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December 7, 2019
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Richard Aronson's Blog

 

I started running RPGs in 1978, and was ran Los Angeles Mensa's RPG SIG for more than a decade.  Friends persuaded us to start making games professionally for Sierra Online in 1991, and as a lead programmer and game designer I've been making games ever since.  I've done it all as a designer, from requirements planning to writing the hint books; I'm also a great tester and not a bad programmer; but I'm not an artist.  My first shipped product was the first game on CD with voice actors, King's Quest V, where I voiced Cedric the Owl.  Until Sierra finally went professional with their voice recording, I did a lot of unusual accents for them, and you can still hear my vaguely upper class British accent narrating bridge bids on AOL last time I checked.  

My first RPG on The Sierra Network filled their conference rooms, and led me to design such widespread features as Mute (another player), Whisper (to another player), Upload (pre-typed messages), and Roll Dice (any quantity of any size of dice as I designed it).  As RPG Coordinator for TSN I approved all folks granted privileges to run RPGs in our conference rooms.  My bidding box redesign is now standard for computer bridge.  I was the first designer to give my NPCs a series of responses, because people don't continue to say "No" the same way.  

I designed an automated story/quest generation for Explorati that would draw upon each user's past experiences in the game to generate new adventures.  I designed AI systems for believable NPCs in two best selling games based on the World Series of Poker; some of the jokes I wrote for Norman Chad showed up on the air the next season of WSOP.  I designed all the behavrioral and RPG systems for the game based on the television show "ER".The last few years I have been making educational games, mostly for our military.

I've written two plays and a novel, dozens of articles on world design, lectured at World Science Fiction Conventions and been on numerous panels at places like North American Discworld Convention and DunDraCon.  I was a contestant on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" with Regis Philbin and won a national title at the card game bridge.  I am perhaps most famous as author of "Eric and the Gazebo," which can be easily found online and has inspired business such as Gamezebo, Dreadgazebo.com, Lollagazebo gaming conventions, the Gazebo card in Munchkin, and hundreds of copyright violation letters; who knew what an internet was in 1987?

I am currently making a wide variety of games for Booz Allen Hamilton in San Antonio and singing with the San Antonio Mastersingers; we performed Mozart's Requirem with the San Antonio Symphony earlier this year, and have Handel's Messiah and Beethoven's Ninth in the future.

 

Richard Aronson's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 12/15/2016 - 10:38]

One problem I 've had ...

One problem I 've had with LOL is convincing my friends to play. I 've been making games professionally for over a quarter of a century, and I don 't have much fast muscle twitch any more. I can still play strategically and effectively with characters that require little fast ...

Comment In: [News - 08/19/2014 - 03:32]

I worked at the Old ...

I worked at the Old Barn from 1993-1997 and, yes, it burned down. Last time I saw it, it was being used by Sierra Telephone. Here is a link that confirms that Sierra Telephone had taken them over, as they also took over the warehouse where Sierra Online used to ...

Comment In: [Feature - 04/10/2013 - 04:00]

If CoH was more profitable ...

If CoH was more profitable as F2P, then why was it shut down, or could find no buyer, or even have an employee buyout Chances are strong that 1 CoH was unprofitable and less unprofitable as F2P, but still not profitable. In an industry where so many games lose money, ...

Comment In: [News - 07/17/2012 - 01:23]

1.3 million subscribers times 200/year ...

1.3 million subscribers times 200/year subscription fees approximately: that 's 12 months times 16.33 a month, and I know there are lots of different pricing structures is 260M/year, so a 300M development budget is not too much and yes, I know that there are large IP licensing fees associated with ...

Comment In: [Blog - 07/17/2012 - 07:13]

For the RPG/Sims hybrid based ...

For the RPG/Sims hybrid based on the TV show ER , treating patients with a given type of malady earned specific XP which eventually improved your avatar 's ability in that specialty and general XP, which could be spent anywhere you wanted. This was based on the rationale that doing ...

Comment In: [Blog - 05/29/2012 - 01:13]

I designed an early MMORPG ...

I designed an early MMORPG for The Sierra Network based on Macbeth, which was one of the bigger money makers for TSN. r n r nhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The Ruins of Cawdor r n r nThere 's good, evil, magic, murder, combat, all the classic elements of most FRPGs. So I 'd have ...