Essays

 

There are, of course, many more articles than these that have appeared on the blog. These, however, are ones that did not appear there, but rather appeared elsewhere, on game websites or in various publications.

For design essays that appeared on the blog, I suggest visiting the Recommended Posts page.

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A Story About a Tree

A story about why online games are not just games. This essay has been widely reprinted, and even has its own Wikipedia article.

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What Rough Beast?

The role of the Other, evil, and ethics systems in an online game.

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Who Are These People Anyway?

A discussion of how player types affect an online community.

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So Let’s Get Practical

Administrative issues in online worlds.

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The Man Behind the Curtain

Governance in an online world: can players do it?

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A Community Cookbook

Things you can do to make your online community stronger.

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Insubstantial Pageants

The first few chapters of a proposed book on online world design. I never finished it, but there’s quite a lot here nonetheless.

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Current and Future Developments in Online Games

This was the opening address I was going to give at Online Games ’99.

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Video games, and online worlds, as art

Can they be art? If they are art, how do we critique them? Appeared at GIGNews.com.

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Declaring the Rights of Players

A hypothetical excursion into the notion of avatar rights that leads to surprising conclusions. This has been reprinted in numerous books.

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What My Job Is

This essay was my Comments from the Team essay for the SWG website. (I suppose I’m probably not supposed to reproduce it here, oh well). Basically, it’s a description of how I got into muds at first, and what I see as the task a designer of an online world primarily has to fulfill.

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The Case for Art

An essay written in rebuttal to Jessica Mulligan’s Biting the Hand article entitled Just Give Me a Game, Please.

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A Philosophical Statement on Playerkilling

Originally written for the discussion boards for Star Wars Galaxies, this essay sums up my current position on the playerkilling debate.

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Words of Wisdom: What it Takes to be a Junior/Entry Level Game Designer

Answers to a brief questionnaire written for the IGDA.

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Astromech Stats: Economy Stats

This essay on game economy metrics was written for the Star Wars: Galaxies website in 2004.

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Whither Online?

Game Informer Magazine asked me to write an opinion piece a while back, and this is what I wrote. I can’t remember what issue it appeared in, but it was sometime in 2005.

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Geek Fun Isn’t Frivolous

This appeared as an Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times. The title is not mine, however!

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Investing time and money in virtual worlds: Caveat Emptor

This little piece was requested by VentureBeat in the wake of the CopyBot scandal on Second Life.

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As Seen in Modern Lair

Tycho of Penny Arcade asked me a game design question: how would I make an MMO that was about industrial construction. This was my reply.