He wanted to understand how the game worked and, more importantly, change the things he didn’t like about it. As luck would have it, DikuMUD was open source software, so he was free to download the code that underpinned the game and start hacking it — and that’s what he did.
The program was written in C — a language he didn’t know — and he didn’t really have much experience with any kind of programming. But he was in an environment where he had the time and resources to teach himself. He was a student at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, IMSA for short, a public live-in high school with a unique approach to education. Every Wednesday at IMSA, students are free to work on whatever they want — to follow their particular passions through self-directed study, internships, or other projects. Chu used his Wednesdays to hack DikuMUD.