Raph Koster’s plan is to build the metaverse tech, build a sandbox MMORPG on it, then open it all up

    
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If Raph Koster’s metaverse talk has you more confused than before, then don’t worry; his new more technical blog is going to scramble your brains even more. Essential, he argues that Playable Worlds’ metaverse tech will help solve some of the difficulty and cost of building MMOs in the modern world, making sharding, custom rulesets, dynamic content, and patching much easier.

“Slow iteration means fewer chances to refine gameplay,” he says. “It also means higher costs, which leads to greater conservatism in game design; higher costs make devs less inclined to take risks. When we look across the history of games, we see periods of enormous innovation come along whenever costs fall. Flash games, mobile games, the availability of Unity and Unreal: all of them led to new experiences, because cost barriers fell. Well, MMOs have not had that happen. If anything, barriers just keep going up.”

Koster reiterates that Playable Worlds’ plan is to build the tech, build his sandbox MMORPG using it, and then flesh out the platform for other uses, like modding or “networks of multiple games, not all made by us.”

“We are making a game with this tech for you, rather than asking you to make games for us,” he finishes. “But there’s no point in paying much attention to that until you make a great game. All of this only matters if players are happy. So that’s what we’re working on first. A great player experience is the point.”

Finally, we’d like to thank Koster and his team for kindly granting us a 5-pixel tall image to use; we’ve restored it to 290-pixel glory and will be using it until we get some real screenshots. First official pic, right here!

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angrakhan

I will say if Star Citizen has accomplished anything it is to prove it is much easier to talk about amazing new technology than it is to actually build it. I will believe this when they have something playable to show. Until then it’s going into the “pipe dreams and fairy tale” bucket for me.

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Bruno Brito

I was satisfied enough with the picture.

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somber_bliss

Can’t wait for this new Everdale MMO!

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Ardra Diva

15 years ago Linden Labs did the impossible and created the craziest, most open, free, capable, and relatively unsupervised world with Second Life. They seem to have pulled the trigger on Sansar and a VR version of it a few years too soon- maybe if it launched today, since the success of the Quest, it would have done better.

Not likely to happen this year or the next, but there’s going to be a new earthquake game/sim/virtual world sooner or later.

Since MMOs these days are basically just variations of the PvP gankbox (each of which has tried, and failed, to create a punishment or ruleset that effectively deters murder), innovation is stagnant, and storytelling is apparently either too expensive or too hard, it seems like “the old ways” just don’t work anymore.

I think it’s probably going to be something that is multiplayer and virtual, but NOT necessarily a ‘game’ with levels and spells and skills, that will be the next big thing.

Kinda like The Sims and Second Life 3.0… or something. And yeah, it might be in VR, which is improving steadily quarter by quarter, year by year.

Who knows? It might come from Apple.

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Jon Wax

im just guessing but:
i think folks want a big blank slate in which to carve their name. they want to build a base in a viable/stratetigic part of a giant empty world and sustain it until over time it becomes a main hub, organically. but they want there to be some value in doing this not just for clout but long term purpose. and you can’t have wipes. that’s killing the whole thing. so you need a big empty persistent world with nooks and crannies galore.

once the table is set, all of the promo and advertising crap will flood the lane. maybe im wrong but i think the players want to build the table, not be told where to sit.

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imayb1

…[I] think the players want to build the table, not be told where to sit.

This, but also provide the room for structure. I don’t think players necessarily want to build their own game– they want something in place to give them goals and rewards. With some minimal structure, you should get a nice mix of super-creatives providing enough stuff for the more rails-happy folks to do, with plenty in between.

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Jon Wax

i see this vague thing. in my head where all the different parts converge and there is both a crypto purpose and macro purpose to the game i just cant verbalize it correctly…

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Harbinger_Kyleran

I’ll check back in 10 or 15 years…

Assuming I’m still alive and able.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Impressive color palette.

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Hikari Kenzaki

Reposting from twitter:
So, true story. I spent about 2-3 hours manipulating this image when he first posted it on MOP.

It didn’t really come out much clearer than this, but I do have a vague idea of what the image is supposed to be.

If only he’d saved it as a PNG…

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Hikari Kenzaki

As for making the platform that several games can intersect with “networks of multiple games, not all made by us.” I feel like that was reading my mind (or posts :) ) about the ultimate MMO. :) One that exists outside an individual game but connects several games/gamemodes to an overarching metaverse, including ARG systems.
I hope they can do it. I think it’s probably too big an undertaking without a ton of investment in infrastructure, but we’ll see.

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Jeff Witman

Ambitious plan. I’ve heard ambition like that from devs before. Many times, in fact. None delivered.

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Hirku Two

Awesome screenshot, finally the MMO (Massive Mescaline Online) I’ve always dreamed of!

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Jim Bergevin Jr

I’ll take good money betting on the fact that 5 quality games will be released on this metaverse, including PW’s sandbox long before Star Citizen and S42 even reach Beta state.