Nov 302011
 

I was sent a link to this set of YouTube vids on the history of the MMO genre from MUDs forward. It’s worth a look, even if only to get  a rare glimpse of actual video footage from some of the older games that many folks today don’t even know existed (after all, WoW invented the genre, right?)…

Among the oddities, errors, and omissions:

  • Leaving out Kingdom of the Winds, which predated Lineage.
  • Leaving out kids’ MMOs entirely, especially Club Penguin.
  • Saying that the Ultima Online team had never made anything multiplayer before (Ken Demarest, mentioned in the documentary, left very shortly after UO actually had a team put together — and the original core team that was assembled on the programming and design side was all MUD/MUSH/MOO veterans except for one guy).
  • Saying that Meridian 59 going flat fee was what opened up that business model… I’m fuzzy on this, but my recollection is that M59 was not flat fee at launch… it happened later. And for a while they had a weird complicated fee structure…
  • Leaving out Kart Rider, the genre explosion, and the rise of free-to-play in Korea… it just sort of stops short at Lineage there. Instead F2P seems to all be attributed to Runescape, which is a real misread of where the lines of influence actually flowed, I think.
  • No mention of key non-game worlds like Second Life and Habbo Hotel. I suppose this is excused by the emphasis on game worlds, except for the mention of Habitat.

As a side note, on the graphical MMO explosion — even though a bunch of titles launched in a very staggered way that is covered in the documentary, I think that in practice just about all of them started development around the same time. It’s just that some of them finished faster.

There’s definitely a book to be had about everything in this history… someone (not me) should go write it. 🙂

Vids after the fold:

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ArtWritingA Theory of Fun website is back!

 Posted by (Visited 13613 times)  Art, Writing  Tagged with:
Nov 242011
 

After a bunch of painful adventures with domain registrars and WHOIS and other stuff, I am happy to say that the A Theory of Fun for Game Design book website is back.

In the process, I also modernized it — it’s all CSS fancy now, instead of using ancient Javascript stuff to make highlighting buttons. It’s got a fresh coat of paint on it, and actually looks like it was maybe made this century, maybe.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Music“After the Flood” is available again

 Posted by (Visited 5895 times)  Music
Nov 152011
 

After the Flood CD coverBack in 1999, the audio guys at Origin had spare time, and they put together this cool little program whereby people who worked there at Origin could get recording studio time.

In my case, that resulted in my only CD, AFTER THE FLOOD, which features Matt Mitchell on bass, Todd McKimmey on bass and electric guitar, and Stretch Williams on slide guitar.

I put it up on mp3.com back when there was such a thing, and some of the songs did fairly well — the opening track hit #9 on the folk-rock chart, for example. But then mp3.com went away.

Then I put it on CafePress just so it wouldn’t vanish altogether. And then CafePress did away with CDs.

So basically, it’s been out of print for years and years.

I decided, hey, if I am going to write hundreds of songs in a spare bedroom, I should actually let someone hear them. So the CD is back! (Well, as mp3 downloads anyway).

If you like it, leave a review, tell friends… if you don’t, blame it on it being from so long ago. 😉

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/raphkoster

Nov 042011
 

The GDC Vault has posted the full video of “It’s All Games Now!”, my talk from GDC Online. And it’s one of the free ones!

I have a brief precis of it here, if you don’t know what it is about. But hey, it’s only an hour of your life, right? So go check it out even if you don’t know what it is about.