Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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First Look at Patterns, Linden Lab's Upcoming Minecraft-Style Sandbox Game. UPDATE: Notch Says, "Looks great!"

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:

Linden Lab patterns
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!"

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Scarp Godenot

So, let me get this straight, the information that LL takes away from the huge success of Minecraft is that simple geometric shapes are the killer idea?

Excuse my skepticism, but aren't we past this kind of think at this point in time?

I guess they are far easier to render. Maybe that is what they are thinking.... fewer triangles...

cube republic

why don't they just make a new second life

shockwave yareach

@Cube - because LL has given up on SL. The fact that they are developing toys for tots instead of designing a new VW architecture which avoids the bottlenecks and faults of the first one (hint: a dozen asset servers pumping data in parallel, with a simple 2letter prefix at the beginning of each UUID to identify which server an asset is in ) should be bold font flaming helvetica that LL doesn't see any future in its current product.

Which is a shame, because with only a few modifications SL could easily become a turnkey Telecommuting system and could save western civilization when gasoline hits 6$ a gallon. But hey, you guys in LL just go right on playing with your little felt games on the ipads...

Simondo Nebestanka

That looks like a whole lot of fun, very cool.

JayR Cela

I believe Cube is mostly correct, however this look's like a wonderful learning tool for the very young. I was just reading something recently that Toys-R-Us expect's preschooler tablet computers to be a big hit this holiday season.

Would be a great learning tool in order to teach basic geometry, basic physic's, etc...

jo yardley

It at least looks better then minecraft, a game that I don't really enjoyed because of the way it looked.
I guess I'm a very visual person and after playing computer games for almost as long as they have been around, minecraft just reminded me a little too much of all the time wasted on games in the 1980s.

This new game looks entertaining and not as ugly as minecraft.
I don't see it as something that I will be spending a lot of time on though.

JoJa Dhara

I honest wonder what Philip and former creators of SL think of this new philosophy, path that LindenLab is taking.

I honest agree they should have renewed SL. Learn from the elements. Create new worlds of Entertainment/ Art/ music (economic), Education/ Business/nonprofit(not economic), Roleplay / Games (economic) and hypergrid between them (if you are full member for instance) Develop them instead of throwing people back in childsplay.

Ok fun for in between on a tablet (hope they think of android versions as I am not an apple fan) and fun for children and it has a LL label on it but for rest diehards creators want to move forward.

Ramesh Ramloll

This move while good for gamers, at this time, make the platform uninteresting for folks developing simulations for learning environments. So the only defactor leader in this space remains opensim. This is a good move for Linden Lab, but hardly a revolutionary one ... in fact Linden Lab is now following MineCraft the leader.

Iggy

@cube, maybe they will build something like SL out of this. Patterns looks to have the right approach, with physics factored in from the start.

"Your universe" strikes a familiar chord, one not tarred by the tainted name "Second Life." The brand "Patterns" implies little about secrecy and sex and other things the media loved to bash in the Hype Era of SL.

Interesting to see where this all goes. I am an Apple fan, JoJa, but you are right. It will have to play not only on iOS devices. At least it's not constrained to gamer-spec desktops.

cube republic

If I was an educator, I'd be looking at cloud party right now.

Arcadia Codesmith

I think it's good for LL to diversify. Multiple titles within a studio can cross-pollinate and spur creative growth. I've seen it in MMOs -- even if the game settings are drastically different genres, much of the time there are tools, processes and mechanics that can be shared between them.

In addition, it's a good idea to rotate team members between production and development environments. It gives them fresh perspectives and gets the creative juices flowing.

I like Minecraft and I'll probably like Patterns, but I'm pining for more sophisticated and naturalistic world-building tools and toys. Wurm Online is on the right track, but it's still not quite there.

Ajax Manatiso

Why is it so pink? (makes note not to look at this video if hung over)

Metacam Oh

I guess it depends where they go with Patterns, on one hand it looks visually appealing and if there is some game element to it, could be a fun thing to play with, on the other hand it also seems like Linden Lab is trying to capitalize on the success of Minecraft, without kind of really understanding what makes Minecraft such a phenomenon. Almost like Second Life, they built something, without ever really knowing what they are building.

It would at least be cool if they were able to integrate something like Creatorverse onto a prim in Second Life. To not even think to make it accessible there seems almost ridiculous.

Adeon Writer

In addition to your Notch quote, he also called it sexy and beautiful on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/notch/status/248805911806763008

Is is getting specific attention for it's addition of physics.

Chartist

This looks far more awesome to me than SL ever has.

Val Kendal

Oh yeah, that looks 'far more awesome' than say ... this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UQfm8f-BDg

Chartist

"Oh yeah, that looks 'far more awesome' than say ... this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UQfm8f-BDg

Posted by: Val Kendal | Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 01:33 PM"

Yep. It does.

foneco zuzu


I can't understand how some are hyping stupid graphics and stupid gadgets, unless some lobby are paying them to do so!
And i understand less how a company that could change the World is so badly managed that nobody will trust any product lanched by it anymore!

foneco zuzu

Im speaking about Apple of course, lol!
Dear God i touched the nail, the last USA flag oof sucess after facebook fiasco and some dare to trash it!

foneco zuzu

But i do, and i don't forget Apple patent game and luckly nor do some Governments!
There is only One Bill Gates!

DrFran Babcock

This saddens me, for many of the reasons listed above. LL has created already a world that others duplicate, but never seem to better. A minecraft-like world is a yawn for me.
I am probably in the minority when I say, despite all, I want a world; not a game, and I will stay in Second LIfe—warts and all. I wish LL would work on SL, but that does not seem to be the destiny. /me sighs.

Val Kendal

"I am probably in the minority when I say, despite all, I want a world; not a game, and I will stay in Second LIfe—warts and all."

I'm with you DrFran

Baal

What can you say. LL have begun to chase other peoples dreams. and have no idea that they already killed this minicraft joke off years ago. Its very sad to see

Amanda Dallin

Software companies can work on more than one product at a time. I'm glad to see LL expanding their product line. LL has been doing a lot of work on SL this year.

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