Thursday, September 20, 2007

Virtual worlds for all!

In 'Virtual worlds opened up to all' BBCNews announces a free tool that allows anyone to create a virtual world - known as Metaplace, it can build 3D online worlds for PCs or even a mobile phone without any knowledge of complex computer languages:

The web-based program is the brainchild of Raph Koster, one of the developers of massively multiplayer online games such as Ultima Online. Users make the virtual spaces from simple building blocks. The results, which could be used for gaming, socialising or e-commerce, can be embedded in a webpage, facebook profile or blog.

"We are out to democratise virtual worlds and bring them to absolutely anybody," said Mr Koster, founder of Areae, the company behind Metaplace.

"You can come to the site, press a button and have a functioning virtual world that supports multiple users in about 30 seconds." There are already a number of popular virtual worlds such as Second Life, There and Entropia Universe. In addition there are games worlds such as World of Warcraft (WOW).

Most of these require a person to download specialist software or buy a game and there are no links between the different universes. "They're all walled gardens," said Mr Koster. In contrast, Metaplace is entirely web based and connections can be made between all of the different worlds.

"We modelled this on the web," said Mr Koster. "You can think about each world being a webpage and every object within in it is a link."

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