Softcode is a very simple programming language that was created for in-game development on TinyMUD
derivatives such as MUX, PennMUSH, TinyMUSH, and RhostMUSH. The idea is that by providing a stripped
down, minimalistic language for in-game use, you can allow quick and easy building and game
development to happen without having to learn C/C++. There is an added benefit of not having to have
to hand out shell access to all developers, and permissions can be used to alleviate many security
Writing and installing softcode is done through a MUD client. Thus it is not a formatted language.
Each softcode function is a single line of varying size. Some functions can be a half of a page long
or more which is obviously not very readable nor (easily) maintainable over time.
Examples of Softcode¶
Here is a simple ‘Hello World!’ command:
@set me=HELLO_WORLD.C:$hello:@pemit %#=Hello World!
Pasting this into a MUX/MUSH and typing ‘hello’ will theoretically yield ‘Hello World!’, assuming
certain flags are not set on your account object.
Setting attributes is done via
@set. Softcode also allows the use of the ampersand (
This shorter version looks like this:
&HELLO_WORLD.C me=$hello:@pemit %#=Hello World!
Perhaps I want to break the Hello World into an attribute which is retrieved when emitting:
&HELLO_VALUE.D me=Hello World &HELLO_WORLD.C me=$hello:@pemit %#=[v(HELLO_VALUE.D)]
v()function returns the
HELLO_VALUE.Dattribute on the object that the command resides
me, which is yourself in this case). This should yield the same output as the first example.
If you are still curious about how Softcode works, take a look at some external resources:
Problems with Softcode¶
Softcode is excellent at what it was intended for: simple things. It is a great tool for making an
interactive object, a room with ambiance, simple global commands, simple economies and coded
systems. However, once you start to try to write something like a complex combat system or a higher
end economy, you’re likely to find yourself buried under a mountain of functions that span multiple
objects across your entire code.
Not to mention, softcode is not an inherently fast language. It is not compiled, it is parsed with
each calling of a function. While MUX and MUSH parsers have jumped light years ahead of where they
once were they can still stutter under the weight of more complex systems if not designed properly.
Now that starting text-based games is easy and an option for even the most technically inarticulate,
new projects are a dime a dozen. People are starting new MUDs every day with varying levels of
commitment and ability. Because of this shift from fewer, larger, well-staffed games to a bunch of
small, one or two developer games, some of the benefit of softcode fades.
Softcode is great in that it allows a mid to large sized staff all work on the same game without
stepping on one another’s toes. As mentioned before, shell access is not necessary to develop a MUX
or a MUSH. However, now that we are seeing a lot more small, one or two-man shops, the issue of
shell access and stepping on each other’s toes is a lot less.
Evennia shuns in-game softcode for on-disk Python modules. Python is a popular, mature and
professional programming language. You code it using the conveniences of modern text editors.
Evennia developers have access to the entire library of Python modules out there in the wild - not
to mention the vast online help resources available. Python code is not bound to one-line functions
on objects but complex systems may be organized neatly into real source code modules, sub-modules,
or even broken out into entire Python packages as desired.
So what is not included in Evennia is a MUX/MOO-like online player-coding system. Advanced coding
in Evennia is primarily intended to be done outside the game, in full-fledged Python modules.
Advanced building is best handled by extending Evennia’s command system with your own sophisticated
building commands. We feel that with a small development team you are better off using a
professional source-control system (svn, git, bazaar, mercurial etc) anyway.
Adding advanced and flexible building commands to your game is easy and will probably be enough to
satisfy most creative builders. However, if you really, really want to offer online coding, there
is of course nothing stopping you from adding that to Evennia, no matter our recommendations. You
could even re-implement MUX’ softcode in Python should you be very ambitious. The
in-game-python is an optional
pseudo-softcode plugin aimed at developers wanting to script their game from inside it.