There’s been a lot of speculation about what Linden Lab has been plotting and planning since they announced that they would be diversifying from their core creation of Second Life.
The former is still in its infancy. The website states:
Imagine a 3D universe of creativity…
Explore caverns and valleys, while you harvest substances with real world densities. Build large scale structures that reach the sky or bridges that traverse chasms. Challenge real-world physics to see which creations will tumble — or withstand — the power of gravity.
It’s your universe to shape.
However, the graphics seem remarkably simple (slightly reminiscent of some of the games that the Lab have been using to test pathfinding, perhaps). It’s still in Beta and you can sign up for it here – but I’m not clear as to how it offers anything radically new and exciting. Maybe it’s the suggested use of real world physics, or maybe the interesting thing will be the platform for delivery (the beta sign up asks about the four major platforms – desktop, game console, tablet and mobile). If you want to see/know more, you can sign up for the Beta here.
The second new game – Creatorverse – seems rather more advanced – and, indeed, there’s a YouTube video, made by Rod Humble, which explains what it’s all about. Again, there’s a use of physics. This is very firmly targeted at the tablet market – it seems to be specifically designed for the iPad.
This again lays stress on creating with physics:
Set your creations in motion.
Become an inventor as you design unique creations and then set them in motion. You’ll never know what to expect as you watch your creations bounce, roll, tilt — or even accelerate on the screen. Let your creations come to life as you play with different joints, forces, motors, and teleporters and then watch what happens next. From the simplest bouncing ball to an elaborate pinball machine, the possibilities for tinkering are endless on Creatorverse.
This time, however, as the video makes clear, there is an emphasis of interactivity – these designs can be shared – so that what you make can be played with by someone else who you choose to share it with. What is not clear to me – except by implication – is whether you can fix the design so that you pass it on as a completed application, or if these are constabntly fluid – when you pass your pinball machine on to the next person, do they simply play it, customise it or gut it to create something new entirely?
Doubtless we will learn in time – as we will learn whether these creations are primarily for gaming purposes or whether, like Second Life, they can be monetised. I suspect myself that this is closer to that the shared apps like Draw Something than Second Life – that this (and probably Patterns too) are purer games rather than immersive virtual reality.
It seems to be that the Lab is heading the way that I suspected; that Second Life is moving to become one platform among several (albeit a lucrative one for the Lab). But let me know what you think of this new development.