Sunday, May 01, 2005

Developing Online Games

I've just finished reading the above-mentioned book, by Jessica Mulligan and Bridgette Petrovsky.

This book is about the "business" side of online games: the number of people you should have for each job and at which point in the development cycle they should be hired; how you should handle your time; and how much money you'll need to even consider doing something so large.

The authors do a very good job of deterring the casual reader from even considering launching an online world.

But will that stop me? No. Why not? Because that's not what I'm doing (yet). MMORF is a foundation, not a game itself; the goal of this project is to enable people to then go on and develop the online game world that Mulligan and Petrovsky have instilled fear over.

Yes, of course, I do plan on making my own world (for testing out this system, if nothing else). Something that's marketable is a something completely different however. I don't kid myself that I can design a game worthy of massively multi players (as mentioned many times in the book, players compare all future online games to their first one, and I'll admit that I would do the same if designing), nor do I think I have the business acumen to find the funding to start such a venture.

So why did I read this book? Especially when I have others (Bartle's Designing Virtual Worlds for instance), which are at least a little closer to the task at hand?

Because I'm a bad reader. I have over a dozen books that I'm "reading right now", everything from British history to the history of cyberspace to the adventures of Drizzt to the works of Salvador Dali. And I never, ever seem to finish a book. So it's not that I'm NOT reading Bartle's book -- I am, along with many others. Developing Online Games was one of the many others, and it just happened to be the closest one to me when I was reading, okay?


But it's not that the book isn't relevant. Having reasonable Customer Service tools at launch time is something that I might very well have glossed over when designing this framework, but now I know that tools to access internals (with a god client) or just copious, well-organized logs are going to be required, and should be prepared for at the stage I'm at.

I recommend this book to designers, would-be designers, or keeners that just like to follow the industry. Even if the knowledge within doesn't apply to anything you do, it does provide an interested and educated view into the development of online games and the behind-the-scenes events in game companies in general.

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