Designing Virtual Worlds
Product Author Bios
Richard Allan Bartle, Ph.D., co-wrote the first virtual world, MUD ("Multi-User Dungeon"), in 1978, thus being at the forefront of the online gaming industry from its very inception. A former university lecturer in Artificial Intelligence, he is an influential writer on all aspects of virtual world design and development. As an independent consultant, he has worked with almost every major online gaming company in the U.K. and the U.S. over the past 20 years. Richard lives with his wife, Gail, and their two children, Jennifer and Madeleine, in a village just outside Colchester, England. He works in virtual worlds.
These reviewers contributed their considerable hands-on expertise to the development process for Designing Virtual Worlds. As the book was being written, these dedicated professionals reviewed all the material for technical content, organization, and flow. Their feedback was critical to ensuring that Designing Virtual Worlds fits our readers' need for the highest-quality technical information.
Matt Mihaly is the founding partner, lead designer, and CEO of Achaea LLC. Founded in 1996 in San Francisco, Achaea designs and produces some of the world's most popular and successful commercial text MUDs, including Achaea, Dreams of Divine Lands (http://www.achaea.com), Aetolia, the Midnight Age (http://www.aetolia.com), and Imperian (http://www.imperian.com)—all of which run on Achaea's proprietary network engine, Rapture. Matt graduated from Cornell University in 1994 with a degree in Political Science and is a licensed stockbroker. These experiences have informed his game design tendencies and he is an expert on business models, political systems, and community dynamics in virtual worlds. Along with the inevitable interest in games, he spends his free time pursuing Brazilian jujitsu and kickboxing, cooking, travelling, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and scuba diving.
Damion Schubert has been working in online world design professionally for over seven years. He was originally the lead designer of Meridian 59 (and several expansions), as well as the lead designer for the defunct Ultima Online 2. He has also served as a contractor for such projects as The Sims Online and Kalisto's Highlander Online. Currently Damion is serving as a senior designer at Wolfpack, which shipped Shadowbane in March 2003.
Designing Virtual Worlds is the most comprehensive treatment of virtual world design to-date from one of the true pioneers and most sought-after design consultants. It's a tour de force of VW design, stunning in intellectual scope, spanning the literary, economic, sociological, psychological, physical, technological, and ethical underpinnings of design, while providing the reader with a deep, well-grounded understanding of VW design principles. It covers everything from MUDs to MOOs to MMORPGs, from text-based to graphical VWs.
Designing Virtual Worlds brings a rich, well-developed approach to the design concepts behind virtual worlds. It is grounded in the earliest approaches to such designs, but the examples discussed in the book run the gamut from the earliest MUDs to the present-day MMORPG games mentioned above. It teaches the reader the actual, underlying design principles that many designers do not understand when they borrow or build from previous games. There is no other design book on the market in the area of online games and virtual worlds that provides the rich detail, historical context, and conceptual depth of Designing Virtual Worlds.
Author Bio - 500 kb - 0131018167a.pdf
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A must have for the MUD bookshelf,
This review is from: Designing Virtual Worlds (Paperback)I've almost finished this book, and I have to say this is one tome that's a critical necessity for designing and implementing MUDs and/or MMORPGs.
There isn't any code, but Mr. Bartle covers the entire spectrum of the online Virtual World from start to finish. The style of the book is very philosophical in nature, discussing and detailing a problem, then offering what seems to be all possible solutions... and the problems those solutions are likely to spawn. In the final analysis, you have to make the decision as to which solution you will implement. Some of these decisions are not easy at all.
I'm an experienced MUD player and programmer, and I had my own ideas regarding the direction I wanted to go to create the "ultimate" MUD using my own super-duper ideas. This book uncovered numerous flaws in my design that I had not fully considered, and literallly saved me hundreds of hours in time by detailing WHY my ill-considered ideas would certainly cause the MUD to... Read more
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
The Definitive Book on the Subject,
This review is from: Designing Virtual Worlds (Paperback)This looks like the definitive book on designing virtual worlds, and is likely to stay so for many years. It clearly shows that the author had 25 years of experience--not just as a designer of such worlds, but also as a user--to draw on, while at the same time being sufficiently detached from the industry to be able to offer candid opinions on any subject.
It's hard to think of anything on the subject that Bartle does not at least touch on (providing extensive, scholarly quality references to a wealth of further on- and offline materials), from the deepest metaphysical philosophy to the daily squabbles between users and administrators on virtual worlds large and small. Bartle does not in general provide cut-and-dried solutions to the world design issues, but he gives an extensive discussion of approaches attempted and how they succeeded and failed.
My only reservation with this otherwise excellent book was that I found some of the discussion a bit overly extensive. I would have... Read more
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Guide to the philosophy and strategy of designing virtual worlds,
This review is from: Designing Virtual Worlds (Paperback)To begin with, this book is not a programming book. There is no code, no discussion of VRML, MPEG-4, or X3D. Instead, this book stands back and takes a "big picture" look at the design of a virtual world from the viewpoint of systems engineering, social engineering, philosophy, history, and psychology. Ethical considerations are even tossed in for good measure.
The book starts out with chapters on the history of virtual worlds and the cultural influences that affected their characteristics. Next, there is a fly-over view of the "production line" of building a virtual world. Bartle then turns his attention to the players - who they are, what they want, and how a virtual world can meet their needs. World design is examined from the standpoint of virtual geography, virtual world citizens, and finally the physics required to implement your world. Chapter 5 is about the specific sociology and physiology of the virtual world - skill levels, individual characteristics, how virtual... Read more
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Table of Contents
1. Introduction to Virtual Worlds.
2. How to Make Virtual Worlds.
4. World Design.
5. Life in the Virtual World.
6. Its Not a Game, Its a….
7. Towards a Critical Aesthetic.
8. Coda: Ethical Considerations.
Downloadable Sample Chapter
Sample Chapter - 849 kb - Chapter 2 - Hot to Make Virtual Worlds
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