zMUD Feature Survey Results


Here are the results from the recent zMUD survey.  In processing the survey, I removed any responses that did not provide an email address, and I removed any obvious duplicate entries.  These results will be used to help guide the future of zMUD.   There were 299 valid survery responses.

I started responding to some of the questions that people asked in the comment fields, but then got too far behind and realized that I could not respond to everyone.  If you asked a question in the survey that you want an answer to, please send it to me via email at zugg@zuggsoft.com.   I *did* read all of the comments however.

The winner of the survey contest was: Michael Toot.  He received a rare zMUD t-shirt.  Thanks to everyone who participated in this survey, your important is very important to me.


Desired zMUD Features

Here is a list of features being considered for zMUD.  I have ordered this list with the most popular feature listed first, and the least popular listed last.  The chart on the right side shows the responses, with lowest priority on the left and highest priority on the right.

1. zMUD script debugging (avg 3.94)
Would include a syntax-colored programming panel with a way to step through your scripts to debug them
wpe2.jpg (1972 bytes)
2. Improved Window interface (avg 3.59)
Would include making windows dockable and more easily tiled or "sticky".   Would also include more customizeable "look and feel" similar to "skins" in WinAmp for example.
wpe3.jpg (2096 bytes)
3. More Tutorials (avg 3.36)
Either on the web site or within zMUD itself, tutorials will provide more detailed help on how to use many of zMUD's features like the mapper or database.
wpe4.jpg (2238 bytes)
4. Object-Oriented Scripting (avg 3.33)
Extends the current "Class" concept in zMUD to provide true object-oriented scripting with parent classes, inheritence, etc.
wpe5.jpg (2095 bytes)
5. Graphical additions to Automapper (avg 3.25)
Things like adding icons for rooms, background graphics, and tile-based maps.
wpe6.jpg (2117 bytes)
6. More Wizards (avg 3.29)
Like Trigger wizards, Expression wizards...things to make programming zMUD easier for novices.
wpe7.jpg (2208 bytes)
7. MUD Extenstion Protocol (MXP) (avg 2.864)
Adds HTML support and other similar ideas to the MUD client and server for a richer MUD experience.  Think of the difference between a web page (HTML) and a regular text page and you'll understand the difference between an MXP MUD and a Text-only MUD
wpe8.jpg (2108 bytes)
8. Linux Support (avg 2.58)
While it would be very difficult, indicate how much priority should be given to producing a Linux (X-window) version of zMUD.
wpe9.jpg (2023 bytes)
9. Macintosh Support (avg 1.50)
While it would be very difficult, indicate how much priority should be given to producing a Macintosh version of zMUD.
wpeA.jpg (1940 bytes)
10. Other
List your own idea here.  However, keep it in the same "large" scope as the items listed above.  If you have something quick and easy, just email me and I'll add it.  Also, please don't post bug reports here, they'll just get ignored.   This is your chance to become famous for suggesting something *big* like the automapper, database, or chat modules.
Some ideas people gave (I haven't listed them all):

Speed and optimization (I'm always working on this)
Overhaul the parser (see comments in the Beta Forum on this)
World Editor wizard (worldbuilder, MUD coder, etc)
Unicode support (2-byte characters)
Saving maps to graphics or web formats
Data compression
Better help files
Voice support
Many things that can already be done in zMUD (I guess this supports the better help file option)


Other Zugg Software Products

Here is a list of other products being considered by Zugg Software.    I have ordered this list with the most popular feature listed first, and the least popular listed last.  The chart on the right side shows the responses, with lowest priority on the left and highest priority on the right.

1. zMUD Server (avg 3.22)
A MUD Server that would work on Windows 95/98/NT.  It would have a GUI interface and be accessible to non-programmers.  It would allow you to act as Dungeon Master and host your own MUD game for your friends to login and play.  Scaleable up to a large MUD with hundreds of users.
wpeB.jpg (2188 bytes)
2. Make zChat competitive with ICQ (avg 2.90)
While zChat handles basic MUD chatting, it isn't ICQ.  However, it could be even better.  With the addition of server-based Name-to-IPAddress lookup and a few more features, it could give ICQ a run for it's money.
wpeC.jpg (2204 bytes)
3. RPG Construction Set (avg 2.82)
Similar to #1, but rather than a construction set for a text-based MUD, this would be a construction set for single-player RPGs similar to Ultima.  Yes, it's been done, but never very well.  Imagine an RPG designer with a nice GUI interface but the scripting power of zMUD.
wpeD.jpg (2075 bytes)
4. zTelnet Client (avg 2.72)
Basically a "zMUD-lite".  Strip out the MUD-specific stuff like the automapper, the initial castle graphics, etc.  Fix the VT100 emulation bugs and create a competitive *programmable* telnet client.
wpeE.jpg (2175 bytes)
5. Other
Here's another chance to be famous.  Suggest a piece of software that you like to see written that you'd actually pay for.  Perhaps something new, or perhaps something that has been done already, but not done well.
Some ideas people gave (I haven't listed them all):

IDE to program MUD code (graphical MUD coder)
Combined network utility program (ping, traceroute, whois, etc)
zIRC (or IRC compatibility added to zMUD)
zMUD 3D (first person mapper?)
zMUD book (it's been tried once, but you never know)


General Satisfaction

This section contains some general questions about your experiences with zMUD and some general questions about you as a zMUD user.  In the graphs below, Very Satisfied is on the right, and Very Unsatisfied is on the left.

1. What is your level of zMUD experience? Novice: 11%, Experienced: 71%, Guru: 18%
2. How long have you used zMUD? < 1 month: 3%
1-6 months: 9%
6-18 months: 16%
> 18 months: 72%
3. How often do you MUD? All the time: 47%
Once a day: 34%
Once a week: 15%
Once a month: 4%
Once a year: 0%
Never: 0%
4. What is your approximate age? 1-9: 0%
10-19: 26%
20-29: 56%
30-39: 14%
40-49: 4%
50-59: 0.3%
60-69: 0%
70 or older: 0%
5. Are you a registered zMUD user? Yes: 92%
No: 8%
6. How satisfied are you with zMUD in general? (avg 4.45) wpeF.jpg (2076 bytes)
7. How satisfied are you with zMUD support (avg 4.22)
Either via email or via the various discussion forums.
wpe10.jpg (2073 bytes)
8. How satisfied are you with the Zuggsoft.com web site? (avg 4.16) wpe11.jpg (2073 bytes)
9. zMUD Copy Protection (avg 4.34)
OK, here is a controversial subject, so I expect a range of answers.  zMUD has *very* advanced copy protection.   Please indicate how much you agree or disagree with continued efforts to prevent hackers from using zMUD for free.
wpe12.jpg (2154 bytes)
10. Comments?
Please enter any detailed comments you want to make about zMUD.  Both positive and negative are welcome.  But again, don't report bugs here...if you have a bug report, send me email.
People responded with a lot of "zMUD rocks!" messages that I really enjoyed reading.  There was also a lot of addition comments supporting the continued copy protection in zMUD.  Always fun reading the comments :)

Analysis

It's easy to over-analyze surveys, so I won't.  Also, since the format of the questions changed, it is hard to directly compare with the previous zMUD survey results.  In general, the priority of features for the next version of zMUD came out about how I expected.  The MXP features are important enough that I'll continue to work on it regardless of the survey results, especially since many people taking the survey didn't really know what MXP is.   I'll continue to ignore Maxc and Linux support unless there is a breakthrough and Borland/Inprise actually goes ahead with their Delphi for Linux project (unlikely though).   You'll notice in the Beta Forum that I have already gotten started on the first two priorities for the next version (script editor/debugger, and better window interface).   "Skins" ala WinAmp don't look like a possibility though.  It's one thing to put skins on a music player, it's another thing completely to put skins on a complex application like zMUD.

The responses to the "Other Projects" ideas for ZuggSoft can be summarized as "ho-hum".  In other words, nobody was very excited about any of the possibilities.  Thus, I'll continue to focus on zMUD itself and keep some of these projects stewing on the back burner until I have time for them.

The only demographics that has really changed is the percentage of registered users.  In the previous survey, only 57% were registered.  In this survey, 92% were registered.  That tells me the copy protection is working better.   On the issue of copy protection, it looks like most people support the efforts that I have made in this area.  Of the 12 people that responsed with a Very Unsatisfied response, 5 of those were unregistered.  In general, it looks like the majority of zMUD users are pretty happy (which makes me happy!). 

Note to the accountants out there:  The "avg" numbers were computed by assigning 1 to the lower category (either lowest priority or very unsatisfied), and 5 to the highest category (highest priority or very satisfied).   Then a simple average was computed.  The graphs show the population of the bins from 1 to 5 that the average was computed from.

Zugg, 29-July-1999


Copyright 1999 Zugg Software. All rights reserved. Revised: October 05, 2000.