Here's the first public glimpse at Patterns, Linden Lab's upcoming sandbox game that's part of the company's rebranding as a "Maker of Shared Creative Spaces", and as I heard last Summer, it's pretty Minecrafty:
The "Genesis release software" invitations that Rod Humble mentions in the video are coming soon, Linden spokesman Peter Gray tells me. I love the triangle-based building and the in-game physics, but overall, I'm still wait-and-see on how it's executed. The color palette of the world seems quite alien, as do the triangular avatars, which may be off-putting to a larger audience. The lack of a survival mechanic, which drives Minecraft, also seems to be a problem. (Then again, the sandbox game for kids Roblox doesn't have a survival mode that I know of, and it's doing just fine.) All these things can and probably will be improved during the early stages, I imagine.
IGN got an exclusive early interview with the team, which surfaced some interesting points:
At one point during the demo one of the team constructed the aforementioned column, breaking it intentionally so it fell like a tree and made an impromptu bridge across a chasm. Humble was surprised and delighted, commenting how he'd, "never seen anyone do that." Just like Minecraft the team knows that Patterns will be broken, tweaked and utterly abused by the community... They want to make the game as open as possible, and Humble finds the potential for mods exciting and something they want to support... Just like [Minecraft] Patterns is releasing for as low as $10 as a pre-alpha product called "Genesis Release", with the initial fee netting early adopters all future updates. These updates include things like randomly generated worlds (the first one is pre-made, though you can give your friends the file so they can see what you built), multiplayer, more materials to collect, and liquids (which will potentially have physical force and modify the world).
More here. It's interesting that Linden Lab gave an advance look to IGN, which suggests they're mainly going after a hardcore gamer audience, rather than SLers in particular. And to read the reaction of IGN's gamer audience, they seem pretty receptive. How about you?
UPDATE, 3:30pm: I asked Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson what he thought of this Patterns preview, and he just sent back this two word reply: "Looks great!"Tweet