Black Desert MMO Sells 400K Copies in One Month

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Avatar created by Connie Sec in Black Desert's Character Creator

NWN readers aren't the only folks interested in Black Desert, the Korean-made MMO with impressive avatar customization capabilities. VentureBeat reports:

Korean publisher Daum Games has sold more than 400,000 copies of its Black Desert Online MMO role-playing game after only a month on the market in Europe and North America. The developer brought the fantasy game to the West in March at $30, $50, and $100 pricing tiers, and it has instantly clicked with a large audience. Daum thinks the game will likely even keep growing its momentum moving forward, which is proof that the MMO market can support more than World of Warcraft and an endless pile of free-to-play competitors.

I know many NWNers installed the free avatar customizer -- has anyone gone ahead and grabbed the whole thing? Here's some stunning in-world footage in case you're on the fence:

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Linden Lab's Blocksworld Now Lets Users Sell Their In-Game Creations for Real Cash - First for a Mobile Game?

Blocksworld Linden Lab iPhone

Blocksworld from Linden Lab is now available for iPhone (in addition to iPad), and that transition comes with a pretty big announcement that hasn't gotten much coverage:

To date, Blocksworld players have published more than 2.7 million creations, and more than 700,000 player-created models are currently for sale in the marketplace. The Blocksworld coins that creators earn can be used to purchase additional content within the app, including themed building sets and models. Now, eligible Blocksworld creators will also be able to redeem Blocksworld coins for real money.

Linden's Peter Gray just explained to me how that works:

"Today, creators who have earned at least 20,000 Blocksworld coins (by selling models they've created) are eligible for redemptions, and they're presented with an in-app message giving them the option to redeem their coins at a rate of $10 per 20,000 coins." That's a starting rate/eligibility point, he says, which may be adjusted in the future. "If an eligible creator opts to redeem his or her coins, they're asked to provide the e-mail address for their PayPal account (a parent's account for those under 13), which they then need to verify."

That's pretty great, especially since Blocksworld is very much in the Minecraft-esque genre, and there's so much great user-generated content already happening in the game.

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Sims-Like Games Make Second Life Seem More Like Second Life (If You Know What I Mean)

Life2 Second Life

Aemyth has a really interesting review of two Second Life-based games which used a heads-up display (or HUD) to turn your open-ended Second Life experience into a simulation game. G&S is medieval-themed, which means your avatar will engage in mining, crafting, carpentry, fishing, and raising animals. Life 2, as the name suggests, is pretty much The Sims in Second Life, tracking your basic needs like hunger, thirst, bathroom trips, and so on -- see the HUD above.

Here's Aemyth's final comparison between the two games:

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Worlds Adrift: Single-Sharded, Fully-Simulated MMO

Worlds Adrift is an upcoming MMO which is just about the most impressive virtual world project I've read about in some time -- primarily because it is a virtual world in the sense of being a persistent place with an environment that responds like an environment actually would. Built in Unity by a small indie team, it's using Improbable technology, which we wondered last year might transform virtual worlds. And to judge by this blog post about Worlds Adrift on the Improbable site, it looks like it has:

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System Shock 3 in Development After 15+ Year Delay & 3 "Spiritual Successors", Warren Spector Confirms

System Shock 3 Warren Spector

System Shock 3 is now in development, led by two leads of the first, original 1994 classic -- Paul Neurath, who led the studio that created it, Looking Glass, and veteran game designer Warren Spector, who was its producer. (Neurath's new studio is Other Side Entertainment, which is also reviving Looking Glass' Ultima Underworld.) Spector just confirmed his involvement in a social media post (above), and for any fan of the classic, incredibly influential first-person, immersive roleplaying game, this is awesome news indeed.

"I think it's safe to say SHODAN and Citadel Station will be involved," Warren tells me, mentioning elements from the first game. "Though maybe not in the ways people expect. We'll just have to wait and see."

System Shock 2's lead designer was Ken Levine, but after the IP rights to the franchise were tied up -- for nearly 20 years, let's note -- he went on to lead design its "spiritual successor" -- the three BioShock games. Warren tells me they have fans of both franchises in mind:

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An Amazingly Detailed Final Fantasy VII RP Community Has Existed in Second Life for Near a Damn Decade

Final Fantasy VII Second Life Midgar is the incredibly detailed web portal of an online sub-community within a larger online community that's actually the spinoff of yet another online community -- specifically, it's a group of Final Fantasy VII roleplayers who've re-created much of that game in Second Life. That's not necessarily notable in itself. Like I mentioned last week, various Star Wars-themed roleplay communities have existed in SL for years. Thing is, SLFFVII has existed in Second Life as a contiguous community on the same sim with the same FFVII community for nearly a decade. Since 2007, in fact, which is when this blog first covered it.

Compare and contrast current images, from how it looked -- and how it was organized -- back then:

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Will Amazon's Lumberyard Not Unity Rule the Virtual World?

Free, cross-platform, based on the revolutionary CryEngine, connected to Amazon's server architecture, which many MMOs and other multiplayer games already depend upon, it sure seems like it:

Support for mobile devices and VR headsets is in the works and should be available within a couple of months... If your game needs a scalable, cloud-based runtime environment, you should definitely take a look at Amazon GameLift. You can use it to host many different types of shared, connected, regularly-synchronized games including first-person shooters, survival & sandbox games, racing games, sports games, and MOBA (multiplayer Online Battlefield Arena) games.

Sort of strange that Project Sansar isn't being developed in Lumberyard (or is it?), seeing as Amazon's Jeff Bezos is an early investor of Linden Lab. Also notable:

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SL Avatar Photography Veteran Plays With Black Desert

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After posting about Black Desert's free character creator, longtime avatar photographer Connie Arida whipped this above pic up in about 30 minutes. Pretty impressive in such short a time, though IMO Black Desert's hair modeling is not ideal. And while I like the emotional expressiveness here, the smile seems a bit off -- not engaging all the facial muscles we'd associate with a genuine smile. Connie created another version that works a bit better in my view:

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3D Tribute to Undertale Reportedly Closing Soon Due to Hacking & Drama

Undertale 3D RPG Second Life

This is why we can't have nice things, I guess: According to a group announcement just posted to a blog, the seriously impressive Undertale tribute to Second Life I blogged about yesterday is being closed after donations to host it are gone. I've reached out to confirm this with the lead creator, Sykes Furse, but haven't heard back from him yet. What I can confirm is the sim it's based on, Souls Haven, is no longer generally accessible (at least to me).

According to the announcement (from the blog of Skills Hak, lead creator of the popular and acclaimed Insilico region), hacking and drama is the problem:

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A 3D Recreation of Undertale is Being Built in Second Life

Undertale 3D Second Life

UPDATE, 1/29: Read this post for news on this project, which is reportedly closing

I told you about the 3D version of Undertale, the beloved, hit indie RPG, being created in Second Life. Since then I had a chance to chat with Sykes Furse, who leads development on it with a large team of volunteers, and shared way more details:

“It's not a game, it's a simulator for people to enjoy the same game we all came to love, Undertale, in a 3D environment. We host nothing but an appreciation sim so others can enjoy it and hang out if they like. So far all we have are the Ruins and Snowdin. Toriel's home will be done sometime soon, but I and a few others are going to start working on Waterfall as soon as we possibly can!”

Surprisingly, Sykes' team of volunteers have created a pretty playable simulation with Second Life's basic building and scripting tools:

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