Saturday, December 23, 2006

WoF: World of Firefly?

Lance turned me on to Interview with Multiverse co-founder Corey Bridges.

"Burn the consoles and my PC, you can't take this game from me..." is a great parody of the Firefly main theme (parody from, theme song by Joss Whedon) but it doesn't quite ring true with me.

Don't get me wrong, I love all things Firefly. But, Firefly as a MMO, using the Multiverse platform? I dunno... I loved Word of Warcraft [WoW], but I wasn't likely their target consumer. I played, maybe, a total of 20 hours across three months before canceling any services and tossing the discs. Hell, I even gave up my XBox Live subscription after the first year, just post XBox 360 launch, right when things were getting interesting there.

Looking past a licensing move to drum up interest, what holds the most interest to me is that there are companies providing the assets for me, Joe Consumer, to make my own games. For example, Microsoft's XNA Game Studio Express allows Joe Consumer to build games that target both the PC and the XBox 360. How cool is that? There is even a marketing channel to release your XNA content on XBox Live for others to download.

Now, it looks like Multiverse is doing something similar in that they will provide the platform, or runtime and design tools, for Joe Consumer to develop complete MMO worlds that plugin to the Multiverse, allowing players to choose which world to enter. Sounds cool. Sounds a lot like a path others have tread with limited success: Neverwinter Nights. I say limited, only because it took the NWN after market content so long to take off that I had long since tossed those discs, too. I understand Bioware is still getting some serious mileage out of their efforts though.

Since Joe Consumer is not even your average Blizzard, Bioware, or Bungie, your platform and tools tend to have their reputation hanging on the quality of the content produced by consumers of said tools.

A great analogy is the Windows operating system. The Microsoft Windows OS is a remarkably solid platform to deliver content; e.g. applications. Microsoft produces some truly phenomenal tools (Visual Studio) that can be used to produce content. Where they, Microsoft, get a bum rap from is that since they've made it so easy to develop applications for their platform almost everyone can do it, although not everyone should!

Another example might be what Wizards of the Coast did with introducing the d20 "game engine" which defines the core rules that their different game systems are based on. This makes it very easy for the player to ease into a fantasy, sci-fi, or even modern setting without worrying too much about the mechanics of the game play changing too much.

Anyway, opportunities abound to flex your creative muscles so get out there and write some code and create some content to help get these efforts off the ground! If you need some inspiration, try checking out some of the Multiverse trailers of existing worlds!

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