HoloMuck Basics


HoloMuck is built on the concept of “realism”. However, we have tried not to push the concept of “reality” too far, to the point where it becomes restrictive without having any benefits. For example, although you cannot build a magical or far-future place within the borders of Tanstaafl County, you ARE allowed to own a region somewhere else on Planet Holo and build your design THERE. You can even build a planet of your own!


One aspect of HoloMuck is its semi-realistic economy. If you don’t have enough money to do something you want (build a castle, shoot off public fireworks, etc), too bad! If you WANT more money, find a legal way to earn it (e.g. create a business serving some useful function and advertise it, or get a programming contract or public-building contract from the chancellors). However, we note that Holo does not have a FULLY working economy: It’s still very easy to get money in lots of ways (for details, see the documents in the Department of Commerce). If we were to make Holo’s economy fully realistic, then economic needs and activity would dominate all life on HoloMuck—and we get enough of those problems in Real Life!)

Unfortunately, money is currently so easy to come by that its necessity is not much of a restriction to building excessively. And we do not have infinite database space—the larger HoloMuck gets, the more lag there is. Accordingly, as of July 1, 1996, we have imposed “soft” building quotas, however, it is very easy to get one’s quota raised for building places and things that meet the rules of reality, quality, and size efficiency, and who build places that are to some extent “public”, adding to the quality of life on HoloMuck.


“Tanstaafl” stands for “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” The main region in HoloMuck, Tanstaafl County, is twenty blocks across, and it is intended to be an extremely realistic representation of a near-future Terran world. It is a great deal like the Earth of today, with whatever technological advances might be found in the next twenty years or so. The “next twenty years” allows holograms and weird decoration, for example, but NOT magic, psionics, or teleportation. Cyberspace is also forbidden because it violates the “real space” restriction.

Because of the “reality” restrictions, there will be some differences between Tanstaafl County and the standard MUCK environment.

Everything must be built in a “real” location with “realistic” spatial design. For example, if you build an apartment in Tanstaafl Towers 10-10, it ought to: (1) FIT within the space of an apartment (no three-story aircraft hangars!) Besides, if you’re building a beautiful museum, say, why not put it out in the open where people can appreciate it? If you want to build something which takes more space than an apartment, ask for a property lot, (2) be laid out with clear directions (e.g. the exit to the hallway is east, the kitchen is north, the balcony is west), (3) as much as possible, be made to give the illusion that it “really exists” in the location it’s supposed to (when one goes out to the balcony, one can look west and see the view from the tenth floor, seeing West Main Street, then forest, with mountains in the background.) To aid in this, look at the maps and look at the views from public rooftops. You can also explore your surroundings on foot or by air. You can even ask Snark for help.


Teleportation IS NOT ALLOWED within Tanstaafl County or to enter or exit from it (by either ‘@tel’ or by having exits with distant destinations). Why? Well, we want to have a sense that people are collectively creating a “real space”. We want to avoid what happened on FluxMuck, when there were so many magical portals and interdimensional subways that the world (as a whole) lost any sense of coherence; without a sense of “where places were in reality”, or of “what the world looks like”.

Here in HoloMuck, there is a very flexible structure in place for you to make almost anything you want without disturbing the overall real-structure. In other words, you can always build a magic portal OUTSIDE Tanstaafl County, if you want.

There is one exception to the no-teleport rule: ‘covert’ teleportation is allowed when needed for the sake of extreme convenience. For example, there are global commands ‘center’ and ‘home’, and you are allowed to have a personal exit (an action which is attached to YOU) which takes you to your favorite building site, PROVIDED THAT the message everyone else sees when you leave (the action’s @osucc) is realistic. For example, “Player1 heads off to go work on her amusement park” is fine, “Player1 teleports out in a blinding flash of light” is not.

So, how SHOULD you get from place to place? Well, you can walk, you can use the command ‘fastwalk’, you can take the subway (the “U”), and you can fly (buy a jetpack at the Airport Store, 300 S. High St.). (In the future, we may also implement a ‘taxi’ program in Tanstaafl County.)

Note on “realistic characters”: Part of the fun of being on a Muck comes from playing strange characters. So it’s perfectly fine to have dragons and centaurs and cat-beasts and aliens passing through Tanstaafl and setting up apartments there. It’s just that teleporting tails and magic wings should cease to function within the Tanstaafl County limits.

Note on enforcement: chancellors and royals do not enjoy being “police officers on patrol”; we’d much rather you follow the reality and other restrictions voluntarily. It’s better that way for everyone.


Outside of Tanstaafl County, the realism constraints are relaxed, but even if you build a fantasy domain in another region on the planet Holo, it should have verisimilitude—consistent rules and spatial design. For information on building in outer space, see Radagast.