Uncover the tragic history of Fallout Online: The MMO that could have been

Before Fallout 76 was a twinkle in Bethesda's eye, there were rumors of another Fallout MMO being whispered by gamers. Interplay, the company responsible for the now classic titles, Fallout and Fallout 2, had plans for a title called Project V13 – an installment in the Fallout franchise that would allow players to work together, online, to solve puzzles, finish quests and overcome overwhelming odds in the game’s post-apocalyptic universe. Other than some concept art (which later was used by modders to create some fabulous weapons and armor for Fallout 4), Project V13 never saw the light of day.

Mostly.

For a brief, shining moment (37 seconds, to be exact) there was hope. Project 13 was teased as Fallout Online. They even made a trailer announcing a beta for it.

From The Verge:

O’Green tells The Verge that the already post-apocalyptic Fallout Online was going to start with another apocalypse. By the time Interplay started serious development, it had settled on an American West Coast setting that would span parts of Oregon, California, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada, close to where Fallout and Fallout 2 took place. But around the beginning of Fallout Online, something would trigger an almost comically long series of disasters — potentially including asteroids, volcanoes, nukes, tsunamis, and a resurgence of the series’s powerful Forced Evolutionary Virus. “It wasn’t going to be completely torn down, but we were going to tear it up again a little bit,” says O’Green.

The idea behind the apocalypses was partly to create a world that was still believably chaotic after 200 years and partly to set up new storylines, some of which pushed the series’ science fictional limits.

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The internal economics of a popular Minecraft server are an object lesson in everything great and terrible about markets

Alice Maz was part of a small group of players who came to have near-total mastery over the internal economy of a popular Minecraft; Maz describes how her early fascination with the mechanics of complex multiplayer games carried over into an interest in economics and games, and that let her become a virtuoso player, and brilliant thinker, about games and economics. Read the rest

Blogville, a virtual world where you can read blogs

Philipp writes, "In Blogville, you can read blogs... including Boing Boing! This is part of Manyland, the browser-based MMO universe where you can draw and script anything to build the world." Read the rest

Directors' commentary for "In Real Life"

On the Forbidden Planet blog, Jen Wang and I discuss the origin-story of In Real Life, our graphic novel, which comes out on Oct 14. Read the rest

Excerpt from In Real Life, YA graphic novel about gold farmers

In Real Life is the book-length graphic novel adapted by Jen Wang from my short story Anda's Game, about a girl who encounters a union organizer working to sign up Chinese gold-farmers in a multiplayer game. Read the rest

How to create a poisonous milkshake in Manyland

Philipp sez, "Manyland.com is a shared universe right in the browser where we draw everything together. But how does it actually work? Here's an example: how to create a poisonous milkshake." Read the rest

MMO that lets players run servers and change the rules

A group of developers who worked on Ultima Online, one of the earliest successful MMOs, are creating a game called Shards Online over which players will have enormous control. Players will be able to run their own servers, change the code that the game runs on, and add their own challenges. The internal logic of this is a game set in a multiverse, and players who hop from one server to the next are entering an alternate reality. Shades of World of Democracycraft. (via /.). Read the rest

Fantasy knife: a skull-faced, many-bladed forearm scorpion

BladesUSA offers this 14.5" "fantasy knife" that really has it all: a skull with fangs, pincers, scorpionoid body-segments, a lethal-looking stinger (perfect for inadvertent self-blinding while scratching your nose), the whole package. It comes with a wall-mounted display, though why you'd ever take it off is beyond me.

(via OhGizmo) Read the rest

Spooks of Warcraft: how the NSA infiltrated gamespace

A new Snowden leak details how the NSA and GCHQ tasked agents to infiltrate Second Life, World of Warcraft, and other MMOs to find jihadis and spy on them. The battalions of undercover orcs did indeed take much of gamespace, but there's no evidence they ever spotted a plot. I was once questioned by members of an "unnamed branch of the State Department" at a games and public diplomacy event about the likelihood that jihadis were playing MMOs; and I said something like, "Sure, of course. Everyone plays MMOs." I didn't realize they'd take it all quite so much to heart.

The absurdity of sending spies to infiltrate Warcraft can best be understood as a natural outflow of the doctrine that holds that if any two bad guys, anywhere in the world, can communicate in such a way that the NSA can't listen in on them, all of society will crumble. Once you set yourself the insane task of eavesdropping on all conversations, everywhere, always, it's inevitable that you'll send Secret Squirrel and his pals to Azeroth. Read the rest

Manyland: a virtual world where you draw stuff and it becomes real

Philipp sez, "We are two indie developers who just opened the doors to Manyland, a limitless, shared world where you can shape things together with others in any way you want by drawing them... from the bridges you stand on, the houses you see, the plants and oceans, to the body you are walking with. We hope some of you like this and join us. (Note: There's zero "posting to your wall/connecting your friends" stuff for the logins... it's just used to save you registering another account.)" Read the rest

Spies clean up in Eve Online

High drama from the world of Eve Online, where a week ago, a spy stole 400 billion ISK, and this week, a trusted player who was secretly a spy masterminded the destruction of a rare ship worth 390 billion ISK (the in-game currency, not to be confused with Icelandic Krona). Eve is notorious for high-denomination economic shenanigans, including a credit crunch, a massive Ponzi scheme, large-scale espionage, another Ponzi scheme, and more. Read the rest

Glitch, the whimsical game, reboots

Last November, I blogged the open beta of Glitch, a whimsical, beautiful, dreamlike browser-based game from Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield, with help from Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takehashi. Stewart and co took Glitch down after its initial test and did a substantial revision to it, which is now live. I've been playing the Glitch reboot today, and it's just so lovely I can't say enough nice things about it. It's one thing for a game to be fun, another for it to be fun and beautiful, but to be fun, beautiful and witty is something special.

Glitch is a web-based massively-multiplayer game which takes place inside the minds of eleven peculiarly imaginative Giants. You choose how to grow and shape the world: building and developing, learning new skills, collaborating or competing with everyone else in one enormous, ever-changing, persistent world.

What's different? For starters, it's all one big world. Which means everyone is playing the same game and anyone's actions have the ability to affect every other player in the game. It also involves very little war, moats, spaceships, wizards, mafiosos, or people with implausibly large muscles. Also: we have egg plants. Egg plants make it very different.

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