This week, Boston-based WorldWizards and New York-based Playmatics have teamed up to launch the MyWorld project on Kickstarter. This project is intended to offer gamers a chance to design and create their own MMORPG regardless of their art and design skills. What's more, it's entirely web based with no need for any equipment to build or run the game beyond the user's computer.
Jeff Kesselman, CTO and principal of WorldWizards, is a 15-year veteran of online game development. His portfolio spans from the popular shooter Duke Nukem 3D to massively multiplayer games like ZooKingdom. He also spent nine years at Sun Microsystems where he originated the Red Dwarf game server technology now in use in massively multi-player social games around the world.
"A traditional MMORPG architecture dedicates server resources to simulating a chunk of physical space," Kesselman said on Wednesday. "While they are very good at cramming lots of people into that space, they really depend on lots of players sharing the spaces to operate efficiently. RedDwarf is different. Server resources are assigned on the fly to players, not locations. This turns out to be a very efficient solution that scales both to large numbers of players playing together as well was large numbers each in their own environment."
MyWorld is made possible because with RedDwarf, 2,000 players spread across 200 worlds costs no more to support than if they were all in one world. However WorldWizards can scale up to 2,000 players in one world if that particular world is very popular. That allows the company to run the servers for everyone’s worlds and take that burden completely off the world-builders.
According to a demo video, MyWorld will be tied into Facebook and actually run within the social network. It will also use the Unity Export to Flash option. Game builders will be provided with a quick and easy way to make zones by simply using smart tile sets -- meaning these tiles know where they can actually fit in regards to other present tiles, and they understand level transitions.
The MyWorld project is backed by Playmatics LLC, a New York City game company owned and operated by Nick Fortugno and Margaret Wallace. Fortugno is the game designer behind Diner Dash whereas Wallace is a serial game entrepreneur having founded both Skunk Studios and Rebel Monkey previous to Playmatics.
"The MyWorld project is an exciting design challenge," said Fortugno. "We have to design not just a single game but an entire system for MMORPG game development. Making this truly accessible to everyone is something that has never been done before. Just designing the asset and functionality sets needed to give the users an adequate palette to realize their own visions with is a major challenge."
Currently the Kickstarter project has gained only five backers pledging $85. The goal is to acquire $600,000 in funding by Thursday, July 5, and launch MyWorld by August 2013. For more information about MyWorld, the official site is located here.
From the FAQ at the Kickstarter site:
"set rules for construction of the world, combat and so on. In a general sense it falls into the same class of games as "world games" like SimCity but at a finer granularity. In Minecraft, construction is gameplay and you can fail.
MyWorld is a MMORPG game building system. World construction is done by Wizards who have total control over their world. They define the game that players of the world will play. You can't "die" building your world, or otherwise fail other then just not completing your projects or having bugs in your scripts."
There's more on this subject there. This is just the first two paragraphs.
Nothing is hopeless till you decide it is. PR on this effort has really just begun.
The nice thing about a Kickstarter project is that backers aren't charged anything unless full funding is reached. So if you are so sure it won't happen, be a sport and pledge $100 or more!
Yes there is talk of sample scripts but I thought it made it clear that these are a leg-up and starting point for the users to build their own content.
Very few users have the skills to make their own geography or monster models so I think providing those makes sense, too. It does discuss a future path-way to import and trade user-designed artwork for those with those skills.
But most UGC efforts fail because they expect the users to generate all the content. Where thy have succeeded, be it Kickstarter or Neverwinter Knights, its been because they provided enough canned content to enable the masses to express themselves well with.