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Designing Virtual Worlds  
The cover of Designing Virtual Worlds
Author(s) Richard Bartle
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Non-fiction
Publisher New Riders
Publication date 2003
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 741
ISBN 0-13-101816-7

Designing Virtual Worlds is a definitive work on the practice of virtual world development by Richard Bartle, the father of MUDs. It has been called "the bible of MMORPG design"[1] and spoken of as "excellent",[2] "seminal",[3] "widely read",[4] "the standard text on the subject",[5] "the most comprehensive guide to gaming virtual worlds"[6] and "a foundation text for researchers and developers of virtual worlds"[7] that is "strongly recommended for anyone actually thinking about building one of these places"[8] and "describes the minimum level of competency you should have when discussing design issues for virtual worlds".[9] It has been noted as an authoritative source regarding the history of world-based online games.[10] Its coverage of the virtual world design process has been called "a step further than most [books] in game design instruction".[11] In less favorable reception, one reviewer, while calling it a "must-read" work, said he found "much that was questionable, incomplete, or just erroneous" in it.[12] College courses have been taught using it.[13][14][15][16]

Designing Virtual Worlds has been noted for its arguments that the fundamentals of player relationships to the virtual world and each other are independent of technical issues and are characterized by a blending of online and offline identity,[17] that players do not know what will provide them with a positive game experience, that being the designer's role,[18] and that the purpose of virtual worlds is the player's exploration of self,[19] as well as for its expansion of the earlier 4-type Bartle gamer style taxonomy into an 8-type model[20] and its focus on the practicalities of its subject.[21]


  1. Sempere, Andrew (2009-10-01). The Work of Art in the Age of Virtual Production. IBM Research. Retrieved on 5 May 2010. 
  2. Jennings, Scott; Macris, Alexander (2005-12-19). Massively Multiplayer Games For Dummies. For Dummies. pp. 7. ISBN 0-471-75273-8. 
  3. Zichermann, Gabe; Linder, Joselin (2010-03-29). Game-Based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges, and Contests. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 149. ISBN 0-470-56223-4. 
  4. Geraci, Robert (2010-03-05). Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality. Oxford University Press. pp. 95. ISBN 0-19-539302-3. 
  5. "Participants". Living Game Worlds IV. Georgia Institute of Technology (2008-12-01). Retrieved on 2010-05-06.
  6. Book, Betsy (10 2004). Moving Beyond the Game: Social Virtual Worlds. New York Law School. Retrieved on 6 May 2010. 
  7. Levy, Luis; Novak, Jeannie (2009-06-22). Game Development Essentials: Game QA & Testing. Delmar Cengage Learning. pp. 119. ISBN 1-4354-3947-3. 
  8. Castronova, Edward (12 2003). "On Virtual Economies". Game Studies 3 (2). Retrieved on 6 May 2010. 
  9. Green, Brian (2003-12-24). "untitled comment". Terra Nova. Retrieved on 2010-05-06.
  10. Williams, J. Patrick; Smith, Jonas Heide (2007-03-28). The Players' Realm: Studies on the Culture of Video Games and Gaming. McFarland & Company. pp. 31. ISBN 0-7864-2832-5. 
  11. Croce, Nicholas (2007-01-30). Cool Careers Without College for People Who Love Video Games. Rosen Publishing Group. pp. 30. ISBN 1-4042-0747-3. 
  12. Rickey, Dave (2003-08-12). If you can't say anything nice.... Skotos. Retrieved on 6 May 2010. 
  13. Castronova, Edward (2004-08-26). "Virtual Worlds 101: Draft Syllabus". Terra Nova. Retrieved on 2010-05-06.
  14. Thomas, Douglas (2004-12-10). "COMM 499: Massive Multiplayer Online Games". University of Southern California. Archived from the original on 2005-02-14. Retrieved on 2010-05-06.
  15. Delwiche, Aaron (2004-12-10). "COMM 3344: Games for the web". Trinity University. Retrieved on 2010-05-06.
  16. Kipp, Neill A. (2003-12-05). "CSC 5807 — Special Topics". University of Colorado Denver. Archived from the original on 2004-07-31. Retrieved on 2010-05-06.
  17. Wallace, Mark (2006-01-31). "In Celebration of the Inner Rogue". the escapist (30): 1–2. Retrieved on 6 May 2010. 
  18. Klastrup, Lisbeth (05 2007). "Why Death Matters: Understanding Gameworld Experience". Journal of Virtual Reality and Broadcasting 4 (3). ISSN 1860-2037. Retrieved on 6 May 2010. 
  19. Koster, Raph (2006-01-05). "Traits, stories, and holy grails". Raph Koster's Website. Retrieved on 2010-05-06.
  20. Yee, Nick (06 2005). Motivations of Play in MMORPGs: Results from a Factor Analytic Approach. DiGRA. Retrieved on 6 May 2010. 
  21. Klastrup, Lisbeth; Tosca, Susana (2004). Transmedial Worlds — Rethinking Cyberworld Design. IEEE Computer Society. pp. 409–416. Retrieved on 6 May 2010. 

External links[]

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Designing Virtual Worlds.
The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with MUD Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).