Designing Virtual Worlds
||Author: Richard Bartle|
List Price: $49.99
Our Price: Click to see the latest and low price
Publisher: New Riders (15 July, 2003)
Sales Rank: 45,610
Average Customer Rating: 5 out of 5
Customer ReviewsRating: 5 out of 5
This brings home that its not enough to make a good game, you have to build a community. I would recommend this book not only to aspiring game developers but even to anyone running one of the large online guilds. The details on role-play development are brilliant, and I for one am pleased to see a discussion of role-play ala character immersion, over the diluted belief that any fantasy adventure game is role-playing. With the inconsistent success of role-playing servers on many of the 3D MMORPGs I have new hope that a successful graphical online role-play game can be created.
I like the other reviewer wish I had this book two years ago, would have saved me a great deal of headaches.
Rating: 5 out of 5
MUST READ for world designers and developers
Richard Bartle has an amazing amount of experience in designing and building virtual worlds. This book is a MUST READ for anyone designing a multiplayer on-line game or environment-- everyone from small community MUDs to huge massively-multiplayer systems. I would even suggest it for people writing more traditional multiplayer LAN games.
This is NOT a programming book. You will find very very little information on how to program or develop a world system or the back-end infrastructure. What you will find is page after page of design experince on topics such as virtual world "laws", economies, chracter relations, and player communities. Basically all the stuff after "our world is going to be a fantasy world with humans and elfs and monsters." Most of the information he offers can only come from trial and error-- often very costly trial and error. As he points out, you can patch most code, but you can't patch an economy or a character design flaw.
The book is written in a very relaxed style. It is not an guide on how to build the perfect world. There no perfect answers to most of these problems-- and besides, virtual worlds are SUPPOSED to be different. Rather, the general theme of the book is that if you are going to make decisions, THINK and make INFORMED decisions. This is done through many many discussions, e.g. "If you put this feature into your world, it will likely cause these side effects (bet you didn't think of that!), which have caused these problems for past designers." Reading this book is like sitting down with a bunch of other smart designers and asking "What if we do this?" "What if we try that?" only he has a general idea of most of the answers. At that point you are only left with picking the best set of answers for the world you are designing.
As someone who was professionally involved in building a massively multiplayer game that had a great graphics system and a solid server infrastructure but failed while still in development because of design problems and budgets, I cannot say enough about the value of this book. We would have given thousands for it just a handful of years ago.
Rating: 5 out of 5
The Definitive Book on the Subject
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 preferred a book maybe 200 pages shorter, especially towards the final chapters of the book.
If you're planning on designing a virtual world, buying this book is more than just a good idea: Failing to do so would border on criminal negligence.
· Chris Crawford on Game Design
· Creating Emotion in Games: The Craft and Art of Emotioneering
· Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design
· Developing Online Games: An Insider's Guide
· Massively Multiplayer Game Development (Game Development Series)