Riffs by Raph: Revealing our Technology

Last week, I talked about “metaverse,” the hype around it, and how much of what people dream about is actually stuff online worlds have done for many years now. I ended the article on a bit of a tease, promising that I would talk about what we are doing.

I won’t tease this time.

We have built a metaverse platform.

Wait, did you say “have built?” Past tense?

Oh, it’s not done. We’re probably going to be working on this for years. But I say “built” because, well, we have the basics of this stuff working.

We have a working massively multiplayer server.

Further, it’s a true persistent state world, where everything you do is saved. Worlds change, evolve, and develop based on player actions (or AI or simulation, for that matter). It’s running on the cloud right now.

But it’s not just a server. It’s a network of servers. Whole MMO worlds can bubble up and go away on the fly based on player demand. It’s a heck of a lot more efficient than something like a headless Unreal server.

And you’ll be able to hop between worlds without needing to switch clients. It permits a single, shardless, ever-expanding, ever-changing online universe.

We’ve already got it working with full server-side game logic. Meaning – each world can have completely different gameplay, without needing to change code or take the server down for updates. We’ll even be able to map your controls from the cloud, because when we say different gameplay, we mean it.

This unlocks things that AAA games haven’t been able to do before, like A/B testing. It means that someday, we can let users write their own code for those servers, and they could earn money from their creations.

When you visit different worlds, or even different parts of worlds, everything comes down on the fly to a thin client. We don’t need to patch to add new content. Every world can look completely different – one might be ours, one might be a 3rd party creator, or a branded world, or built by users. For that matter, it won’t eat your hard drive: assets go in a cache, and the cache throws away old stuff you don’t need.

That client might be on any device: phone, console, PC. Because as far as we are concerned, a device is just a window into other worlds. What device you use should not matter.

Basically, we’ve taken our decades of experience and built the platform that online worlds and their players need for the future. It’s scalable, cloud-based, enables full cross-play, and works in a way that is transparent to the people who matter: players. They get an app or game, they log in and they go where they want. And that’s it.

In other words, it makes AAA virtual spaces as straightforward as the Web. In fact, it’s meant to interoperate with the Web. We leverage lots of web technologies in our architecture. Because online worlds can’t stay in silos forever.

So… now what?

Now we are building a game on top of it. We’re reasonably far along on building it, actually. For most of you, that game is what you’ll see and experience.

As we’ve said in previous posts and interviews: We are building a modern sandbox MMO. A game that fulfills the dream of living worlds that we’ve all had for a couple of decades now. It’s just built atop a modern, re-usable, scalable platform. A platform that lets us make a game no one else can make.

But our metaverse platform is plumbing. Important plumbing, but still plumbing. It just happens to be plumbing that very few people on Earth know how to build. (It helps to have built a platform with all the above characteristics before.)

If it weren’t for that plumbing, we couldn’t build the next generation of online worlds. Current engines just can’t do it.

But… we build technology for people. What matters is the way people use the tech.

And if you have dreams of a Ready Player One virtual park full of varied experiences -- like so many do -- well, it’s pretty important to be able to deliver one world first. Every park needs a first “land,” after all.

Look: saying you are building The Metaverse(™) is silly -- that’s a project for many people over many years, and any one company that promises it anytime soon is probably biting off more than they can chew.

  • If you want to make online worlds, you better build a re-usable platform that scales with modern technology. It’s the sensible thing to do.
  • If you want others to use your tech someday, you better prove that it can deliver high quality content first.
  • And if you want people to actually show up, you better provide something fun from day one. That’s one of the lessons I’ve learned from decades of online worlds.

That’s why we decided not to talk about our platform until it was already working. There’s enough hype out there already. Most of you shouldn’t care! Most of you want a fresh experience, not a whitepaper about plumbing.

(Of course, if you happen to be someone who does care about plumbing, well, drop us a line. We do think what we have built is pretty exciting).

It’s all good to talk about metaverse dreams. But we’re practical people here at Playable Worlds. We’re not in this for virtual goods speculation. We’re not in this for acronyms.

We are here to deliver experiences that have not been possible before. Experiences that are honestly kind of overdue.

Technology is about people. And people have been waiting a long time for the dreams of online worlds to start coming true. This tech is just an (amazing, unique, and powerful) enabler.

Your dreams are the goal.