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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Apr 132010
 

Spotted this via an article at CNet; the Korea Herald reports on new measures instituted by the government there for underage gamers. The measures are aimed at fighting game addiction.

According to the ministry, underaged users will be forced out of gaming sessions when online access automatically shuts down as soon as the clock strikes midnight.

The policy also includes a “slowdown” system in which internet connection speeds will be stifled dramatically if underaged users are logged on for a lengthy period of time.

“Midnight ban imposed on online games”, Korea Herald

The rules are going to apply to 19 games accounting for 79% of the Korean online game market. But interestingly, Lineage is excluded, though Maple Story isn’t… apparently the issue of which games are on the list is the source of some controversy.

Interdependent systems

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Apr 222008
 

Next Generation has an informative email from Russell Williams, the CEO of Flying Lab, giving the reasons why they are having to merge servers. It’s a great insight into the complex equation involved in estimating how many servers to have.

One of the items in particular caught my eye:

Game systems
Pirates’ gameplay is very organic, designed in such a way that the different systems feed into one another. In a PvE-only game, focusing mainly on content, this isn’t a big deal. But in Pirates of the Burning Sea we have systems that require a minimum number of players to function correctly, such as our economy, and they break other systems if they’re not working correctly (such as PvP). If we didn’t have these kinds of interdependent systems, we wouldn’t even be considering server merges.

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