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I found the full powerpoint presentation a fascinating read, very dense and wide-ranging (the one on his web site is about 35 slides longer than the one he presented at GDC) and I wish I could have been at the presentation (too bad they didn't webcast it). I don't think it's a successful checklist of Things One Should Do in an online game, but as a grab bag of Things One Should Know And Keep In Mind for anyone designing, implementing or administering a MMOG it should be required reading.

There's some good discussion about the talk on the Waterthread boards where Raph participates. http://www.waterthread.org/forums/

Something he said that jumped out at me: "For me, the best (and most depressing) thing about going to GDC and doing a talk like this is to run down the list of stuff you SHOULD do, and realize how much of our own advice we're punting on from lack of time and or money. Keeps ya honest."

Timothy Burke

I've just posted some of my own thoughts on the GDC aftermath, at http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/tburke1/gamefutures.html, riffing mostly off of Greg Costikyan's blog.

Daniel B. McMillan

It's the �worm in the apple syndrome.� If too many are bad � and families start to become active in what their kids are doing - we all get framed for being part of the problem rather than noticed for developing a better option.

We know that all crimes begin in the mind. Therefore, in a virtual reality, the mind must be disciplined through the support of positive and constructive behavior. Careless game play � or calling it just a cartoon for the sake of exploiting or making criminal behavior seem rewarding or humorous reinforces destructive thought processes.

In many games, the main involvement revolves around the combat system. This prompts the defensive and aggressive posture in each of us. It gets us thinking about killing. Society calls that �pre-meditated murder� but in virtual reality only characters are being killed. Even so - the character being killed has been developed over time and through the concern of the user. So in effect, it is like killing a little part of the user. This has been proven time, and time again in the reactions players have when the characters they have spent hours developing are killed by "griefers." Thus the MMORPG presents a new equation for game development.

The solution is simple. Foster in-game accountability for one's actions, in order to reinforce the notion of being civilized in the place where it all begins � the mind. This is just a glimpse into the new challenges virtual reality presents to developers as new virtual frontiers become more and more authentic, and the line between reality and virtual reality is perforated. In any case, time will present new studies in the psychology and sociology of the human condition as next generations spend a portion of their life in virtual reality

Freedom is not being able to do whatever comes into your mind. Freedom is being able to choose the right thing.

-Daniel B. McMillan
Creator: Frontier 1859 MMORPG

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