MOO-cows Mailing List Archive


New ArchWiz FAQ for September 1995

This FAQ list is designed to help new MOO arch-wizards (MOO owners) get
answers to their questions. Entries come from items on the moo-cows
mail list, personal questions from experience on our MOO, and from your
contributions. The questions on this list most directly pertain to the core
database, LambdaCore; to the extent that the core db you start with differs
from LambdaCore, answers to these questions may vary from what is presented

Some items below only pertain to the 21-Oct-93 LambdaCore.

"So, how much do I have to know about MOO programming to run my own MOO?

Some people might answer this way:  If you're not a programmer with plenty
of experience on MOO, creating your own objects and helping others fix
theirs, you really should hire, bribe, or marry such a person before you
throw up a MOO. You'll need this person as an ongoing partner. Many things
just don't have any documentation beyond their MOO code. There isn't much
chance of getting all the help you need from any mailing list.

"I just got my MOO server going, now what?

Telnet to the server on the port you started it on (You did read the
included  documentation on starting the server, yes? You did use the
included restart script, yes?).

Now you should see:

        Connected to SERVER
        Escape character is '^]'.
        Welcome to the LambdaCore database.

        Type 'connect wizard' to log in.

        You will probably want to change this text, which is stored in

So you'll type "connect wizard" and you'll see:

        *** Connected ***
        The First Room
        This is all there is right now.
        You see a newspaper here.

At this point you can do almost anything.  You'll first want to set
the wizard's password (help @password).  Then you can type

        @display $login.
        help $login

to see other properties that you might want to set immediately.

"How do I ... ?

Wait! Did you 'read the manual'? The following are very useful:

        help wiz-index

           [contains all of the currently existing wizard-help topics]

        help core-index

           [contains all of the currently existing help topics
            about various core objects]

        help $login

           [will tell you about welcome messages, blacklists,
            redlists, enabling automatic player creation (allowing
            logins to create players immediately, see next)]

"How do I restrict creation of new characters to the @make-player command
(ie. prevent create <playername> <password> from the login screen?).

        @set $login.create_enabled to 0

This stops people from creating their own characters at the welcome
message. If you have a network active, the default seems to be that people
can still login as guest and create their own character with @request. We
hacked the @request verb to change this, but that may not be the easiest
of best solution.

"How do I edit my welcome screen?

You can set the welcome message with something like:

        @set $login.welcome_message to {"Welcome to...", "", "..."}


        @notedit $login.welcome_message

"Why does mail to the internet fail when I create a character?

Make sure you compiled the MOO server with "outgoing network connections"
enabled (in the options.h file); you may also have to:

        @set $ to 1

The network is necessary so the server can automatically e-mail the new
user with their character name and password. You should also set the
properties on $network correctly for your MOO.

"What's the deal with @make-player? If you try to add alias arguments, they
just concatenate into a long player name with no aliases.

*The aliases argument seems to be broken in the 1-Oct-94 core. Add aliases
later. Aliases work with this command in the previous version.

"What's the deal with @make-player? There's no help.

[The following help is from the help database on LambdaMOO, and is
out in the current core, but you don't have that or you wouldn't ask, eh?

>help @make-player
@make-player name[,aliases] [email-address [commentary]]
Creates a player.
Generates a random password for the player.
Email-address is stored in $registration_db and on the player object.
Comments should be enclosed in quotes.

Example: @make-player George "George shares email
with Fred Sanford (Fred #5461)"

If the email address is already in use, prompts for confirmation.
(Say no, this is a bug: it will break if you say yes.)  If you say no at
one of the confirming prompts, character is not made.

If network is enabled (via $ then asks if you want to
mail the password to the user after character is made.

[From Judy Anderson, who wrote the help for this on Lambda]

"OK, I need some help here. How do I make a trusted player into a wizard?

Don't.  Instead, create a fresh player #p and do

        @chparent #p to $wiz
        @programmer #p

and then tell your helper the password to the new player. Alex Stewart
notes that adding the @programmer call avoids certain sticky situations
that might be encountered by non-programmer wizards.

The reason you really only want to do this with a freshly created
player is that every verb owned by the player will suddenly acquire
wizard permissions.  For an existing player, you'd need to go through
and make sure that player in question owns no verbs that will do any
damage if given wizard permissions (remember, anyone may call any verb...).
[from Roger Crew]

"How come no one can connect as guest?


     @make-guest <guestname>

then edit the description. Only ONE of the guest characters must be named or
aliased as 'guest' for guest connections to work. Try this:

     @add-alias guest to <object# of first guest you made>

Repeat @make-guest <guestname>, adding descriptions as you go, until you have
a number of guests equal to your desired maximum number of guest connections.

"What should the new ArchWiz understand about permissions/security?

A lot. For now refer to #34443 on LambdaMOO ( 8888);
this may appear later at Or you can look through the
moo-cows archive available by ftp from for an article
with the following title (June 1994):

        Newbie wiz FAQ: Permissions/security

Here's some code you could put into a verb to help you find writeable verbs
that act with wizards authority (i.e. a verb anyone could modify, that has
the power of a wizard):

(perhaps call it: "@seek*holes findholes"   none none none)

count = 0;
wiz = "";
evil = " contains WWV";
for object in [1..tonum(max_object())]
  $command_utils:suspend_if_needed(0, tostr(object, "..."));
  object = toobj(object);
  if (valid(object) && length(vrbs = verbs(object)) != 0)
    for n in [1..length(vrbs)]
      $command_utils:suspend_if_needed(0, tostr(object, "..."));
      if (index(verb_info(object, tostr(n - 1))[2], "w") > 0)
        count = count + 1;
        if (verb_info(object, tostr(n - 1))[1].wizard == 1)
          wiz = "WIZARDLY ";
          wiz = "";
        player:tell(wiz, "Object ", tostr(object), evil, " ", vrbs[n]);
player:tell(count, " total.");

[contributed by, and modified by Scott Lynch]

Until you really grok permissions, it may be best to do all your
programming as a programmer character.

"No player's disconnect date is getting modified, what's up?
"No one is getting mail notification, what's wrong?

There seems to be a problem with the verb disfunc and confunc verbs on #6,
generic player on the distribution of LambdaCore-21Oct93.db. To fix it,
@edit #6:disfunc and also #6.confunc, and change each line 1 to this:

        if (valid(caller_perms()) && caller != this && caller != #0)

Of course, this only works for sure if you're using the above db version,
and haven't touched your disfunc and confunc verbs on this object. Be

"LambdaCore is awfully bare. How can I get some other objects and system
features into my MOO without recoding them from scratch?

[Hmm. Well in the sense that you don't get some system features (weather,
rpg system, diurnal environment, etc.) or objects (talking robots, morphing
player class, etc.) that you've seen on established MOOs I guess LambdaCore
could be called bare. LambdaCore is really a pretty complete base for
coding a MOO, with LOTS of underlying necessities that some would be bored
and frustrated to tears to have to code themselves. As more daughters of
the LambdaCore appear I'll list them here. OK, enough editorial on with the
question. ed.]

The recommended procedure for porting objects presently has two components:
social and technical.

+Social: There are copyright & courtesy issues involved with porting other
people's code to your MOO. The practical advice that results from these
considerations seems to be:

        -If the object/code explicitly states you can copy it, or
         you have secured the author's permission, port it.
        -If not, don't port it.

This can be a bit frustrating if you want object xyz but xyz's author
hasn't logged on in 8 months. The suggestion at that point is to look at
the code and try to understand what is being done, then program an object
with similar but improved functions.

Many people say porting MOO objects is a good way to learn MOO programming;
others are hostile toward the idea of non-programmers porting objects at
all. Let the reader decide, but understand that not everyone thinks porting
is a great thing, even when you are courteous, and respect copyright.

+Technical: Currently there are lots of gotchas to porting objects, most of
them related to coding irregularities on the original objects, and to MOO
client operations. Only a couple of those are dealt with here; until
someone develops a robust portability system for MOO, you _will_ run into
problems from time to time. When that happens, there is nothing like being,
or being good friends with, an accomplished MOO programmer. Here is one
recommended procedure:

1.      On the MOO you're porting the object to, @create using the
        apropriate parent, and note down the new object number (#xxxx).

2.      Turn on recording and turn off autowrap on your client; you do
        this to record dump your about to do on the source moo.

3.      On the MOO you're porting object #nnnn from:

        a.      @wrap off

        b.      @dump #nnnn with create id=#xxxx

4.      Edit the dump you recorded.

        a.      Remove the @create from the first line from the first line
                of the dump, since you've already created the object.

        b.      Scan for hard-coded object numbers other than the one
                that is the object you created. Fix those, pointing them to the
                correct object on your MOO, or recoding so they're not needed.

        c.      Scan for things that might have inadvertently been captured
                along with the dump, e.g.:

                You sense that Nern is looking for you in the Living Room:
                Nern pages, "Come out and help me torture some guests."

4.      Upload the dump to your MOO with your client; this dump script will
        put the properties and verbs on the object.

5.      Now, test and/or debug the object.

[Thanks to Judy Anderson, for some of the nitty gritty details above; if
something is in error, it is one of my ad-libs, -ed.].

"I dumped this object, but it has a few hundred properties containing object
numbers from objects and players on the source MOO. How can I get rid of

One obvious way is to edit them out of the dump with a text editor before
uploading. This could cause errors and may be tedious. It might be better to
redump the object, adding noprops to your @dump command. Then scan the verb
code for what properties need to be on the object; add them back with @prop.

"My client totally hashes my @dump script when I upload it, putting in
linebreaks where it shouldn't. What do I do?

Check the @dump script file to make sure _it_ doesn't have line breaks
where it shouldn't. If it does, the problem is not with your upload but
with your procedure for @dump (you did @wrap off, no?), with your client
recording, or with the editor you used to scan the script; one of those or
something else is breaking the lines.

If your file is OK the problem really is with the upload:

        -Set your client to stop this egregious behavior, or
        -Get a better client.

Two clients recently noted as being good for uploads are:

        Mac - Mudweller 1.2 has file upload capability [per Scott Lynch]

        Unix - emacs

          M-x telnet (to open a telnet session in the current editing window)
          C-X I      (to insert the ascii file of the dump script)

        [per Dan Mehkeri]

"How can I make all new players children of a specific player class?

Set $player_class equal to that class. For example, to make every new
player a builder class, you'd want:

        ;$player_class = $builder

"Why do I get a range error on line 3 of #15:length_date_gt, which is used
by commands such as @subscribe?

You encounter this when there are no messages in #18, the
Player-Creation Log.  This is typical when a LambdaCore-based MOO
is brand new. Change the verb to this:

#15:length_date_gt   this none this
if (this:ok(caller, caller_perms()))
date = args[1];
if (length(this.messages) < 2)
  return 0;
return this.last_msg_date <= date ? 0 | this.messages[2] -
this._mgr:find_ord(this.messages, args[1], "_lt_msgdate");
  return E_PERM;

[Courtesy Fran Litterio via post from Pavel Curtis]

"I've been trying to get @mail-options +netmail to work on my moo
and I always get this:  Mail sending failed: 503 Need MAIL before RCPT.
I then get both an emailed and @mail copy of the msg. What's up?

This appears to be a bug in the Solaris (SunOS 5.x) sendmail daemon).
Everyone may want to make the following change anyway, as it makes the
MOO's sendmail routines more technically compliant with the SMTP spec.

Edit $network:raw_sendmail and change the following (line 48):

    if (!index("23", line[1]))


    if (line[4] == "-")
    elseif (!index("23", line[1]))

[Courtesy of Alex Stewart]

"Whats up with this my_huh: security hole?:

A security hole in the :my_huh process (the part of :huh parsing which
handles feature objects, in LambdaCore) has been discovered, which
permits player class owners to run feature commands with their
children's permissions.  This is an undertandably bad hole, especially
if your MOO moves functions from player classes and moves them onto
features, and uses caller_perms() to check permissions.

The permissions checks on $player:my_huh reads:
  if ((caller != this) && (!$perm_utils:controls(caller_perms(), this)))
    "Standard permissions check";
    return E_PERM;
.. and then goes on to do a
later in the verb.

It is recommended to either change that if statement to remove the
(caller!=this) check, or leave it in and changing the set_task_perms()
to a set_task_perms(caller_perms()).  How your MOO uses :my_huh would be
the best way to tell which is the better change.

[Courtesy Seth Rich]

"Hey! There is always new news. What's going on?

Never mind. Do this as the wizard on your 1-Oct-94 core:


"Hey! Where's the help on $news? I've @examined it, but nothing works.

Here is how to do it with your 1-Oct-94 core:

First, find the object number for $news:

        @d $news

To add new news:

        @send *news    (exactly like sending mail to any mailing list)

Once you are finished composing and sending your message to *news, do:

        @mail on *news    (that'll show you what message has what number).

To add that message, do:

        @addnews [number of message] to [object # of $news]

If a message is old and you want it removed, do:

        @rmnews [number of message] from [object # of $news]

[From posts to Moo-Cows by Colin Moock]

To contribute to or comment on this FAQ, send email to;
corrections, additions, attributions gratefully received. I
haven't found a way I'm comfortable with yet to add db patches for things
that don't affect everyone using the vanilla lambdacore.

To ask a question about MOO programming, subscribe to moo-cows (to [un]subscribe
to the moo-cows mail list send email to
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This document does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the folks I work
for; they are not responsible for mistakes, libel, or other untoward
effects of other statements contained herein. Follow any procedure above at
your own risk.

   Kim Cary-Instructional Technologist-Grad School of Ed & Psy
                       "Boredom excites me!"

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