[MUD-Dev] MMORPG: where to start for making and running a game

Lee Sheldon lsheldo2 at tampabay.rr.com
Thu Nov 20 10:29:36 CET 2003

Oliver Smith wrote:

> Well, I think Dr Bartle's book quite adequately describes why some
> backgrounding - if not necessarily experience - with MMOs is
> desirable if not necessary to launch yourself commercially into
> the MMO market at this point.

On the contrary, I don't see that in his book at all. In particular
the section on assembling a team talks about the -roles- of team
members, not their backgrounds, and the need to "Read, assimilate,
understand. Then think for yourself." Sounds like a learning curve
everyone must experience to me.  It's one that should be part of any
pre-production, even preparing for pre-production. I'm currently
reading through a huge stack of books to bring myself up to speed
for a new project. Before I joined ST:NG I watched all of the
previous three seasons of episodes in a two week period to prepare
for the job.

> The notion of non-prevalence of prior-MMO staff on the SWG team is
> drawn from comments by Mr Koster himself on the SWG forums (such
> as blaming the design of missions on "not many of the team
> [having] worked on multiplayer games before"); I'm no-longer able
> to search/access the SWG forums or I'd try and dig up some of the
> posts for you.

I no longer have access to the SWG forums either, but I missed those
comments. I could have used them in my series of critiques on the
missions and storytelling in the game. And in any case the fact that
they were newly-arrived in multiplayer is irrelevent. Those the
mission designers reported to should shoulder the blame for not
keeping an eye on them and/or educating them. The buck really
shouldn't pass downwards.

> And again, "quite a few" would need to be scaled against the
> overall size of the team.

Hard to know unless someone from SOE Austin speaks up.

> With regards to suggesting it is some kind of prejudice... That's
> a rather odd accusation. The two types of game are significantly
> different and require very different approaches, almost arguably
> related by distinct disciplines. Moving from one to the other
> means a learning curve. The more of your team on the curve, the
> more mistakes you're going to encounter over your project's
> development time.

If all you're saying is that going to school on a new
medium/genre/type of game should be essential preparation for
anyone, that stands to reason. But so what? That is generally part
of the learning curve in any new endeavor.  It's not a barrier. It's
just a step.

> I think Dr Bartle's book covers this rather adequately in the
> first chapter.

Can you show me where? I've only read it once, and just skimmed it a
couple times right now, and I'm not seeing where he states this is a
problem, or even really addresses it. He does talk about several
games where he says mistakes were made, and discusses those, but I
don't see it tied to any particular background of the designers.

He might of course speak up, (sort of like leaping out from behind a
sign like Marshall MacLuan in "Annie Hall") and explicate. :)

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