Thursday, September 20, 2007

Virtual Worlds On Your MySpace Page? Not Far Off...

The Web today is all about projecting your identity, connecting with your friends and strangers with similar interests, and sharing media with them. Tools have advanced to the point where it's trivial to upload and share photos, videos, text, animation and music to everyone and anyone. This is how we communicate today. Like songwriters have said for ages, we can say "I love you"* with a song (or electronic greeting card, or hilarious YouTube video). We don't even have to be its creator.

Now imagine what you could say by sharing a virtual world** with someone?

In recent months, toolkits have emerged that enable us ordinary people to build or customize 2-D and 3-D spaces and invite others to join in simultaneously. There's Multiverse, and now Metaplace, being developed by a San Diego company, Area, Inc.

The former is a downloadable (Windows-only) client that lets you load any virtual world out there made with it, and a free set of tools for setting up worlds to share. The latter (which to me is more interesting) is designed to be flexible enough to use web techniques (like RSS feeds, links, and good old cut 'n paste) to fit into web page-based applications like Myspace and Facebook. Here's a quote from their website:
Right now, there aren't enough good games, for example, and they all seem to be about elves in tights or soldiers in battle armor. Metaplace allows more diversity. Right now, there are lots of people who want to use virtual worlds for research, or education, or business, but it's just too darn hard to get one going. Now you can create a world in just a few minutes and start tailoring it to your needs. Basically, we wanted to democratize the process of making online spaces of all sorts.
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.
So get out there and start building worlds and sharing them with others.

* ... or typically "This is so funny!"
** ... or online game

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posted by Brian at 6:26 AM


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