Cover image for Developing online games : an insider's guide
Developing online games : an insider's guide
Mulligan, Jessica.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Indianapolis, Ind. : New Riders, [2003]

Physical Description:
xxx, 495 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
The market -- Planning and budgeting -- Project management/manager -- Marketing and distribution concerns : retail box, download, or both? -- Calculating and expanding the profit margins : the cost of doing business -- Basic design and development issues -- Digging deeper into development and design issues -- Getting into the design -- Other design and development issues -- Launch day -- Managing a game post-launch -- The live development team -- Microsoft's UltraCorps : why this turn-based game failed -- Anarchy online post-mortem -- Glory and shame : powerful psychology in multiplayer online games --

Case study : online game lifecycles -- Fighting player burnout in massively multiplayer games -- Post-mortem : Mythic's Dark age of Camelot -- Managing deviant behavior in online worlds -- The lighter side of Meridian 59's history -- Appendix A. Executive considerations checklist -- Appendix B. Bios of interviewees -- Appendix C. The Bartle quotient survey questions and some results -- Appendix D. Hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades : players who suit MUDs -- Appendix E. Online world timeline -- Appendix F. Glossary.
Subject Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV1469.15 .M84 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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This text provides a start to finish overview of just what it takes to successfully design, develop and manage an online game. Case studies are provided from more than 10 industry leaders which cover all types of online games: Retail Hybrids, Persistent Worlds, and console games.

Author Notes

In her 16 years in the online gaming industry, Jessica Mulligan has been involved in the design, development, and/or post-launch management of more than 50 online games, including ADD: NeverWinter Nights on AOL, Descent Online, Anarchy Online, and Ultima Online. She is the co-author of Joint Strike Fighter Strategy Guide (Prima) and the author of the long-running industry column "Biting the Hand," now in its sixth year and found on Jessica was the co-founder of The Themis Group in 2001 and remains on the Board of Directors. She is currently a consultant in online game design, development, and management, living in Southern California.

Bridgette Patrovsky, a respected executive in the online services industry since 1988, was the founder and CEO of Access 24, the first attempt at melding the Internet with online services. She began her career in high technology in the mid-1980s, working with the executives and engineering staff at Everex Computers on the design of the world's first multiprocessor, fault-tolerant PCs. Bridgette was a founder of Interplay Online Services in 1994 (later Engage Games Online), she served as the CEO of online service pioneer GEnie in 1998, and she was a third-party producer for Sony Online's EverQuest during launch in 1999. Her consulting clients have included some of the biggest names in the industry, including Sierra Online, Paramount Studios, IDT, Origin Systems, Sony Online Entertainment, and Electronic Arts.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Video games have graduated from child's play to big business, so acquiring one or two creation guides is a good idea. Suitable for libraries serving beginning to intermediate users, gmax and Level explain how to use the free gmax editor to create new elements ("mods") for existing games. While Level strictly focuses on building new levels for first-person shooter multiplayer games, gmax discusses creating both levels and characters, with examples of models for many popular games; its CD-ROM includes gmax 1.2, a trial of Paint Shop Pro 7, and projects and images from the book. Level's CD-ROM also contains gmax 1.2, in addition to a trial of Photoshop 7, finished files, a discussion of what makes fun and useful game levels, and a chapter on careers in the game industry. Business and Legal helps those launching a game design company, covering from financing and staffing to protecting intellectual property and licensing work. Though specialized, this guide contains invaluable content for game developers and start-ups; appropriate for large public libraries and university libraries supporting design programs. Also for large libraries, Online Games builds on the growing popularity of the genre, discussing the process of proposing and designing as well as pitfalls and lessons for design teams. Case studies and interviews add real-world credence, and an appendix provides a useful online world time line. For intermediate to advanced designers, On Game Design discusses the process of turning an idea into a playable and marketable game. A great example-filled resource, it encourages designers to think about the different ways that games appeal to players, important gaming elements, and the psychology behind various games' success; for large libraries. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

ForewordRaph Koster
I Executive Considerations
1 The Market
Do We Enter the Market? Basic Considerations
How and Which Niche? Market Analysis: Who Are These People, Anyway?
2 Planning and Budgeting
Cost of Entry
Budgeting and Return on Investment (ROI) Factors
Talent Pool: Management and Hiring Issues
Differentiation Between Product and Service
Budgeting the Development and Launch
3 Project Management/Manager
Project Plans
Yes, It Really Will Take at Least 23 Years to Complete
Why Production Slips Happen
Project Realities
4 Marketing and Distribution Concerns: Retail Box, Download, or Both? Downloading: Not (Yet) a Viable Option
Buying Shelf Space
The AOL Model: Do You Need to Actually Sell the Client?
5 Calculating and Expanding the Profit Margins: The Cost of Doing Business
Some Numbers
Add-On Profits
II Design And Development Considerations
6 Basic Design and Development Issues
Practicalities and Advice
7 Digging Deeper into Development and Design Issues
Technical Considerations
Where to Start? Building the Right Tools
Host Hardware and Bandwidth
Player Hardware and Software
Customer Support: Dude, Wheres My Tools?
8 Getting into the Design
Acquisition and Retention Features
The Themis Group Player Satisfaction Matrix
The Critical New Player Experience
Its the Socialization, Stupid! The Importance of (the Other Guys) Storytelling
World-Building: Just What Is Content, Anyway?
9 Other Design and Development Issues
Console: Oh, Brave New World! One Problem: The Designers
Development Issues
Balancing Creativity with a Schedule
The Test Process
The Freeze: Closing the Loop to Launch
Ramping Up Player Support
III Launching And Managing A Game
10 Launch Day
Launch Philosophy
The Importance of a Technically Stable Launch
Whos in Charge on Launch Day? Disaster Control
If Disaster Happens
11 Managing a Game Post-Launch
Barbarians, Tribesmen, and Citizens
Transitioning from the Development Team to the Live Team
Managing the Expectations of the Players
Player Relations: The In-Game GMs
The Service Philosophy: Acquiring and Retaining Subscribers
Security: Keeping Honest People Honest
Community Relations: Processes
12 The Live Development Team
Live Development Team Responsibilities
The Publishing Process
The Publishing Plan
Patch Creation and Publishing Schedules
The Live Test Server
How Often Should You Publish? Critical Bugs and Exploits
Bug-Fixing Versus Nerfing
Planning and Implementing Major Expansions
Implementing an Expansion
IV Articles From The Experts
13 Microsofts UltraCorps: Why This Turn-Based Game Failed
Turned-Based Conquest Games Are Not Mass-Market
Too Easy to Exploit the Game Design
Constant Bugs and Hacks Destroyed the Games Credibility
Lack of Publicity and Marketing by Microsoft
Failure to Refresh the Game Often Enough
The Zones Sysops Were AWOL
14 Anarchy Online Post-Mortem
The Foreplay
The First TrimesterDevelopment of the Bone Structure (The Technology)
The Second Trimester: The Heartbeat of the Auto Content Generator System
The Last TrimesterGetting Ready to Be Born
The Birth: The Launch
Post-Launch: Infancy and Toddler Years
15 Glory and Shame: Powerful Psychology in Multiplayer Online Games
Buzzword Snow
A Unique Audience
A Unique Medium
The Power of Shame
The Problem with Glory
Pure Meritocracy: The Ultimate Glory Game
Cumulative Character Games: The Devoted All Go to Heaven
Achievement Versus Development
Summary: Development over Achievem