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Old 02-26-2005, 12:46 AM   #1
the_logos
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Part of the PR release:
The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) will give special recognition to an academic, an industry professional and the founders of a media artists' group whose contributions have been invaluable to the evolution of interactive entertainment, during the 5th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards, Wednesday, March 9, 2005, at the Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco.  Recipients include Richard Allan Bartle, Ph.D, founding father of Multi-User Dungeons (MUD), who will receive the First Penguin award.....etc.

Dr. Bartle will be only the fourth recipient of the First Penguin award. Congratulations!

Now go out and buy his book. If you're running a MUD or even thinking about it, it's a must read. It's the definitive book on virtual world design and think of it as rewarding the guy who started it all.http://www.amazon.com/exec....=507846

(And lest some random idiot accuses me of pushing the book to make money off it: I was one of the two technical editors, but it's not something one gets royalties for. I was paid a flat fee to edit it and review Dr. Bartle's ideas, and have no financial interest in its success.)

--matt
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Old 02-26-2005, 02:51 AM   #2
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Congrats to the Doc! Well done.
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Old 02-26-2005, 03:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by
Now go out and buy his book. If you're running a MUD or even thinking about it, it's a must read. It's the definitive book on virtual world design and think of it as rewarding the guy who started it all.http://www.amazon.com/exec....=507846
Do you have any other books you would recommend, by the way? I'll probably get that one now that you recommended it, but so far the only other one I have is Mud Game Programming by Ron Penton, which is at this page:

http://www.amazon.com/exec....ks]http

Actually, I haven't received it yet though...just ordered it about a week ago, and I wonder if anyone could tell me if its worth reading.

And congratulations to Richard Bartle for winning.
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Old 02-27-2005, 02:51 AM   #4
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Frankly, Bartle should be collecting royalties and relaxing at a beach. Hehe.
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Old 02-27-2005, 03:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Jaregarde @ Feb. 26 2005,15:20)
Do you have any other books you would recommend, by the way? I'll probably get that one now that you recommended it, but so far the only other one I have is Mud Game Programming by Ron Penton, which is at this page:

Actually, I haven't received it yet though...just ordered it about a week ago, and I wonder if anyone could tell me if its worth reading.

And congratulations to Richard Bartle for winning.
I've never heard of Rob Penton and have no idea what he's done with MUDs, so I'd take his book with a grain of salt, personally.

As for other books, check out Jessica Mulligan and Bridgette Patrovsky's "Developing Online Games: An Insider's Guide." http://www.amazon.com/exec....=glance

I have to admit I've only skimmed it, but their publisher asked me to review a detailed proposal for the book before they began writing it and it seemed comprehensive to me, albeit from the production side of things. It may not be all that relevant if you're doing a hobbyist project, but no doubt even hobbyists can learn from their approach. Ms. Mulligan, incidentally, is currently Executive Producer at Turbine (who is doing D&D Online as well as Middle-Earth Online). Ms. Patrovsky has done a bunch of stuff including being CEO of Genie in 1998, serving as a 3rd party producer for Everquest in 1999, etc. Both are definitely worth listening to based on their experience.

Another good one is Lee Sheldon's "Charater Development and Storytelling for Games." http://www.amazon.com/exec....0993454

It's not specifically about MUDs, but one of Lee's major interests is MUDs. He knows his stuff when it comes to storytelling, and has worked on both tv projects and game projects. He also often gives day-long tutorials at the GDC (Game Developer's Conference) on storytelling in games. (Obligatory disclaimer: I wrote a little 1 page essay for the book on the use of politics in storytelling in MUDs/MMOS, but I receive no financial benefit from sales of the book.)

Finally, you may want to read Raph Koster's recent book, "A Theory of Fun for Game Design." http://www.amazon.com/exec....0993454

Raph was the co-creator of LegendMUD (text) back in the early 90s, was designer dragon on UO, creative director on Star Wars: Galaxies, and now serves as Creative Director for Sony Online Entertainment. I haven't yet read this book but Raph's a smart guy who understands online games and games (despite SW:G's relative failure compared to the expectations for it).

--matt
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Old 02-27-2005, 06:47 PM   #6
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I've never heard of Rob Penton and have no idea what he's done with MUDs, so I'd take his book with a grain of salt, personally.
Hehe, isn't it funny how all the authors who seem to know what they're talking about like to leave out the word 'MUD' from the titles of their books. Undoubtedly, that's why I didn't really notice any of the ones you mentioned when I searched on Amazon. (Well, incidentally, I did notice Richard Bartle's book before I went and bought the other one. Its just that the title made me think I should go for a book more specific to MUDs. Looking back now, maybe I should have looked at the name of the author. )

Anyway, thank you for the list of books. I'll be sure to take a look at them.
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Old 02-28-2005, 12:24 AM   #7
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I am in the middle of writing a book myself, it talks about MUDding. I am sort of unsure how to title it. I have been writing this for roughly three years. Some title ideas I have are:


The Search For Richard Bartle's Royalties

Multi-Users for Dummies

Why I am My Own GOD

Online Relationships: A Lesson In One-handed Typing

This MUDs For You

Log Onto This!

Gaming: What Is It Good For?

Why A Sex Life And Gaming Does Not Mix

License Breakers And Their Addresses

Text Versus Graphical: Why I Now Need Stronger Lenses

Online Addiction: How I Spent My Rent Money

Online Games And Violence: Why Violent Starts Without Them

And Finally...

A Vacation From Real-life


Feel free to comment on each idea. Obviously I am kidding about these titles, this is just for laughs. Feel free to make up your own titles. I am really writing a book, but just as a hobbie, so do not expect to see it in stores anytime soon. I am up to page 205, if curious.
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Old 02-28-2005, 05:19 AM   #8
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Now go out and buy his book. If you're running a MUD or even thinking about it, it's a must read. It's the definitive book on virtual world design and think of it as rewarding the guy who started it all.http://www.amazon.com/exec....=507846
I actually ordered it now I guess it could be worth reading
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Old 03-01-2005, 10:26 AM   #9
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Well ... this will probably get me flamed, so keep in mind this is only my opinion and I am extremely tired just getting in from work. But I've always wondered if anyone else felt the same as I do after reading Bartle's book - so here goes.

I ordered Dr. Bartle's book with great expectations days after it came out. There wasn't much information I could find about it then, but with a name like "Designing Virtual Worlds", I figured I couldn't go wrong. And maybe that's what did it in for me ... but after reading it (well, most of it) I really don't think that the book lived up to what I thought it would be.

I guess I was expecting more of a "nuts and bolts" style break down on the various big games out there. I am not sure what I thought would be in it when I bought it - but I guess I thought it would contain more information on basic fundamental processes and game logic, less design issues and more program flow, database choices and uses, etc. etc. I know I thought it would have more than JUST design THEORY issues and ideas about games.

After reading it, I really feel it's one of those "fluffy" books that toss a lot of ideas at you, but give you no real direction or answers. It reminds of me of some Political Science texts books that explain different political issues and ideas, but doesn't give any real hardcore answers to why some ways work and others don't. Although sometimes it's good, I didn't want to be left with more questions after reading the book than before.

Don't get me wrong, there are some great morsels of ideas about why players do what they do, and why designers need to consider certain things before developing games. And it's interesting to put "names" to the concepts that have been discussed before, like the player types. And it really gets you thinking about the design issues it explains.

But I really feel there wasn't much new in it. Maybe it's just me - as someone who has spent the better part of 11 years just quietly trolling sites about game developement - I've seen a lot of the ideas in the book before. And I really don't feel that it answered many questions or gave me any real direction!


I realize I am rambling (too tired), so I'll stop. But I hope this doesn't start a flame war - as that's not my reasoning behind posting this. But instead, I wonder if anyone else feels the same. And use it as one more piece of information if you are trying to decide about the book.
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Old 03-01-2005, 09:32 PM   #10
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Well, I see what you're saying, but the book was also about game design, not about coding. Coding has, to some extent, 'correct' answers and a common language. Game design has far far less of those. So the criticism that it comes across like a political science book (probably more vague actually, as poly sci, which was my major, has a lingua franca) is accurate, but then, that's just the nature of the subject material.

--matt
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Old 03-02-2005, 09:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Mar. 01 2005,20:32)
Well, I see what you're saying, but the book was also about game design, not about coding. Coding has, to some extent, 'correct' answers and a common language. Game design has far far less of those. So the criticism that it comes across like a political science book (probably more vague actually, as poly sci, which was my major, has a lingua franca) is accurate, but then, that's just the nature of the subject material.
Well, I will agree with most of that. I wish I had more information though about the book when I ordered it, because I thought it would be more coding design ideas, instead of overall design issues. But, as I said - it does have some great stuff in it for someone relatively "new" to the production side of a virtual world.

As a side note about the comparison to poly sci (and really many other "fluffy" topics) text books. I agree that it can be the nature of the beast. But I always enjoyed material and teachers who took a stance on any particular "fluffy" subject matter, instead of just tossing out ideas. I always seemed to learn and digest it better when you were forced to defend and tear apart viewpoints. That is something I would have enjoyed more had Dr. Bartle done that in his book.

But enough of my critique Congratulations to Dr. Bartle and the other winners.
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