Oct 112012
 

Well, we basically winged it, but it was a blast. We told stories, mostly out of order; fessed up to bad code and goofy decisions and being painfully young; and lamented the loss of that sens of crazy freedom.

Luckily, Gamasutra has you covered if you weren’t in the full house.

In the alpha, the team had wolves that chased rabbits across the map as part of its emergent gameplay system.

In those early days, the rabbits would actually level up if they got into a fight with a wolf and managed to escape.

“People would wander off in the alpha and try to kill a rabbit, and pretty soon they were playing Monty Python: The MMO,” joked Koster.

The game was tweaked to disallow this, though Koster confesses that they left one monster rabbit in the world when the final game shipped.

I wore my original UO shirt… and forgot to point it out! Doh!

Basically, during the period when we were skunkworks and ignored by the company (it was mutual, we ignored them back) we did our own marketing. So that meant we made our own t-shirts with a made-up logo. And I still have that shirt, in surprisingly good shape for being from 1996. All credit to Clay Hoffman for making it, way back when…

 

 

Oct 102012
 

Here are the slides for the design track keynote I gave yesterday, as a PDF. Edit: thanks to Alexandre Houdent for providing a version of the PDF that works on all OSes…

Among the topics: a recap of Theory of Fun, discussion of what I would change about it today, and all the thoughts it led me to: game grammar, games as art, games as math, the ethics of games, gamification, etc. With a dash of Classical philosophy.

I had the shakes bad before I started… but it felt like it came together in the end.

Apologies to anyone whose face I rendered unrecognizable. And the unlabelled woman is Jane McGonigal.

The press coverage so far:

A challenge for you all: can you name all these people without peeking at the slides? Continue reading »

Game talkMiscOnline Game Legend

 Posted by (Visited 6889 times)  Game talk, Misc  Tagged with: , , ,
Aug 302012
 

Today the press release went out announcing that I was selected to receive the Online Game Legend Award at the GDC Online Choice Awards. This award is voted on by fellow developers, and it’s basically a lifetime achievement award.

The Online Game Legend Award recognizes the career and achievements of one particular creator who has made an indelible impact on the craft of online game development.

This rather leaves one thinking, “Well, now what?”

(Warning: introspection ahead…)

Continue reading »

Game talkGDCOnline: Ultima Online postmortem

 Posted by (Visited 8149 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , , ,
Aug 172012
 

Game Developers Conference | Check out the origin of Ultima Online at GDC Online 2012.

This is one of three things that I’ll be doing at GDCO in Austin this October. I’ll let you know what the other two are as they get announced. :) Have you registered yet? Why not?

Speaker/s: Rich Vogel (Independent)Raph Koster (Playdom, San Diego) and Starr M. Long (The Walt Disney Company)
Track / Duration / Format / Audience Level: Design , Production / 60-Minute / Lecture / All
GDC Vault Recording: TBD

Description: At first, it was mostly a team of newbies. For a while, the office space was a few rooms on a floor that was gutted for construction — you could literally walk off the 5th floor of building and plunge to your death if you weren’t careful. The artists sat in the hallway. And the team was out to change everything. Ultima Online was not only one of the first graphical MMORPGs, it also set the standard for player vs player combat and sandbox/emergent gameplay in online titles for many years to come. Three of the UO team’s chief members — Raph Koster, Rich Vogel, and Starr Long (all of whom went on to shape the online gaming landscape) — will deliver a postmortem on the landmark title, reflecting on the challenges they faced from early development to maintaining the game well after its launch. Come learn how a combination of insane ambition and idealistic cluelessness can sometimes result in creating something that changes people’s lives and the course of an industry.

Takeaway: Skunkworks development can actually work! Learn about the challenges in spinning up a service organization from scratch. And what exactly happened with that crazy dragons eating deer thing?

Game talkGDCOnline reg is open

 Posted by (Visited 7346 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , ,
Jun 142012
 

 

Game Developers Conference Online 10.09.12 – 10.11.12 | Austin, TX.

This will be the tenth anniversary of what was once known as just the “Austin Game Conference.” It has always been focused on online, from the first day, back when getting together enough people to talk about online games for multiple days was a challenge.

Now online is where it’s at — just as we were saying all those years ago. It’s shaping up to be a a great set of sessions (disclaimer: I am on the advisory board, so I am biased!).

Trivia: this means it will also be the tenth anniversary of “A Theory of Fun” — the original talk was a keynote at the very first conference.

Game talkGDCOnline day one

 Posted by (Visited 3530 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , , ,
Oct 052010
 

I am here in Austin for GDC Online, and I haven’t made it to any sessions yet. Efforts continue to pare down my 1 hr 20 minute presentation to something that fits inside of a session slot, but moreover, I am now giving an addition presentation tomorrow, stepping in for John Donham who can’t make it. So if you are at the show, stop by Wednesday for this session:

AAA to Social Games — Making the Leap Speaker/s: Raph Koster (Playdom)
Day / Time / Location: Wednesday 1:30- 2:30 Room 5
Track / Format: Production / Lecture
Description: Developing games for social networks is a dramatic shift from making titles for PCs, consoles, or even the Internet. These new distribution channels have many unique lessons to learn, including fundamental revisions to the development process itself. This session will provide you with a solid basis for revising your strategy as you approach social game development.

My regular talk is on Friday. I also hope to have some liveblogs for you all of sessions I attend if I get the chance.