Ted Castronova sends out notice on the Terra Nova blog that "Arden" the Shakespearean-themed virtual world (which I parodied awhile ago) has finished their alpha stress test and now is going into what looks like perpetual beta. For those that don’t know, Arden was pitched as leveraging the convening power of massively multi-player online games to conduct giant social science experiments in a completely controlled environment. The developers have apparently burned through their initial MacArthur start-up grant, tried out two different virtual world platforms, and now are going to "slow down" development. Here’s what Ted writes:
What now? Work continues, with an uncertain time frame. I really enjoy
writing systems in NWN Script, so I will keep tinkering. But – there’s
no telling when there will be anything to report. Based on the current
direction and progress of the project, I should downplay expectations.
Think "small Dungeons-and-Dragons world with a Shakespeare layer," not
"World of Warcraft but with Hamlet." When we have built a small world
that people like to play in, we will do some experiments. Small,
limited objectives. The bigger objectives of the Arden project are on
Sad news for an ambitious and interesting project. Makes me wonder if Metaplace would have been a better development platform, if it had come out a year earlier?