Students Staff

07 September 2010

Pioneer of virtual worlds named Online Game Legend

Richard Bartle

The first-ever Online Game Legend Award is to be presented to Professor Richard Bartle at the Game Developers Conference Online (GDC Online) set to be staged in Austin, Texas, in October.

Professor Bartle is Visiting Professor and Senior Lecturer in the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering and the award recognises his influence on the online games industry over the past 30 years.

His co-development of the original MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) created the seminal virtual world from which almost all today’s virtual worlds are directly descended. He has also continued to make significant contributions to the theory and design of online games.

Professor Bartle said: ‘GDC Online has been running for many years, but this is the first time they have made an award of this kind. It is a very prestigious award and I’m humbled and honoured to receive it.’

The original MUD was developed by Professor Bartle with Roy Trubshaw when they were undergraduates at the University of Essex in the late 1970s.

Links to British Telecom’s research laboratories at Martlesham meant MUD could use the latest technology to let players access the multi-player real-time virtual world from as far afield as Japan and the United States.

‘I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to develop the game which started an entire industry,’ Professor Bartle said.

A spokesman for GDC Online said: ‘Professor Bartle was responsible for greatly extending, fleshing out and popularizing the text-based multiplayer game, in which players logged onto a mainframe, socialized with one another, fought enemies and formed lasting friendships and relationships.

‘His research on player personality types in online games – achievers, explorers, socializers and killers - has led to the popular online Bartle Test. The influence of both his actions and theories in the online game industry has been profound and long-lasting. ‘

Professor Bartle is travelling to GDC Online to accept his award and will also deliver a talk on The History of The Multi-User Dungeon.

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