Raph Koster

Raph Koster is a multi-award winning game designer, virtual communities expert, writer and speaker. Check out his full bio to learn more.

Nov 012017
 

A while back I gave a keynote at the Game UX Summit in Toronto. Video of the talk is now up, so I’ve gone ahead and posted up a whole page for the talk that has the slideshow as well as the video.

The talk was similar to some of my other talks on game grammar, but with a focus on user experience: the way in which we can see each UI button as a “game,” each high-level experience as a “game,” and that therefore there are huge commonalities between UX design and game design and narrative design… but there are also big differences when we dig into looking at them granularly. In some ways it therefore draws on the same stuff (and many of the same slides!) as my talk on Game Grammar from PaxDEV, and also from my blog post about UX vs game design.

If all you want is the video, though, the organizers have you covered. And if you watch to the end, you’ll get to see some stuff about some of the tabletop games that I have been working on for the last few years:

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Ultima Online’s influence

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Sep 282017
 

https://i1.wp.com/www.uoguide.com/images/d/dc/Uologo.png?w=695This is the first question I’m answering from the ones I got for UO’s 20th anniversary.

I never played UO, so not knowledgeable. Maybe a routine question, but how do you think #UltimaOnline pushed the genre forward?

This is a big question.

I think we should start with a look at what the world was like in 1995, when the project was formally launched. Most people connected to the Internet via modem, and many of them were on 14.4k or 28.8k speeds. The 56K modem didn’t come out until 1998.

For comparison, my cable Internet at home gets 70.7Mbps for downloads. That’s 70,700k per second, versus 14k or 28k. The bandwidth difference is almost 2,500 times as much, if we look at the 28.8k modem. And that’s not counting speeds – ping times everywhere are quite a bit faster than they used to be. Old routers used to add 20ms just from you going through them, and getting 250ms ping time to anywhere was considered normal and if sustained, pretty good. Continue reading »

Sep 252017
 

I didn’t make it to the 20th anniversary celebrations for Ultima Online out in Virginia this past week, but luckily an attendee has posted up video of it! This segment here is the presentation by Richard “Lord British” Garriott and Starr Long on the early history of Origin and of UO.

There seem to be several more videos of the event there, linked from the original.

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Ultima Online is Twenty

 Posted by (Visited 230 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , ,
Sep 242017
 
The early UO team, from Nov 3rd 1995's issue of the internal Origin newsletter

The early UO team, from Nov 3rd 1995’s issue of the internal Origin newsletter

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of Ultima Online‘s launch day.

Funny enough, I have no particular memories of that day.

I’ve written a fair amount about UO in the past, so I am at a bit of a loss as to what to say, other than “thank you” to the folks who hired me and let me work on it, and “thank you” to the players who played and continue to play it. It has been an honor.

I posted on Twitter and Facebook asking for questions to answer and stuff to write on. One problem is that I can’t remember what stories I have told when… about the wisps? About tillerman stories? About the books system? Sherry the Mouse? The birth of orc roleplay? About burning to death in Ultima 8? About third party tools? About trying to develop 3d terrain? About character customization, which wasn’t really a thing before UO — and the faces system that didn’t quite make it? I just don’t remember. So if you want to hear more about anything from the way early days, let me know here or on Twitter or Facebook or whatever, and I’ll see about doing replies in a fresh post.

In the meantime, these are some of the past posts on UO that I would recommend on the blog: