Aug 282013

I didn’t plan it this way, but we have two interviews on back to back days! This one was for Adam Tingle over at, and it focuses mostly on MMOs specifically, as you might expect, with a lot of retrospective stuff. You can read it here.

We talk a bit about the making of Ultima Online, the development travails of SWG, the promise of Metaplace, and even the origins of sandboxy features back in LegendMUD. A snippet:

MMORPG: Do you believe in structuring a players experience, or prefer giving them tools to create a more emergent adventure?

Raph Koster: Both, really. But I strongly believe that you can’t build the emergent tools on top of a static world. As soon as you decide to make storytelling or quests or whatever the basis of your experience, you sacrifice having dynamic and emergent things in the game, because you can’t break or upset all the static content. Whereas if you start with a foundation of simulation or UGC, and layer static stuff on top, that works fine, because the static content is built to assume shifting foundations.

Sep 172012

On Saturday I met with the Omaha Game Developers Association in a Google Hangout for a couple of hours of interview-style questions. The whole thing was streamed live on YouTube and also captured afterwards, so here it is for those who have the patience.

Among the things we talked about:

And way more… vid after the break.

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Twitter, status, and /tell

 Posted by (Visited 8522 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , , ,
Feb 072009

Hasn’t It Always Been About Status? is a little article tracing the status update mania (such as Twitter) to AIM status messages.

I have now spent two days with Twitter, and I have decided that it is basically guild chat in Internet-the-MMO. It’s a form of /grouptell, and we’re all out slaying bookmarks instead of orcs.

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Saving mud history

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Jan 132009

After the whole Threshold deal with Wikipedia and losing mud history, a new Wiki was created on Wikia in order to preserve mud history.

I’ve put up a detailed LegendMUD entry with a bunch of citations. Yeah, it’s a conflict of interest, and I am sure I am misremembering stuff or letting my bias show. But it’s also the only way some of this history will be preserved.(And wow, I had forgotten a lot of this stuff!)

Go there, and jump in, and help. And hey, if people do the hard work of finding sources and the like here, then some articles can maybe migrate back to Wikipedia.

What is a Diku?

 Posted by (Visited 32398 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , ,
Jan 092009

I wish someone who has a good memory of these things and was there, would document that the key game design features of a DIKU are, if everyone is going to refer to MMOs as DIKU derivatives.

— a comment from Daniel Speed on Broken Toys » Wikicrap.

Glossing much here… Edit: this article is getting updated on the fly as people add comments and reminiscences.

DikuMUD was derived from AberMUD, which was similar mechanics, but had more of a scavenger hunt mentality in some ways.

At its core, it is a class-based RPG with the principal classes being fighter, healer, wizard, thief. (Later codebases added more). It was heavily based on the combat portion of Dungeons and Dragons. Advancement handled by earning experience points through combat, reaching a set amount of points, returning to town and “levelling up,” which unlocked new abilities. Classes were immutable (though eventually systems such as remorting, etc were added). Rewards for killing things also included equipment, which affected your stats and damage capability. If you reached the maximum level, common cultural practice was that you were invited to become a game admin (this practice dates back to much earlier, and existed in some form in MUD1).

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