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Koster's Areae Unveils Metaplace

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the mega-pocket-sized-mmogs dept.

84

Some nine months ago veteran MMOG designer Raph Koster announced his new game company, called Areae ... but not what they were making. To go along with the TechCrunch40 Conference, the company has finally taken the wraps off of their project: Metaplace. Essentially, Metaplace is going to be a virtual world toolkit. The whole thing is built on open standards, and attempt to 'bring virtual worlds to the web', instead of keeping them boxed away in a separate little garden. As the site puts it: "We knew it was all coming together when one of our team made a game in a day and a half. And then stuck that game on a private MySpace profile. You can inherit someone else's world (if they let you) and use it as a starting point. You can slurp whole directories of art and use them as building blocks. Cut and paste a movement system or a health bar from one world to another. Use an RSS feed for your NPCs. We made puzzle games, RPGs, action games... and set up doorways from one to the other." Virtual World News and GigaOM have writeups of the presentation at the TechCrunch Conference, while Areae's Community Manager Tami Baribeau writes in a post why gamers should care. Over at his site Areae President Raph Koster just breaths a sigh of relief.

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Ewwww (2, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665477)

"The whole thing is built on open standards, and attempt to 'bring virtual worlds to the web', instead of keeping them boxed away in a separate little garden."

That sounds like VRML :`(

Re:Ewwww (2, Funny)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665497)

Two words: Star Wars Galaxies.

Re:Ewwww (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665653)

Two words: Star Wars Galaxies.

Can't count to three :P ?

Anyway, the fact he produced a popular MMO with a huge company and team behind his back doesn't mean that if he quit and made his own company, he'll produce something worth a damn.

In fact, this is the norm, not the exception. Maybe he should've stayed at Sony.

Re:Ewwww (2, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#20670421)

Anyway, the fact he produced a popular MMO with a huge company and team behind his back doesn't mean that if he quit and made his own company, he'll produce something worth a damn.

Two words: Vanguard.

Oh, wait....

Re:Ewwww (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 7 years ago | (#20671155)

you're taking Star Wars Galaxies to mean that he can transfer his "success" to another product, the OP was probably trying to point out Koster's involvement in one of the biggest MMORPG debacles in recent memory

Re:Ewwww (1)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665685)

Actually, just one word and a name : "Otherland" from Tad Williams. It's a nice (if lengthy) SciFi serie about interlinked MMOGs, all of which use different settings (Insectworld, Cartoon World, Lewis Caroll world ...). The protagonists stumble from one world into another trying to escape (they can't log off without dying). Metaplace, if it ever gets halfway successful, might be a bit like that (without the "dying" part;)

Re:Ewwww (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665917)

Metaplace, if it ever gets halfway successful, might be a bit like that (without the "dying" part;)

Well you know, the "fi" in sci-fi stands for fiction. And MetaPlace is definitely not becoming like this. Right now it's just a toy isometric sample and a bunch of RSS API-s.

In fact, I went to join the alpha, and it's ridiculous what they ask of you (while reminding you, oh, it's completely optional, but we just want to know, right!):

- do you have experience with C++, Java, Perl?
- interpreted languages?
- compiled languages?
- have you created games, or game artwork?
- for which gaming companies have you worked?

and so on and so on...

I felt as if I'm being hired to work as a developer, and not as an end-user.

Apparently they're looking for someone to do the work for them, for free. Not gonna happen, not especially since they keep everything locked to their own servers, they aren't fooling anyone with their "open standards" crap.

Re:Ewwww (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 7 years ago | (#20666327)

It's worse than that. From one of the linked writeups [gigaom.com] :

#World-making is free -- much like some introductory blog services, Areae only starts charging users for hosting their Metaplace world when they begin generating heavy traffic.
# There'll be sponsored worlds from advertisers and/or Areae partners.
# Virtual currency can be spent across the network, and can be sold for real cash -- which users and developers can buy from Areae.
# An Adsense-style ad network will track user behavior based on what Metaplace games and worlds they play, and feed them appropriately targeted ads.
# A mini-Metaplace world can be embedded within a web ad, creating instant brand engagement to promote a sponsor's products.

They're gonna charge you for success while spamming you with their shitty revenue models, in other words more spam. All I can see this project doing is giving Second Life an aura of respectability.

Re:Ewwww (1)

allaryin (564427) | more than 7 years ago | (#20668761)

Oh noes! Whatever shall we do?! A new development platform is asking potential alpha testers about their programming experience! It's the end of the freaking world!11!!!one!!! RUN!!!

Re:Ewwww (1)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 7 years ago | (#20669643)

yep. after visiting their website, seeing the *ALPHA* sign, and then checking their form, I must comply. too bad .. But then, Linden announced something similar [slashdot.org] , so I still keep my hopes mildly high that a 3D network like the one pictured in "Otherland" might appear at some point.

Re:Ewwww (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665583)

VRML was replaced with X3D [wikipedia.org] , an immensely superior standard. Unfortunately, it's difficult to get to grips with, since while there was plenty of publishing about VRML in its heyday, the only X3D print documentation I know is Don Brutzman & Daly's X3D: Extensible 3D Graphics for Web Authors [amazon.com] (Morgan Kaufmann, 2007).

But VRML didn't fail just due to technical flaws. Interest in virtual reality petered out among the public. Where once kids thought it would be cool to strap on a helmet and explore cyberspace, act out fantasies, whatever, nowadays they seem much more captivated by social networking sites in plain ol' 2D.

Re:Ewwww (2, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665613)

It's simply not accessible enough. The web browser is very easy to get and use, but the VRML browser has always been a pain to even find, let alone use. Control schemes and movement typically suck, and the 3D worlds have always been very low-definition by necessity.

Second Life is the best VR browser out there, and even it is just barely above average as far as controls and movement go.

The other problem is that 3D doesn't really add much to most interactions. It's neat to think of having a 3D TV and all that, but will you -really- get much more out of the experience over regular TV? It's the same with VR on the web. A full VR world restricts movement rather than enhancing it, and inserting little 3D images into pages doesn't show anything that inserting a GIF can't.

Re:Ewwww (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665687)

You're 100% on with everything that you've said, but you skimmed over a key point: The reason VRML was hot with the public was because of the term "virtual reality." The public had no idea what that meant, other than Star Trek Holodeck stuff and (although it came before) Matrix-like stories and movies. When/If reality matches up with the SciFi version of Virtual Reality then things like 3D TV will add a lot to the experience. Until then, its only use is as a gimmick at a COMDEX booth...

Re:Ewwww (3, Interesting)

Alsee (515537) | more than 7 years ago | (#20666117)

It's neat to think of having a 3D TV and all that, but will you -really- get much more out of the experience over regular TV?

Skirts.
In full 3-D.

-

Re:Ewwww (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 7 years ago | (#20666155)

The other problem is that 3D doesn't really add much to most interactions. It's neat to think of having a 3D TV and all that, but will you -really- get much more out of the experience over regular TV?


You obviously aren't thinking of porn.

Re:Ewwww (1)

thanatos_x (1086171) | more than 7 years ago | (#20666269)

Yes, you reached exactly the same points I did after using SL for a few minutes, testing it for a company initiative. Graphics need to advance considerably, and beyond that bandwidth/latency issues need to improve.

Even if you could move around freely in a virtual world, I'm not sure why you'd want to. You still can't touch anything, and 3d is still only 2d+; your monitor is only a 2d surface. (Sidenote: they are working on a 3d monitor, similar to an advanced version of the 3d movies/glasses.) It's nice to be able to rotate a picture and examine an object, but I've been able to do that on websites for years, like on cell phone websites, requiring javascript rather than launching a separate client, navigating to the site/store, bumping into objects/people trying to move around the store...and the picture quality is much higher because in most cases they're actual pictures, or a high quality 3d model, and the cell phone is all they need to show. No avatars, no other objects...

SL also doesn't have google, is down fairly frequently, has almost nothing to do commercially (unless you count shopping online, already done much better in a browser/real life), and honestly will fail because there's no real way of winning. People play WoW 20+ hours a week all for the goal of being better. In SL all you can do to be better is get more stuff, much of which is available for free. WoW would end in a few weeks if everyone could get to level 70 in under a week and the best items could be had for almost no effort.

The bottom line? Computers need to be twice as fast as they are presently (to run SL at 2-4 times present graphics, easily), bandwidth/latency needs to increase/decrease by 2-4 times. A new input/output device is needed (3d monitors, a new 'mouse'), and a critical mass needs to be reached, similarly to how now you can find everything online; in 1998 you couldn't find much of anything online to buy. Oh, and an easy learning curve, or a serious incentive for the user to learn the controls/world.

Personally I think 3d worlds will be obsolete before they ever meet the requirements the average user needs to use them. Somethings are best done in a 2d medium, just as somethings are best done in command line; there are times for keyboard shortcuts, and times for using a mouse. By and large a 2d interface (browser) with 3d as needed is the best current way.

Re:Ewwww (1)

Reapy (688651) | more than 7 years ago | (#20668767)

I think the strength of 3d worlds lie in social interaction. What SL and others should really gear itself towards is myspace/facebook in 3d. That is what a "virtual world" offers that is unique.

1. A place to call home (the profile page). Here is my land, I can set it up how I want. I can put a house in or a huge landscaping job or some mix of the two or can exist in space. This is my area.

2. Avatar Interaction. Having superb avatar interaction with people. Built in, handshake, dancing, sex, hugging, pushing, shoving, puching, smiling, jumpping, whatever. Have all these things built in, and have interactivity with other avatars.

3. A place to meet with stuff to do. Make yahoo games online except the lobby is 3d and there is a real chess board for people to play at. Add in the 2d interface to find a game "game search" and have it drop you in there instantly, but also have people be able to walk around and see/talk.

This is what would make 3d online interesting. PEOPLE! I would love to have oblivion online, so I could just chill with a friend in a beautiful world, going around messing stuff up. The whole world is our oyster to play in. So people + interaction = what keeps you coming back online.

I even joked with a friend the other day that in the future our windows will be super high def monitors that are connected up to the net that'll display whatever we want. If I want to live IN secondlife, I just set up my house to be there, ha. Goofy but funny idea.

Anyway, if it's not a game, it needs socialization, and thats why SL still thrives, it is what keeps people coming back again and again, the people. The whole reason I enjoyed sl when it was released was to just see what people had created. Like taking a stroll through someone's mind. I mean it is like asking someone "if you could live anywhere, where would you live and what house would you live in" and throwing the answer out all over the place. (Until I saw that most were just crappy prefabs they bought and threw down somewhere, ha :) But there are some unique builds out there, and every once in a while I step into someone's head, and it is amazing. )

Re:Ewwww (1)

thanatos_x (1086171) | more than 7 years ago | (#20669729)

Unfortunately I was doing this as a work related project, which somewhat tainted my views (though few to none of your benefits would be very useful for my employer.) I agree social interaction would be good, but my experience was that it wasn't easily done in SL - there wasn't much to do besides roleplay or sit around and virtually chat... Yes you could build things, but in order to really compete you need to have somewhat advanced software, and most of it's already been done. Shops are boring; I never had any money, but I could find most things for free, the problem of having no variable cost. In general the human interaction isn't there. I agree games would be nice, but they aren't well implemented in the game...In general it's too clunky to do much of anything, and as I wasn't interested in pure RP (or sex), i found it to be a very boring experience. Most places are ghost towns, or people (away), camping money mats, or getting free stuff. Nothing too exciting there,and if i'm going to have a random chat, i might as well do IRC or a similar chat where i can easily do other things.

The whole thing in general reminded me of microsoft bob. I don't want to use my computer as a house, i want my computer to be a computer. Likewise i want my chat to be a chat, and SL offered little extra to the experience of chatting, certainly not enough to get over the fact that it's not as good as a regular chatroom.

Re:Ewwww (1)

Reapy (688651) | more than 7 years ago | (#20707419)

Don't know if you are still reading this, but I agree with you 100%. For a time I like the idea SL was like peeping into someone's head, but that got old fast.

I totally agree with you that SL has clunky interaction. That is why if someone developed a SL like game with EASY interaction, it would demolish sl. The easy build interface brings the geeks, but at the end of the day, the guys who use real 3d tools are the ones deciding what SL looks like. But the masses come for people interaction.

So you are very right, it is straight RP, and even with the difficulty of adding props, it is still really clunky and hard to INTERACT. I was always surprised how little priority SL gives to new avatar features, when that is really what drives SL imho. From about the 2 years I've had an account, the only new feature they added was "flexi prims", and as soon as those came out, it changed all the clothing and hair styles all over SL. Huge impact on the world, and just a simple client side effect. (Well, maybe not so simple to implement, but still).

I think SL can be more immersive then a chat when it is going, and is a great "escape", and I will admit that a long talk on IM with someone isnt the same as a long talk in SL with a person while both your avatars sit out overlooking a waterfall or the ocean. It adds an extra dimension not possible with IRC, but still, not enough to warrant specifically going there for it.

Why VRML/X3D Always Lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20673779)

VRML failed because you were all alone, and because the spec was designed by academics without any interest in or concession to real-world computing capabilities. X3D fails for the same reason; if anything, the spec-wankers and academics worked twice as hard making it unusable.

Then it'll be... (2, Funny)

Algorithmnast (1105517) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665525)

I hope that this will allow people to focus on the story, not just the glitter - that'd be an improvement. Not to say that I don't like snazzy-looking games and VR worlds, but rather I'm saying that if it became trivial for them to look good then game creation could focus on the story and interactions between players. That's part of the longevity of a story world.

Sounds like it would also give a leg up to those who are good writers, and we might see their works more easily put in front of people.

I just hope we don't get people and/or corporations trying to treat any of this like it's IP, and potentially ruin it for everyone.

I remember when VRML first came out. I played with it and could do fun things with it... but I can't write a game story to save my life. Well, when compared against a real writer.

Re:Then it'll be... (1)

Algorithmnast (1105517) | more than 7 years ago | (#20669367)

HEY!!! That wasn't supposed to be funny.

Mod me up for something else, please... the karma is nice and crunchy. :)

(Yeah - this post was supposed to be funny. *sigh*)

hmm. (2, Insightful)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665527)

More like many virtual worlds full of many virtual rolling tumble weeds and exaggerated population figures.

Re:hmm. (1)

Pippinjack (702680) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665995)

Too true. I've logged onto Second Life a few times to see what all the fuss is about. Outside of the casinos and clubs the place always seems deserted. Almost like some post-apocalypse sci-fi film. I find it creepy...

Re:hmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20666261)

That's not true. The sandboxes are filled to capacity with people working on the latest self-replicating, squeeking penis annoyobot.

MMOG 2.0 (1)

PMBjornerud (947233) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665529)

While I could play around with the Web 2.0 and community hype, I do believe that the future of multiplayer games will be based on user-created content.

I will be interesting to see how this things works out. Maybe I can even read TFA after the slashdot effect wears off.

Re:MMOG 2.0 (3, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665617)

What this guy is saying bothers me:

"Destroying the traditional walled garden: An MMO accessible through Flash apps, 3D clients, cellphones, etc. Up to now, most MMOs have been "walled gardens", requiring an extensive client install. Metaplace, by contrast, is "A Web browser with virtual world capability.""

So, it won't be a separate client, it'll be a browser plugin and there will be API-s that provide RSS/data you can put in your MySpace/Flash/3D client/cellphone.

This is either huge (unlikely) or nothing at all.

It looks like it's just trying to be the MySpace of games. They claim they're build on open standards, but it's still THEIR servers that host the entire thing.

This is like saying "hey, MySpace is built on open standards - JS, HTML and CSS". What good is it if you host it on a central server anyway?

For this to work, they'll need some sort of definitive client, to, you know, deliver the damn world presentation.

They say:

"And it's a browser that comes with its own tool kit, for people who want to build worlds, and a community/marketplace where developers can give away or sell their templates, scripts, and so on, hosted on the Areae network."

So this goes right against what they said earlier, and it requires a special client after all (browsers are, as we know... clients).

"Thanks to the underlying HTML-style code by which Metaplace defines each individual world served by its network, you can literally copy and paste attributes like graphic appearance and user interface from one Metaplace world to another."

This sounds bad and reminds me of VRML and Second Life rolled up into one. Now we can define flying penises and virtual brothels in HTML markup. Phew.

And here's the most revealing part:

"(Metaplace will launch with this 2D isometric graphics view as standard)"

It's not even an immersive 3D world.

His business model? Ads:

"Areae only starts charging users for hosting their Metaplace world when they begin generating heavy traffic [..] There'll be sponsored worlds from advertisers and/or Areae partners [..] Adsense-style ad network will track user behavior based on what Metaplace games and worlds they play, and feed them appropriately targeted ads [..] A mini-Metaplace world can be embedded within a web ad, creating instant brand engagement to promote a sponsor's products."

Uhmm, right, the best part of open standards is that we're force-fed ads, while using 'em! Uhmm, wait, there's something wrong here.

Re:MMOG 2.0 (1)

*weasel (174362) | more than 7 years ago | (#20667591)

What good is it if you host it on a central server anyway?
As good as making any mod for a game-engine that you have no real rights to. It'd be good for tinkering, marketing and not much else. It sounds more like an attempt to birth a true graphical MUD scene than a second-life/VRML thing.

So this goes right against what they said earlier, and it requires a special client after all (browsers are, as we know... clients).
Yeah, but the client specs are (allegedly)* open. So the client shouldn't be any more 'special' than browsers themselves. Sure, it's not a web browser, but you could still roll your own: junk behavior you don't like, port to whatever OS or device you want: Linux, Mac, iPhone, maemo, S60, PSP, etc. Hell, you could add native metaplace handling to Firefox.

*(personally, I wonder about that. A real open-standards client implies we can write one that round-files all the marketing. I wonder how that's going to shake out.)

But you know what the best part of an open-standards client is?
It becomes trivial to reverse engineer a server to do whatever you want, however you want.
Write your own server with whatever you want and just feed the standard data streams back to the client.

Re:MMOG 2.0 (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#20667965)

This sounds bad and reminds me of VRML and Second Life rolled up into one. Now we can define flying penises and virtual brothels in HTML markup. Phew.

There was nothing wrong with behind the idea of VRML, it was just implemented really really badly kind of like Second Life was.

Re:Oh and I forgot to add... (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#20668115)

[quote]"(Metaplace will launch with this 2D isometric graphics view as standard)"

It's not even an immersive 3D world.[/quote]

IMO, 2D isometric is a good standard that I wish a lot of developers would go back to. Even though you run a completly 3d engine 2D isometric is actually a good thing.

One of the reason I hated EQ and preferred to play UO and Diablo was because the 2D isometric view always was static and never caused me problems nor something else to mess with. Let me play a CRPG and not a damn FPS.

It might be the fact I like to look at the world as miniatures like real life role playing games, but maybe I'm just old school.

Re:MMOG 2.0 (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 7 years ago | (#20680971)

And here's the most revealing part:

"(Metaplace will launch with this 2D isometric graphics view as standard)"

It's not even an immersive 3D world.


There's more to online worlds than 3D. This is emphasized by the fact that Areae has the founder of skotos [skotos.net] , the net's leading producer of text MUDs that focus on storytelling, and Richard Bartle, the inventor of the text MUD on their board of advisors [areae.net]

Re:MMOG 2.0 (1)

m3mnoch (31838) | more than 7 years ago | (#20692115)

not to pick on suv4x4, but, it is rather humorous to read all of these predictions and armchair-quarterbacking from people with zero technical knowledge on how our platform works. i will, however, give you a hint -- everything (and i mean every single word) suv4x4 is positing is incorrect. it's like he's saying the web is broken because you can't view the pages in anything but internet explorer.

i promise we'll come out with more information. i promise we'll try to answer as many questions as possible. i promise it will kick ass. (seriously, it is so. damn. cool.)

send cuppy all of your questions and we'll do our best to cover them all as quickly as possible. we're still currently digging out from under the deluge of attention and, what with raph gone this week in japan, it may take a little bit -- but, we'll get to it.

you can reach cuppycake here:
http://www.cuppycake.org/ [cuppycake.org]

m3mnoch.

Re:MMOG 2.0 (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694365)

His business model? Ads:

"Areae only starts charging users for hosting their Metaplace world when they begin generating heavy traffic [..] There'll be sponsored worlds from advertisers and/or Areae partners [..] Adsense-style ad network will track user behavior based on what Metaplace games and worlds they play, and feed them appropriately targeted ads [..] A mini-Metaplace world can be embedded within a web ad, creating instant brand engagement to promote a sponsor's products."

Uhmm, right, the best part of open standards is that we're force-fed ads, while using 'em! Uhmm, wait, there's something wrong here.

Well, ads have worked quite well for Google.

Re:MMOG 2.0 (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 7 years ago | (#20667325)

It's all a function of quality. I'm sure part of the reason why youtube is so successful is down to the quality of mainstream television deteriorating so much. If EA, ESRB, Jack Thomson, MTV et al get their way then this will happen with games eventually too. The direct result would be more user generated stuff to be enjoyed (or otherwise) in the gaming world.

Oh no... a 3D version of MySpace?! (2, Funny)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665565)

We knew it was all coming together when one of our team made a game in a day and a half. And then stuck that game on a private MySpace profile.

Isn't it lame enough in 2D?

Re:Oh no... a 3D version of MySpace?! (2, Funny)

sqldr (838964) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665645)

Isn't it lame enough in 2D?

Yeah.. and SO last week. They should've put it on facebook.

Re:Oh no... a 3D version of MySpace?! (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665647)

Don't worry Metaplace is 2D too.

Re:Oh no... a 3D version of MySpace?! (1)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 7 years ago | (#20666271)

FTA: "Metaplace will support everything from 2d overhead grids through first-person 3d. However, right now we only have clients that do 2d of various sorts, including grid view, 2d isometric, 2.5d heightfields, and so on. We expect to keep working on the 3d client support."

Ergo, 3D is on its way.

Real info? (2, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665569)

Has anyone got any -real- info on this? Does it include physics? Is it DirectX based? How flexible is it? Do you run the server, or do they? Can you do commercial apps, or only free ones? Can you restrict access to your worlds?

I can think of quite a few fun little physics-based games to make, but it would totally depend on how flexible this system is. I've been thinking about getting into game programmer for quite a while, but with the current frameworks out there, it's not a trivial task. This kit makes it sound trivial.

I've signed up for the alpha, of course... But I'd rather have some real information now.

Re:Real info? (3, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665581)

Bah, answering myself... It will support physics and currently only has 2D clients. They're working on the 3D client. Sounds like it's more pre-alpha than alpha.

Re:Real info? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20674195)

If you want a way to build stuff fast, have a look at Unity, It's a pretty good RAD tool for games. Fully 3D, physics engine, Builds games for Mac, Windows and Wii

Coordination factors and game balance (2, Insightful)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665579)

Okay, what about the guy who wants another person's level 60 to be impotent when imported into their own world. Do magical elves loose their powers when imported into a Halo Clone, or do they become god-like?

Re:Coordination factors and game balance (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#20668033)

Okay, what about the guy who wants another person's level 60 to be impotent when imported into their own world.

I suspect it would be like most real life D&D games where the DM just tells the guy with the level 20 character that he can't play in his campaign designed for the level 5 characters everyone else at the table has... And that if he wants to play he needs to re-roll.

Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20665607)

What a great idea! Next up, let's put all the worlds web sites on a single server. Because then it's all connected and stuff! And since the internet is built on open standards and all companies play nice, there should be no problems.

Why -should- I care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20665659)

Years ago this was already being done using god-awful VRML plugins...MMOG's are not new, and ones that you can customize are not new. The fact that Metaplace is tied in more strongly with new web technologies is somewhat interesting, but other than that...really, why should -any- gamer care?

Better yet, let's take apart the whole post that supposedly answers this very question (http://www.cuppycake.org/?p=251):

"Secondly, Metaplace.com itself will be a virtual worlds portal that allows you to discover and play new games and worlds. Rate your favorite games, earn badges, connect with other gamers and hop from one world to another with ease. We expect all sorts of unique games and worlds - everything from your standard RPGs, to Tetris clones, to Amazon bookstores, and university lecture halls."

Second Life with achievements and hyperlinks. Big deal.

"Where have all the modders gone? That's right, there aren't any left!"

Uhh...once again, there's people making -real- money off the content that they've created for Second Life. As for the rest of the modders? I don't know...I was playing Open Arena the other day, that's a completely open-source FPS based on the Quake 3 engine, with user-created content. Urban Terror's another Q3 mod that's gone standalone. Hell, some of them go ahead and write their own great games from scratch (Battle for Wesnoth). Where -did- all those modders go? Well, they either went to Second Life or continued customizing game engines like they always have. If there were no modders left I seriously doubt that GTKRadiant would still be releasing.

"We know that MMO gamers as a whole aren't really 'feeling' the current choices of games that they have. There is a lot of subscribing and unsubscribing and resubscribing."

This is just pure "mouthnoise," to put it politely. No one I know playing World of Warcraft has complained about how many times they were "subscribing and unsubscribing and resubscribing," because it just isn't that big of a problem. Not "feeling" the current choice of games they have? I know you wouldn't mention WoW by name because that would ruin the hype machine, but Blizzard isn't exactly a miserable failure at MMOG design. Check the numbers out sometime.

And perhaps the most interesting point of all, as subtle as it is:

"We host the servers for you and provide forums so you can interact with your players."

Great, right? Not necessarily. If the only place that you can store Metaplace content is on Metaplace servers, what's to stop them from charging for storage space? Changing their ToS to indicate that they are the real "owners" of any content uploaded to the site? Hell, the only part they even mentioned being "open" is the client, and that only as an "open standard..." In other words we're likely to get a specification, but if you want an open -source- Metaplace client, they're going to leave the work up to you. Just as well that they did anyway, because even if you did write your own client, you'd still need their servers to store the content on, and there's no gurantee that their open "standard" is going to be any more standard than the kind that Microsoft likes to produce.

I'm sure this post will be deleted before it slows down the hype machine any...but if you're expecting gamers to care, you're going to have to try a whole lot harder.

Otherland (1)

silent_artichoke (973182) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665667)

Anyone else think of Otherland? Cool idea, but the MySpace thing ruins it.

BBC article on it (2, Informative)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665749)

can be found here [bbc.co.uk] .

What I want to know is can these worlds be private so as to keep out griefers etc. and only allow in those you want in it.

Re:BBC article on it (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665777)

With that article saying that Second Life is one of the most popular MMORPGs around I am not sure I place much credibility on it.

Re:BBC article on it (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665803)

Second Life is "tragic"... too many weirdoes in it doing weird things... especially the dark porno side... (those baby unicorns are just too gross when you find out how the owners got them). There is some nice stuff there as well, but you can't safely let your children lose in it...

Re:BBC article on it (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665797)

Great article. Gives a lot more information that anything else so far. I've also been wondering if you can make it private... From that article, I'd guess the answer is 'no'. Once you share it, it looks like it's open to anyone.

Ignore the other response... The article didn't even say 'mmorpg'. They said 'one of the most popular virtual worlds', and that's certainly true.

Re:BBC article on it (1)

allaryin (564427) | more than 7 years ago | (#20668859)

How hard is it to write a Lua script to reject logins by users who aren't on the whitelist? I think you're ok.

I've been reading more (2, Informative)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665765)

So in essence what this is:

A set of API-s that connect various games into a single community. They host it, and if you don't waste many resources it's free. If you do (i.e. become popular), it's no longer free, you pay hosting fee.

They have an example client, most likely Flash-based, 2D isometric game that renders their "world" definition.

Koster, in his own words, can't program a damn thing, and in my opinion, the way he imagines this working is waaaaay out there.

Quote from him:

"You have to admit it; the whole concept of 'play anywhere' is pretty neat. How often have you wanted to play a game with your friends, only to find out that their video card can't support the game? Have you ever been trapped in an airport for longer than expected with just your cell phone or an ancient laptop? We plan to show you just how good a game can look in a browser, and just how much fun it can be to play. Imagine people playing YOUR RPG on their cell phone, or in their Facebook, or in the sidebar of a gaming blog. That is accessibility, and we're out to show you just how awesome it can be."

Oh right, accessible gaming! The same RPG in 2D Flash, 3D, and Java! This will work amazing right? No, it won't. It'll be a disaster.

Let me foresee how this will go:

1. We'll see few games attempting to work on multiple platforms, and thus they will remain ridiculously simple so they can be played at all on anything from a cellphone to freak gamer personal computer desktop.

2. We'll see some more fun games, which you can only play on one platform, either 3D only or 2D only.

Either way, he expects to deliver the API-s, the sample isometric world viewer... and then expects their "users" to code everything, from the hot 3D versions, to the cellphone clients.

I only can sigh, and forget I wasted my time on trying to comprehend what the hell was he doing, since he's apparently trying to market it as something big, and it's not.

Re:I've been reading more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20668039)

Lots of MMOs have different activities that are appropriate for different for different presentation systems: WoW as a dungeon crawl would suck on a cell phone, but why couldn't you manage your auctions through a cell phone or simplified 2D interface, why couldn't you manage your crafting through such an interface, why couldn't you manage just logging on to chat with your guild through such an interface.

"Worldy" sandbox games would work much better at providing activities that work well in a simplified UI, and have other aspects that only work with the full UI. You could even make that part of the game world - an astral form or a software avatar or or a golem or any other fiction that works to signify that your capabilities according to your current UI.

This could also allow activities that are currently outside the scope of the game to become part of the world. Design and art and music and newsletters and any other thing that players want to do. This could allow the sorts of quests that work amazingly well in MUDs or Adventure games but have traditionally really sucked when attempted in a modern MMOs to work well. MMOs can and should be about a lot more than virtual dragon slaying.

Re:I've been reading more (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 7 years ago | (#20680627)

Koster, in his own words, can't program a damn thing, and in my opinion, the way he imagines this working is waaaaay out there.


Good thing he's got some solid advisors [areae.net] to keep him grounded, then.

Christopher Allen

Founder & President of Skotos Tech, producer and editor of many games, and social software expert. He blogs over at Life with Alacrity.

Dr. Richard Bartle

Co-creator of the original MUD, author of 'Designing Virtual Worlds', and professor of computer game design at the University of Essex. ...and a few others

Re:I've been reading more (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 7 years ago | (#20680655)

Either way, he expects to deliver the API-s, the sample isometric world viewer... and then expects their "users" to code everything, from the hot 3D versions, to the cellphone clients.


Second Life pretty much did the same thing. I think it's fair to say that it worked out fairly well for them.

My dyslexia talking (1)

untaken_name (660789) | more than 7 years ago | (#20665785)

Is it just me, or does anyone else keep seeing 'Meatplace' instead of 'Metaplace'?

Re:My dyslexia talking (1)

Joehonkie (665142) | more than 7 years ago | (#20666257)

I see Meatplace. Sounds like a happy, but extremely gross place to be.

Re:My dyslexia talking (1)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 7 years ago | (#20666397)

I keep seeing Meatplace, and then somehow my brain translates that into "Meatspace", which is like the exact opposite.

Re:My dyslexia talking (1)

untaken_name (660789) | more than 7 years ago | (#20676187)

I think Meetplace or Meetspace would be a good name for a single's bar. Perhpas 'The Meet Market'.

Re:My dyslexia talking (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#20667033)

Even worse, I read it as "Marketplace" at first, and wondered (a) what was new about the XBox Live online shop, and (b) why Koster was involved.

Raph Koster is a game killing clown. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20665977)

'MMORPG veteran designer' in the same sense that Jack Thompson is a 'veteran lawyer'.

The guy *ruined* every single game he had any kind of control over.. SWG, UO, He was laughed out of Sony Online after they ran out of ways to use his name without having him touch anything important.

and now he's pushing VRML version X, 10 years too late. With built in fundamental design flaws... that he brags about.

He's one of the 'also rans' that laughed at blizzard when they announced world of warcraft.. hell I still have posts from MUD-DEV with him and Jessica from AC talking about how badly wow would do. I have them up on my wall right next to all the records we broke right before we ran over sonys entire line of offerings without even looking back.

I know the fat fuck reads slashdot so here's to you buddy!

diaf.

ps His music sucks too.

Re:Raph Koster is a game killing clown. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20667263)

oh and pps

I stole your fucking lunch money.

It had better be in bad taste! (2, Funny)

glindsey (73730) | more than 7 years ago | (#20666077)

Unless my MetaSpace can be painted in green and magenta, be decorated with four hundred billion "sparkly" stickers and "hilarious" photos and video clips that "YOU JUST GOTTA SEE", and have horrendous low-quality looping emo-rock in the background, it doesn't belong on my MySpace page, dammiT!

GOTTA SEE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20666955)

So, just like Myspace then.

Re:It had better be in bad taste! (1)

glindsey (73730) | more than 7 years ago | (#20667001)

Argh, MetaPlace. See, they're already merging in my mind.

Re:It had better be in bad taste! (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 7 years ago | (#20672883)

can i connect my Hello Kitty metaspace to your super-sparkly metaspace?

Damn you Raph Koster! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20666607)

Damn you Raph Koster! Why don't you die!!!? Get a job as a "creative consultant", earn some money and leave "virtual worlds" alone!.

15 Seconds on the site tells me this won't fly (1)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 7 years ago | (#20667031)

Lot's of Blahblah, the only thing downloadable is a zip of various versions of the companys icons, no technocal details and registration for the alpha version gives no details but requires one to fill out aprox. 50 fields with personal details. ... etc.

The impression of this website fits to what many people here are saying: That this guy is know for large-type gameproject screwups and shady marketing ploys. To me it looks like a marketing scheme to push some half-assed idea and grab a little cash on the way.

As a contrast - and I'm not saying I'm a fan or even a user - Second Life in the beginning had little more than two guys. One business man and one programmer. The business man did his job and the programmer built a powerfull, usable protocoll and a plattform independant client for it. It probably takes no more than minutes to get up and running with SL and start building and scripting your primitives-based 3D objects. In a nutshell: It works and is flexible enough to get the attention of IT opinion leaders.

Many companies have tried to build rich 3D clients and plugins since around 1999/2000. Quite a few very good ones failed down the road or went into hybernation mode. The only one I know of that really took of is SL. This Metaplace on the other hand has nothing to offer that I can't build myself in a few days - a mediocre website filled with marketing-babble.

Re:15 Seconds on the site tells me this won't fly (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#20667599)

15 seconds on a site about a toolkit that's in pre-alpha told you whether it would succeed or not?

What's the lottery numbers this week, while you're at it?

Re:15 Seconds on the site tells me this won't fly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20667897)

some of us actually know who this guy is, slick. Pay closer attention when someone that knows more than you about something, gives you an insightful warning.

I hope they aren't hosting this service... (1)

ssstraub (581289) | more than 7 years ago | (#20668151)

As their servers can't even handle a slashdotting! How are they going to handle thousands of virtual worlds?

YAWN (1)

Zutroi_Zatatakowsky (513851) | more than 7 years ago | (#20668471)

In 6 months, we'll see thousands of "JOIN MY RAD MMO ITS SUPER COOL KTHX" posts and such. Everybody will have their OWN VIRTUAL WORLD with noboby playing them. It's like MUDs. Anybody can host a stock plain MUD, there are already hundreds of them. But they're pretty much all empty unless there are tons of original content.

So we'll see maybe 1% of original MMOs and the rest will be stock crap. Big deal.

Also, looking at the website and graphics, it's gonna be: Cute ponies, glitter, anime-style characters, pastel pink... This is game development for 12-years old kids. Well, except for the flying penises.

Re:YAWN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20668881)

I imagine that there will be a *lot* of final fantasy or buffy the vampire slayer or trogdor the burninator or SoIaF or Star Wars or ...whatever based rip offs.

But does that matter?

90% of everything sucks. And on the internet that's being generous. A lot of derivative juvenile crap is gonna get made, but there is gonna be some stuff that is original and possibly has some amazing ideas involved. I'm looking forward to seeing the 1% that rises above the sea of shlock.

Re:YAWN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20669289)

the 1% that you mention, would never have need of a half assed 'mmorpg WTFBBQ kit'.

Re:YAWN (1)

wondafucka (621502) | more than 7 years ago | (#20676955)

Ahh, the skepticism of nerds (complimentary).

In 6 months, we'll see thousands of "JOIN MY RAD MMO ITS SUPER COOL KTHX" posts and such. Everybody will have their OWN VIRTUAL WORLD with noboby playing them.

Close. For the intents and purposes of a MMOG, yes nobody will be playing them, except for a handful of people. But if millions of people are each playing around in virtual spaces with handfuls of people, that's still millions of people. Look at myspace. It's crap, only a handful of people visit any individual site, but it's still immensely popular and draws lots of advertising traffic.


Also, looking at the website and graphics, it's gonna be: Cute ponies, glitter, anime-style characters, pastel pink... This is game development for 12-years old kids. Well, except for the flying penises.

Again, look at myspace. Who has more free time, a software developer or a 12-year old girl? Granted the 12-year old girl doesn't have the disposable income, but she does have influence over her parents, and she will be generating free content. Even if it's something stupid like a heart shaped unicorn couch that other people can add to their hangout spaces.

I cannot vouch for this particular software company to live up to even 10% of their hype, but when somebody does, no matter how sparsely populated, nor crappy and glittery, it will still mean lots of dollars for somebody.

Okay, I lied. I think a glittery, heart-shaped unicorn couch would be awesome.

SLURP (1)

crevistontj (1032976) | more than 7 years ago | (#20670185)

Is "slurping" a directory the same thing as "squirting" your favorite song? What ever happened to "copying"?

Forgetting the people factor... again (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 7 years ago | (#20670241)

I'd like to live in the ideal world Raph envisions where everyone is nice to each other, they all follow the rules and no one is every a jerk for no reason at all. He had this vision for Ultima Online, and about 250,000 of us know what a player killing free for all fiasco that was. Meanwhile in the real virtual world, the mantra has been proven, "If you build it, someone will take a crap all over it."


This toolkit sounds like it will have great potential, but because people are jerks, it will be misused to full extent and Raph will be attributed with providing tools to someone who gets 15 minutes of infamy for the porn/gay-bashing/raping/killing/unsocial MMO they create with these tools. Meanwhile, some good quality MMO will be completely ignored and eventually lost. All along the way will be thousands of MyMMO's cluttering the bandwidth with tons of empty promises.

I'll wait for the YouTube version.

Re:Forgetting the people factor... again (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#20670475)

The thing is, Raph's vision of self-policing PVP had worked in MUDs for years. But when you add one part ease-of-play and a quarter million parts WTF BBQ LOL, something bad is bound to happen.

a comparison (1)

bitspotter (455598) | more than 7 years ago | (#20670477)

Metaplace vs Second Life vs Multiverse [multiverse.net] :

  • Licensing: Second Life has released its client under the GPL, and has claimed that it will release its server code under the GPL as well. This means I can host my own private 3D world on my own server. Metaplace claims its clients will be open source, but remains silent on its server. Multiverse's client and server are proprietary. The client is gratis, but the server is only gratis for non-commercial use. Commercial use can be licensed flat-fee or through revenue sharing.
  • Geography: Second Life has one world map (at least until the server source is released), whereas Metaplace and Multiverse are designed to allow users to create spatially separate environments (though SL approximates this with "private islands"). Metaplace and SL allows users to connect spaces with portals.
  • Hosting: Second Life charges users at least US$10/mo to "own" "land" they host, in addition to market prices for particular parcels. Metaplace encourages users to create their own spaces free of charge until traffic exceeds a certain threshold, at which they begin charging hosting fees. Multiverse allows users to host their own worlds on their own hardware and networks using their proprietary server software.


Only Multiverse gives you the freedom to self-host (and keep backups), but it does so at the cost of the freedom to modify and redistribute the software. Second Life gives you the software freedom for the client (and claims to be releasing the server GPL soon, as well), but you are currently limited to subscribing to create a "private" environment on their servers only (which, afaik, you cannot even make backups of). Metaplace will host your private, low-traffic environment for free, but still won't let you self-host (although backups are undetermined).

There are deal-breakers in all of these, so far as I'm concerned. Second Life is still closest to ideal, I think, since they have made numerous claims in the past that they're going to release their server GPL. If Metaplace's APIs are as open as they're selling, however, they may give Linden Lab a run for it's... er, license, if it turns out to be easier for third parties to reverse-engineer the Metaplace protocols into a FOSS server.

Universal MMO? (1)

Bellum Aeternus (891584) | more than 7 years ago | (#20670711)

So how does it work when a World of WarCraft character, a StarWars Galaxy character, and a MySpace user decide to PVP?

Re:Universal MMO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20671255)

MESSY

Re:Universal MMO? (1)

freshmayka (1043432) | more than 7 years ago | (#20671677)

The SWG character dies first (he forgot to get buffs) from the sonic blast created by the MySpace users background music. The MySpace user does a /dance but at the exact same moment an undead rogue ganks the MySpace user. The rogue's attack comes so fast that it's not even registered by the MySpace users client and their avatar continues to dance for five minutes even though their health is zero. The rogue vanishes and heads over to Toon Town Online.

Re:Universal MMO? (1)

Pearson (953531) | more than 7 years ago | (#20671877)

So how does it work when a World of WarCraft character, a StarWars Galaxy character, and a MySpace user decide to PVP?

I didn't RTFA, or course, but if the world the characters are in doesn't specifically recognize the items and abilities of each character, their interaction in that world would be limited to things that originated in the world they are currently in. So if you bring your lightsaber into a pirate PVP world, it becomes just a visual prop. To have a sword fight, you'd have to acquire a sword from within that pirate world.

Many weapons could be defined generically enough to transfer between worlds (weapon, one-handed, slashing), but their relative powers and special procs would make balance a nightmare.
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