Okay, this was suggested. Seems fair enough since VIP Mud likely gets people interested in muds who weren't previously. If you've played muds before and are comfortable then this isn't for you, this is a total newb guide of how to connect onward.
Feedback welcome. If there are any issues let me know and I'll adjust it. Also if it's far too complex let me know too, I know I can ramble at times laugh.
There are three parts -
"set up" is how to get into the mud for the first time
"About VipMud" is a description of what VipMud can do at a basic level to help you, without getting too complex.
"About muds" gives basic mud commands that are pretty common.
Right now, first you need to install VIP Mud. Fairly straightforward, you also need to set the voice options. If you can use it to output straight to your screen reader then feel free, otherwise you can use SAPI. To begin with using all the same option on every category is probably best.
Next find a mud. Alter Aeon is quite handy as a tutorial since it has a mud school you can learn in and get used to playing. You can find it on the games list, go through and find the web site. It has a port specifically for screen reader use so make sure you use that when we get to the port number.
Load up VIP Mud, you should be in the selection window with the default "Fred Valhalla". That means character Fred in game Valhalla. Tab to the button marked "add".
Now you can choose a temporary character name, you can edit this later don't worry. You won't know if this name is available until you connect and try to create it. Just put what ever you like in there for now, and tab along. Look through the list of games already predefined to see if your choice is there. Alter Aeon is so it's a good choice all the same. If it isn't then tab on and enter the mud name in the box provided. Next tab on and enter the host and port number, these should be available on the mud's web site. The host address looks like a web address but without the WWW, the port is usually a 4 digit number. Got those in? Good.
From there you can tab to the OK button and there you go, you've just set up VIP Mud ready to connect. Just choose your character from the list and hit enter, or tab to connect and press space. Assuming your internet connection is working and nothing is blocking the port you should now start getting feedback from the mud server, showing a login message. Sometimes there is a lot of decorative dashes or whatever else so just ignore them, that is fine too.
The login message should tell you how to make a new character. If you need to go over what you've received again just press tab and you'll be in the output area, and can move around it just like you would in something like notepad with your screen reader. While new messages will still arrive, and be read if you don't interrupt it by accident while navigating, the window won't move your position to another line automatically so you'll never lose your place because new messages came in and moved everything down. Often you'll have to type a specific word such as "create" or "new" followed by enterto tell the server you wish to make a new character, the login info should tell you what the specific command is. From there you should be able to follow the options for creation such as password, gender, class or whatever else.
A little about VipMud.
Tab will move you between the input box and the output window. You're quite easily able to review stuff you miss in the output window, and can get back to the input box by pressing tab again or by typing. Typing automatically moves you back to the input box, since you don't need to type in the output area. Nothing you type is sent to the mud unless or until you press enter, at which point the contents of the input box is sent. If there are semicolons ; in what you typed then VipMud treats taht as an enter when you send it, meaning it gets sent as a separate command right away. For example typing
"get helmet;wear helmet"
sends get helmet and then wear helmet straight afterward. The whole thing is sent together, but only once you press enter/return.
Keys are where you can set shortcut keys to send specific commands. I would say it's very useful to use the F keys such as F1, F2 and so on to perform common commands especially in combat. For example you can find F1 in the list, and set it to "kick" which sends the kick command when you press F1. This can help save RSI
Some keys are set up by default on the numpad, you will have to enable numlock to use then which helps stop them from interfering with normal screen reader keys. With numlock on the number keys on the numpad act as the 8 compass directions, sadly I don't recall the full list. You can change them in the keys option though, so you can set things like the slash or star to check your inventory and so on.
These just let you create a command which VipMud converts to whatever you like sent to the mud. For example in Alter I used to use one called "clean" for after fights, which sent "get all corpse;sacrifice corpse" to deal with the looting and then get rid of the body giving you a little extra gold.
Here are some common commands for muds. Note that give, get and put can vary in moos and mushes are a completely different beast. Mostly those these apply. These tend to be quite barebones in what you need to type, they are very much commands not instructions.
N, E, S, W, NE, NW, SW, SE, U, D
These are the directions. The 8 compass directions, plus up and down. These are the normal way of moving from one room to another. Muds are made up of rooms strung together.
look, or just "l" often
looks in the room you're in. Normally happens automatically when you move into a room, but can be useful on occasion too.
exits, often just "ex"
Shows you what exits if any exist in the room. You can't go north if there is nowhere north to go to after all. Often shown on the look too, but exits can be easier sometimes because it's less spammy.
Not always present, but if it is it will look around and try to tell you if you see any players or creatures in nearby rooms. Only tends to work in straight lines if at all. Sometimes this is a general command available to all, sometimes it requires a skill for rogues and the like. typing "help scan" will tell you the specifics.
Not all games support this, but if they do it will take you back to a place you set previously. Some games have this as a spell instead, or have recall scrolls available. Typing "help recall" will give you the details.
Looks at a given object. Don't type object, replace it with the name of the object. This can sometimes give you useful information, or just a description. Some objects might be containers, so you can "look in object" to see what's inside it.
examine object, or "exam object"
Use like look, some games use this to provide expanded information
inventory, often just "i"
Tells you what you're carrying in your inventory.
equipment, often just "eq"
Tells you what you're wearing and wielding.
picks up and drops things.
These wear or remove the given object, like a helmet or a breastplate. Wield and unwield are special forms for weapons. Some games allow you to use wear on weapons too, others require you to use wield instead. You can also "wear all" or "remove all" in many games.
put object container
get object container
Puts something inside a container, or gets it out. For example "put sword bag" or "get sword bag"
Starts a fight with the given target.
Not always available, and not always accurate, but it is designed to give you an idea of how your chances are against the opponent. Some games which heavily modify an existing mud system without adapting consider make it inaccurate, but it is still generally useful. Things to watch for are beneficial spells the monster might cast on itself, which can frequently make this assessment wonky.
Varies from game to game, type "help cast" to see how it works in your chosen game. Normally you can miss out the target once you're in a fight because the mud automatically knows who you're fighting, but not all games do this so be careful. Beneficial spells usually automatically cast on yourself instead, so don't worry about accidentally healing something while you're fighting it too much.
Can never remember which way round this goes, obviously it gives something to someone. Type help give if you need to do this, sometimes quests might require it.
Says something, well yeah...
tell person message
Tell sends a message to the character you specify, while reply sends a message to the last character to send you a message. Some muds disable this. For example
"tell cx2 oh come on you expect me to read all this?"
would send a message to character "cx2" saying "you expect me to read all this?". If cx2 then typed "reply hi there" right after it would then send a message saying "hi there" to you, because you were the last person to send him a tell.
Gives you information about your character. This varies between games and can include showing your class and level, your armour level, attributes or whatever else. If you've ever looked at pen and paper RPGs this is sort of like your character sheet in the mud. Try it and see what you get. Some games use other commands like "info" too for other information.
Varies from game to game, usually used to gain or improve a skill or suchlike. Type "help practice" to find out the specifics for the game. Also look up "help level" and "help experience" while you're at it to find out what happens as you progress.
These open and close objects, and can also do so for doors. Some games let you replace the object name with a direction for doors, it can vary slightly so check the help.
Well they lock and unlock something, if you've got the key. Otherwise you'll need to find out if you can use pick or a spell to do so. Works a lot like open and close, and equally varies in the exact manner for referring to doors.
Shows the basic list of help topics for the game.
Gives you the help topic for subject, assuming there is one. For example "help open". It's a good idea to poke around these to find the nuances of the game in question. If you're ever in doubt about a command look it up in the help, whether you wnat to know how to make it work or you want to know what exactly it can do etc. There is also usually help available on classes, skills, spells and anything else you might need help on. Try "help combat" for example and a lot of games have a description of how combat works, or help "armor" to see how armour works. Watch the spellings with these, especially if you're from a non US country. If your normal spelling doesn't work try the US version. For example dropping the U from armour, though some muds have it set up so both spellings work.
To live by honour and to honour life, these are our greatest strengths and our best hopes.