AresMUSH
A New Breed of MUSH Server

Plugins

Ares supports a robust Plugin system, with its features separated into plugin modules. Plugins provide all of the player commands - even core functionality like movement, help, descriptions, pages and channels. They handle game events, responding to things like “character connected” or “game started”.

Folder Organization

Each plugin has its own folder inside aresmush/plugins. The name of the folder is the name of the plugin.

Important Convention: The folder name must be one word, all lowercase, with no special characters.

There’s a standard organization to a plugin folder.

myplugin
    - commands (command handlers)
    - events (event handlers)
    - help* (help files)
    - locale* (translation files)
    - public (models and interfaces used by other plugins)
    - templates (templates and renderers)
    - web (web request handlers)
    myplugin.rb

Help and Locale must be in separate folders, but the other folders are optional. You could lump everything under myplugin if you want, but the standard organization will make it easier to find files - particularly in large, complex plugins.

Plugin Modules

All plugin code lives in its own Ruby module - inside the main AresMUSH module - to keep the code organized and provide clues as to what goes where.

module AresMUSH
   module MyPlugin
   end
end

Important Conventions:

  1. The module must be defined in a file matching your plugin folder name, located in the top level of your plugin folder.

  2. The module must be nested within the main AresMUSH module.

  3. The name of the Ruby module must match the name of the plugin folder when converted to lowercase. In other words, it’s okay to have a module FS3Skills and a folder fs3skills.

The plugin module must define a single method: plugin_dir that always returns the current folder. For example:

module AresMUSH
  module MyPlugin
    def self.plugin_dir
      File.dirname(__FILE__)
    end
  end
end

There are several other optional methods that plugins can define:

  • shortcuts - Returns the plugin’s shortcut configuration. Usually Global.read_config('myplugin', 'shortcuts')
  • load - Any special actions you want to do when the plugin is loaded. For example, the help plugin initializes some variables.
  • get_cmd_handler, get_web_request_handler, get_event_handler - Define handlers, as explained below.

Shared Helpers

You might find yourself doing the same thing across multiple commands within your plugin. In this case, you’ll probably want to create a shared method to avoid duplicating code.

A shared method doesn’t live in any individual command class; instead it lives in the plugin’s module. For example:

module AresMUSH
  module Bbs
    def self.can_manage_bbs?(actor)
      ...
    end
  end
end

You access shared methods using the module name.

Bbs.can_manage_bbs?(enactor)

You can place helpers anywhere, but the standard Ares code convention is to put them in the plugin folder and name them helpers.rb.

Plugin Interfaces (APIs)

The plugins talk to each other through database fields and interface methods (api’s).

For example, the Scenes plugin provides the interface method Scenes.add_to_scene(), which is used by various utilities (like skills and combat) to add system messages to a scene. The Ranks plugin provides a database model field so you can do character.rank.

Methods that are intended to be used across plugins are by convention placed in the plugin’s public folder.

Adding and Removing Plugins

Plugins are designed to plug in easily, so you can add new code systems with ease. They’re also designed like puzzle pieces, so you can swap in a different version as long as it’s the same basic shape. In code terms, this means as long as it implements the same Interfaces as described above.

For example: The mail API provides to main interfaces: an unread_mail count and a send_mail method. You can drop in any mail system you want, and everything will work just fine as long as it provides its own implementation of those methods.

Removing a plugin completely is another story.

Some optional plugins can simply be disabled through the game configuration. See Enabling and Disabling Plugins.

For others, though, it takes some code surgery. You’ll need to hunt through the code looking for all references to its models and interfaces. You’d also have to remove the fields from the database itself.

This can be a pain, yes, but such is the price for having a fully-integrated MUSH-in-a-box system.