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Thu Jul 29 12:16:13 EDT 1999
DOoM Frequently Asked Questions
This file is available in HTML form at:
version is also available.
Please send comments, corrections and additions to
John J. Chew, III.
DOoM stands for Distributed Object-oriented Mud, and was first written by
in late 1993, to replace the then recently demised ScrabbleMOO.
It's written entirely in
and has been tested so far on a variety of Unix systems.
You can find DOoMs at:
If you're looking at the HTML version of this document, you can also
browse the servers directly on the web here:
You're probably already a subscriber to an Internet Service Provider -
if you aren't, then phone one up and ask how to get connected to the
net. Tell the ISP that you need 'Telnet' access, though very few ISPs
offer Internet access without it. I'm told that as of version 3.0, AOL
works as an ISP.
Once you've got your Internet connection, follow the instructions below
for your type of computer:
I strongly recommend
Even if you don't have a Unix system at home, odds are your service
provider will give you Unix access, and may even have tf installed
for your use. If they don't, ask them to. When you've installed it,
fetch a copy of the sample
You can use NCSA Telnet (which is probably installed with the rest
of your Internet software), but you'll find it confusing that people
keep overwriting what you're trying to type. It's easier to use a
MUD-specific client such as
or telnet to your service provider's Unix service and
There's an old version of
that's been ported to VMS, but I don't know much about it.
I suspect it's better than using straight telnet.
TinyFugue (see under
above) is also available for OS/2. I haven't tried it with OS/2
In order to connect to a MUD-like server, of which PoslDOoM and
MarlDOoM are examples, you need a 'Telnet client'. A 'Telnet
client' is a program that runs on your Windows machine and connects
you to machines elsewhere that are running 'Telnet servers'. ('Telnet'
is just the name of a communications protocol.) When you type into
the window of your Telnet client, what you type gets sent off to
the server, and whatever the server sends back will appear in the
window. It's like having a window open to another PC's DOS prompt,
if that helps any.
It should not surprise you to learn that while Windows comes with
a Telnet client (called 'TELNET'), it doesn't work. There are
however plenty of Telnet clients that do work, that you can download
from the usual places on the web.
Several players have strongly recommended Mark Watkins'
a Java-based front-end for DOoMs that goes far beyond any Telnet
client. I can't personally recommend it, as depending on your
board configuration, you might be fooled into thinking that you
were playing a copyrighted and trademarked crossword game, instead
of a completely generic crossword game.
Bob Felt enthusiastically recommends
I've looked at
and it seems useable. (Use the TINY.MUT connection script.)
Some people have recommended
Carl Barish has reviewed several Windows clients
and their usefulness for connecting to DOoM servers on
his home page.
Yaegar's MUD Client
Page lists several Windows clients.
There are also client reviews in the
Crossword Games Pro mailing list archive.
Pick whichever one you like, and follow the instructions that come
Whichever one you pick, there's a good chance you'll need a utility
to unpackage what you download. Click on the word WinZip in
the previous sentence to download a copy of WinZip.
You shouldn't get a
login: prompt. If you do, it's because
you didn't specify the port number when you telnetted, and have been
connected to the default login port instead of the DOoM. On a Unix
system, you can just type the port number after the address, separated
by a space. If you have a web browser, try pointing it at the URLs shown
When you connect to it, you'll appear in the
who list as
connector. If you have a password, you can use
connect command to log on at this point. If you don't,
you can still browse the online help files (type:
look at games in progress (type:
look bd_poslfit), talk with
people, and do just about anything except move out of the login area or
play a game.
To request a password, you need to use the request command. For example, I
request poslfit email@example.com John J. Chew, III
to request a password for myself (John J. Chew, III) if I wanted
to be known online as
poslfit. If my request were
approved, my password would be e-mailed to the address I gave,
firstname.lastname@example.org in a day or two.
Do not type
email@example.com when you type
request command yourself. If you don't type your
own address, I won't be able to send you your password, nor will I be
able to send you a note asking for a correction, because I won't have
your address. This may seem obvious to 95% of you, but sadly enough,
5% of requests do in fact make this mistake, and another 5% make some
other sort of error in the e-mail address they provide.
If you are an expert player, request your password on MarlDOoM first,
then e-mail me to have your password activated on PoslDOoM too.
Each player should request their own account, even if they share a computer
or an e-mail address. Two people playing under the same identity cause
problems for the rating system, as does one person playing under two
If you're not using a Mac running MUDDweller, why are you reading this answer?
If you are, and you've downloaded a copy of MUDDweller and are wondering
what to do next:
Once you get your password, you can use MUDDweller macros to avoid
having to enter it each time you connect. Set your
- Run MUDDweller
TCP/IP Address... from the
www.math.utoronto.ca as your Host.
7776 as your Port.
Communication... from the
Save from the
File menu and save your
settings. From now on, open that document to connect to MarlDOoM.
send co $p $n\n, enter your name and password
Preferences... and don't forget to resave the settings.
Scrabble® is a registered trademark owned by Hasbro, Inc. in the United
States. It would be a violation of Hasbro's rights for anyone to use their
trademark in an unauthorised fashion. Hasbro has also copyrighted the design
of a standard board, so it would be illegal for an unauthorised server to
offer Scrabble® boards.
However, for some time now, Hasbro has apparently tolerated the existence of
generic crossword game software, that is, software that allows the user to
play any of a variety of crossword games (including Scrabble®) depending on
how the user chooses to configure such things as tile distribution, tile
values and board layout. For this reason, DOoM servers are properly referred
to as crossword game servers, and it is up to each individual user to decide
whether or not to violate Hasbro's rights.
For more information about Scrabble®, see the
There isn't one, and if there were one, I couldn't write about it for legal
reasons. See the previous question.
To ensure that there is some standardisation of board design, players are
allowed to try to `certify' their boards. Some configurations are
certifiable and others are not. Rated games may only be played on certified
boards. If you try to certify a board and are told that the board is not
certifiable, then one of the following must not match the acceptable
certifiable configurations: the tile distribution, the tile values, or the
board layout. It's up to you to try changing one or more of these to find a
If you can't remember where your board is, type
to go to where it is. For example, if your name is
you should type
Boards have to be placed in ordinary rooms before you can enter them.
They didn't used to have this restriction, but then
that he was carrying and then dropped it.
If you're not already carrying your board (type
The current help files for DOoM are available on the web at
You will be awarded your initial rating after you have played five games
against rated players. This initial rating will be equal to the rating
that you would have had to have had before those five games, in order for
those five games not to have changed your rating. The players you play
for those initial five games will not gain or lose any ratings points
by playing you. If you can't find a human player willing to play one of
those five games with you, try playing
ACBot, the robot.
When you play a rated game against someone, the system calculates what
the chances of your winning are, based on the difference between your
ratings. (If you are rated 72 points higher, it's 60%; 148 points means
70%; 239 points means 80%; and 362 points means 90%. For the numerate,
every 400/sqrt(2) points corresponds to one standard deviation of a
normal distribution.) It expresses these chances as the fraction of the
game that it expects you to win (e.g. 0.6 for a 72 point difference) and
then adjusts your rating at the end of the game by the difference between
these expected fractional wins and the actual result of the game, multiplied
by a constant called the ratings multiplier.
go to where it is as described in the previous section,
it, go to a room and
For example, if your ratings multiplier is 20 and you beat someone rated
148 points below you, you gain 20 * ( 1 - 0.7 ) = 6 ratings points.
Your ratings multiplier depends on the number of games that you have played
and on your rating, as follows:
The NSA system differs from the system we use online in some minor details.
1-5 6-10 11-25 26-49 50+
1-1799 n/a 100 50 30 20
player 1800-1999 n/a 100 50 24 16
rating 2000+ n/a 100 50 15 10
Because a long interval sometimes elapses between an individual player's
rated games and a player's strength can improve substantially in the interim,
the NSA uses what are known as `acceleration points'. If over the course
of a tournament a player earns more than five points per game played, the
player earns a bonus amounting to the excess points. For example, if the
system would otherwise award you seventy points for your performance in a
six game tournament, you get 70 - 6 * 5 = 40 acceleration points for a total
of 110 points. Furthermore, everyone who has the misfortune to play you
gets so-called `feedback points' as compensation, amounting to one twentieth
of your acceleration points for each game that they played with you. In the
preceding example, an opponent that played you three times in the tournament
would receive 3 * (40 / 20) = 6 feedback points. Note that you do not lose
acceleration points when you lose a lot of ratings points in a tournament.
The NSA also updates ratings after each tournament (or occasionally midway
through a huge tournament) rather than after each game. This probably
results in more abrupt changes in individual ratings.
I have a spreadsheet that calculates ratings which has been able to
reproduce NSA results about half the time, and is accurate to within a
point or two the rest of the time. I would be interested to hear if anyone
can account for the remaining discrepancies.
E-mail your current NSA rating to
when you first receive your DOoM password, and e-mail again whenever it changes
changes. In each message, please include your name online, your name as it
appears in the NSA member list, your new rating, and the date of the tournament
in which you earned it. I also appreciate it greatly when at least one online
player attending each tournament sends a list of the new ratings for all the
online players that attended that tournament, as it saves me time and effort.
If your NSA rating is at least 1600, you are eligible to play on
you qualify but don't yet have a password, please e-mail me a note,
Once in a while, the ratings system doesn't work because circumstances
have arisen that I haven't anticipated. More frequently, a game won't
get rated because someone forgets to type 'endgame' or both players
forget to make sure the game is a rated one before they play. In
either case, this is what you need to do.
Have the losing player (or the higher-rated player, if a tie) e-mail me at
with the following information:
If the right person doesn't send me all of the above information, you'll
get a polite (if canned) note referring you to this FAQ.
Look at the player (type e.g.
- the date on which the game was finished
- the online name of the player who played first
- the online name of the player who played second
- player one's score
- player two's score
look poslfit) to see their
e-mail address. There may not be one, if they don't want you to know.
Then send them e-mail.
No one has ever persuaded me that it's worth the programming effort to
duplicate the existing Internet e-mail system. That is, I'd be happy if
someone wrote one for me, or I'd write one myself if I were persuaded that
it was a sufficiently Good Thing.
Send e-mail to poslfit.
Chad Wilson, who provided a machine for WisDOoM to run on in 1994 and
1995, is no longer available to do so. It should also be noted that he was
responsible for setting up and running ScrabbleMOO in 1993, which server's
eventual termination was the impetus for the creation of the DOoMs.
Sure. I'd love to have more than one public server on the net, both
to spread the load a bit and in case one of them becomes temporarily
unavailable. You need a Unix machine with a copy of Perl 5 and at least
10 Mb of disk space and 4 Mb of memory available for the server process,
and I'll need to be able to rlogin to that machine. It's work for me to
set up and maintain a server though, so don't ask unless you think you
can keep the server for at least a year. If you do, e-mail me without