134: Raph Koster: The Escapist Interview

Raph Koster: The Escapist Interview

"The idea of Metaplace is to really make MMOGs work the way the web does, and what that means is making it so that it is very easy for people to set up their own MMOG. It's very easy for these MMOGs to link to one another, it's very easy for these MMOGs to interact with anything else out there on the web, to provide kind of a technology platform ... it's really kind of the equivalent to Blogger, but for virtual worlds."

Dana Massey interviews Raph Koster.

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I'm glad to read about something like this. Basically it plays to Raph's strengths (the initial concept and game design) and sidesteps his weakness (actually completing the game's development). This could be a really REALLY great thing. I just hope there's software built in to support the creation of the elusive 'third place' that almost all MMORPGs lack. The cantina was it in SWG until the developers decentralized the entire game and destroyed any point in visiting the cantinas. Anyway, the least said about SWG the better. Here's hoping that the Metaplace becomes the next big thing.

Metaplace seems like a really exciting idea. That said, I'm a little worried when they talk about not hosting content. That seems like a hopelessly bad call to me. In effect it means instead of being like the good bits of the web, Metaplace will end up being like those forums and LJ communities where you scroll pack a page and every single image is an ImageShack or PhotoBucket error message of some kind.

With Metaplace talking about embedding content and the capacity to write your own clients my ambition is now to embed Whirled in Metaplace running within Second Life. (Actually I'm not sad enough, but it's definitely going to be possible.)

I don't see who this "game" appeals to though.......... just make a SWG clone and we'll all be happy tbh, of the pre jedi days obviously.

Dom Camus:
Metaplace seems like a really exciting idea. That said, I'm a little worried when they talk about not hosting content. That seems like a hopelessly bad call to me. In effect it means instead of being like the good bits of the web, Metaplace will end up being like those forums and LJ communities where you scroll pack a page and every single image is an ImageShack or PhotoBucket error message of some kind.

Just to set the record straight, Raph has said a number of times that MP will provide free hosting for small worlds and offer paid hosting for heavy users. You just have the *option* of hosting your assets yourself, which gives you the best of both worlds.

scaramoosh:
I don't see who this "game" appeals to though.......... just make a SWG clone and we'll all be happy tbh, of the pre jedi days obviously.

I think they're making Metaplace to pay the bills so nobody can take their game away from them. Smart move.

I love the concept, but I'm really skeptical. The closest thing that I've experienced to what Raph is suggesting is Bioware's Neverwinter Nights. That's a perfect example of a game that allows you design and host your own worlds and even link them together. I've never seen much linking though (actually, none)... and that's where my concern lies. I'm struggling to see the game aspect of linked MMOGs taking off. I really can't envision anything beyond Second Life, but with optional independent hosting... or a simple hub, linking completely separate, different games.

I mean, are a bunch of world builders going to adhere to a single set of rules, mechanics and items, allowing a single game character to exist between worlds? Wouldn't that essentially be like one big game then? I'm really confused. Is there a solid example of what Raph is trying to achieve from a player's perspective? I'm just not getting it. The developer's perspective is covered quite nicely, but how does this translate to the end-user... the player?

Come off it we all know it's going to fail, stupid idea and Raph knows it's going to fail too, don't see why he's wasting everyones time. I mean if for some bizzare reason it's a massive hit then i'll join up to the army.

Being someone who has followed MetaPlace from the start, I'd like to say that most of these comments are missing the point of the system. First, it's not a game itself. It's a development platform. Second, the worlds that will be created are not linked to one another unless the developers of those worlds decide to link them. Third, they don't do the hosting themselves (so yes, there's the chance that a world will suddenly have AWOL graphics).

From the players perspective, consider MetaPlace to be like a casual gaming portal: there will be a lot of games to choose from, by genre, keyword, ESRB rating, developer (or team), etc. Digging through the forums over at MetaPlace.com will show you that it's not JUST MMOs that are being planned. In fact, MMOs will be probably be in the minority. A lot of people are considering single or limited multiplayer titles. Sure, there will be crap, but there's a lot of artists, coders and musicians getting involved, so there's a very good chance that there will be a lot of good projects created there (Like http://www.metapunk.net) :D

Thanks, Scopique. Your answer actually makes a lot more sense than Raph's...

The Escapist: Can you briefly explain Metaplace? What is it and what are you trying to accomplish with it?

Raph Koster: The idea of Metaplace is to really make MMOGs work the way the web does, and what that means is making it so that it is very easy for people to set up their own MMOG. It's very easy for these MMOGs to link to one another, it's very easy for these MMOGs to interact with anything else out there on the web, to provide kind of a technology platform that doesn't assume they're making DikuMud version 27, and that it doesn't cram all of these people into one world in the way something like Second Life does. It's really kind of the equivalent to Blogger, but for virtual worlds.

...it's basically an environment that promotes collaborative development efforts, essentially making game development more accessible for everyone. That's pretty cool. Should we tell Raph Koster that? ;-)

Echolocating:
Thanks, Scopique. Your answer actually makes a lot more sense than Raph's...

The Escapist: Can you briefly explain Metaplace? What is it and what are you trying to accomplish with it?

Raph Koster: The idea of Metaplace is to really make MMOGs work the way the web does, and what that means is making it so that it is very easy for people to set up their own MMOG. It's very easy for these MMOGs to link to one another, it's very easy for these MMOGs to interact with anything else out there on the web, to provide kind of a technology platform that doesn't assume they're making DikuMud version 27, and that it doesn't cram all of these people into one world in the way something like Second Life does. It's really kind of the equivalent to Blogger, but for virtual worlds.

...it's basically an environment that promotes collaborative development efforts, essentially making game development more accessible for everyone. That's pretty cool. Should we tell Raph Koster that? ;-)

Right if you want to go into games developing then you go to college or Uni and study it there. Or you can start off creating maps for games and just teach yourself from there, it's soooo simple.

This however has no point and will not get anyone into games development.

 

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