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Areae reveals Metaplace

Areae, a venture-capital funded firm formed by former SOE exec Raph Koster, has revealed a new online worlds platform named Metaplace

Areae, a venture-capital funded firm formed by former SOE exec Raph Koster, has revealed a new online worlds platform named Metaplace.

The website describes the Metaplace as "...a next-generation virtual worlds platform designed to work the way the Web does. Instead of giant custom clients and huge downloads, Metaplace lets you play the same game on any platform that reads our open client standard. We supply a suite of tools so you can make worlds, and we host servers for you so that anyone can connect and play. And the client could be anywhere on the Web."

Metaplace will allow users to build whatever kind of game or world they want as easily as pasting in Web links and dragging and dropping pictures. Metaplace worlds can also be linked to each other easily, and to profiles on sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

The platform will eventually support first-person 3D, although currently its clients only support various 2D views.

"Our goals are sort of idealistic," said Koster in his developer's blog. "We think there are all kinds of things on the Internet that would be improved if anyone could have a virtual place of their own."

"Right now, there aren't enough good games, for example, and they all seem to be about elves in tights or soldiers in battle armor. Metaplace allows more diversity."

Raph Koster worked on text MUDs in the early 90s before taking the role of creative lead for Ultima Online. He was later the creative director on Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided, and held the title of chief creative officer at Sony Online Entertainment. He left SOE in 2006 to form Areae.

Koster went on to say that Metaplace is far from hypothetical, as Areae intends to be customers of its own product.

"We've already started work on our first big game - a 'worldy MMORPG' with what we hope will be a ton of fun game play," he said. "What's more, we figure that some of you who have been looking for a game like that might want to help us build it."

Although Metaplace is just now being revealed, Koster hinted at his project when he talked about his approach to game design in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz earlier this year.

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