Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
allowing computers in various parts of the world to know where a particular
computer (domain) exists and then quickly and easily connect to it using just its
name. The second was the introduction of the graphical browser (rather than
just text based). The graphical browser meant that information could be
presented to the end user in a much more friendly and interesting way. Finally,
the speeds of modems began to increase allowing for a much better online
experience.
These advances led to a technology and services boom. A number of telephone
and computer-based companies began offering easy access to the Internet.
The AOL Factor
One of the big winners from the Internet service providers was a company called
America Online (AOL). Many of AOL
s competitors provided a simple dial-up
connection whereby the user would then use a browser to search the Internet for
content. AOL created an exciting and graphically rich front end to the login
process. Instead of the user needing to open up a browser and search for
particular items, or download programs to help with chatting, AOL provided it
all within the same program. AOL contained items such as websites, forum
boards, chat rooms, and most importantly games.
'
In addition to giving the user the ability to access single player games, AOL is
also accredited with releasing the first graphical MMO game called Neverwinter
Nights. The game was first released in 1991.
There were still some serious issues with MMO-based games and the general
technology available to the end users. Games were still graphically limited, the
speed of modems was very limited, and the cost of Internet access was steep. The
high Internet access fee was due to the cost of the actual phone call paid to the
telecom provider and a cost per minute paid to AOL. Staying online for too many
hours could result in a hefty phone and Internet provider
'
sbill.
The Ultimate MMO
Ultima Online is considered the MMO game that started it all in terms of what
users would come to expect from an MMO game. The game was released in
1997 and is still running today with thousands of users, who all pay a monthly
subscription. The MMO is a fantasy game based in the lands of Britannia, which
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