These are full-blown essays, papers, and articles.
Slideshows and presentation materials from conferences.
Interviews and Panels
Reprints of non-game-specific interviews, and transcripts of panels and roundtables.
Excerpts from blog, newsgroup, and forum posts.
The "Laws of Online World Design" in various forms.
A timeline of developments in online worlds.
A Theory of Fun for Game Design
My book on why games matter and what fun is.
A book I started and never finished outlining the basics of online world design.
Links to resources on online world design.
All contents of this site are
© Copyright 1998-2010
All rights reserved.
The views expressed
here are my own, and
endorsed by any
former or current
This page has two sorts of links: links useful to those interested in mud and
online world design specifically, and links that are about game design in
general. I've tried to give some indication of what's at the other end of the
link, in most cases. I've also included at a bottom a list of books that I
thought were relevant, after many requests.
Studies and histories of specific online worlds
- The Habitat Papers are fairly extensive, and below I have called out only
some of the more key ones.
Habitat is a page run out of Japan that offers screenshots of the game
- Text muds
The Mud Tree is Martin Keegan's attempt at a taxonomy of mud code bases.
- The TinyTIM TIMeline is a history
of TinyTIM, one of the best-established and longest running social muds.
- The MUDDex has
several items on it of historical interest, including:
- The FTP directory /users/mud at ftp.iol.ie
has a number of interesting things by Richard Bartle, some of which may be on his
site as well:
- On his site, Richard Bartle has page of links
to material about specific muds.
- The Palace
- Ultima Online
Papers, essays, references, and other research materials
- Richard Bartle's homepage has a multitude
of good material on it. Some of the more notable material includes:
- The Arch-Wizard Archives contains
Michael Lawrie's "Confessions of an Arch-wizard" which is a seminal document on
how to administrate muds.
- The MUD
Encyclopedia contains definitions of many words used in mud design
- The Journal of MUD Research is a
refereed academic journal on muds.
- Run by Lydia Leong, aka Amberyl,
The MUD Resource Collection provides a massive collection of mud-related resources
- The writings of Julian
- Howard Rheingold's Brainstorms has a few items
of interest to mud designers:
- The fantastic Papers -
[ Synchronous Communications | VR | 3D ] page indexes and lists abstracts for a
virtual mountain of important papers on muds, including work by Elizabeth Reid,
Julian Dibbell, Richard MacKinnon, Richard Bartle, Amy Bruckman, Pavel Curtis, and
- The Text-Based
Virtual Reality page is a similar index, but lacks the abstracts.
- Jen Clodius has a great page
of her cultural anthropology work on muds.
- Elizabeth Reid Steere's
Work on Internet Culture includes her important thesis on "Cultural Formations
in Text-Based Virtual Realities"
- The Virtual Community
Workshop was an online course on virtual communities that offered a very interesting
reading list on the topic.
- A good master list for seeking out material on MOOs (user-extensible muds) can be found
at MOO Resources Around the Web.
Mud design links
- The MUD-Dev mailing list
is, simply put, the best place to go on the Internet for mud design
- A text-mud company that has developed a fantastic series of articles is
- There are several "magazine" or webzine sites that cover mud design issues.
- How to Make Good Quests
is a MUD-Adapted version of the classic document for adventure game design.
- Marian Griffith's Roleplaying page
includes her !Overlord Project,
which is a collaborative design for a roleplaying-focused mud.
- Another mailing list which may be of interest is the
VWorlds-Biz mailing list, which focuses on uses on virtual spaces as a business.
- Tenarius' Player Wimping Guidebook is a good article, if a bit vitriolic at times, on the perils of weakening player capabilities or wiping player data, past launch of your mud.
- Mu's Unbelievably Long and Disjointed Ramblings About RPG Design
by Howard Collins, is a lengthy set of pages that in my opinion is chock-full of good common sense.
General game design sites and documents
- Items by Chris Crawford:
- GameDev's library of
game design links.
- Gamasutra is a game development industry hangout that
often features game design articles.
- Online specific
- Otherwise interesting or useful