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Designing Virtual Worlds (Anglais) Broché – 15 juillet 2003

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Descriptions du produit

Quatrième de couverture

Designing Virtual Worlds is the most comprehensive treatment of virtual world design to-date from one of the true pioneers and most sought-after design consultants. It's a tour de force of VW design, stunning in intellectual scope, spanning the literary, economic, sociological, psychological, physical, technological, and ethical underpinnings of design, while providing the reader with a deep, well-grounded understanding of VW design principles. It covers everything from MUDs to MOOs to MMORPGs, from text-based to graphical VWs.

Designing Virtual Worlds brings a rich, well-developed approach to the design concepts behind virtual worlds. It is grounded in the earliest approaches to such designs, but the examples discussed in the book run the gamut from the earliest MUDs to the present-day MMORPG games mentioned above. It teaches the reader the actual, underlying design principles that many designers do not understand when they borrow or build from previous games. There is no other design book on the market in the area of online games and virtual worlds that provides the rich detail, historical context, and conceptual depth of Designing Virtual Worlds.

Biographie de l'auteur

Richard Allan Bartle, Ph.D., co-wrote the first virtual world, MUD ("Multi-User Dungeon"), in 1978, thus being at the forefront of the online gaming industry from its very inception. A former university lecturer in Artificial Intelligence, he is an influential writer on all aspects of virtual world design and development. As an independent consultant, he has worked with almost every major online gaming company in the U.K. and the U.S. over the past 20 years. Richard lives with his wife, Gail, and their two children, Jennifer and Madeleine, in a village just outside Colchester, England. He works in virtual worlds.

These reviewers contributed their considerable hands-on expertise to the development process for Designing Virtual Worlds. As the book was being written, these dedicated professionals reviewed all the material for technical content, organization, and flow. Their feedback was critical to ensuring that Designing Virtual Worlds fits our readers' need for the highest-quality technical information.

Matt Mihaly is the founding partner, lead designer, and CEO of Achaea LLC. Founded in 1996 in San Francisco, Achaea designs and produces some of the world's most popular and successful commercial text MUDs, including Achaea, Dreams of Divine Lands (, Aetolia, the Midnight Age (, and Imperian (—all of which run on Achaea's proprietary network engine, Rapture. Matt graduated from Cornell University in 1994 with a degree in Political Science and is a licensed stockbroker. These experiences have informed his game design tendencies and he is an expert on business models, political systems, and community dynamics in virtual worlds. Along with the inevitable interest in games, he spends his free time pursuing Brazilian jujitsu and kickboxing, cooking, travelling, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and scuba diving.

Damion Schubert has been working in online world design professionally for over seven years. He was originally the lead designer of Meridian 59 (and several expansions), as well as the lead designer for the defunct Ultima Online 2. He has also served as a contractor for such projects as The Sims Online and Kalisto's Highlander Online. Currently Damion is serving as a senior designer at Wolfpack, which shipped Shadowbane in March 2003.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 18 commentaires
18 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A must have for the MUD bookshelf 24 novembre 2004
Par Jonathan Boeck - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I've almost finished this book, and I have to say this is one tome that's a critical necessity for designing and implementing MUDs and/or MMORPGs.

There isn't any code, but Mr. Bartle covers the entire spectrum of the online Virtual World from start to finish. The style of the book is very philosophical in nature, discussing and detailing a problem, then offering what seems to be all possible solutions... and the problems those solutions are likely to spawn. In the final analysis, you have to make the decision as to which solution you will implement. Some of these decisions are not easy at all.

I'm an experienced MUD player and programmer, and I had my own ideas regarding the direction I wanted to go to create the "ultimate" MUD using my own super-duper ideas. This book uncovered numerous flaws in my design that I had not fully considered, and literallly saved me hundreds of hours in time by detailing WHY my ill-considered ideas would certainly cause the MUD to fail.

Every aspect of VW's are explored in detail from all angles. Sometimes this exploration process made the journey a bit tedious, because I wanted the best solution to the problem being discussed... now... and be done with it.

Unfortunatly, that's not easy to do when you're presented with problems that have no perfect solutions, and the requirement is to make a decision... and live with the consequences. Now or later, you WILL decide how you'll deal with this or that design problem. If you don't sort it out, your MUD will never exist, or it will fail to survive. Mr. Bartle is courteous enough to tell you why.

If you're planning a MUD, you MUST consider all the topics he explores in this book, and begin the difficult process of making your design decisions.

An incomplete list of topics covered: virtual world history, the codebases and how they determine what style of VW is created, how to orgainize the design team and what their responsibilities are, the server and client architecture, the people who are drawn to these VW's, who they are, what they're looking for, their styles of play, the problems some of them cause, player participation in the design and content process, considerations about skills, levels, caps, long term players, newbies, character appearances, groups and clans, combat, crafting, NPC services, the economy, Player killing, Player vs Player, Permanent Death and Non-Permanent death, sociology, psychology, RPG theory, story theory, quests and adventures, geography, aesthetics, ethical considerations such as censorship, allowing virtual children, etc, wizzes, the live team, content, real life religeous conflicts, and finally... addiction, and mental illnesses of some of the players.

Have you considered all angles of all that (and more)?

I am totally, and completely, impressed with the breadth and depth of the coverage of all those and many more topics in this book.

Before you begin the design process, and certainly before you write one line of code, this book must be digested. It'll save you countless hours of work, God knows how many headaches, and will prepare you for the trying journey ahead.

5 stars and a must have for the MUD designer's bookshelf.

- Alleyrat
20 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Definitive Book on the Subject 15 octobre 2003
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This looks like the definitive book on designing virtual worlds, and is likely to stay so for many years. It clearly shows that the author had 25 years of experience--not just as a designer of such worlds, but also as a user--to draw on, while at the same time being sufficiently detached from the industry to be able to offer candid opinions on any subject.
It's hard to think of anything on the subject that Bartle does not at least touch on (providing extensive, scholarly quality references to a wealth of further on- and offline materials), from the deepest metaphysical philosophy to the daily squabbles between users and administrators on virtual worlds large and small. Bartle does not in general provide cut-and-dried solutions to the world design issues, but he gives an extensive discussion of approaches attempted and how they succeeded and failed.
My only reservation with this otherwise excellent book was that I found some of the discussion a bit overly extensive. I would have preferred a book maybe 200 pages shorter, especially towards the final chapters of the book.
If you're planning on designing a virtual world, buying this book is more than just a good idea: Failing to do so would border on criminal negligence.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Guide to the philosophy and strategy of designing virtual worlds 7 février 2006
Par calvinnme - Publié sur
Format: Broché
To begin with, this book is not a programming book. There is no code, no discussion of VRML, MPEG-4, or X3D. Instead, this book stands back and takes a "big picture" look at the design of a virtual world from the viewpoint of systems engineering, social engineering, philosophy, history, and psychology. Ethical considerations are even tossed in for good measure.

The book starts out with chapters on the history of virtual worlds and the cultural influences that affected their characteristics. Next, there is a fly-over view of the "production line" of building a virtual world. Bartle then turns his attention to the players - who they are, what they want, and how a virtual world can meet their needs. World design is examined from the standpoint of virtual geography, virtual world citizens, and finally the physics required to implement your world. Chapter 5 is about the specific sociology and physiology of the virtual world - skill levels, individual characteristics, how virtual inhabitants divide themselves into groups, combat, and even the meaning of death in the virtual world. The final three chapters are very philisophical in nature. Chapter 6 is basically a liberal arts syllabus through the prism of virtual world design. The last chapter, on ethical considerations, talks about censorship, and also looks at the player as a person and how game playing in virtual worlds can hurt more than help some kinds of people, particularly those prone to addiction.

Bartle's social commentaries may be a bit long-winded for some people, although I found them interesting. Some readers may also be somewhat frustrated by the fact that the book talks more about what can go wrong in the design of a virtual world - overly complex and static story arcs, characters that players do not get invested in, characters in which players get too invested, etc - than what can go right. I really enjoyed the book, mainly because it moves the focus of the potential virtual world designer from the artistic and technical viewpoint to the player's viewpoint - why they plays games, and why a player would pick your game versus someone else's game.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
MUST READ for world designers and developers 12 novembre 2003
Par jak321 - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Richard Bartle has an amazing amount of experience in designing and building virtual worlds. This book is a MUST READ for anyone designing a multiplayer on-line game or environment-- everyone from small community MUDs to huge massively-multiplayer systems. I would even suggest it for people writing more traditional multiplayer LAN games.
This is NOT a programming book. You will find very very little information on how to program or develop a world system or the back-end infrastructure. What you will find is page after page of design experince on topics such as virtual world "laws", economies, chracter relations, and player communities. Basically all the stuff after "our world is going to be a fantasy world with humans and elfs and monsters." Most of the information he offers can only come from trial and error-- often very costly trial and error. As he points out, you can patch most code, but you can't patch an economy or a character design flaw.
The book is written in a very relaxed style. It is not an guide on how to build the perfect world. There no perfect answers to most of these problems-- and besides, virtual worlds are SUPPOSED to be different. Rather, the general theme of the book is that if you are going to make decisions, THINK and make INFORMED decisions. This is done through many many discussions, e.g. "If you put this feature into your world, it will likely cause these side effects (bet you didn't think of that!), which have caused these problems for past designers." Reading this book is like sitting down with a bunch of other smart designers and asking "What if we do this?" "What if we try that?" only he has a general idea of most of the answers. At that point you are only left with picking the best set of answers for the world you are designing.
As someone who was professionally involved in building a massively multiplayer game that had a great graphics system and a solid server infrastructure but failed while still in development because of design problems and budgets, I cannot say enough about the value of this book. We would have given thousands for it just a handful of years ago.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Game theory and design? This is the book you've been looking for! 17 juillet 2006
Par Jon Bitwise - Publié sur
Format: Broché
You're getting it straight from the horse's mouth since this book is written by the grandfather of the modern MMORPG.

Rest assured - if you are a game designer, developer, or just love reading about game theory, this book is worth every penny.

I have read many other books on the subject and not one of them are packed with as much depth, knowledge, and wisdom. Bartle covers every avenue that a designer needs to consider in order to be successful. This book will help you and your team create an active, emergent virtual world.

As a game developer, I learned many valuable lessons on what made other games lose subscribers, or worse -- catastrophically fail.

Richard Bartle's writing style is very creative and detailed, and like his games, it gives you the 'just one more page' syndrome. For example, in this book it mentions how often a player must be rewarded in order to retain interest. He uses this same technique for writing by giving you something insightful to read atleast every 10 pages.

Bartle has covered all the bases. Designing Virtual Worlds is a great book, very entertaining. I give it 5 out of 5 stars - a must read.

More than 700 well-written pages packed with valuable insights, and it still leaves you begging for more.
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