Designing Virtual Worlds

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

Designing Virtual Worlds is a book about the practice of virtual world development by Richard Bartle. It has been noted as an authoritative source regarding the history of world-based online games.[1] College courses have been taught using it.[2][3][4][5]


Designing Virtual Worlds argues 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.[6] According to the book, it is the designer's role to know what will provide players with a positive game experience,[7] the purpose of virtual worlds is the player's exploration of self,[8] as well as for its expansion of the earlier 4-type Bartle gamer style taxonomy into an 8-type model.[9] The book also focuses on the practicalities of its subject.[10]


It has been called "the bible of MMORPG design"[11] and spoken of as "excellent",[12] "seminal",[13] "widely read",[14] "the standard text on the subject",[15] "the most comprehensive guide to gaming virtual worlds"[16] and "a foundation text for researchers and developers of virtual worlds"[17] that is "strongly recommended for anyone actually thinking about building one of these places"[18] and "describes the minimum level of competency you should have when discussing design issues for virtual worlds".[19]

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.[20]


  1. ^ Williams, J. Patrick; Smith, Jonas Heide (2007-03-28). The Players' Realm: Studies on the Culture of Video Games and Gaming. McFarland & Company. p. 31. ISBN 0-7864-2832-5.
  2. ^ Castronova, Edward (2004-08-26). "Virtual Worlds 101: Draft Syllabus". Terra Nova. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  3. ^ Thomas, Douglas (2004-12-10). "COMM 499: Massive Multiplayer Online Games". University of Southern California. Archived from the original on 2005-02-14. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  4. ^ Delwiche, Aaron (2004-12-10). "COMM 3344: Games for the web". Trinity University. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  5. ^ Kipp, Neill A. (2003-12-05). "CSC 5807 — Special Topics" (PDF). University of Colorado Denver. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2004-07-31. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  6. ^ Wallace, Mark (2006-01-31). "In Celebration of the Inner Rogue". The Escapist (30): 1–2. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  7. ^ Klastrup, Lisbeth (May 2007). "Why Death Matters: Understanding Gameworld Experience". Journal of Virtual Reality and Broadcasting. 4 (3). ISSN 1860-2037. Archived from the original on 2010-07-14. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  8. ^ Koster, Raph (2006-01-05). "Traits, stories, and holy grails". Raph Koster's Website. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  9. ^ Yee, Nick (June 2005). "Motivations of Play in MMORPGs: Results from a Factor Analytic Approach" (PDF). Proceedings of the DiGRA Conference 2005. Digital Games Research Association. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  10. ^ Klastrup, Lisbeth; Tosca, Susana (2004). "Transmedial Worlds — Rethinking Cyberworld Design" (PDF). Proceedings of the 2004 International Conference on Cyberworlds. IEEE Computer Society: 409–416. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  11. ^ Sempere, Andrew (2009-10-01). "The Work of Art in the Age of Virtual Production" (PDF). IBM Research. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-08-11. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
  12. ^ Jennings, Scott; Macris, Alexander (2005-12-19). Massively Multiplayer Games For Dummies. For Dummies. p. 7. ISBN 0-471-75273-8.
  13. ^ Zichermann, Gabe; Linder, Joselin (2010-03-29). Game-Based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges, and Contests. John Wiley & Sons. p. 149. ISBN 0-470-56223-4.
  14. ^ Geraci, Robert (2010-03-05). Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality. Oxford University Press. p. 95. ISBN 0-19-539302-3.
  15. ^ "Participants". Living Game Worlds IV. Georgia Institute of Technology. 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  16. ^ Book, Betsy (October 2004). "Moving Beyond the Game: Social Virtual Worlds" (PDF). State of Play Conference 2. New York Law School. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  17. ^ Levy, Luis; Novak, Jeannie (2009-06-22). Game Development Essentials: Game QA & Testing. Delmar Cengage Learning. p. 119. ISBN 1-4354-3947-3.
  18. ^ Castronova, Edward (December 2003). "On Virtual Economies". Game Studies. 3 (2). Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  19. ^ Green, Brian (2003-12-24). "untitled comment". Terra Nova. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  20. ^ Rickey, Dave (2003-08-12). "If you can't say anything nice..." Engines of Creation. Skotos (6). Retrieved 2010-05-06.

External links

  • Preview at Google Books
  • Author's support site
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