New Tool Lets Anyone Build Virtual Worlds

Loraine Lawson

I used to laugh when I'd read tech predictions that in the near future, business users wouldn't even need developers. They'd just be able to create their own programs from parts.


"Yeah, right," I thought. "In a world where people pay someone else to load music onto their iPods, programmers will always have a job."


But I'm rethinking my position after reading about Metaplace, a virtual world creation by Ralph Koster, a multiplayer online game developer.


Metaplace is a Web-based program that lets anyone create their own virtual world from simple building blocks -- no programming required, according to the BBC.


Typically, virtual worlds are huge investments, costing millions. That's why there are so precious few of them. They're not exactly something you add to your website one dateless Saturday night.


But Koster's tool, called Metaplace, will let anyone build their very own 3D virtual space Lego-style, and insert it into a website or even a blog. Then they can e-mail their friends with invitations, and presto! Your own virtual world.


Koster said the program is modeled after the Web, so think about each world as its own webpage and every object within it as a link. If building your own world is still too hard, you can just clone someone else's 3D space.


There's still space in the new virtual frontier for developers, of course. Metaplace uses a programming tool called metamarkup; the more technically adept can use it to tinker.


Currently, the program is in testing. Plans are to release it next spring. Any bets on how long it will take before some creative business user is using the tool to connect with customers?

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Sep 23, 2007 10:50 AM Peter Prokes Peter Prokes  says:
I would love to here more about this product when it comes out Reply
Oct 3, 2007 9:06 AM Jim Dixon Jim Dixon  says:
Loraine, I am making a career change after 30+ years in business and industry. Tuesday I start teaching math to five classes of sixth graders. I am investingating setting up a section on the school website where I would post the answers (with explanations) to the previous day's homework, the last test, etc.By having the site "cool" to video game playing 11 and 12 year olds and by giving them a chance to post comments and questions I'm thinking the site would get visits - ergo, help make it fun to learn.Would the beta version of the software be availabe for such a purpose? Thanks, Jim Dixon Reply

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