Moe's Mushkode Manual - Basic Tutorial on Rooms and Exits

Author: Moe
Category: Building
Functions: exit(), room().
Compatibility: PennMUSH, TinyBit, TinyMUSH, TinyMUX.

MUSHCode for Moe's Mushkode Manual - Basic Tutorial on Rooms and Exits

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| \/ |oe's | \/ |ushkode | \/ |anual


So, you're mushing. And you're going around in these environments that
have been crafted by those that came to that site before you. And you're ready
to make a contribution to the environ, but don't have the foggiest how you're
going to do it. So, you ask someone, and they point you to the ever-infamous
cryptic help files for about a half-dozen commands, including but not limited
to: @dig, @open, @link, @succ, @osucc, @odrop, @fail, @lock, @desc, and @idesc.
What IS all this gibberish, you ask? Well, I shall endeavour to teach
you the beginner's guide to building on a MUSH. Will it teach you absolutely
everything you could ever know? No. Will it teach you how to make rooms and
exits that will conform to the building standards of most games, and allow you
to impress your friends and neighbours with your building savvy? Yes.


There are four main types of objects on a MUSH. Player objects(your
character, for instance), things(objects created with @create. More on this
later), exits(the objects you use to get from one room to another), and
rooms(the places you go to RP on a MUSH). All objects are best referenced by
their dbref, which stands for database reference number. There is no more
specific way to reference an object on a MUSH than by dbref. So, we shall
endeavour to do that whenever possible, whether building or coding. In most
cases, the dbref is easier to type because it's shorter, anyways. For most
building purposes, you only need to work with rooms and exits. Some basic
concepts on these:

Room - A room on a MUSH is identifiable because it has the R immediately after
the dbref. Example: The Room(#1234RnJ) tells you that you are in a room named
'The Room', its dbref is #1234, it's of the type ROOM, and has the flags
'no_command and jump_ok'. A room can be thought of as a 'box'. It is something
that can hold other objects inside of it. It can have most any name you can
think of, and can have practically any description you want.

Exit - Exits on a MUSH are what connect rooms together. An exit is a ONE-WAY
door. This is a very important concept that most people don't have when they
start building. Exits are a lot like 'doors', yes. But, doors are a single
object that let you go both ways. Not so with exits. Exits only provide a
one-way connection between one room and another.
The best analogy I can make is that an exit is like a radio. It takes
things from a source(radio waves in the air), and spits them out somewhere
else(in the room). You can't talk to the clock radio(in most cases) by your
bedside, and have people in the radio station hear you. You need something to
transmit back. So it is with exits. You have to have an exit going from Room A
to Room B, AND an exit going from Room B BACK to Room A if you want to mimic a
Another feature of exits is that they can have multiple aliases you can
use to trigger their usage. This is evident in exits that are named Out <O>,
for instance, where you can type 'out' or just 'o' and either one will take you
through that exit. Exits are named with all their aliases in their name, so it
looks something like: Out <O>;out;o;exit;leave. The ; in between each alias
separates them into a list. Any of those options may be typed. You only ever
see the /first/ name in the ;-separated list, in the list of exits in a room.
This is why there is the convention of putting the 'Out <O>' as the first name


No, but we'll build one. A simple two-room barn that has a Barn, and a
Hayloft. In doing so, we will learn about how rooms link together in a virtual
environment, how to use exit messages to personalize your building, and what
the various exit messages do.
To start with, we have to assume that you're standing in a room. All
MUSHes have at least one. There is one and only one command to create a room,
but there are several variations on how it can be used. Most people use one of
three ways, and I shall list them here for their educational value:

1) @dig Barn
2) @dig/tel Barn
3) @dig Barn=Barn <B>;barn;b,Out <O>;out;o;exit;leave

You'll notice that all three of these start with @dig. This is because
@dig is the command to create a room. You are literally 'digging' into the
virtual stuff that makes a MUSH, and carving out the shape of your box. In all
three cases, the one thing that is guaranteed to happen is that you will create
a room named 'Barn'. This room will be assigned a dbref. You'll see this dbref
when it's assigned, because you will be given a message that looks like:

Room 'Barn' created with dbref #100.

For the sake of our hypothetical barn, let's say that this Barn was given the
dbref #100.

Let's look at the differences between the three. The first version will
create the room and nothing more. There will be a room, unconnected to
anything, floating out in the etherspace, waiting for you. The second version
will first dig the room, and then @teleport you into it. You can teleport into
any room you own. The point in teleporting you into the room is so that you can
do your work from within the room, rather than outside of it. @dig/tel is used
in @decompiles of MUSH building.
The last version of the command is more complicated, but in my woefully
unhumble opinion, the most useful. This version does three things, all in one
line. It digs the room for you. It then opens an exit from where you are(the
room you are currently in) TO the new room. And, it opens an exit back from
your brand new room to where you are. In one command, you've taken care of
building your room, and exits in and out of it!
Because we will be needing some other methods to make our barn,
we'll discuss how to create exits by themselves. The basic command to do
this is @open, and it too has two variations.


The @open command does just that. It 'opens' an exit from one location
to another location. As was pointed out above, when you create or name an exit,
you can give it multiple aliases that let you have a variety of commands to
type that utilize the exit. The most basic way to open an exit is:

@open Exit Name;alias1;alias2;...;aliasN=#dbref

This opens an exit from the room you are in to the target specified by
the dbref. You can't use the name of the room, because if you are in one room
you cannot technically 'see' another room. You must use the dbref to open an
There is a slightly more advanced version of @open that works similarly
to what we witnessed above in the #3 version of @dig. Its syntax is:

@open Exit Name;alias1;alias2;alias3;...;aliasN=#dbref,Exit

Yes, this version does the same thing as the long version of @dig, with
the exception that it doesn't create the room. This simply makes the two-way
path between the room you are in and the target room, specified by dbref. The
first exit(before the =) is the exit TO the next room. The last exit(after the
#dbref,) is the exit BACK to the room in which you are currently standing.


Alright, so let's start with our barn. I'm going to use the long
version of the @dig command, because to me, it saves time. There's no need to
match up dbrefs in @open. Some basic rules before you begin any building
- You have to have permission to build! Some games restrict building. Read the
posted news files and bulletin boards to see if this is the case.

- You have to be able to link exits to and from the room you're in. If you
don't have permission to do this, find out if your game has a 'Building Zone'
where such privileges are okay. A room set with the LINK_OK flag can have exits
linked to it.

- You have to know what you're building! This sounds somewhat silly, but many
people skip this step, which leads to a number of errors later. Take two
minutes and sketch out the rough 'map' of what you're going to build on a piece
of paper. That way, you can see the spatial relationships better, and plan out
what exits are needed.

- You have to have enough pennies to build. In general, rooms cost ten pennies
to @dig, exits cost 1 penny to open and 1 penny to link. So, to make one room
with an exit going in and out takes 14 pennies. A number of games have quotas
as well. See how much quota you have, and try and design a building project
that can be accomodated in that.

All those rules aside, let's build. We'll assume you have sufficient
quota, money, and privileges, and that you are in room #99. Now, we'll get
started. Our first command:

@dig Barn=Barn <B>;barn;b,Out of the Barn <O>;out;o;exit;leave;out of the barn

This creates a room named Barn. Again, we'll say it's #100. It also
creates two exits. One of them is #101(the exit named Barn <B>), the other is
#102(Out). These are numbered in order, taking up the next two available
numbers in your db. They will not /always/ be sequential, but more often than
not, they will. It's a good idea when building to keep a little scratch pad
nearby, for marking down dbref numbers to remember while you build.
This is important especially if you are a mortal(non-Wizard,
non-Royalty), because it costs 100 pennies on most games to use @search or
@find, and that eliminates 7 rooms and 14 exits from your possible building
Alright, so we have a room and two exits. The first thing we want to do
is put the messages on our exit going INTO the barn. There are four messages
that are considered 'standard' to put on /every/ exit you make. These are the
@desc, @succ, @osucc, and @odrop messages. These confuse a lot of people, so I
will outline them here with what I hope are easy to understand definitions:

@desc - Description. Short for @describe. What you see when you 'look' at
something. Exits are like the other three types of objects(Room, Thing,
Player), in that you can look at them. Try typing 'look barn'. You'll get: You
see nothing special. This is the default MU* message for something having no

@succ - Short for @success. This is the message seen when a player
successfully(hence the name) goes through the exit. It is seen /by/ the player
going through the exit. So, if you put an @succ message on your Barn <B> exit,
and then go through the exit, YOU see the message. An example is:
@succ barn=You pass through the door, and enter the barn.
And if you go in through the barn exit(by typing 'barn', or 'b'), you
will see: You pass through the door, and enter the barn.

@osucc - Short for @osuccess. Any MUSH command that begins with @o means that
it is a message (O)ther people will see when something happens. And it's a
'succ' messages, meaning it is shown when something successfully happens. In
this case, it is you going through the exit. Also, any MUSH command that begins
with @o means that the name of the object that triggered the message will be
put in front of it. That cannot be helped. The MUSH is coded to do it that way,
and has been so for about a dozen years. This will happen every time. All you
have to provide is what will be shown /after/ the object's name.
Now, some small bit of talk needs to be given to which other people
will see this message. Exits have a source(called its 'home') and a
destination(called its 'location'). The home is where it is going from, and its
location is where it is going to. You 'use' the exit in its home, at its
source. So, other people in the same room as the home, or source, of the exit
are the ones that are going to see it. For example:
@osucc barn=enters the barn.
Then, in room #99 where you started, your friend Bubba is standing
there. Bubba decides to go into the barn.
Bubba types: barn
Bubba sees: You pass through the door, and enter the barn. (the @succ message)
You see: Bubba enters the barn.

@odrop - Not short for anything. Again, we have an @o message, which means a)
it is a message that (o)ther people will see and b) it will have the object's
name that triggered it, put in front of whatever you set the message to be. Why
is it called 'drop', you ask? Because technically, when you go through an exit,
it is 'dropping' you in a new location. This is the same as if you pick up a
Book in Room #99 and @teleport yourself to room #100(your Barn) and type 'drop
book'. It is the best way to describe what the exit does. It drops you in the
next room, its location. Because of this, the 'o' in the odrop means that
(o)ther people in the destination of the exit are going to see the message. Not
the people at the source. They see the osucc. People in the destination room
see the odrop. Here's an example:
@odrop barn=comes through the door, into the barn.
So, hypothetically, Bubba is back in Room #99 with you. Jethro is in
the Barn, waiting on Bubba.

Bubba types: barn
Bubba sees: You pass through the door, and enter the barn. (the @succ message)
You see: Bubba enters the barn. (the @osucc message)
Jethro sees: Bubba comes through the door, into the barn. (the @odrop message)

The description on the exit is usually just that, a description of
whatever passage the exit represents. If it is a hallway, it should be
described as a hallway. If it is a door, then it should be described such.
Something else that can be done is to set an exit with the TRANSPARENT flag,
which lets you see the description in the room beyond when you look at the
exit. Please note that even with the TRANSPARENT flag set, if you look at an
exit that does not have an @desc, you will still see 'You see nothing special.'
before you see the desc of the room beyond.
For our barn door, I would suggest something like:
@desc barn=This is a sturdy wooden door that slides to the right to admit
entrance to the big, red barn.
If you've done all the messages I've outline here, you've got your
first exit done, and you're ready to go into the Barn itself. Type 'barn', and
go in. You won't see much. You'll see:


Obvious exits
Out <O>

From this point, you have two responsibilities. You have to describe
your room, and you have to message your out exit. Let's take care of the exit
first, as that's easiest to forget about, if you leave it too long. A room with
no desc tends to attract your attention more than an exit with no odrop.
This is the exit that will be used to exit your barn, so I would
suggest putting messages on it that reflect this. Here are some suggestions:
@desc out=This is the inside of the sturdy wooden door that slides to one side,
allowing passage in and out of the barn.
@succ out=With a rumble as it moves on the rails, you slide the door to one
side, and exit the barn.
@osucc out=slides the big barn door to one side and exits.
@odrop out=comes out of the barn.

As a general rule, it is helpful to provide a reference in the osucc
and odrop messages to let the people seeing them know where the person was
coming from. If there are four doors into a room, and the odrop reads 'comes
into the room.' then you don't know from which room they entered!
Similarly, unless it's for a specific effect, an osucc and odrop that
are four or five lines long becomes spammy to those who might be seeing four or
five people come through an exit at once. However, I /do/ recommend putting
some descriptive messages in your @succ messages. While some players might
scoff and say they never read those things, I personally feel that they are a
very effective way of developing a roleplay-like interaction between you and
your environment. The @succ can provide some really interesting information to
the user, should you choose to put it in.


Describing a room is regarded by some as an art form, some as the
equivalent of hard labor, and even others as an exact science. The same command
used to describe your character, an exit, or an object, is used to describe a
room. @desc here=<your description here>. As a general rule, remember that
there are still many viewers who will be viewing your description on an
80-column screen with 24 to 28 rows. Two or three solid paragraphs can describe
most environments well, and if there are things that are absolutely crucial to
your room or building project, I suggest the use of +view code, senses code, or
other such softcoded devices to add ambience to your building.
Since I've mentioned them, let's discuss how to make paragraphs on a
MUSH. How DO people get those carriage returns and tabs in there, anyways?
Without teaching you a bunch of arcane mushcode, I will tell you simply that
there are two 'codes' that you put into your text that create those things.
They are: %r and %t. They are for carriage returns, and tabs, respectively. It
doesn't matter if you have them upper case, or lower case. %r does the same
thing as %R. %T the same as %t. Whichever one you choose to use is up to you.
They go into your text where you want them to be. People viewing your
descs won't see them, all they will see is a beautifully-formatted paragraph.
An example is: @desc here=Roses are red%R%tViolets are blue%R%t%tI can make line
breaks%R%t%t%tAnd now you can too!
This gives us:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
I can make line breaks
And now you can too!

I just put the carriage returns and tabs in where I wanted them, and
the game did the rest. For readability(easing the user's comprehension), I
suggest starting /every/ room desc with %R%t and ending /every/ room desc with
%r. This provides a blank line and an indent at the beginning, and a blank line
at the bottom. It frames the desc nicely on the screen, and makes it stand out
from the poses and channel spam around it.
Back to this room, you're in a barn. Think to yourself what a barn
looks like on the inside. Or what you THINK a barn looks like on the inside, if
you've never been in one. Oftentimes, we will find ourselves describing
something that either isn't real, or we've never seen. So, it falls upon our
creative writing skills and imaginations to create with language an image of
the environment. Try and be descriptive. Better descriptions are enjoyed as
things of beauty by MUSHers, to be hailed and logged, and read over and over
again. Bad descriptions, or ones without any character, are the ones which
become wholly ignored.
Not every description is Pulitzer-worthy, and not every desc is going
to please everyone, every time it's read. But, you can still try. This is how
you are setting the tone for your environment. I leave it up to you to @desc
your Barn room, using the command: @desc here=<your description>


Now, we have described our barn, we've messaged our exits in and out,
and we want to build another room from this one, which is a hayloft. I'm just
going to walk you through the basic process of this, as it is exactly what we
have done in building our original Barn room, just with a different room name,
and exit names.

1) @dig Hayloft=Up to Hayloft <Up>;up;u;up to hayloft;hayloft,Down to Barn
<Down>;down;d;down to barn;barn
2) @set up= transparent (We do this because it's 'logical' that you could see
up into the hayloft from the barn floor.)
3) @desc up=This is a sturdy wooden ladder that leads up into the dim reaches
of the hayloft. Looking up into the hayloft, you see...
(This puts some language to connect the desc of our up exit with the desc of
the next room, in this case the hayloft)
4) @succ up=You climb the ladder, the strong wood rails supporting your weight
without wobbling.
5) @osucc up=climbs the ladder into the hayloft.
6) @odrop up=comes up the ladder from the barn floor below.
7) up
8) @set down=transparent (see #2 above)
9) @desc down=Peering down from the hayloft, you see the ladder and... (see #3
10) @succ down=Using the ladder to defy the forces of gravity, you descend from
the hayloft to the barn floor below.
11) @osucc down=goes down the ladder to the barn floor below.
12) @odrop down=comes down the ladder from the hayloft above.
13) @desc here=<desc of hayloft>.

Now, let's add a nice 'touch' to our hayloft. It's possible that your
players might want to play out the experience of 'falling' from the hayloft.
But, you don't want to have an exit listed that says: Fall <F>, of course. So,
let's make a dark exit leading from our hayloft to our barn floor.
First, let's remember that our Barn is dbref #100. And let's go up a
bit and read what was shown about @open being used to open an exit from one
room to another. We don't need an exit back, since the point of the exit is
just to go from the hayloft down to the barn floor.
So, our commands look like:
1) @open fall=#100 (opens the exit named 'fall' to the Barn below. We don't
really need aliases.)
2) @set fall=dark
3) @desc fall=Careful you don't want to 'fall' out, do you? (The quotes give a
little hint, just in case someone should happen to look at it.)
4) @succ fall=Whoa! You slip and fall out of the hayloft, tumbling down to the
barn floor below!
5) @osucc fall=tumbles out of the hayloft, falling down to the barn floor
6) @odrop fall=falls out of the hayloft!

In a case like this, I strongly suggest adding a quoted 'hint'(like
that) in the desc of the room as well, so that players can clue in that 'fall'
might be a command they can type in this room to produce an effect. This didn't
take any softcode, no teleporting, and you now have a way to fall out of the


If you already have an exit that connects one room to another, a
mistake in the name, a missing alias, an error in any of the messages, an exit
that doesn't connect to the right room, or any number of other common errors
that occur with messages, you can fix any of them...without destroying the
exit! A lot of people tend to @nuke a lot of things when they are first
building, because it has a 'mistake'. The only time you ever need to do that is
if you don't need the object anymore. If there is a mistake in it, either in a
message, its name, or some other attribute, change /that/ instead of @nuking.
Exits can be picked up and moved, if you own them. You simply 'get
<exit>', move to the new location and then 'drop <exit>' where you want it. Or,
you can @teleport the exit to its new location, using the dbref numbers. This
effectively 'moves' the exit, without changing its destination.
If you /do/ need to change the destination of an exit, all you need to
do is @link <exit>=<new dbref>. Again, you need to always reference the new
destination with the dbref of the room. This changes the destination of your
exit from the old room, to the new one that you have specified. Messages can
always be reset, or edited.


One of the most powerful commands at your disposal when building is
@edit. For many MUSHers, it is easy to cut and paste a description, for others
it is just a matter of scrolling back a few commands and editing the mistake
you made. But, there are times when you come across something glaring, perhaps
something you built a few weeks ago and so the command isn't in your buffer
anymore. Or perhaps you just realized how often you've been spelling
'the' as 'teh'.
The @edit command allows you to take the contents of an attribute,
specify text to change, and text to change it to, and it does it. There are two
points to note about using @edit. The first is, it will edit EVERY instance of
the text, inside that attribute. So, if you only need to change one small
error, make sure you give a specific enough example.
The second is, if the text you are wanting to edit contains commas, put
your text inside curly braces( { } )! Here is the syntax for @edit:

@edit <object>/<attribute>=<text to change>,<new text>

The reason for being so picky about the commas should be clear. @edit
uses a comma to separate its old text from its new text. So, the first comma it
sees that is not inside a curly brace is going to be treated as the divider.
Here is a brief example:

@desc ball=This is a big red ball, with a broad white strip around it.

There is a typo in there, deliberately. So, I could retype this, or I
can use @edit. Since I'm trying to teach YOU to use @edit, let's do it that
@edit ball/desc=strip,stripe

The desc now reads:
This is a big red ball, with a broad white stripe around it.
Now, what if we wanted to put a phrase after 'ball,' that says 'about
eight inches in diameter,'? This is where we would need to use the {}.
@edit ball/desc={ball,},{ball, about eight inches in diameter,}

The desc now reads:
This is a big red ball, about eight inches in diameter, with a broad white
stripe around it.
@edit takes a little bit of practice to have it work every time. But,
once you have mastered it, you have one of the most powerful text-editing tools
on the MUSH, at your disposal.


Well, look at what you know now! You now know how to sit atop a pile of
virtual matter, carve out a space to serve as a room, and make portals that
carry you to and from that room. You're armed with the skills to make those
devices interactive and descriptive, and you know how to edit any mistakes you
might make. All in all, you're able to do a fair amount with only a little bit
of training. And you thought this was going to be hard!
Some last words of advice I will give. Building is all of the things I
listed at the opening to this tutorial. It is an exact science, it is an arcane
art, it is frustrating at times, but it is also the method by which you create
your vision and imagination for the enjoyment of others. Like all creative
pursuits, you get better at it, the more you do it. Hemingway's first writings
were certainly not what garnered him the fame he has today. You don't have to
be Hemingway to build, though. It is much less about how good your building is
compared to someone else's. That's /your/ judgement. Do your best to use the
best language you can to describe what you see in your head, and be proud of
what you have created.
Last, be aware of spatial relationships when building. Mainly, this is
present in what you name your exits. If you are building a house, make sure
that the upstairs rooms are 'virtually' over a downstairs room, otherwise
they're probably going to be hanging out in space. If you're building a forest,
make sure that your directions(N, S, E, W) remain consistent. Don't have your
players going north, then west, and being back where they started. Be aware of
how large each room is supposed to be, and describe it accordingly. All rooms
on a MUSH are the same size: Infinite. How large they appear depends on how you
describe them. @dig does not diffrentiate between a closet and a ballroom.
Most of all, enjoy yourself. Again, this is an exercise in creativity.
Enjoy setting your hand to the creation of an environ that is hopefully going
to add flavour, character, and a viable venue for RP to your MUSH.

Happy Building!