Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Metaplace - interaction design for the masses

Everyone´s talking about it (here´s a decent description and information on it), so just let me bullet-point some thoughts on it.

  • It´s designed by Raph Koster - someone who really knows his stuff.
  • It´s open-ended and very, very open to user created content (in fact, it works around this very concept, as far as i can see).
  • It can be approached as a game, but it doesn´t need to.
  • The idea is absolutely brilliant, and Areae should be proud of actually building it.
  • It could be the next Myspace, Orkut, etc.
  • It could do for interaction design the same that HTML did for interface design.
  • It could do for game designers the same that Youtube did for filmmakers.
  • It could do for world builders the same that Myspace did for bands... ok, you got the idea.

    It sounds amazing. Will it succeed? I could bet it will.

    -if you have no idea what I´m talking about, here´s some info from their website:

    What is Metaplace?
    Our motto is: build anything, play everything, from anywhere. Until now, virtual worlds have all worked like the closed online services from before the internet took off. They had custom clients talking to custom servers, and users couldn't do much of anything to change their experience. We're out to change all of that.

    Metaplace is a next-generation virtual worlds platform designed to work the way the Web does. Instead of giant custom clients and huge downloads, Metaplace lets you play the same game on any platform that reads our open client standard. We supply a suite of tools so you can make worlds, and we host servers for you so that anyone can connect and play. And the client could be anywhere on the Web.

    We hope there will be millions of worlds made with Metaplace. It could get hard to find stuff if we're right, so the portal lets you easily search, rate, review, and tag worlds and games of all sorts. You also get a user profile so you can find each other.

    Can I make my own world?
    That's sort of the whole point. You should be able to stage up a massively multiplayer world with basic chat and a map you can build on in less than five minutes. It's that easy. Inherit a stylesheet -- puzzle game, or shooter, or chat world -- and off you go! Building maps and places is as easy as pasting in links from the Web, and dragging and dropping the pictures into your world.

    What's more, you can link your world to someone else's world. Put a doorway in your virtual apartment that leads to Pirate Vs Ninja-land! Stick your world in a widget on your Facebook or MySpace profile. Mail it to a friend and they can log in with one click.

    What sorts of worlds can I make?
    You can make pretty much any sort of game or world you want. You can decide whether it's massively multiplayer or not (it's MMO out of the box, but you can set it to a lower size if you want). You can decide whether to have physics or not, you can change the keymappings and the interface, the sort of stuff there is in the world, the maps... basically, it's all up to you. Game logic is written in MetaScript, which is based on Lua. So it's easy to make whatever kind of game or world that you want.

    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.
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    Copyright, Chico Queiroz