Looking for a MUD-like game to start a remote teaching course

May be slightly off-topic. I teach a didactics of computer science course at university in Germany - basically, students study to become computer science teachers, and mainly take computer science classes, but they also have to take a small number of classes on how to teach computer science at school, of which this is one.

This fall, I expect to teach a group of 15-20 students. Most sessions will be remote. Ordinarly, in a classroom, I would start with a round of introductions. This time, what I would really want to do, is start the first meeting in a MUD (multi-user dungeon) with maybe some minimal tasks and opportunities for chats. I’m thinking of management training excursions to play paintball or laser tag, except, well, parser-based. A game with graphics and a text backchannel would also work fine, I think.

I have successfully written a mini game in Inform 7 and uploaded it to Guncho. But I’m not sure my students will be able or willing to install a MUSH client. Something purely browser based would be perfect. I have no experience whatsoever playing Second Life, or MMORPGs, or MUDs either. I have access to a shared server for installations of my own, but PHP only.

So: Have you got any suggestions which sites or games I could use, for maybe half an hour of playing? With or without graphics, browser-based (if possible), in English or German, slow-moving, without other players getting in the way, or us getting in their way, and the potential for communication between players?

Thanks
Thomas

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Have you looked into Seltani?

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Am doing that right now, thank you for the suggestion.