This file was originally written as a brief outline of the intermud
protocol for use by developers interested in incorperating similar,
compatible intermud protocols into their own mud systems. It is
included here as it provides a much more detailed description of the
intermud protocol than that provided by the original PROTOCOL file,
and hence may be of use to LpMud developers.
PACKET PROTOCOL / FORMAT
All information is transferred as a string via a UDP port (each mud
has 1 send and 1 receive port). This kindof transfer is inherently
unreliable, but it's fast and doesn't use up file descriptors. The
format of the strings (packets) is as follows:
In other words, a header name, followed by a : and then the data
associated with this header. Each header/body pair is separated by the
| character. This means that headers and their body cannot contain the
| character. You should check for this in outgoing packets to aviod
decoding errors at the recieving end. The exception to this is the
DATA field. If it is present, it is ALWAYS positioned at the end of
the packet. Once a DATA header is found, everything following it is
interpreted as the body of the DATA field. This means it can contain
special characters without error and it is used to carry the main body
or data of all packets.
By convention, predefined system fields will use capital letters for
field headers and custom headers used by specific applications will
use lowercase names to avoid clashes. The defined system fields are
generally refered to by a set of macros which are defined in a common
header file for clarity.
There is one exception to this header format; If the data is too large
to be transmitted in one single packet, it will be split into packets
of convenient size, each with a special unique packet header to enable
them to be reassembled at the receiving end. These headers are of the
In this case, the mudname and packet-id combine to form a unique id
for the packet. The packet-number and total-packets information is
used to determine when all buffered packets have been received. The
rest-of-packet part is not parsed, but is stored while the receiver
awaits the other parts of the packet. When/if all parts have been
received they are concatenated and decoded as a normal packet.
PACKET ENCODING / DECODING
Only 2 generic data types are fully suported within the inetd code
itself (namely strings and integers), though others can easily be used
by converting them to one of the supported data types before transfer
and converting back again in receipt. The LpMud "object" data type is
converted to a string automatically by the inetd on encoding, but no
such conversion is carried out on decoding.
On encoding integers are simply converted to a corresponding string.
Strings are left untouched as long as there is no ambiguity as to
wether they should be decoded as a string or an integer. In this case
of ambiguity, the string is prepended with a $ character. If the first
character of a string is the $ character, it is escaped by prepending
another $ character. On decoding, any string with a $ as its first
character will have it removed and will then be treated as a string.
Any remaining strings that can be converted to an integer and then
back to a string with no loss of information are considered to be
integers. Any remaining strings are treated as such and are left
DEFINED SYSTEM HEADERS
- "RCPNT" (RECIPIENT)
The body of this field should contiain the recipient the mesage
is to be sent to if applicable.
- "REQ" (REQUEST)
The name of the intermud request that is being made of the
receiving mud. Standard requests that should be supported by
all systems are "ping" (PING), "query" (QUERY), and "reply"
(REPLY). The PING request is used to determine wether or not a
mud is active. The QUERY request is used to query a remote mud
for information about itself (look at the udp/query module for
details of what information can be requested). The REPLY
request is special in that it is the request name used for all
replies made to by mud B to an initial request made by a mud A.
It is mud A's responsibility to keep track of the original
request type so that the reply can be handled appropriately.
- "SND" (SENDER)
The name of the person or object which sent the request or to
whom replies should be directed. This is essential if a reply
- "DATA" (DATA)
This field should contain the main body of any packet. It is
the only field that can contain special delimiting characters
The following headers are used internally by the inetd and should not
be used by external objects:
- "HST" (HOST)
The IP address of the host from which a request was received.
This is set by the receiving mud and is not contained in
- "ID" (ID)
The packet id. This field is simply an integer which is set by
the sending inetd. The number is incremented each time a packet
is sent (zero is never used). This field is only needed if a
reply is expected. REPLY packets _must_ include the original
request id. This is _not_ done by the inetd.
- "NAME" (NAME)
The name of the local mud. Used for security checking and to
update host list information.
- "PKT" (PACKET)
A special header reserved for packets which have been split.
See PACKET PROTOCOL / FORMAT.
- "UDP" (UDP_PORT)
The UDP port the local mud is receiving on. Used for security
checking and updating host list information.
- "SYS" (SYSTEM)
Contains special system flags. The only system flag used at
present is TIME_OUT. This is included in packets returned due
to an expected reply timing out to differentiate it from an
UDP REQUESTS / MODULES
The following are standard request types that must be supported by all
For details of how other intermud requests operate, look at the
relevant module code.
- "ping" (PING)
This module should return a REPLY packet that contains the
original requests ID in it's ID field and the SENDER in it's
RECIPIENT field. It should also include an appropriate string
in the DATA field, eg. "Mud-Name is alive.\n"
- "query" (QUERY)
This module expects the type of query requested to appear in
the recieved DATA field. It should return a REPLY packet
containing the original ID in the ID field, the SENDER in it's
RECIPIENT field, and the query type in a QUERY field. The DATA
field should contain the information requested.