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Some of the few available screenshots from DeviousMUD

DeviousMUD trees

A forest in DeviousMUD as shown at RuneFest 2010

DeviousMUD 3

Another screenshot from DeviousMUD.

DeviousMUD (Devious Multi-User Dungeon) was a game created in 1998 by Andrew Gower that eventually evolved into the current-day game of RuneScape. It featured on Cunning and Devious Games, although Andrew Gower spoke most about it on his personal site. Only about 20 people managed to play the game.[1]


DeviousMUD started out in 1998 as a game written solely by Andrew Gower in his home in Cambridge. 'MUD' stands for multi-user dungeon. The game utilised oblique graphics. It was originally going to be text-based.[2]

A new version of DeviousMUD was released in 1999. Although it was completely rewritten, it kept the same name and remained rather similar to the original version. It was released to the public as a beta release for 1 week. Because of the limited release time, there are only a few screenshots in existence.

DeviousMUD 1

Another screenshot of DeviousMUD.

In October 1999, Gower started another rewrite, this time with his brothers Paul and Ian. A number of changes were made, and the game was renamed RuneScape, the version that is now referred to as RuneScape Classic. The map used for RuneScape Classic is similar to the one used today. Most of the places on the maps are still current.

The First periodEdit

DeviousMud had oblique graphics and was never shown to the public. Only Andrew played this version. According to some sources, the game was written at the University of Cambridge.

The Second periodEdit

A newer version came out in 1999. However, this game was much more updated, but the name of the game was the same: DeviousMUD. The beta version was only released to the public for one week. Because this was such a short period, people did not take that many screenshots of it. However, it was a downloadable client.

DeviousMUD Map

The original world map created for DeviousMUD, although not implemented at the time of release.[3]

Game MechanicsEdit

The information below is original site material verbatim, but has since been removed.:[4]

  1. The whole game is written in Java, which means no waiting for downloads or installing software. You'll be able to just go straight to the webpage and play!
  2. Multiplayer! - You will be automatically connected to the main server, and your character will appear in the multiplayer game world, and vanish when you leave.
  3. Superfast oblique style engine, very optimised code with smooth 8 way scrolling.
  4. Detailed 3-dimensional map with hills, valleys, multi-levelled buildings, underground cellars and lots of variety.
  5. Efficient network code using lots of nice tricks to increase performance, and decrease lag. Only requires a bandwidth of 0.3k/sec for very smooth gameplay!
  6. Your game is automatically saved when you quit, so when you come back you can just resume where you left off, even if you are playing from a completely different computer!
  7. Minimal load times. I'm keeping the program as small as possible without decreasing the quality. Additional graphics and information are loaded as needed for plenty of variety.
  8. Graphical adventure style quest system gives you lots to do, and should ensure quests are easy to find and understand.
  9. A whole range of skills your character can try, which will improve with practice.
  10. Lots of different monsters and characters with different attributes.
  11. A variety of objects and weapons. What you are holding changes your appearance!
  12. Communicate with other players! Organise parties of characters with a range of skills to explore the dangerous areas. etc...
  13. Trading system, used to buy objects in shops, or trade with other characters.
  14. I'm writing the game in a very expandable way using script files, so once I've got the basic work finished I'll be able to make it huge very quickly.
  15. Multiple choice conversation system for talking to computer controlled characters
  16. Loads and loads of other cool features, far too many to list!

Updates in the second periodEdit

Andrew Gower listed updates that he had made:[5]

  • 12th March, Fixed some nasty duplicate login bugs, and various other bugs...
  • 13th March, Started work on a player-2-npc multiple choice style conversation system.
  • 14th March, Continue work on conversation system
  • 15th March, Finished player-2-npc conversation system.
  • 15th March, Important background scenary can now be named, and manipulated by the player!
  • 16th March, Improved player-2-player conversation system.
  • 16th March, Started writing quest compiler. This is amazing, it runs everything from magic, to professions, to quests!
  • 17th March, Finished quest compiler! Although it doesn't support many commands yet.
  • 18th March, Spent ages debugging game - Fixed 19 (fairly minor) bugs!
  • 18th March, Wrote auto bug reporting system for client
  • 19th March, Started updating player 'Identikit' system.
  • 22th March, Finish identikit system. You can now choose your player's appearance! System can also be used for human NPCs -basically the skins-
  • 25th March, Finished designing a wood/forest to the left of the starting zone -same one as the McGrubber's Woods near Seers Village-
  • 28th March, Fixed some more bugs. I've not got as much done as I would have liked but I'm putting it online anyway...

To do after the second periodEdit

  1. Level/skill advancement.
  2. Player variables, so extra information about what the player has done can be saved
  3. Projectiles system
  4. Player-2-player trading
  5. Fix it so certain NPCs can cross zone boundaries.
  6. A really big map with lots of quests!
  7. Health regeneration
  8. Add lots and lots more features to quest system

The server Edit

DeviousMUD's server could hold more people than the current servers in RuneScape. 2500 players could play on this server, but only 97 people played.

The bandwidth needed for playing DeviousMUD smoothly was 0.3k/sec.[6]

The skills Edit

There is very little information about the skills in DeviousMUD. In the beginning of DeviousMUD, players could not get levels up, but this changed afterwards[source needed].

The skills known to be there, but not known to be implemented were:[7]

  • Attack (you started out with 10)
  • Defense (you started out with 10)
  • Strength (you started out with 10)
  • Hits (you started out with 10)
  • Ranged
  • Thieving
  • Hiding
  • Prayer Good
  • Prayer Evil
  • Sorcery-Defence
  • Sorcery-Offence
  • Cooking
  • Fishing
  • Woodcutting
  • Firemaking
  • Fletching
  • Smithing
  • Mining

Talk Edit

On the screen were the following options: Examine, Take, Drop, Use, Trade, Attack, and "TalkTo". One could talk with the last option, just like current mode of communication, public chat.

Shops Edit

Two shops and only about 10 objects existed.[8]

Quests Edit

There was only one, not fully made quest: Sheep Shearer.[8]

Website Edit


  • DeviousMUD had a resizable game window, something RuneScape had to wait many years for.
  • The current RuneScape game has adopted various elements from DeviousMUD.

See alsoEdit

External links Edit

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