Raph Koster has posted additional snippets from his upcoming book on video game development, Postmortems. This time he provides a glimpse into the incredibly ambitious economy that Privateer Online was supposed to include. This includes complex guild mechanics, a virtual stock market and an offline web-based interface for certain tasks. Pretty wild for the time! The 700 page paperback publication is still slated for June 26, but ebook editions are starting to trickle out. The B&N Nook version is already available at just $20.
Another feature of Privateer Online that arose out of its heavily commerce-oriented gameplay was its in-game stock market... which may not have worked the way you'd expect. Long before Farmville, MMOs were exploring asynchronous play. There were player vendors in UO, of course, but in Privateer Online we planned to extend that to a fully player-driven economy. I mean, we were trying to support mercantile gameplay via the web into an MMO server (and back out) in 1999... no wonder the game got cancelled, who knows what EA thought of that (they cancelled it in favor of Earth & Beyond).