Alt.Talkers Frequently Asked Questions

Purpose of alt.talkers, plus general 'talker' info

NNTP-Posting-Date: Sat, 1 Nov 2008 00:00:06 +0000 (UTC)
Cross-posted to newsgroups: alt.talkers, alt.talkers.programming, alt.talkers.ewtoo, alt.talkers.nuts

Alt.Talkers FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) v1.11

Last Updated: 5th October 2004


This FAQ aims to explain a few things about the alt.talkers newsgroup, and any newsgroups formed under it. The primary reason for writing the FAQ is that there seem to be a lot of misguided individuals who think alt.talkers is for a purpose other than that for which it was intended.

There is also some material about the talkers this newsgroup is about. It is expected that this information will quickly become dominant in this FAQ.


   NB: a '*' means the section is new to the FAQ in this update.
       a '!' means the section was updated in this version of the FAQ.

 [The updates in this version are mostly correcting typos, plus removing]
 [stale URLs.  Some additional client URLs would be appreciated.        ]

    1.0  The Newsgroup Alt.Talkers
     1.1  What Is The Newsgroup Alt.Talkers Meant For?
     1.2  What Is Alt.Talkers *NOT* Meant For?

    2.0  Information About Talkers
     2.1  Ok, I'm Not Supposed To Chat Here, How DO I Use One Of These
     2.2  Right, I've Located A Telnet Program I Can Use. Where Do I Telnet
     2.3  Eeek! I've Connected To A Talker.  What Now?

    3.0  Basic Information For Types of Talker
     3.1  EW-Too
     3.2  OOT/JOOT
   ! 3.3  NUTS
     3.4  iFORMS
     3.5  Ncohafmuta
     3.6  Amnuts
     3.7  CheesePlant's House

    4.0  Other Resources
     4.1  A Few Talker Addresses
     4.2  WWW Talker Lists
     4.3  Some Links For Getting MUD/Talker Client Programs
     4.4  Talker hosting services

1.0 The Newsgroup Alt.Talkers

1.1 What Is The Newsgroup Alt.Talkers Meant For?

Alt.talkers was created to give peole who USE talkers a place to exchange information. This might be announcements of new talkers, the reason(s) for any downtime of a particular talker, or any of a whole range of other valid reasons. There is a seperate group alt.talkers.programming for discussion of the programming of Talkers. If you do not have access to this group on your news server complain to your news administrator.

If there is demand for a more complex hierarchy of groups I’m sure we can sort that out. For the time being alt.talkers is a fairly quiet group, so there is no need to fragment discussion into seperate groups.

1.2 What Is Alt.Talkers NOT Meant For?

Alt.talkers is not meant to be a place for people to just talk. That is what the actual talkers are for after all. If you feel the need to talk on usenet check out the talk.* hierarchy of newsgroups. If you just want to chat then check out some of the talkers that this newsgroup is supposed to be about.

Alt.talkers is ALSO not meant for ANY advertising of any form other than that directly related to talkers, i.e. a new talker, talker moving site, new talker basecode, new talker client, talker site hosting, etc.

NB: It is a given that the rules for Alt.talkers ALSO apply to all other groups within the hierarchy, until such time as it is explicitly stated otherwise.

2.0 Information About Talkers

2.1 Ok, I’m Not Supposed To Chat Here, How DO I Use One Of These Talkers?

Basically you need a ‘telnet’ program. Any users of ‘unix’ like machines can just do something like:

telnet somemachine.somewhere 1234

Although you’d be better off trying to use a better client program than telnet for this.

I have been informed that under Windows 95 you should be able to:

If you use windows or a mac, or other ‘graphical’ system then you should hopefully have an icon labelled ‘telnet’ or similar in with the other icons for internet applications (mail, news, and the like). The one thing to be careful of with these is that not all of them will allow you to specify a port number other than the default ‘23’. Most talkers run on a port above 1023, due to the design of unix-like operating systems that most talkers run on.

2.2 Right, I’ve Located A Telnet Program I Can Use. Where Do I Telnet To?

The style of talkers this newsgroup was first set up to discuss is those based on the ‘EW-Too’ code by Simon Marsh (aka Burble on Foothills). There are a few derivatives of this code now, such as summink, SensiSummink and Playground 96, and now PlayGround Plus.

There are are also other types of talker, notably ‘NUTS’ based, as well as a few ‘custom’ built ones that are unique. The remainder of this FAQ will concentrate on the EW-Too type talkers, because that is what the author is used to (anyone used to the others feel free to contribute a section to this FAQ).

All of these talkers will have an address consisting of TWO parts. The first is the name of the machine it runs on, the second is the port number it runs on, to distinguish it from other services on that same machine.

An example is:
             ^        ^
             |        |----------- Port number
             \---------- Machine

With a unix telnet you would simply:

telnet 4242

With some graphical telnet clients, under MS-Windows and the like, you may be able to just type the full address into a dialogue box. With others you may have to change the ‘Default Port’, or similar setting, to ensure you get the correct address.

2.3 Eeek! I’ve Connected To A Talker. What Now?

This all depends on what sort of talker you’re now connected to. Most will ask you for a name that you would like to be known by on the talker. Feel free to use your real name if you want to, but most people will use another name. This can be that of a character in a book or movie you like, something from mythology, the name of a pop group, or anything else you come up with.

You may not be able to use the name you choose, either because someone else is already using that name, or because it is too long, or contains characters the talker does not allow in names.

Once past this, and maybe a few other steps, which SHOULD be clearly explained by the talker itself, you will find yourself ‘logged in’ to the talker. Now you can start chatting to whoever else is also connected to this same talker. How you do this varies depending on what type of talker you’re connected to, but can be broken down into two basic forms.

First off with some talkers ANYTHING you type is sent back out to the other people in the same ‘room’ as you on the talker, so just type away. With other talkers (EW-Too included) you will have to use the ‘say’ command.

If all else fails try typing ‘help’, or on the style of talkers where that would make you say “help”, try ‘.help’.

3.0 Basic Information For Types of Talker

3.1 EW-Too

EW-Too talkers are what I would class as ‘command’ talkers. This means you can’t just type away to chat, you need to use a command such as say to get anything out to other people.

3.1.1 Connecting

Just telnet to the appropriate address. You will get a screen or so of text that is the ‘banner’ for the talker you’re connected to. This will announce the name of the talker, credit any authors, and then ask you to enter your name.

Go ahead and type in your chosen name. If you are asked for a password, and this is your FIRST time on this talker using this name then you have chosen a name that someone else is already using. DISCONNECT from the talker and try again with another name.

Once you find a ‘free’ name you’ll be greeted with a few pages of text, explaining things like the rules of the talker, who the admin are, something asking for your terminal type, etc. EACH of these pages should prompt you at the bottom either to just hit ‘Return’, or to enter some informtaion (such as terminal type). Read each carefully and follow the instructions.

This may all seem bothersome, but it has proven necessary, and most of it is only necessary the very first time you connect to each talker.

Eventually you’ll actually be logged in to the talker. You’ll see a description of the room you’re in, either the main one or one especially set aside for ‘Newbies’. Below this is a list of other people in the room with you.

3.1.2 What Now?

The basic command on EW-Too talkers is ‘say’:

say hello!

To send a message to just one person use the ‘tell’ command:

tell somebloke hi there

If in doubt try the ‘help’ command. This will give you a list of topics you can call up help on, such as ‘communications’:

help communications

All commands on a talker should have a help page associated with them, so if you find yourself wondering what a particular command does just try ‘help ’.

To find out the names of the commands you can use the ‘commands’ command. Note that this may simply give you instructions on how to get commandlists of certain types of commands.

This information may in time be expanded, but right now the author is tired and thinks this is enough for a first draft.


NB: This section supplied by: Dave_…@Software.Mitel.COM (Dave Jarvis)

3.2.1 OOT

The Object-Oriented Talker. Written in C++, this talker code allows you to manipulate over 200 strings, and customise almost every aspect of it without recompiling, nor even rebooting. A few other features:

Available at:

3.2.2 JOOT

The Java-based Object-Oriented Talker. Written in Java, this talker code allows you to manipulate over 350 strings, and customise more aspects of it than OOT from right online! It supports more than just these features:

Available at:

Soon a Web-based ANSI Terminal Emulator will be released (including source).

3.3 NUTS

3.3.1 Where to find information on NUTS

The NUTS home page is located at:

This includes a full FAQ about NUTS, and is written by the author of NUTS.

NUTS IV is now available:

3.4 iFORMS

3.4.1 What is iFORMS?

The NUTS code spawned a bastard child called iFORMS (internet FORum Multiplexing System..or internet FORuMS as the creator calls it now) This was written by “Deep” (Victor Rohr).

3.5 Ncohafmuta

NB: This section supplied by: co… (Anthony J. Biacco)

3.5.1 What is Ncohafmuta?

Ncohafmuta is an advanced talker system written in C. It has been around since mid ‘94 and is based off the no longer developed iFORMS code (by Deep). It is stable and runable on a variety of Unix platforms. Its distiguishable features are:

The Ncohafmuta homepage is located at:

3.6 Amnuts

NB: This section supplied by: amn… (Andrew Collington)

3.6.1 What is Amnuts?

The current incarnation of Amnuts is based on NUTS 3.3.3, though it has undergone a huge amount of changes, including adding over double the amount of commands, altering the way some commands work, adding a lot of new features, and more, yet still being able to retain that friendly NUTS feel.

Some modifications that have been made to Amnuts are:

3.6.2 The website

The Amnuts homepage is located at:

It has information about the Amnuts code, setting up your Amnuts talker, a FAQ to give some extra help. There is also a mailing list you can join, a number of message boards that cover Amnuts, programming, code snippets, and so on. There is also a list of Amnuts based talkers that you can add yours to, view the talkers listed, sort them, vote for them, and even print a graphic free version of the list (handy also for copy and pasting!)

3.7 CheesePlant’s House

This was the ‘original’ talker that inspired the whole EW-Too genre. CheesePlant has now made the source available. Go to this URL for more information, and quite a bit of early talker history:

4.0 Other Resources

4.1 A Few Talker Addresses

A few recommended talkers:

Name Machine Port
Foothills 2010
Resort 2323
Surfers 4242

Some allegedly popular NUTS-based or Ncohafmuta talkers:

Enchantment Under the Sea 2000
Scarlet Citadel 2000
Glantri's Labyrinth II 2200

4.2 WWW Talker Lists

You can find the addresses for a lot more talkers at the following URLs. Note that these have not been checked recently, but the first at least should still be correct. It is also probably the best:

Once you’ve been using a Talker, or a MUD, for a while, you’ll quickly tire of the standard telnet clients. If you want something better, check out the following URLs:

For further information you may like to check out the FAQ.

4.4 Talker hosting services

Now you know some base codes, found the resources and read all the information, you may want to set up your own talker. There are a number of hosts that allow you to do this, and these are some of them:

Contacting The Author of This FAQ

The author of this FAQ is no other than ‘Athanasius’, the person who put out the ‘summink’ code, which is derived from the EW-Too code. If you need to contact him, use the address that follows. However, DO NOT ASK HIM GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT TALKERS, HE DOES NOT HAVE THE TIME TO ANSWER THEM. By all means make suggestions for improvements to this FAQ, certainly it could do with some more pointers to WWW pages about these talkers, not to mention some information on talkers other than EW-Too types.

That address: