Posted Mon, Apr 16, 2007 by Cody Bye
by Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and Cody "Micajah" Bye
Dr. Richard Bartle may be the single most iconic and veteran name associated with the thinking player's and designer's side of massively multiplayer online gaming. His touchstone articles like Players Who Suit MUDs (MUD is an acronym for Multi-User Dungeon, the text-based predecessor to the graphical Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) and Bad Ideas for Online Worlds are touchstone works in understanding what motivates players to play online games and how best to mete out a social context that satisfies the entertainment needs of gamers. Most impressively, these articles were penned in the formative years of MMO design- before any real data or feedback was available for mainstream MMOs- and have been validated by postitive commercial and playerbase response. Most of all, Bartle's work showed that MUDs and MMOs are extremely similar in form, if not in style, and that Bartle's theories are scalable from the 25-person hobby MUD all the way to a ~9 million subscriber MMO.
We were honored to speak with Dr. Bartle at IMGDC 2007 about the future of development (and especially small-scale independent development) in the MMO space. The 24 minute interview (below left) is the first installment of our IMGDC coverage featuring Richard Bartle. Expect more this week!