Koster’s Metaplace launches today.

Metaplace launches today. The overview over at Crunchbase says:

“Areae’s Metaplace platform wants to revolutionize the virtual worlds space. Their platform will provide an open, easy-to-use interface which will allow users to create virtual worlds that can run anywhere. Metaplace-created virtual worlds will be robust with users being able to play games, socialize, create content and conduct commerce.

Most virtual worlds are walled gardens making it hard to get data in and out of the worlds. Metaplace-created virtual worlds can be embedded into your Facebook page, MySpace page, or your own blog via a flash-based client widget. Every world is indexed, tagged and rated by users on the Metaplace portal, so virtual worlds in the Metaplace network can be easily linked together.”

I have mixed feelings on this, so I am going to wait to comment until I can get a good look and see what is really here.

There is a lot of potential, considering that Koster is at the lead and calling the shots. I am also a firm believer that the precursor to the “metaverse” (or cyberspace depending on your preference) are MMORPGs. I’ve also said that MMORPGs lack a lot of things and so do virtual worlds (like second life). Will Metaplace be a step in the right direction for a change, or will it miss the boat and eventually fall to the side and struggle for years like badly designed MMORPGs and poorly implemented virtual worlds?

I’m hoping that Koster did it right and it takes off. There is a lot of attention on web 2.0 approaches, as well as pseudo-MMOs like club penguin, laguna beach, etc. Expect to see a lot more of these as the “flavor of the day” with the venture crowd becomes social + virtual world. I predict this is a fad, and the people that look to the long term will be thinking way beyond these shallow experiences.

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. More later.

Robert / Nicodemus

13 thoughts on “Koster’s Metaplace launches today.”

  1. Hmm, well. It says there on the image that you can make a huge MMORPG. I wonder how good the toolset is. I guess like you, we need to wait and get more details. It seems terribly ambitious. How long will it take for good content to show up so people only interested in playing have something to do? I’ll be sure to check it out.

  2. I’m curious about it as well since I used to script zones in the old text based MUD’s. There were several servers where multiple ‘gods’ would code totally off the wall zones with no relation to each other and link then together with portals. There were even a couple variations that would allow servers to automaticly re-connect you to a different server with a different themed MUD by accessing an object defined to do that.

    Raphs idea sounds so close to that, except with a graphical overlay and web 2.0 hooks.

  3. I don’t think I can be anymore on the fence about this (and things like these, for that matter).

    Reading everything I’m getting the same vibe I was getting in the early-mid 90’s with the VRML mini-craze: Cool tech, but I get the feeling there’s only gonna be 3 or 4 end applications/experiences worth a damn per volume of a 1000 or so. Only that this one has the social attached to it, so we’ll see if it gets its longevity from there.

    Also like Ethic mentioned, it’d be nice to see the tools. They say user content is as good as the tools you give them (of course keeping in mind the 99% rule ;) )

  4. Yeah, I’m practically impaled on the fence; have been harboring high hopes so far. Off the cuff response today is “This is the Web version of Multiverse, but it might succeed where Multiverse seems to be failing b/c the Web is more amenable to less hardcore game experiences, since the $240/year MMO crowd isn’t in control”

  5. What if it was easy as Neverwinter Nights? I use to do the map design, and another guildmate did alot of the scripting for our persistant PvP Arena server.

    The ability to design a world with the NWN client was great, with a great input from the community.

  6. (after much thinking)

    I think what’s giving my personal pause with all this is the just going ahead and half-bombastically announce “Yeah you can make your own MMOs”. I think that’s setting the bar way too high, quite probably for no reason other than to just put it there and have people see how high you put it.

    I say this without having seen even a screenshot of the tools, however.

    Had they said, “We have this set of social networking tools and all that, with a few additions. Amongst them, users can create their own small multiplayer games.”… that would’ve been something else. More palatable, perhaps.

    Sorry, I’ve just been burned, way, way, way too many times by 20 years of “Create your owns”, “(x) Construction Kits”, “RPG Makers” and so on. As a rule, the tools are lacking and never up to snuff, so the end result very, very rarely resembles what was originally sold. Double trouble if you’re just coming along and casually announcing “you can make your own MMOs”. I’m forced to doubt either the quality of whatever finished product those tools can come up with (even under the right hands), or I’m forced to doubt the credibility, intentions or sanity of the salesman. Even if it’s Raph.

    Either way I’m doubting, and that’s where I am right now. I’m Jack’s memory of tools past. I’m f’n Mulder. I want to believe.

  7. Well, there are a few sparkles of hope in the comments they made. One is that everything will be addressable as urls – this gives credence to the idea that they really want to play and connect with the greater web. I imagine folks will be creating interesting MMO – mashups with things like Google Earth, or Amazon.

    Two, Raph mentioned that he is building his next “big” MMO in Metaplace himself. I think that once they eat their own dogfood, this may help make the tools much better as they refine them during the course of creating their own mmo.

    Three, the mention of Lua based MetaScript and openness to third party clients. I believe that if they allow third party clients they will also allow third party editors, and if so the chances of you finding a world builder to your liking increases.

  8. “Two, Raph mentioned that he is building his next “big” MMO in Metaplace himself. I think that once they eat their own dogfood, this may help make the tools much better as they refine them during the course of creating their own mmo.”

    (more thinking)

    On this point, half of the deal are the tools. The other half are resources and assets. The tools can be refined to a point in which they are the best tools in existence, but if you don’t have enough resources and assets to feed those tools the end result will always end up from mediocre down.

    The fact that Raph is putting his money where his mouth is is good, because it says the tools are good enough for him. But that’s only half of it. The other half is Raph being in a position unique enough to have a team behind him that can supply him with good resources. I’d say 9 in 10 vanilla Metaplace users won’t be so lucky.

    It’ll very much alike when I was using UED2 to map for UT; I was using many of the exact same tools the devs used themselves, but since I couldn’t texture or model to save my life, all the end results were mediocre when compared to the devs’ own (not saying that it should’ve been better by default because it was me and I’m cool, but it illustrates the point).

    Another thing to consider as a result of this is that there’ll inevitably be a lot of resource sharing between finished products, for the simple reason that most people can’t texture, model, create sounds or animations from scratch. So as soon as a very good texture or model pack hits the community, you’re gonna see the same assets injected into every different end result everywhere just because it’s so much better than what the creators of those end results could do themselves (you can see this a lot in pre-2003 UT user maps).

    Again, I want to believe. But the more I see this being sold as “Plug & Play Build Your Own MMO Just Add Water”, the more I cringe.

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