Online Multiplayer Games

Online Multiplayer Games

William Sims Bainbridge
ISBN: 9781608451425 | PDF ISBN: 9781608451432
Copyright © 2009 | 113 Pages | Publication Date: 01/01/2009

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This lecture introduces fundamental principles of online multiplayer games, primarily massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), suitable for students and faculty interested both in designing games and in doing research on them. The general focus is human-centered computing, which includes many human-computer interaction issues and emphasizes social computing, but also, looks at how the design of socio-economic interactions extends our traditional notions of computer programming to cover human beings as well as machines. In addition, it demonstrates a range of social science research methodologies, both quantitative and qualitative, that could be used by students for term papers, or by their professors for publications. In addition to drawing upon a rich literature about these games, this lecture is based on thousands of hours of first-hand research experience inside many classic examples, including World of Warcraft, The Matrix Online, Anarchy Online, Tabula Rasa, Entropia Universe, Dark Age of Camelot, Age of Conan, Lord of the Rings Online, Tale in the Desert, EVE Online, Star Wars Galaxies, Pirates of the Burning Sea, and the non-game virtual world Second Life. Among the topics covered are historical-cultural origins of leading games, technical constraints that shape the experience, rolecoding and social control, player personality and motivation, relationships with avatars and characters, virtual professions and economies, social relations inside games, and the implications for the external society.

Table of Contents

Historical-Cultural Origins
Technical Constraints
Rolecoding and Social Control
Personality and Motivation
Avatars and Characters
Virtual Professions and Economies
Social Relations Inside Games
Implications for External Society

About the Author(s)

William Sims Bainbridge, National Science Foundation
William Sims Bainbridge is the author of 18 books and about 200 articles in the areas of sociology of technology, social movements, and research methodologies. For his recent book, God from the Machine, he programmed a neural network multi-agent system to simulate religious cognition and conversion in a large community. His book about World of Warcraft, The Warcraft Civilization, has recently been published by MIT Press. After organizing the first large scientific meeting inside World of Warcraft in May 2008, he edited a book growing out of the proceedings, Online Worlds, published by Springer. He spends well over a thousand hours each year doing observational research inside virtual worlds, and he is currently writing a pair of books on how gameworlds explore both the future and the past of humanity. For the last seventeen years, he has served as a program officer managing review of grant proposals in the social science and computer science directorates of the National Science Foundation. He has extensive experience editing publications on the societal implications of nanotechnology, converging technologies, and human-computer interaction.

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