Butterfield also hopes that the game will appear more to women than other MMOs have. As exciting as most of the details we heard about Glitch were, we're forced to ask a few difficult questions. Butterfield had several good things to say about MetaPlace creator Raph Koster, alternating between calling him a "genius" and a "super idealist. The game itself is difficult to pin down; it's some combination of FarmVille , MapleStory, World of Warcraft, MetaPlace and any number of other online games or virtual worlds, but it doesn't fall anywhere on a spectrum. That one big world will be able to support hundreds of thousands or millions of players. We spoke with Butterfield at length about the game — here are a few reasons why it's something to keep an eye on. By Samuel Axon
Mobile apps are planned at some point, but Tiny Speck's vision is not to port the entire game to the iPhone or Android devices. It goes both ways, too; eventually Tiny Speck plans to offer you the ability to bring your tweets and Facebook status updates to your game profile. It's not clear how much of this is planned at launch and how much will be added over time, but either way it's ambitious. It's too early to make predictions as to whether or not this project will be successful; some of the hot features we were told about sounded like they only exist on paper so far. Playing them would amp up your web game avatar's abilities. There's no doubt that there's a vast, untapped market of would-be gamers — hundreds of millions of people who've never picked up an Xbox controller or played World of Warcraft, but who could become absorbed in an accessible, story-driven experience. It would be very foolish for us to ignore that. You'd receive a text message letting you know that they've arrived. If you watch the industry closely, though, you can see that the model isn't working well for everybody, and it restricts the genre to a very small segment of users. A game friend might knock on the door of your in-game home. That one big world will be able to support hundreds of thousands or millions of players. The 2D game — called Glitch — incorporates beautiful illustrations and cutting edge game mechanics, but its most interesting features are its social aspirations and the lessons it learns from the web that its founders mastered at their previous gigs. It did so by appealing narrowly to a niche of hardcore gamers with powerful gaming computers and a lot of time on their hands. SMS interaction would be similarly focused. Butterfield says Facebook Connect is part of the plan: By Samuel Axon Everyone from coders to writers will be able to define changes to the game and publish them live without interrupting the experience for any of the players. If Tiny Speck isn't doesn't fully exploit that massive and emerging market, someone else will. Butterfield had several good things to say about MetaPlace creator Raph Koster, alternating between calling him a "genius" and a "super idealist. Often games that start out ambitious get scaled down over the course of development. Butterfield even described a feature that would make the real world a platform for experiencing Glitch. How Experiences at Flickr Prepared Tiny Speck for Online Game Development Flickr parent company Ludicorp was originally founded to work on massively multiplayer games, but the Flickr alums in the Tiny Speck team are informing their development of Glitch with experiences from both Ludicorp's Game Neverending and Flickr, which has been itself described as a massively multiplayer photo sharing site. He said Glitch isn't trying to do the same thing that MetaPlace was. When we asked how experience at Flickr prepares key Tiny Speck employees for the online game space, Butterfield said that in addition to having vast experience with open APIs, the people working on the game are skilled in building scalable systems. As exciting as most of the details we heard about Glitch were, we're forced to ask a few difficult questions. For more than two decades, designers of online games ranging from the text-based multi-user dungeons MUDs of yore to early graphical experiments like Meridian 59, Underlight and Ultima Online imagined amazing social possibilities for online games.
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