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VWN Product Reviews: Designing Virtual Worlds

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A creation of Richard Bartle, the man who made the first MUD back in 1979, this book is the most comprehensive coverage of the design of virtual environments and virtual worlds to date. Covering everything from MUDs to MOOs to MMORPGs, from text-based to graphical virtual worlds, this whirlwind, non-stop tour examines economic, social, psychological, physical, literary, technological and ethical keystones and undertones of designing a world.

Grounded in the earliest approaches to world-design, coming from one of the founders of such, it flows easily from the earliest MUDs to the most modern MMORPGs, teaching again and again, in a kind, gentle fashion, the underlying principles of design that still govern their development today.

The book It teaches the reader the actual, underlying design principles that many designers do not understand when they borrow or build from other worlds they have encountered previously. It steers them gently away from bad choices by explaining just how they work.

It is expressly a design book, not an implementation book, and so stays away from implementation: You will not find a line of code in this book, in any language. Instead, it takes the broad view, and leaves the implementation up to the reader, in the language of their choice.

Literally everything is covered in at least a little detail here, from metaphysical wanderings on the existence and future of the virtual, to that age old conflict ? the war between user and administrator. For the most part, Richard does not provide cut-and-dry solutions; if w occurs, do x to get y or z will happen. Instead, he looks at case studies, extensively discussing approaches already tried and how they succeeded or failed.

 

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