Kevet Duncombe on Moria

One of the developers of the role-playing game Moria for PLATO comments on his game.

For a feature I was writing on the computer role-playing game Moria, I contacted one of the authors, Kevet Duncombe. He gave me a quick answer to the questions I asked, and I decided to make it available in full here, in case it can be helpful to other people exploring the early history of computer role playing games:

– The first version used an overhead view and was written around 1975 or 1976. The main features-multiple terrains, stochastic «infinite» maps, classless characters whose skills improve with use-were there from the start. We certainly did expand it in the 3d rewrite, and added the multiplayer group features at that time if I recall correctly. I remember it was my co-author Jim Battin who suggested the 3d view. There were other games doing 3d around then; panther, spasim, airfight. I don’t remember who was first but it wasn’t us. I think our method was the fastest and took the least cpu though.We did take inspiration from other games, but I don’t recall adding any features pioneered in later games.

– Having experienced PLATO we were certain online communication and gaming were the wave of the future. Many of us spent at least part of our careers trying to make it happen. The way it actually came about was a surprise though.