GamemakingMetaplace’s public debut

 Posted by (Visited 7942 times)  Gamemaking
Jan 312008

Edit: in case it wasn’t clear — this was a “sneak preview” sort of thing; we are not live to the public, it was just for a few hours. 🙂

Well, we didn’t make a big deal about it, but Metaplace has now officially been played by actual players, and not alpha testers. Today we did a dev chat using Metaplace itself as the platform for the IRC-like text chat, and in the middle of it we also showed off a little bit of a more graphical space with avatars. It was a chance to both talk to folks and also to shove a high number of people at the server and client, including guest logins, to try to stress things a bit.

It all went spectacularly well, too. We expected things to blow up, but nothing did. Extremely low CPU usage, even with over 80 simple avatars walking around and chatting in one relatively small space (small enough that there was no real network culling going on). That’s a decent achievement for any virtual world system. 🙂 Bandwidth was a bit high, but we know things to work on there that are easy big gains. Seems like fairly few weird browser issues — which is easily the biggest bugaboo with doing something so Web-based. I have seen that a few folks failed to get in at all, and we’ll try to track down why…

We’ll be posting the official chat log with our next blog post, probably. But in the meantime, a few of the VW-centric news sites were in:

Our friends over at the Electric Sheep were also on hand. And of course, there’s blogs by bunches of folks who attended, like TBowl, Feeding Change, Oh No, Aliens!, Cooking XP, and Dr. Offset’s. Edit: Dr. Offset’s has a little bit more, and there’s Emergent Future’s take here.

A couple of those have pics of the (brief) graphical demo. Everyone’s only one avatar… we’ll have to save character customization for another day. 😉

Game talkVideo games and stereotypes

 Posted by (Visited 8271 times)  Game talk
Jan 292008

“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”– Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

A discussion has evolved in this thread about the degree to which entertainment of various sorts affects us, and I thought the quote apropos.

It was interesting to read up a bit on the controversy surrounding Cooper Lawrence, her statements about Mass Effect, her later retraction (NYT, reg probably required), and of course, the concerns of the original study that was done at U Maryland.

And frankly, the whole thing is full of silliness. Consider this statement:

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Jan 292008

I did another Escapist Interview, all about Metaplace this time. Which suggests that I should point out that there’s a live chat happening soon:

Thursday, January 31 at 5:00pm Pacific Standard Time. You probably want to update your Flash player to the latest version.

More details are here.

…all professional game developers were once users. It’s not like some magic switch gets flicked the minute that they become a pro that makes their stuff good, and we’ve all played pro stuff that wasn’t that good. There’s just a spectrum, from good to bad, and whether or not people are pro or amateur has nothing to do with that quality line. The pros tend to get access to money and the good guys tend to gravitate toward being pros, but it doesn’t mean that an amateur cannot make good content. Maybe they’re just a hobbyist, maybe they’ve never had tools that were good enough, maybe they’ve never been given a chance.

The Sunday PoemThe Sunday Poem: If you…

 Posted by (Visited 5523 times)  The Sunday Poem
Jan 272008

If you…

…Push through the keys on a piano, what’s on the other side?
Not wires and hammers; not wood, but desires.
An echoing chamber of fires and lovers and lies.

…Bite through the skin of an orange, what’s on the other side?
Not citrus but summer, both light and burnt umber,
A country far distant all tart and remembered and bright.

…Look through the slits of an outlet, what’s on the other side?
Not six thousand currents pulsing reverberant,
But magic brought low, in harness instead of in sky.

…Stretch through the screens all around you, what’s on the other side?
We reach for each other through bytes and through phosphor,
Past Borges’ big library, at play in the forms we provide.

We never think shells are the essence; we crack without asking why.

Game talkChina’s virtual protectionism

 Posted by (Visited 5105 times)  Game talk
Jan 232008

Pacific Epoch – Update On China’s Internet Shakedown

Government bodies regulating the online game industry have released new regulations regarding foreign online game companies operating in China, reports Under the new regulation, the General Administration of Press and Publication will postpone the examination, approval and licensing of foreign company products if the companies are arbitrated or sued by Chinese online game companies. The GAPP will not continue consideration of the products until after the complaints have been resolved, according to the report.

The translation: any Chinese game company can stop a foreign company from launching in China by filing an arbitration request, which freezes the mandatory approval process.

Game talkCore casualties

 Posted by (Visited 9271 times)  Game talk
Jan 232008

For whatever reason, my post on core gamers and what sort of landscape they face seems to have resonated with a lot of folks, or least caused a fair amount of controversy — but in like six different ways at once. The issue of what casual is, and whether that market is serviced and whether developers are listening to that type of player, and so on, is a large and complex one; and microtransactions, whoo! — so I am going to answer a different set of comments first. 🙂

One of the threads has been “why should we think of core games as being in jeopardy?”

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