I’ll let game-design god Raph Koster do the talking:

This is the future of the internet: open-standard virtual environments. “Anything that you do on the web… just works in Metaplace, because we work the way the web does.”

Alpha application ends Monday. www.metaplace.com


Leeroy goes Viral

December 13, 2006

The Live Action Leeroy virals have truly gone viral, including a front-page mention at worldofwarcraft.com:

Thanks to Mark Frauenfelder for blogging them (along with some kind words) at boingboing.net

They even made it to the front page of Digg.

Seifert Surface has built a tesseract in Second Life.

He built his model of the 4-dimensional cube as a Victorian home. Here’s what you’ll see if you visit the home in SL:

Not exactly astonishing. You appear to just loop around and wind up back where you started. But stay with me here.

A tesseract is the extension of a cube into 4-dimensional space, and it’s very difficult (if it’s even possible) for humans to conceptualize it. Try to think of it geometrically, not realistically. As the square is to a line, and a cube to a square, so is the tesseract to the cube.

Another way to understand it is to imagine the vertices. In a square, each vertex extends in two directions. In a cube, each vertex extends in three directions. What happens when you add another dimension and extend the cube’s vertices in four directions? That’s a tesseract.

Hard to conceptualize, right? Take another look at someone walking through Surface’s tesseract house, this time with the camera zoomed far out:

Is it making more sense? Of course, this isn’t really what a tesseract looks like, but it’s an effective illustration. As in a cube, where each side of its component squares adjoin another side, each face of the tesseract’s component cubes adjoin another face. To represent a 4-dimensional object in 3-dimensional space,* the cubes move so their faces can adjoin.

Meg and Charles Wallace Murray never had it so good.

If you really want your mind blown, here’s a functional tesseract version of Rubik’s Cube.

SL users can portal to Surface’s “Crooked House” here.

More info here.

Still too pedestrian for you? A 5-dimensional Rubik’s Cube here.

*Technically, this is representing a 4D object in a 2D representation of 3D. But lets keep it simple.

"Uru: Ages Beyond Myst," one of the many spin-offs of the classic game Myst, was originally intended to evolve into the MMO "Uru: Live." Alas, developer Cyan and pubisher Ubisoft closed the book on that unwritten chapter, citing insufficient numbers.

Uru Screenshot

But Game Tap announced at E3 last week that it'll be picking up where Uru left off, launching the live game by Christmas. This should delight the many Uru enthusiasts who have kept the game alive by creating their own Uru facimilies in the MMOs There and Second Life. Details on cnet.

Read the rest of this entry »

Seriously. The New York Times.


Somebody recently said, "Warcraft is the new golf."

This article comes one day after Mark Bragg issued a press release announcing his lawsuit of Linden Labs, makers of Second Life. Mark, an attorney, alleges that immediately after investing thousands of real-world dollars in a virtual land deal, Linden Labs cancelled his account, "without explanation, without citing any violation of community policy, and have since refused offer a credit or a refund."

This could be a landmark case in the legal and popular understanding of virtual worlds. So far, there's been no response from Linden Labs. I, for one, hope Mark wins. If people are going to be investing millions of RL dollars in Second Life, as Linden Labs hopes they will, these entrepeneurs will need basic legal rights to protect their investments.

"The thing that is interesting about these two more recent deals is that they speak to virtual worlds as an ecology of businesses rather than as just one business, a subscription service."

Raph Koster

I was just saying to Thomas tonight that 2005/2006 are years I'll remember as very significant in the maturation of the gaming industry.

"Seed" Screenshot

Denmark-based developer Runestone opened their MMO “Seed” to public beta this week. I’d previously applied to the beta, so I got an email this morning and I’m creeping toward a client patch as I type this.

Seed takes place on the colony world DaVinci as the colonists, cut off from Earth by interstellar distances, struggle to survive amidst a massive population explosion and conflict of ideologies. Players will have the ability to influence the course of the story and game development.

Razer Copperhead

With my new Razer Copperhead gaming mouse (smooth like butter!) and a video card on the way to breathe some new life into my aging AGP gaming desktop, I’m chomping at the bit to get in some game time. Though glancing over at the SEED patcher, I’ve got about 16 hours or so before their snail of a patcher finishes its 325 MB download.

It’s quite a day for House of Uster, my World of Warcraft Guild. Long-time guild member Mark “Hammuster” Lee is featured in two different Onion articles today, in various ways.

In Drunk Will Show You, Everybody, Mark plays the drunk in the photographs.

Baby, You Mean the World of Warcraft to Me reads: “I would climb the highest peak of Mount Hyjal to toil for 100 days and 100 nights in the mines in order to extract the precious ore so that I may fashion you a necklace of the finest thorium. My warrior, Hammuster, devoted his game’s life to the professions of mining and smithing just so that I might accomplish that very thing.”

The love-letter also mentions “I’ve introduced you to my comrades-in-arms in the Ulster guild, and they all accept you as kin,” which I take to be inspired by “Uster.”

Virtual Protest

March 29, 2006

Town Hall

Linden Labs, creator of the virtual world Second Life, recently held an in-game Townhall Meeting. In case you don’t know, Second Life is a 3D virtual world, much like an MMO, which allows players to build practically anything (even your own Island) and spend/earn real world money.

Some folks aren’t happy with the way Linden Labs is handling things. From Tony Walsh’s Clickable Culture blog:

“Elsewhere in Second Life today, an Alternative Town Hall was hosted by the controversial land owner Prokofy Neva in opposition to Linden Lab’s official event. Neva believes that a recent change in Linden Lab’s method of selling off its virtual land will cause the contiguous mainland sims to fragment and wither. Anshe Chung, Second Life‘s most successful land baron to the tune of $150k to $175k in annual income, intends to boycott Linden Lab’s new land-sales policies. In an announcement on Second Life‘s official discussion forum, Chung said that those interested in building contiguous continents will be harmed by the policies. Chung’s current investment in Second Life is massive (over 100 sims at $195 USD per month), and will, according to her announcement, be frozen as part of the boycott. It remains to be seen if Linden Lab’s new policies will be swayed by its most prominent customers.”

WoW Credit Card

I’d get this card just for the looks. But Phillip Torrone of Makezine.com imagines a world where customer loyalty programs will earn you in-game cash for real-world spending. http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2006/03/the_future_of_credit_cards_ear.html