Game talkNew Bartle video interview

 Posted by (Visited 6758 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , ,
Aug 152011

Got this in the mailbox:

Hello Mr. Koster,

I’m a big fan of your work and reader of your blog. You probably don’t remember me but I briefly met you at GDC Online last year. I was looking for Dr. Richard Bartle, who I did find and conducted an interview with.

A few months ago I released the interview on my Youtube Partner account but forgot to mention to you that I had done so. I thought you might be interested in it.

It’s divided into multiple parts because it was so long and I felt this would be a good way for people to keep track of each segment. Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoy!

I should be at GDC 2011 so perhaps I’ll see you there?


Interested indeed, and I am sure that others may be as well, so I’ve embedded them below the fold:

Continue reading »

Game talkBartle talks (virtual) religion

 Posted by (Visited 11508 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: ,
Mar 282011

If you "play god" is it blasphemous, or is it fulfilling the notion of being created in god's image?Dr Bartle has uploaded slides from a recent talk that is for “those who wish to see a definition of hubris incarnate” as he puts it: a disquisition on how creating virtual realities opens up religious questions. It’s quite interesting.

The basic premise is that realities are realities — just because one is a relatively crude construct doesn’t mean it isn’t a full-blown reality. Therefore, those who create said realities are gods.

By the time it gets to creating AIs that are self-aware but not knowing whether they are creations, we’re into fairly familiar territory. But it goes beyond that into the notion that perhaps you could create afterlives for these AIs, or allow them to visit your plane of reality using “waldoes” of a sort — a notion that resonates with Ted Chiang’s wonderful novella “The Lifecycle of Software Objects.”


Oct 082010

Messrs Bartle and Trubshaw’s astonishing contrivance.

[edit: Follow along with Richard’s slides available here (PDF)]

Thank you all for getting up early or not having gone to bed yet. Feel free to keep cellphones on so if they ring they can wake people up.

I am going to tell you things that i have never told others before about the origins of MUD.

I am here because i cowrote the first virtual world MUD. Almost all today’s MMORPGs descend directly from them, but that isn’t actually relevant. What mattered isn’t that we were first, but that we were unaware of any others. We would have gotten virtual worlds anyway, the important thing is that when we did it we didn’t have anything to base it on, which meant we had to establish some principles and guidelines, and form views on what we were making and why. Continue reading »

Game talkRichard Bartle Q&A log

 Posted by (Visited 5766 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , ,
May 262009

The full log of a great Q&A session with Richard Bartle in Metaplace has been posted up on the Metaplace Forums. It was a wide-ranging discussion, attended by over 70 people. Richard’s dry wit was, as usual, on full display.

A typical, provocative, snippet:

[05/26/09 13:13:10] gguillotte: I’ve been watching procedurally generated content for a while. Love comes to mind, a PG MMO. What sort of impact is this going to have, where content generation is automated?

[05/26/09 13:13:45] Richard: it depends if the generation of the content is the game or is filler
[05/26/09 13:14:11] Richard: procedural content can work – I’ve spent many, many hours playing Rogue for example
[05/26/09 13:14:42] Richard: using procedural content to create a canvas for virtual worlds seems a perfectly rational thing to do
[05/26/09 13:15:22] Richard: however, the designer has to put their soul in it somewhere: either this is by modifying the procedural content or by creating the framework that creates it
[05/26/09 13:15:59] Richard: now the former is the traditional way for designers to speak to players; if a designer wants to speak through the content-generation rules, well
[05/26/09 13:16:12] Richard: that would be possible but we don’t have the vocabulary for it yet

[05/26/09 13:16:28] gguillotte: Thanks.

[05/26/09 13:16:31] Richard: that makes it an interesting time for us

[05/26/09 13:16:38] gguillotte: Indeed 😀

[05/26/09 13:17:11] Richard: Metaplace is a similar thing, btw – we’ll see things here that we haven’t seen the like of before

[05/26/09 13:17:21] Cuppycake: (We already have!)

[05/26/09 13:17:24] Richard: which is why I’m so enthusiastic for it
[05/26/09 13:17:55] Richard: I don’t mean new worlds, I mean new ways of communicating through world creation

Game talkI am speechless

 Posted by (Visited 7896 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , ,
Dec 092008

…the Richard Bartle comments on the torture quest in WoW (and subsequent kerfuffle) hit BoingBoing, but nevermind that. Check out this comment in the discussion thread:

For about 9 months I’ve been working on a game that had torture as one of its selling points. Even though half of the team balked at being asked to design torture (“interrogation”) into a game, they still kept pushing it.

In my experience, people will watch torture, but don’t want to take part in it. Watching it is immersive enough. This idea did not go over well with certain people who just wanted that over the top sensationalist type of game.

On top of that, try making torture “fun”. Either you go full immersion, first-person in your face (scare and disgust most of your audience) OR you make it into a stupid mini-game (disgust a similar amount of people, but bore them to death).
Also, none of the choices in games ever amount to much, so the whole idea of “false intel” is flat. If it’s wrong to begin with, you are just going to teach the player that he played the game wrong, the moral lesson won’t be apparent.

Luckily our studio was shut down a month ago, so that game will never see the light of day.

Torture in video-games — a moral dilemma – Boing Boing.

Dec 022008
Richard Bartle, Randy Farmer, and Pavel Curtis

Richard Bartle, Randy Farmer, and Pavel Curtis

Far as we can determine, these three gentlemen have never been in the same real world place at the same time before.

Dr. Richard Bartle: co-creator of MUD, designer and theorist.
Randy Farmer: co-creator of Habitat, the first graphical world (as well as much more).
Pavel Curtis: the moving force behind LambdaMOO.

That is the three biggest inflection points in the history of virtual worlds, right there. 1978/9, 1985, 1990. If only we had John Taylor and Kelton Flinn here too.

Continue reading »

ReadingA poetry lesson for Bartle

 Posted by (Visited 6023 times)  Reading  Tagged with: , ,
Sep 062008

Richard Bartle has a little piece on the rhyming structure of this lovely poem by Carol Ann Duffy.

Mrs Schofield’s GCSE

You must prepare your bosom for his knife,
said Portia to Antonio in which
of Shakespeare’s Comedies? Who killed his wife,
insane with jealousy? And which Scots witch
knew Something wicked this way comes? Who said
Is this a dagger which I see? Which Tragedy?
Whose blade was drawn which led to Tybalt’s death?
To whom did dying Caesar say Et tu? And why?
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark – do you
know what this means? Explain how poetry
pursues the human like the smitten moon
above the weeping, laughing earth; how we
make prayers of it. Nothing will come of nothing:
speak again.
Said by which King? You may begin.

Sez Bartle,

Maybe I’m missing something, or I’m not reading this with the right internal accent, but calling this “rhyming” is a bit of a stretch, isn’t it?

Continue reading »

Jul 022008

There has been a lot of criticism towards the game industry, accusing them of being unoriginal. Sequels, sequels, everywhere. Diablo 3, Starcraft 2, GTA 4, Halo 3, The Sims 3, Far Cry 2, Fallout 3, not to mention the annual versions of various sports games. Why can’t game companies be more original? Because game companies are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing, making the games that players want, and the players don’t want original games.

— Tobold’s MMORPG Blog: Follow the money

If I say to you, “do you want chocolate ice cream?” you probably say yes. If I say to you “do you want more chocolate ice cream, this time with sprinkles on top?” you probably still say yes.

If I say “by the way, there’s also this mango sorbetto,” you may or may not try it. But you aren’t going to ask for mango sorbetto without prior knowledge of its existence.

Continue reading »

Jun 272008

As part of the ongoing raking over the coals of Richard Bartle for saying the obvious (yes, you can tell what side I am on in those debates!), Steve Danuser says over at » Sacred Cows

I get tired of people implying that today’s MMOs owe their entire existence to the MUDs of yesteryear. Sorry, I disagree. The gameplay style of EQ or WoW is obviously influenced by MUDs, but I propose that MMOs would have evolved anyway.

And Ryan Shwayder posts in comments saying

Ultima Online is a direct descendant of what MUD? I’m not saying it isn’t, I’m just saying that I don’t know what particular MUD had a profound influence on that game. It seems like the MMO industry was born of different influences; EverQuest from DikiMuds, Ultima Online from Ultima games. Not all MMOs have a lot of direct comparisons to MUDs, so I think he’s right that they’d exist whether MUDs did or not.


Continue reading »