A forum that I frequent since I discovered There and City of Heroes contained a recent conversation about building our own “multiverse” along the lines of those found in Neal Stephenson’s, Tad Williams’s, and William Gibson’s sci-fi novels. The topic emerged after There announced that it was going to be scaling back the consumer product to work on privately funded implementations of their framework, and that no new features would be added – in fact implying that the service might vanish completely (although no announcement of cancellation has been made).
Since there’s no guarantee that There will be around, there has been an exodus of sorts to Linden Labs’s product, Second Life. I tried Second Life and didn’t think much of it (besides, I’m too addicted to City of Heroes to give any time to another game). Others of us have been discussing open environments for a virtual world since Linden, or any publisher, could pull the plug at any time, or change the service agreement, or otherwise make it less pleasurable to be a member. An open environment would put the power in the users hands and possibly even move us into the next phase, a new kind of web.
We’ve been looking at the different platforms available to build upon, since we were clearly not the first folks to have this idea. VOS is the one I’ve looked at the closest so far. I have wanted to be involved in game development and in OSS development, so I’m studying to see if there’s a place where I might fit in.