Wireplay is an online gaming service for the UK home and Internet markets which allows users to play old and new networkable and general multiplayable games such as Quake (I, II and III), Unreal, Halflife, Forsaken, Settlers, Populous, Ages of Empires, Command & Conquer, Red Alert, Actua Soccer, Jedi Knight and all versions of Doom against other players from across the country. Downloadable with the Wireplay client software are a collection of games which Wireplay gives away free - including chess, a selection of popular board and card games, Big Red Racing Shareware, EF2000 and, of course, the best game of all, MUD2.

Wireplay was, up until July 1999, owned totally by British Telecommunications Plc. It is now under the ownership of Gameplay.com (though I believe BT has a large number of shares) following a flotation on the stock market in the aforementioned month.

Latest Wireplay News - on their site

Connection
A long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away), connection to Wireplay was either by a premium rate number charged at
2.5p a minute (all off peak times) or by a scheme where users payed a monthly fee of 9.95 (or an anual fee of 99.50) and were then able to connect by a 'lo-call' number charged at the usual local rates.

However, Wireplay have since chosen to 'go free' in the same way as the various 'free' ISPs have done in that the only cost to connect to Wireplay now is a local-rate ('lo-call') telephone charge with no subscription costs at all. This means that, should you use BT as your telephone service provider, you may place the Wireplay connection number on your Friends & Family list and so save 10% on all calls to the service or select it as your 'Best Friend' and save 20%. Having BT Call & Save or Premierline also knocks off an additional 10% or 15% respectively.

The following chart shows the costs per minute of connecting to Wireplay whilst utilising the various BT discount schemes (accurate of September 1999):

  No Reductions Friends & Family Friends & Family Bestfriend Friends & Family Bestfriend + Call & Save Friends & Family Bestfriend + Premierline
Percentage Reduction 0 10 20 30 35
Weekend Rate (pence/min) 1 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.65
Weekday Offpeak (pence/min) 1.49 1.341 1.192 1.043 0.9685
Weekday Peak (pence/min) 3.95 3.555 3.16 2.765 2.5675

The number Wireplay (Direct) uses to access the service is 0845 6010320. You will need to use this number if you wish to add Wireplay to your BT Friends & Family list or set is as your BT Friends & Family Best Friend number. For information on how to utilise the BT discount services mentioned, vist www.bt.co.uk.

Of course, if you happen to live in an area of the country where the local cable telecommunications company offers low cost or free local calls, then you should be able to access Wireplay at a lower cost than using BT. Contact your local cable provider for more information and, if you're lucky, reap the benefits of geographic telecommunicative discrimination...

Software Requirements
Wireplay's own client software is required to access the service. To play MUD2 you will also have to download the Wireplay MUD2 client (which has its own lovely graphical interface, as well as the usual text modes).

Wireplay UK main page (http://www.wireplay.co.uk/)
Wireplay Downloads (http://www.wireplay.co.uk/downloads/)

Alternatively, you can dial Freefone 0800 800 918 to receive a CD with the Wireplay client and all the software for their free games (including MUD2). Otherwise you'll have to download the Wireplay MUD2 client from the Wireplay service. Click 'downloads' on the News front page and 'follow the on-screen instructions'.

Help
The help facilities in the latest version of the Wireplay client are unfortunately lacking, so you may wish to follow the following instructions to get you started quickly. Alternatively, you could wear a blindfold.

1. Firstly, install the software using the normal methods and run it.
2. Hover your mouse over the Wireplay icon in the bottom left which will display the Wireplay utilities bar.
3. Select the Setup option.
4. Click the Connection Setup button, then the Settings button. From the window that appears, select the connection method that you wish to use. To play MUD2, the reccommended method of connection is 'Wireplay Direct'.
5. Select Games Setup.
6. If the client has not already done so, start the Find Games wizard by clicking the button of the same name. This will search all your computer's local hard drives for Wireplay compatible games.
7. To add games manually, click the Add Games button and select the game to add (then select its location on your computer by clicking its name on the Registered Games list).
8. If you haven't already installed the games, and the client produces a 'can't find files/game' error, then you should do so... :-)
9. Click OK to save your setup information.
10. On the 'Who are you?' dialog enter a user (or 'nick') name that you wish to be known by on Wireplay (this can be completely different in MUD2, if you choose) and click 'Connect'. Click 'New User' when this button appears.
11. Enter the requested personal details and a password that you can remember. You'll then, I think, be connected!
12. Now for the important bit. Pass the Wireplay news browser window that appears and select the Power Play Arena and arrive at the Noticeboard (you can see all the proposed games on the Power Play arena here) then click on the the MUD2 game world server entry on the list (game worlds are always running and cannot be proposed by users, unlike regular Wireplay-compatible games which need to be proposed by a user).
13. The noticeboard will disappear, and you will be connected to MUD2! Once there, read the instructions that appear to procede.