Playable Worlds’ MMO will leverage cloud gaming to simulate a world and be playable on multiple devices

    
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No screenshots yet, obviously.

Over the past few weeks, Playable Worlds’ Raph Koster has been kicking out lots of blog posts about what his studio’s game is aiming to become — in fact there’s been so many of these posts that we’ve started to pool together a list. While we still have no concrete details on what this dream game is actually going to be, we have even more talking by way of an interview with VentureBeat with both Koster and Playable Worlds co-founder Eric Goldberg.

One of the key features of the game is the use of the cloud in order to make the game more widely accessible and offer a wider variety of gameplay features, while also eliminating the need to download large patches. Both Koster and Goldberg call the game “cloud-native,” meaning it operates a bit like Roblox in that the game runs on cloud servers and players can access the game experience on a wide variety of devices. To that point, specific devices Playable Worlds’ MMO can be played on weren’t listed, but Koster did refer to different devices as “windows onto the virtual world” and said that some activities in the game will be better suited to desktop gaming while others are bite-sized and perfect for accessing via a phone.

According to Koster and Goldberg, the cloud-native nature of the game provides new opportunities to create a simulated and dynamic world. Cloud tech will reportedly provide benefits like consistently new places for explorers to find, a chemistry system that allows players to combine things to get something new, changing seasons, and player actions having a large impact like one player missing a shot against another that ignites a forest fire or breaks a dam. To that point, this game’s world is being built as a shard-free shared instance, with a lot of proprietary tech being built to make these cloud-native game concepts a reality.

As for gameplay details, social systems are being eyed as a primary foundation for this new game, meaning that players will have a wide variety of playstyles such as combat, crafting, exploring, or providing “social support,” all of which are tied to the sandbox title’s economy to make everything interdependent. Self-expression and personalization is also considered key pillars for the game, with the devs looking to reward players who engage with things like the title’s IP or its environment and providing ways for a bare minimum of user-generated content.

Further reading:

source: VentureBeat
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MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

Well, if you make it so the map disappears if you clear browser cache like Tibia did, I definitely won’t play. Would suggest keeping those files server side if it’s possible…having to re-explore a ‘fog of war’ every time you attempt to play quickly made me lose interest in that and I never gave it a chance, even though it looked fun…

Fisty
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Fisty

I really dig this idea. Let me do some fun things and trading and crafting on my phone, my old laptop, maybe even run around on my Switch or PS4 from the couch.

Andy Turner
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Andy Turner

This is definitely the way forward. I just took a programming proficiency test that did not allow a mobile device. So yeah things need to change in this direction. Good find! Hopefully it will work on mobile as I am strictly mobile these days for good reasons and on purpose by windows bye Microsoft bye Apple bye Linux it was real

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Robert Mann

Key wording to me is ‘multiple devices’. Where I am sure that excites some people, including venture capital people, it worries me.

EVERYTHING gets simpler when it includes platforms outside PC. As such, I go from a game which has been of interest to see on most fronts, to a wary position that the game might be ruined by dumbing things down too much to be worthwhile.

That remains the reason, and the only reason, why I oppose things like crossplay. Everything ends up designed for the weaker platforms, the less variable controllers, and the result is that everything has to fit that. Where sometimes less is fine (for example, not having 200 abilities is okay, although 3-5 cuts it too small for my taste), the problem is this extends beyond just streamlining combat abilities. It hits mechanics, world design, customization, and so on.

I’d love to be inclusive, but the expectation that more limited controls and hardware play well at higher end settings in general leaves developers who choose it shoehorned into meeting the lowest end equipment on the list. Which, generally, includes something with far too little memory to allow deeper interactions.

Where I don’t ever say something is impossible, the title just got a major mountain to show it can overcome to generate any real interest from me at this time. One which has been tried before, and resulted in plummeting deaths from attempting studios across the board. Good luck, Playable Worlds, as I would love to be proven wrong… I just won’t get my hopes up.

PlasmaJohn
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PlasmaJohn

The “Cloud” buzzword is currently in fashion as vulture capital bait and… oh look at that the source article is VentureBeat.

There’s a massive disconnect between what “Cloud” tech provides and what this article claims. Could have been a misinterpretation of a misinterpretation but there’s nothing inherent in the cloud that magically makes cross platform clients a reality.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

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Wilhelm Arcturus

Sums up my thoughts exactly. Another masterpiece.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

These are so good Schlag. :P

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Raph Koster

I’m not old! At least not until I turn 50!

Which is uh… in five months.

:|

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Cory James Hill

You’re not old then Either. I turn 50 in October and I’ve never been more active intellectually or physically. :D I’ll allow people to say I’m old when I’m dead. Until then, good luck keeping up with me.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

What they are describing, which is keeping all data on the server side and only having a thin client… a browser… is something you could do with your own servers. Lots of games have done it. Raph did it with the MetaPlace fiasco. Attributing this to cloud computing is nonsense, as is most of the other things they’re trying to pin on the technology. It is buzzword they think makes them sound better.

All this recent empty hype must mean Raph needs more money. He is either trying to woo new investors or, heaven forbid, he is going to do a Kickstarter. This can’t be aimed at actual customers because it is all pie in the sky dreaming without an ounce of substance. All talk, no show.

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Raph Koster

The fact that the interview is on a site named “VentureBeat” may perhaps indicate that yeah, this is an interview intended for a business audience, not players. :D

We will be talking more about the ways in which we are using cloud in our next blog post, actually. But, alas, still aimed much more at a business audience than at players.

You’re correct that we are doing a bunch of things that have been done before. We’re also doing some things that have not been done before. We are also doing some things that were tried before and didn’t work out because of a lack of compute power.

But full disclosure here, we are going to stay vague on it as far as what we show players, until we feel like it’s in good enough shape that it will for sure ship. We want to make sure (as best we can — I am positive we’ll mess this up at some point) that we don’t make promises we can’t keep, and that means not getting too specific on some things until we can actually show it to you.

Just as a minor note — yes, it’s true that Metaplace did the thin client thing. Commercial cloud wasn’t really available at the time we started — we had to basically architect our own stuff to manage on-demand launching of processes, and so on. Even back then, though, it was very much a cloud way of thinking. But I agree that thin client per se is not really a “cloud technology.”