A Theory of Fun is now an eBook

 Posted by (Visited 11661 times)  Game talk, Writing  Tagged with:
Nov 302010

Cover of ATOfIt’s been a while since I had big news to post about the book! But here it is: A Theory of Fun is on Kindle finally. I am told that it took a while to do the Kindle conversion because of all of the images. It is also available in a variety of other formats at the O’Reilly online store.

I have seen a few odd glitches here and there in the Kindle version, things like the press quotes and reviews, but the book seems to have come through nicely, albeit with a few less penguins (the chapter header ones are gone). The cartoons are more like small illustrations inset into the text.

Amazon has it on sale for $9.99, so it’s definitely the cheapest way to get the book. Plus, you can send Kindle books as gifts now (nudge nudge). I probably earn more money if you get it from O’Reilly though. 🙂

How UO rares were born

 Posted by (Visited 40981 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , ,
Nov 242010

A no-draw tile

Amaranthar in the comment thread on the last post referred to “rares” in Ultima Online as a feature. They weren’t really, though. They were a bug.

First, a definition of rares. These were simply items that were incredibly uncommon. Often they were near unique. They couldn’t be found via loot  — they were only spawned once, really, when the server came up. As a result, they were immediately collectible. Most of them had no use whatsoever — they were simply uniquely colored objects, like a red vase that a crafter couldn’t replicate, or an object that was outright not craftable at all. A few were obvious bugs, like “water tiles” — a literal patch of water that you could pick up and stuff in your backpack, which because of how the simulation layer behind UO worked, actually functioned as water. You could fish in it, or pull a jug of water for cooking from it.

Needless to say, collectibility alone was sufficient to drive these to have immense value in UO’s economy, which was largely player-driven. Rares began to show up on eBay going for substantial dollar amounts, sometimes in the hundreds.

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Not an MMO anymore

 Posted by (Visited 23295 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , ,
Nov 122010

Dusty Monk has a thought experiment up where he describes an MMO of the future. Core bullet points:

  • a single-player or co-op multiplayer campaign you can play through that is heavily narrative
  • a matchmaking lobby where you can select between types of games to play with other players
  • games include group PvP matches or co-op matches against the AI
  • A UI screen where you purchase upgraded gear and character attributes for real money

As he describes the game, it of course sounds like an FPS game with matchmaking, and that is exactly his point.

He’s not really advocating the evolution of the MMO in this direction; he’s merely saying it is inevitable.

But I think that it is also important to note that this isn’t a virtual world at all.

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