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April 23, 2017
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Raph Koster's Blog   Expert Blogs


Raph Koster is a veteran game designer who has been professionally credited in almost every area of the game industry. He's been the lead designer and director of massive titles such as Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies; founded his own company; worked at places like EA, Sony, and Disney; and he's contributed writing, art, soundtrack music, and programming to many more titles ranging from Facebook games to single-player titles for handheld consoles. He's also the author of the classic book A Theory of Fun for Game Design.  In 2012, he was named an Online Game Legend at the Game Developers Conference Online. Visit his website at


Expert Blogs

Posted by Raph Koster on Mon, 11 Jul 2016 05:38:00 EDT in
In the wake of PokemonGo, it's a wise idea to look at the history of MMOs and virtual worlds for lessons learned.

Posted by Raph Koster on Tue, 30 Jun 2015 07:44:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Design
"They're just entertainment." "It's not our problem." "No, they don't." "Do you want games to be censored?" Lots of developers don't want to talk about if and how games affect people! But let's do it anyway.

Posted by Raph Koster on Wed, 03 Jun 2015 02:15:00 EDT in Business/Marketing
To quote Paul Simon, "every generation throws a hero up the pop charts." We all know the game industry is cyclical; here's how it works.

Posted by Raph Koster on Fri, 17 Apr 2015 02:06:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC, Social/Online
Star Wars Galaxies has been controversial for years thanks to a series of design decisions made both before and after launch. Among these was how Jedis were handled. Here's the design postmortem!

Posted by Raph Koster on Fri, 21 Nov 2014 02:24:00 EST in Design, Console/PC, Social/Online
World of Warcraft has now been with us for ten years, dominating the MMO landscape in the Western market. From where did it spring, why was it so successful, and what has its influence been on MMOs?

Posted by Raph Koster on Mon, 04 Aug 2014 01:49:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC, Indie, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet
We toss around the word "clone" pretty liberally. What actually is a game clone? Why isn't every game in a genre a clone? What does "genre" even mean? Augh!

Raph Koster's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 03/13/2017 - 10:09]

I don 't use Unity ...

I don 't use Unity myself, but the usual way to handle the draw call issue in 2d games is to render as much as possible to a buffer or texture, then draw that to the screen, updating only the edges as the map scrolls. You can use dirty rectangles ...

Comment In: [Blog - 12/14/2016 - 09:22]

My experience with formal tools ...

My experience with formal tools as described in the article is that it cut my failure rate by about 80 percent. It helped me ideate much faster, it helped me develop variants faster, it HUGELY assisted in tuning and analysis, and it gave me much clearer language for communicating with ...

Comment In: [Blog - 07/11/2016 - 05:38]

Enough people challenged me on ...

Enough people challenged me on the title that I wrote a follow up. You can read it here:

Comment In: [Blog - 06/30/2015 - 07:44]

You are basically restating my ...

You are basically restating my book. :

Comment In: [Blog - 06/11/2015 - 01:08]

We were always selling games ...

We were always selling games to people who don 't want them really that 's the basis of the packaged goods model. When we learned that demos reduce sales, it was a sign that people didn 't want the game as badly. r n r nThe opposite of selling games ...

Comment In: [Blog - 06/03/2015 - 02:15]

Sean, I think it comes ...

Sean, I think it comes down to whether you can garner that loyal audience that sticks with you regardless of the larger cycles. Some do manage to pull it off. The more crowded the market gets, though, the harder it is to get noticed in the first place. And the ...