
C       Set the Chance of the trapdoor functioning

M       Define the magic object for this room
R       Rename the room

V       View settings on this room
E       Exit (same as quit)
Q       Quit (same as exit)
?       This list


Exit customization:
-------------------

Custom [direction]> ?

A       Set an Alias for the exit
C       Conceal an exit
D       Edit the exit's main Description
E       EXIT custom (saves changes)
F       Edit the exit's failure line
I       Edit the line that others see when a player goes Into an exit
K       Set the object that is the Key to this exit
L       Automatically look [default] / don't look on exit
O       Edit the line that people see when a player comes Out of an exit
Q       QUIT Custom (saves changes)
R       Require/don't require alias for exit; ignore direction
S       Edit the success line
T       Alter Type of exit (passage, door, etc)
V       View exit information
X       Require/don't require exit name to be a verb
?       This list


Object Customization:
---------------------

Custom object> ?

A       "a", "an", "some", etc.
D       Edit a Description of the object
F       Edit the GET failure message
G       Set the object required to pick up this object
1       Set the get success message
K       Set the Kind of object this is
L       Edit the label description ("There is a ... here.")
P       Program the object based on the kind it is
R       Rename the object
S       Toggle the sticky bit

U       Set the object required for use
2       Set the place required for use
3       Edit the use failure description
4       Edit the use success description
V       View attributes of this object

X       Edit the extra description
5       Edit extra desc #2
E       Exit (same as Quit)
Q       Quit (same as Exit)
?       This list

Appendix D: Monster Playerlist as of June 5, 1988

dolpher       ! Monster Manager        5-JUN-1988  1:48pm * great baths
dasun_c       ! Iceman                 4-JUN-1988 10:30pm * the transporter room
kirsten       ! Kirsten                4-JUN-1988 11:20pm * ffoirefirma
isakson       ! Satan                  3-JUN-1988 10:13am * satan's private hell
tlb05405      ! Tlb05405               3-JUN-1988 11:59am * east hall
nate          ! Smaug                  3-JUN-1988  7:41pm * platform 1
skrenta       ! Faust                  3-JUN-1988  8:37pm * tower room
gary          ! Monster Vice Manager   2-JUN-1988  9:50pm * inner office
laura         ! Laura                  2-JUN-1988 10:36pm * turbolift chamber
james         ! James                  1-JUN-1988  7:54pm * chuk's elevator
chuk          ! SoulStorm              1-JUN-1988  9:57pm * east hall
peter_t       ! Peter_t               31-MAY-1988  8:33pm * pine forest
cary          ! Cary                  31-MAY-1988 11:20pm * maelstrom
francisco     ! Prof. Anthrax         30-MAY-1988  3:54pm * waterbed
sundeep       ! Sundeep               29-MAY-1988  2:21pm * mta office
bkc04916      ! Cheekster             28-MAY-1988 10:51am * the 'ell stop
ktl04905      ! Corwin                28-MAY-1988 11:44am * west hall
perry         ! Bufu Master!!!        28-MAY-1988  8:40pm * pinkie's place
maryahn       ! pinkie                27-MAY-1988 12:39pm * the sewer tunnel
immell        ! hurricane eye         26-MAY-1988  2:25am * post office 3
robert        ! Hungry Wolf           26-MAY-1988  2:26am * roll6
linda         ! linlop                26-MAY-1988 10:47am * terminal room
jeff          ! Pringle               25-MAY-1988  7:12pm * ic
mic00229      ! Mic00229              22-MAY-1988  8:33pm * great hall
jeffoire      ! Ffoire Zen Salad      20-MAY-1988  1:41pm * bar
schroder      ! Schroder              19-MAY-1988 10:09am * burrow
lunde         ! Purple Peril          18-MAY-1988 12:55pm * cloud 9.5
pib           ! Great Pib             17-MAY-1988 11:51pm * great pib's lair
ahrens        ! it                    15-MAY-1988  4:56pm * landing
mborsetti     ! Mborsetti             12-MAY-1988 10:20pm * sewer crossroads
brian         ! Mr. Raven             11-MAY-1988 11:24am * a damp and dark hole
wen05563      ! Gary                  11-MAY-1988  9:00pm * great hall
jimbo         ! Jimbo                  8-MAY-1988 10:02pm * great hall
lentz         ! Lentz                  7-MAY-1988  8:24am * front of isp noyes
miller        ! Mungus                 5-MAY-1988  1:14pm * starbase
otto          ! Otto                   4-MAY-1988  8:45pm * heidi's nightmare
chris         ! House Manager          3-MAY-1988  3:54am * home base
liao          ! Liao                  30-APR-1988  1:21pm * white house
chaz          ! Chaz                  29-APR-1988  4:05pm * post office 2
jmc           ! Run JMC               29-APR-1988  4:37pm * isp heaven
rod           ! Rod                   29-APR-1988  9:00pm * great hall
choi          ! Choi                  28-APR-1988  8:25pm * east hall
bo            ! God                   26-APR-1988  1:58pm * great hall
jonathan      ! Jonathan              26-APR-1988  5:26pm * eye of the hurricane
swift         ! Swift                 26-APR-1988  8:53pm * post office hall
ric05787      ! Deadhead              26-APR-1988 10:57pm * nightmarish room
mccoy         ! The Scribe            26-APR-1988 11:41pm * scribe home
g_wenslow     ! Gary II               24-APR-1988 11:58pm * east hall
kri04333      ! Kri04333              18-APR-1988 12:11am * great hall
dissett       ! Kronos                18-APR-1988 10:13pm * kronos' room
wantz         ! Wantz                 17-APR-1988  2:51pm * great hall
cheezer       ! Cheezer               16-APR-1988  7:55pm * the pine forest
ahr04465      ! Ivo                   16-APR-1988  7:56pm * sewer transport
joey          ! geek                  15-APR-1988  8:03pm * forest crossroads
wargaski      ! Wargaski              14-APR-1988  4:01pm * toxicated
eric          ! Eric                  13-APR-1988  3:51pm * the hall of chuk
rwc00220      ! Rwc00220              12-APR-1988  1:32pm * great hall
kstull        ! Kstull                12-APR-1988  5:01pm * post office 3
tim           ! Tim                   11-APR-1988  8:26pm * great hall
sean          ! Sean                  10-APR-1988  4:27pm * great hall
sam           ! Sam                   10-APR-1988 12:54pm * great hall
dean          ! Artagel                9-APR-1988  8:21am * turbolift chamber
supercom      ! Cursor                 8-APR-1988 12:00am * forest paths
anne          ! Anne                   7-APR-1988  6:55pm * great hall
lisa          ! Lisa                   7-APR-1988  6:56pm * great hall
mouse         ! Mouse                  3-APR-1988 11:26pm * west hall
mca04477      ! Mca04477               2-APR-1988  8:56pm * burrow
sajiv         ! Sajiv                 30-MAR-1988  6:06pm * great hall
chad          ! Chad                  30-MAR-1988  6:37pm * chuk's elevator
jennifer      ! Jennifer              30-MAR-1988  7:22pm * east hall
lasonia       ! Lasonia               29-MAR-1988 11:22am * west hall
brian_t       ! Brian_t               29-MAR-1988 11:59am * maelstrom
mikk          ! Random                29-MAR-1988 11:19pm * ledge
topher        ! Topher                28-MAR-1988  1:19pm * great hall
spectre       ! Ghost in the machine  28-MAR-1988 11:43pm * ghost's mailroom
dave          ! Dave                  18-MAR-1988 10:14am * post office hall
penguins      ! Penguins Amok         18-MAR-1988 11:52pm * chuk's elevator
lawson        ! Space Cowboy          18-MAR-1988 12:23pm * great hall
heidi         ! Heidi                 17-MAR-1988  1:11am * digital purgatory
bueno         ! Bueno                 17-MAR-1988  7:49pm * post office hall
dan           ! Grando                16-MAR-1988  8:18am * eye of the hurricane
eric_yue      ! Samsok                16-MAR-1988  9:29pm * the yueguy's joint
cra01453      ! Cra01453              15-MAR-1988  3:01am * great hall
adam          ! Adam                  14-MAR-1988  6:45pm * round room
was04906      ! Milt                  14-MAR-1988  9:48pm * great hall
watson        ! Watson                14-MAR-1988 10:22pm * chuk's elevator
brianw        ! Brianw                12-MAR-1988         * ffoirefirma
mike          ! Mike                  12-MAR-1988         * toxicated
predator      ! Predator              12-MAR-1988         * east hall
daniel        ! Daniel                11-MAR-1988         * west hall
dav08345      ! Dav08345              11-MAR-1988         * great hall
vlahos        ! otis                  11-MAR-1988         * post office
ginter        ! Ginter                10-MAR-1988         * living room
rob09549      ! Rob09549               9-MAR-1988         * great hall
dora          ! Dora                   8-MAR-1988         * toxicated
kim           ! kim                    8-MAR-1988         * post office 2
michael       ! Prabdib                7-MAR-1988         * tunnel of love
bradley       ! Bradley               29-FEB-1988         * eye of the hurricane
john          ! Raunchmeister         29-FEB-1988         * underhall
melvin        ! Killer Melvin         27-FEB-1988         * chuk's elevator
cliff         ! Cliff                 26-FEB-1988         * east hall

Appendix E: An Actual Monster Game Log

$ monster
Welcome to Monster!  Hit return to start:

Welcome back, Faust.  Your last play was on 1-JUN-1988 at 10:47pm.

You're in Great Hall
You're in the middle of a vast hall stretching out of sight to the
east and west.  Strange shadows play across the high vaulted ceiling.
The floor is set with smooth rectangular stones.  The walls feel slightly
cold to the touch, and damp with condensation.  A copper plaque, slightly
green with age, is set into one wall.

Monster Manager is here.
>
Monster Manager vanishes in a brilliant burst of multicolored light.
> l
You're in Great Hall
You're in the middle of a vast hall stretching out of sight to the
east and west.  Strange shadows play across the high vaulted ceiling.
The floor is set with smooth rectangular stones.  The walls feel slightly
cold to the touch, and damp with condensation.  A copper plaque, slightly
green with age, is set into one wall.

>
Monster Manager appears in a brilliant burst of multicolored light.
> who
                   Monster Status
                 1-JUN-1988 10:48pm

Username        Game Name                 Where
dolpher         Monster Manager           great hall
skrenta         Faust                     great hall
> look plaque

The plaque looks very old and corroded.   However, you can still make out
the writing:

 " Monster, created by Rich Skrenta, 1988.  Play at your own risk. "

> show details
Details here that you may inspect:
    stones
    plaque
> look stones
The stones are rough and black, and cold to the touch.  Although the
mortar work appears to have been expertly done, it has decayed with time.
Many stones are cracked, and narrow spaces fracture the carefully laid
pattern.  Some of the stones are quite loose.  You might be able to lift
one of them with some effort.
>
Monster Manager is looking at the stones.
>
Monster Manager is looking at the plaque.
>
Monster Manager says, "Hey Faust, let's go down to the Underhall."
>
Monster Manager manages to lift a stone in the floor and descends.
> lift
With great effort, you manage to lift the stone enought to fit inside.

Once below the stone, it falls back into place, sealing out the light
from above.  You squirm down the narrow tunnel . . .

You're in UnderHall
This is a cramped, humid room beneath the Great Hall.  The walls are
dripping with water condensed from mist rising from the baths.  Some
of the mist follows the ceiling and dissappears up the narrow tunnel.

Stairs lead north down to the Great Baths.
A neon sign flashes "Great PIB's Lair" over a door to the South.
You could manage a crawl through a narrow tunnel leading upwards.

Monster Manager is here.
> look Monster Manager
Monster Manager is the stereotype of a computer hacker.  He is wearing
a flannel shirt with several snickers bars in the breast pocket.  On
his belt is an ASCII-HEX conversion chart.  On his feet are a scuffed
pair of hiking boots so he can tackle those dangerous mountains that
crop up in operations.  Also dangling from his belt is a battered box
with many buttons on the front and wires with sockets on the ends protruding
from the back.  The switches seem to have been placed haphazardly, but
the object is unmistakably one of great power nonetheless.

Monster Manager is in perfect health.
Monster Manager is empty handed.
>
Monster Manager is looking at you.
>
Monster Manager swings at you but misses.
>
You duck in time to avoid Monster Manager's punch.
>
You see stars as Monster Manager bashes you in the face.
>
You parry Monster Manager's attack.
> punch Monster Manager
You can't punch the Monster Manager.
> l
You're in UnderHall
This is a cramped, humid room beneath the Great Hall.  The walls are
dripping with water condensed from mist rising from the baths.  Some
of the mist follows the ceiling and dissappears up the narrow tunnel.

Stairs lead north down to the Great Baths.
A neon sign flashes "Great PIB's Lair" over a door to the South.
You could manage a crawl through a narrow tunnel leading upwards.

Monster Manager is here.
> n
You're in Great Baths
These are the luxurious Great Baths where tired adventurers may come
to relax and try to regain their health and youth from the mineral waters.
>From where you stand at the entrance, you can see below you the bubbling
soapy pools of water churning violently in tile-lined pits.  The pools
are fed by hot springs from deep in the rock beneath you.  Steam and
huge soapy bubbles rise out of the hot pools of water.  The bubbles
dance through the air, climbing higher and higher, until they either
burst on the sharp walls of the cave or are lost in the mist above you.

Shallow tiled steps, wet and slick from the hot soapy waters of the
springs, lead down to the pools.

Rough stone stairs lead up to the south.

>
In an explosion of orange smoke Monster Vice Manager poofs into the room.
>
Monster Manager has come down the stairs from the Underhall.
>
Monster Vice Manager produces a "who" list and reads it.
> system
System> v

               used   free   total
Block file    1008     92    1100
Line file     1501    109    1610
Room file      283     27     310
Object file    139     41     180
Integer file     6      0       6

System>
Monster Vice Manager is in system maintenance mode.
System> exit
>
Monster Vice Manager is no longer in system maintenance mode.
> 'Hey Gary
>
Monster Vice Manager says, "Hi, Faust."
> look Monster Vice Manager
The Monster Vice Manager is dressed in a conservative three piece
suit.  The stern expression on his face is just a facade, he really
is a warm and sensitive guy underneath.  He is willing to answer
any questions and help out with any problems.  He can best be
described by the phrase:

            "Do what thou wilt, so mete it be."

He returns your gaze with a hint of understanding and amusement.

Monster Vice Manager is in perfect health.
Monster Vice Manager is empty handed.
>
Monster Vice Manager is looking at you.
> punch Monster Vice Manager
You swing wild and miss.
> .
Monster Vice Manager ducks and avoids your punch.
> .
A quick punch, but it only grazes Monster Vice Manager.
>
You only feel the breeze as Monster Vice Manager swings wildly.
> .
You swing wild and miss.
>
You see stars as Monster Vice Manager bashes you in the face.
>
You only feel the breeze as Monster Vice Manager swings wildly.
> .
You deliver a quick jab to Monster Vice Manager's jaw.
>
Monster Vice Manager's swing misses you by a yard.
> .
Your roundhouse blow sends Monster Vice Manager reeling.
>
You double over after Monster Vice Manager lands a mean jab to your stomach!
Monster Vice Manager looks a little dazed.
>
Monster Vice Manager vanishes from the room in a cloud of orange smoke.
> who
                   Monster Status
                 1-JUN-1988 10:56pm

Username        Game Name                 Where
dolpher         Monster Manager           great baths
skrenta         Faust                     great baths
gary            Monster Vice Manager      inner office
> poof inner office

This rooms is a conservatively decorated office.  A large
desk dominates the room.  Several pictures hang on the walls
and a silver service is on a stand off to the left.  Two plush
chairs beckon for you to sit down.

There are stairs leading down.

Monster Vice Manager is here.
Monster Vice Manager looks a little dazed.
> sh det
Details here that you may inspect:
    bin
    plaque
    pictures
    stand
> look bin

The bin has a sign on it saying, "Leave mail for the Monster
Vice Manager here.  Thank you."

> look plaque

The plaque reads:

         Gary Wenslow, Monster Vice Manager

> look pictures

These are very nice pictures of landscapes.  They look expensive.

> look stand

The silver service on this stand is of fine workmanship.
There are also crystal goblets and flasks containing very
fine wine, brandy, and whiskey.

> l

This rooms is a conservatively decorated office.  A large
desk dominates the room.  Several pictures hang on the walls
and a silver service is on a stand off to the left.  Two plush
chairs beckon for you to sit down.

There are stairs leading down.

Monster Vice Manager is here.
Monster Vice Manager looks a little dazed.
> rooms gary
gary:
    tunnel of love            more tunnel of love       end of tunnel
    hot dog stand             picnic                    window
    mvm office                inner office              hall1
    hall2                     hall3                     hall4
    hall5                     hall6                     hall7
    hall8                     hall9                     concession
    roll1                     roll2                     roll3
    roll4                     roll5                     roll6
    roll7                     roll8                     roll9
    roll10                    worker's ledge            railing
    rope                      mvm mail room

> rooms dolpher
dolpher:
    void                      pit of fire               underhall
    great baths               pools                     in the pool
    in the bubble             higher bubble             highest bubble
    ledge                     tower ledge               circular staircase
    behind house              kitchen                   living room
    bottom of stairs          manager's mailbox         tower room
    on the scaffolding        round room                mountain pass
    roof of tower             west passageway           castle entrance
    center hall               outside the gate          east passageway
    narrow passage

> poof behind house
You're at Behind House
The back door of the house is boarded up, but the windows have not been
blocked.  One window at ground level leads into what appears to be the
kitchen.  All of the other windows are too far above the ground for you
to reach.

A path leads west to the front of the house.

> form Study
> poof studty
There is no room named studty.
> poof study
You're in Study

A note on the east wall says "Your exit here."

> refuse east
Exits east will be refused.
> l
You're in Study

> desc
[ Editing the primary room description ]
Enter text.  Terminate with ** at the beginning of a line.
You have 10 lines maximum.

 1: This is a luxurious study walled with fine oak paneling.  A window
 2: looks out of the east wall.  It is surrounded by purple curtains.
 3: There is a small sign on the wall.
 4: **

* e
> l
You're in Study
This is a luxurious study walled with fine oak paneling.  A window
looks out of the east wall.  It is surrounded by purple curtains.
There is a small sign on the wall.

> desc sign
[ Editing detail "sign" of this room ]
Enter text.  Terminate with ** at the beginning of a line.
You have 10 lines maximum.

 1: The note seems to have been hurriedly scrawled.  It reads:
 2:
 3:    "  This room for demonstration purposes only!  "
 4:
 5: **

* ?

A       Append text to end
C       Check text for correct length with parameter substitution (#)
D #     Delete line #
E       Exit & save changes
I #     Insert lines before line #
P       Print out description
Q       Quit: THROWS AWAY CHANGES
R #     Replace text of line #
Z       Zap all text
@       Throw away text & exit with the default description
?       This list


* p

 1: The note seems to have been hurriedly scrawled.  It reads:
 2:
 3:    "  This room for demonstration purposes only!  "
 4:

* e
> sh det
Details here that you may isspect:
    sign
> look sign
The note seems to have been hurriedly scrawled.  It reads:

   "  This room for demonstration purposes only!  "

> l
You're in Study
This is a luxurious study walled with fine oak paneling.  A window
looks out of the east wall.  It is surrounded by purple curtains.
There is a small sign on the wall.

> desc sign
[ Editing detail "sign" of this room ]

* i 1
1:
2: **

* p

 1:
 2: The note seems to have been hurriedly scrawled.  It reads:
 3:
 4:    "  This room for demonstration purposes only!  "
 5:

* e
> look sign

The note seems to have been hurriedly scrawled.  It reads:

   "  This room for demonstration purposes only!  "

> l
You're in Study
This is a luxurious study walled with fine oak paneling.  A window
looks out of the east wall.  It is surrounded by purple curtains.
There is a small sign on the wall.

> form Behind the Curtains
> link west
Hit return alone at any prompt to terminate exit creation.

Room to link to? behind the curtains
Exit comes out in target room
from what direction? east
Exit created.  Use CUSTOM west to customize your exit.
> l
You're in Study
This is a luxurious study walled with fine oak paneling.  A window
looks out of the east wall.  It is surrounded by purple curtains.
There is a small sign on the wall.

There is a passage leading west.

> custom west
Customizing west exit
If you would rather be customizing this room, type CUSTOM with no arguments
If you would rather be customizing an object, type CUSTOM 

Type ** for any line to leave it unchanged.
Type return for any line to select the default.

Custom west> ?

A       Set an Alias for the exit
C       Conceal an exit
D       Edit the exit's main Description
E       EXIT custom (saves changes)
F       Edit the exit's failure line
I       Edit the line that others see when a player goes Into an exit
K       Set the object that is the Key to this exit
L       Automatically look [default] / don't look on exit
O       Edit the line that people see when a player comes Out of an exit
Q       QUIT Custom (saves changes)
R       Require/don't require alias for exit; ignore direction
S       Edit the success line
T       Alter Type of exit (passage, door, etc)
V       View exit information
X       Require/don't require exit name to be a verb
?       This list

Custom west> a
Alternate name for the exit? curtains
Custom west> r
The alias for this exit will be required to reference it.
Custom west> d
Enter a one line description of the exit.

Type ** to leave line unchanged, * to make [no line]
*
Custom west> exit
> l
You're in Study
This is a luxurious study walled with fine oak paneling.  A window
looks out of the east wall.  It is surrounded by purple curtains.
There is a small sign on the wall.

> go curtains
You're in Behind the Curtains

There is a passage leading east.
A note on the floor says "Your exit here."

> e
You're in Study
This is a luxurious study walled with fine oak paneling.  A window
looks out of the east wall.  It is surrounded by purple curtains.
There is a small sign on the wall.

> desc window
[ Editing detail "window" of this room ]
Enter text.  Terminate with ** at the beginning of a line.
You have 10 lines maximum.

 1  You see a green lawn shaded by tall trees and bordered with sculptured
 2: shrubbery.  A small rabbit is nibbling at some grass.  The entire
 3: scene has an artificial look, as if it were some cartoon rendering.
 4: **

* exit
> sh det
Details here that you may inspect:
    sign
    window
> look window
You see a green lawn shaded by tall trees and bordered with sculptured
shrubbery.  A small rabbit is nibbling at some grass.  The entire
scene has an artificial look, as if it were some cartoon rendering.
> quit
You vanish in a brilliant burst of multicolored light.
$