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Prof. Richard Bartle

University of Essex

iGGi Co-Investigator


Richard Bartle is a renowned pioneer in game design and research. He co-wrote the first virtual world, MUD ("Multi-User Dungeon") in 1978, and has thus been at the forefront of the online games industry from its very inception.

He is an influential writer on all aspects of virtual world design, development, and management. As an independent consultant, he has worked with many of the major online game companies in the U.K. and the U.S. over the past 30 years. His 2003 book, Designing Virtual Worlds, has established itself as a foundation text for researchers and developers of virtual worlds alike. His Player Type theory is taught in game design programmes worldwide (he appears in examination questions!).

His interests are directed mainly virtual worlds, particularly Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs, or MMOs), but cover all aspects of game design. He is keen to see AI used for non-player characters in MMOs (his PhD is in AI), and his current work considers the long-term moral and ethical implications of this. They’re maybe not what you might think they were at first glance…


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