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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 Wed, 27 Jun 2018 02:00:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC, Social/Online
POSTMORTEMS is a new book of selected design essays by Raph Koster, covering a quarter-century of online game design from MUDs through major MMOs like Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies. Here is an exclusive excerpt.

Posted by Raph Koster on Fri, 16 Mar 2018 08:19:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC, Serious, Indie, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet
Cooperative gameplay is growing in popularity. Based on extensive research, prototypes, and metrics, here is a design lens and framework for designing prosocial games that build trust between players.

Posted by Raph Koster on Tue, 13 Feb 2018 09:04:00 EST in Design, Console/PC, Serious, Indie, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet
Taking a look at the most interesting design elements in games in 2017.

Posted by Raph Koster on Thu, 08 Feb 2018 04:19:00 EST in Design, Console/PC, Indie
"What Remains of Edith Finch" brought some truly innovative storytelling features to the table by tightly linking mini-games about controls to a story about life, death, and what control we have over them.

Posted by Raph Koster on Wed, 17 Jan 2018 06:19:00 EST in Business/Marketing, Design
Take a dataset of over 250 games, their development costs, their year of release, what they sold for and big they were. What can we learn about the trends and what it means for the industry?

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.

Raph Koster's Comments

Comment In: [News - 09/13/2018 - 01:15]

He was also a very ...

He was also a very sweet soul, an amazing raconteur, and a staunch friend. My remembrances are here:

Comment In: [Blog - 06/27/2018 - 02:00]

I wrote about the issue ...

I wrote about the issue of communicating emergence back to the players a bit in my series on UO 's resource system which are both on my website and also in the book . The technical architecture for doing so is clear, but back then we didn 't have the ...

Comment In: [News - 05/17/2018 - 02:23]

There are many reasons why ...

There are many reasons why this wouldn t work. r n r nIncreasing the level cap in an MMO costs millions of dollars in development. Adding zones, items, monsters, etc, is very expensive. r n r nWoW is a gear-driven game, and it is one with a vast power differential ...

Comment In: [Blog - 03/16/2018 - 08:19]

Credit where credit is due: ...

Credit where credit is due: r n r n- Many folks have been saying play is fundamentally social for decades, I think r n r n- The name trust spectrum, and the impetus and leadership for the work, came from Aaron Cammarata. r n r n- I wouldn 't say ...

Comment In: [Blog - 01/22/2018 - 09:19]

Nice piece r n r ...

Nice piece r n r nHave you by any chance read into the history of MUDs and online worlds that followed this path I 'd highly recommend Julian Dibbell 's MY TINY LIFE if you haven 't already read it, for a look at the wild and woolly edge of ...

Comment In: [Blog - 01/17/2018 - 06:19]

Yeah. but off-shoring isn 't ...

Yeah. but off-shoring isn 't new. I mean, a decade and a half ago it used to be do the development and art in China ... and eventually standard of living rose there and other places were more viable.