Party like it's 1979

So recently I've been playing Lacuna Expanse more than I probably should be. It's an interesting game with a lot of other Perl programmers involved, so the community feeling is very familiar.

One of the things that Lacuna Expanse does that I haven't seen in other games, not that I game a lot1, is they expose their server API fully. This means not only can you use the official JS/HTML Client, or the iPhone client, or the Adobe AIR client, but you can write your own scripts to target the API. Shortly after the game was formed, tsee created Games::Lacuna::Client.

After that there was an explosion of small Perl scripts doing everything from building reports of ships in the empire, to doing full automation of your account through a limited AI "Governor".

Earlier this week in the in-game chat someone suggested there should be a text-based version of the game. I suspect that the suggestion was in jest, a text-based client to a Web Based game that has a GUI already is ... well awesome but silly. It did however get me thinking. With Games::Lacuna::Client it shouldn't be that hard to write. Two days later...

Well here is a Screen Shot:

Screen Shot

Games::Lacuna::MUD

The code is still in developer release mode. It may never get beyond that point. If you'd like to get started with Games::Lacuna::MUD simply do the following.

On a box with Perl 5.12.22 installed download a copy of this Games::Lacuna::MUD either by cloning it or downloading a tarball.

I'm gonna assume you have CPANMINUS installed. If not it use your own preferred client or install cpanm from the web.

> curl -L http://cpanmin.us | perl - --self-upgrade 

Make sure you have Dist::Zilla installed, this will make installing the dependencies easier.

> cpanm Dist::Zill

Once Dist::Zilla is installed simply do the following to install the dependencies required for Games::Lacuna::MUD

> dzil listdeps | cpanm

Once the dependencies are installed you will need to have a developer API Key that you can acquire from this site.

With the developer key you can create a configuration file for Games::Lacuna::Client.

---
api_key: [KEY]
empire_name: [EMPIRE]
empire_password: "[PASSWORD]"
server_uri: https://us1.lacunaexpanse.com/

Save this as $HOME/.le-mudrc and you can start the MUD client with the following

> perl bin/le-mud.pl

Some basic MUD commands work: look, go planet, go building, leave building, quit

Beyond this the commands are still rudimentary. There is no help system because I wasn't happy with the on that I had and haven't come up with a slick way of integrating a cross cutting concern like that. You are free of course to view the source.

I'm really happy with the design of this project, I thought I'd take a few blog posts to explain some of the tools I used to throw it together in about 2 days of work and how Moose and CPAN really helped make it work quickly and be fun.

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  1. Actually I tell people that my "game" is called Perl. When I want to do something creative and non-work, I hack on throw away side projects. I've got an addictive personality and I always feared I would waste far too much time playing, which is why I've never started. ↩

  2. I'm actually really lazy, use 5.12.2; is part of my stock boiler plate for personal scripts though I don't think I use anything that wouldn't be compatible under 5.10. By: Chris Prather on 2010-12-31T00:00:00 ↩