Three Rings

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Three Rings Design, Inc. was a company that developed and maintained several online games.


The company - often referred to colloquially as "OOO" - was founded by Daniel James and Michael Bayne. It had offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Madison, Wisconsin. It was later based in San Francisco, California.

The name "Three Rings" is derived from Tolkien mythology: in those stories, the elves created three magic rings, named Vilya, Narya, and Nenya. These names appear from time to time in Puzzle Pirates. Narya is also the name given to Three Rings' open-source Java library, containing "facilities for making networked multiplayer games." Narya is used with other Three Rings and open-source technologies to power Three Rings' Game Gardens site.

The staff of Three Rings Design included Game Masters (Spiral Knights), Agents (Whirled), Sherrifs (Bang! Howdy), and Ocean Masters (Puzzle Pirates). These members were responsible for customer service, moderation, and policing within their respective games - and to an extent the other games under Three Rings. Also employed were several developers responsible for the engineering and maintenance of games under Three Rings.


Prior to starting Three Rings, Daniel James made an attempt at bidding for the rights to make an MMORPG based on the Lord of the Rings in 1995. This company would have been called "Three Rings Internet Productions" but never got underway due to legal wrangling.[1]

  • March 30th, 2001: Company founded.[2]
  • July 9th, 2001: Development of first game (Puzzle Pirates) begins.
  • Around 2007: Development of second game (Spiral Knights) begins.
  • February 24th, 2011: Doctor Who: Worlds in Time was announced, with BBC's collaboration involved.
  • November 17th, 2011: Three Rings was acquired by SEGA as a self-contained game development studio within the SEGA family.[3]
  • January 15th, 2014: Three Rings announced Doctor Who: Worlds in Time's closing down taking place in March 3, 2014.
  • March 3rd, 2014: Three Rings shut down Doctor Who: Worlds in Time.
  • March 4th, 2016: SEGA authorized a large number of layoffs. This included all of Three Rings Design Inc., leading to its disbandment.[4]
  • April 6th, 2016: Several former Three Rings staff members moved Spiral Knights to Grey Havens. Grey Havens is currently the home of several games previously cared for by Three Rings.[5]

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