|Earlier today, I noticed a news item on Metaplace. I took a look at their website, and their product looks very interesting.|
Metaplace promises to ease the process of creating a virtual environment. In fact, it should be easy enough for anyone without real programming experience, to create a new virtual world in a couple of minutes, stick it up a website, and have at it. Of course, you can program it for all kinds of games, MMORPGs, chat environments et cetera; but creating a basic environment should be fairly straightforward.
Much like Multiverse, Metaplace wants to be a platform. Metaplace has the advantage that no programming seems to be necessary to get started. Also, there's no need for a separate client, it should work in the browser. These advantages could drive adoption significantly. Multiverse however has 3D, which is currently lacking in Metaplace, with no timeline being given as to when that will be available. That's quite a big thing to miss, frankly, but we'll see how that works out.
Linden Labs of course wants Second Life to become a platform as well, but as long as they don't open source or sell the server code, I don't see that happening anytime soon.
update Ok, so Linden Labs isn't sitting on their hands either. They are hosting a discussion on the future of Second Life which may have huge implications in this regard. The best news: we're all invited to join the discussion. Read the linked blogpost for the juicy details!
One other 'minor' point regarding Metaplace: I haven't been able to locate information on pricing, licensing and other legal stuff. If anyone else has, I'm interested!
But, even with licensing information and 3D missing, I immediately applied for alpha testing. My daughter really, really wants to try virtual environments, but there's not much there for Dutch speaking girls under the age of ten. I'm quite interested in trying my hand at building a virtual environment for her and her friends. Let's hope I get the chance!