Friday, November 30, 2012

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Meet the Strangelings: Linden Lab Alum and Ozimals Creators Launch Cross-Platform Breedable Game Backed by Philip Rosedale and Other Lindens

Strangelings breedable pets

Strangelings is a new breedable animal game in Beta for the web and iPhone/iPad with a very interesting background: It's being developed by several ex-Linden Lab staff, backed by angel funding from Philip Rosedale and other Linden luminaries, with a crossover connection to Second Life itself. Founded by Chris Collins (formerly Logan Linden), his new company, FMI Games, is creating a game that is, Chris tells me, "focused on the gaming market and bringing a new type of game out to Mobile/Tablet and Web by taking one of the most successful games in Second Life, breedable pets."

Chris was a right hand man to Philip Rosedale during Second Life's salad days, and when I asked him, Philip told me just why he's backing it:

"Well first of all," Philip tells me by e=mail, "I think Chris is absolutely great as an entrepreneur and designer. Next, I think the whole idea of breedable animals, with all the emergent complexity and behavior that comes with the idea of those animals interacting in a virtual world is just amazing...

"We have seen the beginnings of these types of experiences in Second Life already, and I am betting Chris and his team will take the idea 100x farther and discover many fascinating things. I'm happy to be along for the ride."

What is that ride, exactly? Let Chris explain:

"We are taking a unique approach in that we are the first to have a web and tablet/phone based game that has a Second Life tie-in. We see this is being really important, as many of the features that will be available in the game come from the success of the game in Second Life. Not only will users be able to breed and interact with their animals but they will also have an Auction built in HTML5 where they will be able to make real money with their animal with a breeding algorithm that gives the user the ability to create billions of different looking animals."

Along with himself and the founders of Ozimals, another ex-Linden (Hamilton Hitchings, Hamilton Linden in SL) is also a founder.

As noted, the game, while playable on the web and iOS, has a Second Life component, in the form of an island: "This week we started the Second Life marketing side which included the launch of a full Mesh based sim and a very cool avatar of our first animal that people can get when they visit the island."

The iPad and web game is being developed by veterans of Disney and others. While Second Life is part of the launch, the investment money is going beyond it: "All the investment is actually outside of Second Life," says Chris, "building out a platform and the game to run on the Web, tablet and mobile, which is a massive market and growing. We are going after the 80 million-plus people playing casual games. The Second Life component is a tie in allowing Second Life residents who like breedable games to get early beta access to the main game, experience a great looking island and get a great avatar that is based on our first animal."

Will it work? With the backing of the Ozimals creators, I'd says it has a fairly decent chance. Personally I think the Strangelings look kinda odd and cute-weird rather than cute-cute, but then again, I'm not the collectible kind. What is certain is that many Linden Lab veternas remain serious about taking the best content in Second Life, and bringing it out to the wider online world.

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Pussycat Catnap

Its interesting in the video that she never once moved...

Kept waiting to see this furry walk. Critical in looking at a feral furry avatar is seeing how it animates in -normal- usage, not just its special emotes.

There are a number of feral furry avatars out there too, some of them even mesh.

The rest of the article is just 'interesting stuff' I don't yet have an opinion on. Curious to see Ozimals now in 'cahoots' with LL's founder.

Chris Collins

Pussycat, we'd be happy to give you a demo of the Strangelings avatar, contact any of us in world! The avatar has been rigged and animated by a quadruped specialist,we think it turned out very cool. We are using several of those animations in the main Web and Tablet/Phone game. Just to clarify, FMI is a completely new company with no connection to Ozimals other than two of our founders came from that company, just as Hamilton and I came from Linden Lab.

Gavo

Didn't Kittycats make a breedable outside of Second Life a year ago when they released the online cattery?

Vander Ashland

nah that was just a hookup into the SL cats. It wasn't even a real game, just their database hooked in to the site. This is obviously totally different, plus being on iOS is way bigger than anything anyone in SL has ever done. That's like comparing Pong to Halo, LOL.

grace

Quite frustrating to spend 15 minutes on the island looking for where the free avatar is, finally finding the right place, and then finding that none of the avatars are free. "..very cool avatar of our first animal that people can get when they visit the island" is misleading.

Recka Wuyts

Are these avatars? When I think of an avatar I think of a human user that occupies the consciousness of the animated being. These breedables don't have consciousness, they are just "a breeding algorithm that gives the user the ability to create billions of different looking animals." But an avatar? Users are avatar, breedable pets are toys and games. How far are we from this "breeding algorithm" being applied to the conscious user? Or is that not something that is being considered?

Gigi Oodles

I tend to not think things are free unless they, you know, say "FREE"? lol I wasn't mislead by that phrase because there was no word free in it.

Nyx Thistle

You misunderstood, Recka. There's a ~game~ and then there's a ~Second Life avatar~ based on the game pet. Like, the kind you buy and wear in world to look different. Not all of us are humans in SL. ;3

Breedables Enthusiast

While this is interesting, it's also interesting the claim to 'first' when others have already announced working on something similar.

it's also interesting that Candy claims to have made the game that created the breedable genre.

i guess she forgot about the Sion Chickens??? and other animals that came out BEFORE Ozimals. Amazing what people will lay claim to.

it's also interesting that no mention was made of the lawsuit with amaretto that Ozimals lost.

one can claim many things, and that doesn't make them true...

i'm waiting for the journalist who will tell the 'real' story about what went on behind the scenes and actually much in the public eye in the Ozimals world.

Not Fooled

"Breedables Enthusiast" = Jealous Owner of Another SL Breedable

Not very subtle, Mr. or Mrs. Troll.

Adeon Writer

I can say firsthand the animations are very fluid. Anyone wanting a live demo just hit me an IM :)

This looks very promising.

AmyNevilly Resident

This already exists in Second Life - no need to download another app.

Snuffles already has a real genetics system that allows for millions of combinations:

http://www.goldtokens.net/index.php?title=Snuffles

Arcadia Codesmith

I was fond of Faunasphere for my breedable fix. Unfortunately they jumped the shark when they Facebooked themselves and perished soon after. Pity -- they had the ability to play as any of your "pets" and a virtual world to explore. It was a game ahead of its time in many respects.

Recka Wuyts

Nyx Thistle;

"You misunderstood, Recka. There's a ~game~ and then there's a ~Second Life avatar~ based on the game pet. Like, the kind you buy and wear in world to look different. Not all of us are humans in SL. ;3"

Oh really. I did not know there were alien users. If I get your meaning that you are not human. I understand wearing a different skin as a user to look different, but I don't breed, maybe you do.

But since we are on the subject of breeding, is it possible to breed hair? Or shoes? I mean it is just "a breeding algorithm."

Pussycat Catnap

"Are these avatars? When I think of an avatar I think of a human user that occupies the consciousness of the animated being"

***

Its a "feral furry" avatar in SL, and I think there was a vendor for breedables next to it.

The furry avatar is dirt cheap. 495L I think, or 400 and something... I haven't yet purchased it. I can't narrow down what alt to get it with yet - I'm rather picky about theming my alts. :)

There are vendors next to it for various mod kits, and another vendor for something expensive that I -think- was the breedable kit, but I need to actually read the sign on that one.

My first comment wasn't a complaint about the avatar - but the reviewer's video, which failed to show off the day-to-day animations of the thing.

Pussycat Catnap

I have heard tell that there is a line of breedable shoes in SL, but I've not gone looking for them. It came up late late late last night in a conversation people were having in the Kinzart group chat regarding the Meeroo Avatar Kinzart is taking pre-orders on (launching end of week I believe).

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