metaworld

Improbable’s plan for rescuing the MMO genre from ‘nuclear winter’ involves a crapton of money

Improbable keeps popping up in news stories relating to MMOs lately — that’s thanks to SpatialOS, what the company is calling a “distributed computing platform for building large virtual worlds for gaming.” The platform is now in use on MMOs from Identity and Worlds Adrift to Chronicles of Elyria and Metaworld; its most recent partnership was announced last week with RuneScape studio Jagex, and it’s already working with Google to bring the tech to “hundreds” of developers.

GI.biz has a great interview out with Improbable CEO Herman Narula today that illuminates what the team worth over a billion bucks (an extrapolation based on the fact that Japan’s SoftBank’s half a billion dollar investment bought less than a 50% stake in the company) is focused on. It turns out it’s mostly video games — but it’s also bigger than video games.

“Our long-term objectives, and it is long-term, is to literally create other worlds,” explains Narula. “Not just in the context of gaming, but in the context of being able to solve really important problems. This core problem of massive distributed systems and engaging large-scale virtual worlds, is as important and significant as AI or space travel. It is just as important for the future of what our experience will be like as human beings in the world, and how we are going to solve some of the most pressing problems that we have. […] A lot of people just can’t believe that we think games are important. They are incredibly important and they’re going to be more important. Hypothetically, one day, if 100m, or 1bn, people entered simultaneously into a virtual world, that would cease to be a game, that would be a country.”

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RuneScape’s Jagex is the latest MMORPG studio to employ Improbable’s SpatialOS

Add another gaming studio partnership to Improbable’s file: RuneScape developer Jagex announced today that it’s teamed up with the tech company to deploy SpatialOS in “future game production.” SpatialOS, you’ll recall, is a “distributed computing platform for building large virtual worlds for gaming.”

Improbable has been showing up in our feeds a lot lately. Earlier this month, the company picked up a cool half-billion bucks in investment from a Japanese telecommunications corporation. SpatialOS is being used on a number of up-and-coming MMO-related projects, including Identity, Worlds Adrift, Chronicles of Elyria, and Metaworld. Oh yeah, and it’s partnered with some company called Google for cloud distribution – probably no big deal, right?

The PR doesn’t directly say that RuneScape itself will make use of the tech, just that it’ll be used as a platform to “bring new levels of depth and scale to Jagex’s future creations.”

Earlier this week, a studio rep apparently accidentally leaked a stream slide with the logo for something called “Next Gen,” which also may or may not be RuneScape-related as we outlined Monday.

Source: Press release

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Virtual world creator Improbable receives $502M investment from SoftBank

Here’s another reminder that we really shouldn’t take our eyes off of Improbable Worlds, even for a second. The five-year-old software company, which is specializing in creating massive virtual worlds for simulations and games, just received over a half-billion dollar investment from a Japanese telecommunications corporation.

SoftBank injected $502 million into Improbable this week in one of the largest U.K. venture capital deals of all time. This investment puts one of SoftBank’s members on Improbable’s boards and sees SoftBank create a non-controlling stake in the company.

To make a good week even better for Improbable, venture firms Andreessen Horowitz and Horizon Ventures also committed additional funds to the tech startup and its SpatialOS software. “Having backed Improbable from the start, we continue to see huge potential in the application of its technology, both for solving real-world problems and in changing the future of the games industry,” said Horizons Ventures founder Solina Chau.

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Make My MMO: Crowfall adds geomancy and architecture skills (April 29, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Crowfall canceled its weekend playtest, but not before issuing a dev blog updating the community on some of the crafting changes that are in the latest builds, including the addition of Geomancy (using precious stone, wood, and ore to make land parcels that can combine into larger ones) and Architecture (which lets players craft deeds for buildings as well as crafting stations and city structures — sound familiar, SWG vets?).

Out in space, a group of core Elite Dangerous community developers went on strike briefly this week, bringing their websites and tools back online once Frontier had agreed to better support them. That was good timing, as players are in the middle of a massive roleplay event that will affect the outcome of an in-progress novel based on the game.

Meanwhile, Shroud of the Avatar dropped Release 41, City of Titans talked about its “aesthetic decoupling” philosophy, Pantheon updated players on its finances, OrbusVR completed its first closed alpha test, and the Dual Universe team moved into a new office.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on.

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VR MMO MetaWorld plans summer early access launch, seeks financial support

Hoping to see a full-fledged MMORPG with virtual reality take off in your lifetime? We may be witnessing the start of one with MetaWorld, even if it does look a little like Nintendo Wii avatars got guns and went fishing in cyberspace.

MetaWorld uses SpatialOS for its engine and is aiming for an August early access launch on Steam. Currently, the team is drumming up financial support for the project through Indiegogo. A soft target goal of $50,000 is posted, although because this is Indiegogo, whatever the team raises, the team keeps.

According to the description, MetaWorld “invites you explore a persistent 10,000 square mile, massively scaled open world together. Discover endless activities and adventure, inside a real-time physics simulation allowing thousands of visitors to participate simultaneously online.”

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Improbable teams up with Google to make persistent world development easier

UK studio Improbable announced today that it’s partnered with Google to allow video game developers to develop games using Google’s Cloud and Improbable’s SpatialOS tech — “without charge up to the point of commercial release.”

If Improbable and SpatialOS sound familiar, that’s because they’ve been popping up in relation to a bunch of MMORPGs and fringe MMOs in the last couple of years: Worlds Adrift, Chronicles of Elyria, Metaworld, and Ion are all based on SpatialOS tech, which is specifically intended to help modern persistent virtual worlds — MMORPG — get off the ground.

“Creating and running massive simulations that solve those problems on a public cloud requires a kind of distributed supercomputing – with potentially thousands of cores working together. This is what SpatialOS makes possible, by distributing work automatically and intelligently across hundreds or thousands of servers. […] SpatialOS gives any developer the ability to define and build simulated worlds which can accommodate thousands of simultaneous players in a single world at the same time, exceeding the usual limits of what a conventional game server can do. These simulations are persistent and support the kind of complex computation needed to bring new game ideas to life, while enabling a development methodology that supports extremely rapid iteration.”

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Social VR MMO MetaWorld will use SpatialOS just like Chronicles of Elyria

UK tech startup Improbable is stretching the bounds of the MMO and MMORPG again with its announcement that its SpatialOS will serve as the foundation for yet another game: MetaWorld.

MMORPG vets will recall that Improbable’s SpatialOS is also one of the core components of Chronicles of Elyria; Soulbound said back in June that the platform would help Elyria “get a hundred thousand players spread across the largest geographic area in a video game to date.”

MetaWorld, on the other hand, fancies itself a “new breed of massive-scale, social VR entertainment” where “people can realistically interact in a persistent shared space” — i.e., a virtual world, complete with “camping, fishing, farming, archery, hot air balloon flights, road trips, meditation retreats and more.”

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