Dr Richard Bartle

Senior Lecturer
School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (CSEE)
Visiting Professor
School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (CSEE)
Dr Richard Bartle
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 874246

  • Location

    4B.529, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    9am Thursdays, but emailing me is much, much better.



Dr Richard A. Bartle is Senior Lecturer and Honorary Professor of Computer Game Design at the University of Essex, UK. He is best known for having co-written in 1978 the first virtual world, MUD, and for his 1996 Player Types model which has seen widespread adoption by the MMO industry. His 2003 book, Designing Virtual Worlds, is the standard text on the subject, and he is an influential writer on all aspects of MMO design and development. In 2010, he was the first recipient of the prestigious GDCOnline Game Legend award. Blog: . Updated daily!


  • BSc Hons (1st class) Computer Science, Essex University, 1981.

  • PhD Artificial Intelligence, Essex University, 1988.

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Virtual worlds (game worlds, social worlds) all aspects of these

Open to supervise

Computer Game design

Open to supervise

Computer Games design as an art form

Open to supervise

Computer Games and society, especially governance, the law and human rights

Open to supervise

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Computer Game Design (CE217)

  • Virtual Worlds (CE317)

  • Virtual Worlds (CE817)

Previous supervision

Joseph John Walton-Rivers
Joseph John Walton-Rivers
Thesis title: Evaluating the Effects on Monte Carlo Tree Search of Predicting Co-Operative Agent Behaviour
Degree subject: Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 21/10/2022


Journal articles (4)

Bartle, R., (2021). Unrealisticness. Revista Ludology. 2 (1)

Bartle, R., (2010). A "Digital culture, play and identity: A world of warcraft reader" reader. Game Studies. 10 (1)

Bartle, RA., (2006). Why Governments aren't Gods and Gods aren't Governments. First Monday. 7 (SPECIAL ISSUE)

Bartle, RA., (2006). Why governments aren't gods and gods aren't governments. First Monday. 11 (SPEC. ISS. 7)

Books (3)

Bartle, R., (2022). How to Be a God. NotByUs. 978-0-9556494-9-3

Bartle, RA., (2016). MMOs from the Inside Out. Apress. 9781484217238

Alexandrou, A., Bartle, R. and Holmes, R., (2013). Introduction. 9780714651286

Book chapters (10)

Bartle, R., (2021). Massively Multiplayer Storytelling. In: Game Writing Narrative Skills for Videogames (second edition). Editors: Bateman, C., . Bloomsbury Academic. 315- 338. 9781501348952

Bartle, R., (2015). Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs). In: The International Encyclopedia of Digital Communication and Society. Editors: Mansell, R. and Ang, PH., . Wiley. 1- 8. 9781118767771

Bartle, R., (2014). Information reconstruction: unpicking the GamifIR call for papers. In: GamifIR ?14: Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Gamification for Information Retrieval. Editors: Hopfgartner, F., Kazai, G., Kruschwitz, U. and Meder, M., . Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). creators- Bartle=3ARichard=3A=3A. 978-1-4503-2892-0

Bartle, R., (2013). Design Principles: Use and Misuse. In: Multiplayer: The Social Aspects of Digital Gaming. Editors: Quandt, T. and Kroger, S., . Routledge. 0-415-82886-4. 978-0-415-82886-4

(2013). Multiplayer. In: Multiplayer: The Social Aspects of Digital Gaming. Routledge. 10- 22. 9780203627488

Bartle, R., (2012). MMO Morality. In: Computer Games and New Media Cultures: a Handbook of Digital Games Studies. Editors: Fromme, J. and Unger, A., . Springer. 193- 208. 978-94-007-2776-2

Bartle, R., (2011). Unrealistic Expectations. In: Ring Bearers: The Lord of the Rings Online as Intertextual Narrative. Editors: Krzywinska, T., MacCullum, E. and Parsler, J., . Manchester University Press. 9780719082924

Bartle, R., (2010). From MUDs to MMORPGs: The History of Virtual Worlds. In: International Handbook of Internet Research. Editors: Hunsinger, J., Klastrup, L. and Allen, M., . Springer. 978-1-4020-9788-1

Bartle, R., (2009). Alice and Dorothy Play Together. In: Third Person: Authoring and Exploring Vast Narratives. Editors: Harrigan, P. and Wardruip-Fruin, N., . MIT Press. 9780262232630

Bartle, R., (2009). Understanding the Limits of Theory. In: Beyond Game Design: Nine Steps to Creating Better Videogames. Editors: Bateman, C., . Delmar. 978-1584506713

Conferences (16)

O’Shea, Z., Bartle, R., Pan, X. and Freeman, J., (2022). Apples and Oranges: A Study of “Tend & Befriend” as a Phenomenon in Digital Games

Madge, C., Brightmore, J., Kicikoglu, D., Althani, F., Bartle, R., Chamberlain, J., Kruschwitz, U. and Poesio, M., (2022). LingoTowns: A Virtual World For Natural Language Annotation and Language Learning

Aliady, W., Aloraini, A., Madge, C., Yu, J., Bartle, R. and Poesio, M., (2022). Coreference Annotation of an Arabic Corpus using a Virtual World Game

Madge, C., Bartle, R., Chamberlain, J., Kruschwitz, U. and Poesio, M., (2021). WordClicker: Tuning our approach for language resourcing

Walton-Rivers, J., Longford, E., Gomme, D., Bartle, R. and Gardner, M., (2020). Distributed Social Multi-Agent Negotiation Framework For Incomplete Information Games

Gomme, D. and Bartle, R., (2020). Strategy Games: The Components of A Worthy Opponent

Kicikoglu, D., Bartle, R., Chamberlain, J. and Poesio, M., (2019). Wormingo

Madge, C., Bartle, R., Chamberlain, J., Kruschwitz, U. and Poesio, M., (2019). Making text annotation fun with a clicker game

Walton-Rivers, J., Williams, PR. and Bartle, R., (2019). The 2018 Hanabi competition

Madge, C., Bartle, R., Chamberlain, J., Kruschwitz, U. and Poesio, M., (2019). Incremental Game Mechanics Applied to Text Annotation

Madge, C., Bartle, R., Chamberlain, J., Kruschwitz, U. and Poesio, M., (2019). The Design Of A Clicker Game for Text Labelling

Walton-Rivers, J., Williams, P. and Bartle, R., (2018). Hexboard: A generic game framework for turn-based strategy games

Walton Rivers, J., Williams, PR., Bartle, R., Perez Liebana, D. and Lucas, SM., (2017). Evaluating and modelling Hanabi-playing agents

Bartle, RA., (2014). Information reconstruction

Bartle, R., (2013). The Decline of MMOs

Bartle, R., (1984). CROSS-LEVEL PLANNING.

Grants and funding


Annotating Reference and Coreference In Dialogue Using Conversational Agents in games

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

+44 (0) 1206 874246


4B.529, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

9am Thursdays, but emailing me is much, much better.