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Let's say you were building a Mud with the Coffeemud engine.

1. Does anyone know the rules about building areas that relate to books, TV, etc? Can you do that at will, or do you need copyright permission?

2. This question may be hard to explain but I'll do my best.
Say you want to make 100 areas.
You start work on Area 1, but then you get inspired and decided you'd like to work on Area 12.
Area 1 is all you have, so you build a room off of that in a particular direction, and define it as part of Area 12.
Does mud mapping work in such a way that you can come back into Area 1 and fill in rooms?
In other words, if you built another Area 1 room in the same direction as that Area 12 start room, would the Mud just push that area 12 room further out, so that your Area 1 would be coherent?

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1. Most likely yes. If you use copyrighted material in your game, and it is a non-profit game (that is, your not making any money off of it), then you either need to make a disclaimer saying that so and so still belongs to so and so, that you are not making any money off of it, and that so and so still owns all rights to the name; or ask the creator of the book, TV, etc. (i.e. the publisher) for permission. To be honest I'd recommend both.
2. Yes, this is possible. As explained in the archons' manual, you can copy pretty much anything with the copy command. So, yes, you could create, say, area0 as a template base for your other 100 areas, then copy it as area1, area2, etc. Alternatively, your idea would work. Coffee MUD does not see the map in a particular direction or way (i.e. linear vs. logarithmic), so you can create areas in any order you like, and link them however you like.

"On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!]: 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out ?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."    — Charles Babbage.

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Thanks for the advice.
That's exactly what I needed to know. :-)

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