Postmortems: Selected Essays Volume One

Raph Koster (Author) Richard Garriott de Cayeux (Foreword by)


Few game designers have shared as many lessons learned as Raph Koster. In a quarter-century of writings and talks, he has offered up game design lessons, online community theories, and candid self-evaluation.

This first volume of a three-book set of selected essays collects previously written postmortems and many brand new pieces. They are accompanied by historical material such as posts written for players, chat logs, speeches, design sketches, and more. The result is an inspiring historical look back at the development of virtual worlds.

These are the stories behind Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies, the story of the early art game Andean Bird and the story of the ambitious project Metaplace that aimed to build the Metaverse, including:

  • "A Story About a Tree," the classic piece from MUD days about whether our online bonds are real.
  • "The Ultima Online Resource System," a detailed design breakdown of the pioneering world simulation.
  • "A Jedi Saga," the popular tale of how an impossible design dilemma broke a world.
  • "Influences," a challenge to the game development community to pursue art.

Product Details

$59.99  $55.19
Altered Tuning Press
Publish Date
June 26, 2018
7.5 X 1.4 X 9.25 inches | 2.61 pounds
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About the Author

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; a venture-backed entrepreneur heading his own studio; and he's contributed design work, writing, art, soundtrack music, and programming to many more titles ranging from Facebook games to single-player games for handheld consoles. Koster is widely recognized as one of the world's top thinkers about game design, and is an in-demand speaker at conferences all over the world. His book A Theory of Fun for Game Design is one of the undisputed classics in the games field and was recently revised for a 10th anniversary edition. In 2012, he was named an Online Game Legend at the Game Developers Conference Online. Visit his blog at
Richard "Lord British" Garriott de Cayeux is arguably one of the most influential game developers in both the online and offline RPG world. He has been publishing games since 1980 (Akalabeth), and created both the Ultima Series and Ultima Online, the first large scale MMO.


  • ..". vital reading for anyone with an interest in knowing how games of any sort come about." - Hardcore Gamer (
  • ..". a valuable compendium of insight and essays that has significant value for both developers and genre enthusiasts." -