Richard Bartle: Virtual Worlds

by Plutopia News Network
Photo of Richard Bartle

Dr Richard Bartle is Honorary Professor of Computer Game Design at the University of Essex, UK. He co-created the first virtual world, MUD or multi-user dungeon, a progenitor of the Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game industry. His 1996 Player Types model has seen widespread adoption by MMO developers and the games industry in general. He’s the author of Designing Virtual Worlds and How to be A God: A Guide for Would-Be Deities.

Prior to the interview, he told us “I regard games as a medium of personal expression by their designers. I simply want better games.”

Richard Bartle:

I was always a gamer and I’d always been creating worlds, paracosms. When I went and got to the University of Essex I was planning to make a world implemented in software. But I saw that Roy [Trubshaw] had just started like a week earlier work on this game MUD and I thought no, there’s no point in me writing my game if Roy’s doing the same thing. So he was a year older than me so he was more experienced programming, he knew all the stuff from that. So I started helping him with content and eventually Roy had to do his family of projects so he handed over the code ownership of MUD to me. That’d be 1980 and that’s when I started working with it. But the reason that we were working on it, at least in part Roy was working on it through curiosity because he was just interested in computers, he wanted to know and wanted to do things. But the real, the under libraries for it was because we wanted to make our own world because the real world sucked.

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