Playable Worlds: A Brief Introduction

Playable Worlds is a new virtual world, still under construction and as yet unreleased, but I wanted to talk a bit about it, because it sounds as if they are doing some interesting things.

In a Sept. 9th, 2021 blogpost, CEO Raph Koster revealed a bit of the technology underlying the Playable Worlds platform:

We have built a metaverse platform. Oh, it’s not done. We’re probably going to be working on this for years. But I say “built” because, well, we have the basics of this stuff working.

We have a working massively multiplayer server. Further, it’s a true persistent state world, where everything you do is saved. Worlds change, evolve, and develop based on player actions (or AI or simulation, for that matter). It’s running on the cloud right now.

But it’s not just a server. It’s a network of servers. Whole MMO worlds can bubble up and go away on the fly based on player demand. It’s a heck of a lot more efficient than something like a headless Unreal server.

And you’ll be able to hop between worlds without needing to switch clients. It permits a single, shardless, ever-expanding, ever-changing online universe.

We’ve already got it working with full server-side game logic. Meaning – each world can have completely different gameplay, without needing to change code or take the server down for updates. We’ll even be able to map your controls from the cloud, because when we say different gameplay, we mean it.

This unlocks things that AAA games haven’t been able to do before, like A/B testing. It means that someday, we can let users write their own code for those servers, and they could earn money from their creations.

When you visit different worlds, or even different parts of worlds, everything comes down on the fly to a thin client. We don’t need to patch to add new content. Every world can look completely different – one might be ours, one might be a 3rd party creator, or a branded world, or built by users. For that matter, it won’t eat your hard drive: assets go in a cache, and the cache throws away old stuff you don’t need.

Raph goes on to day that the next step is to start building a modern sandbox MMORPG on top of this platform. And he is to be credited for his candour:

Look: saying you are building The Metaverse(™) is silly — that’s a project for many people over many years, and any one company that promises it anytime soon is probably biting off more than they can chew.

If you want to make online worlds, you better build a re-usable platform that scales with modern technology. It’s the sensible thing to do.

If you want others to use your tech someday, you better prove that it can deliver high quality content first.

And if you want people to actually show up, you better provide something fun from day one. That’s one of the lessons I’ve learned from decades of online worlds.

That’s why we decided not to talk about our platform until it was already working. There’s enough hype out there already. Most of you shouldn’t care! Most of you want a fresh experience, not a whitepaper about plumbing.

(Of course, if you happen to be someone who does care about plumbing, well, drop us a line. We do think what we have built is pretty exciting).

It’s all good to talk about metaverse dreams. But we’re practical people here at Playable Worlds. We’re not in this for virtual goods speculation. We’re not in this for acronyms.

Given some of the truly ridiculous promises which some metaverse platforms have made (“live forever”, anyone?), this is truly refreshing. This blogger approves!

For further information about Playable Worlds, please visit their website, read their blog, or follow them on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. I will be duly adding Playable Worlds to my comprehensive list of social VR and virtual worlds.

Thanks to Dr. Fran for the heads up!

Seed: A Brief Introduction

The Seed Logo

Seed is an intriguing hybrid MMORPG/virtual world I first heard about today through Wagner James Au’s blog, New World Notes. Apparently, they have hired Wagner to write about this new virtual world for their blog. The Seed storyline is remarkably similar to another MMORPG/virtual world hybrid I have blogged about in the past, Virtual Universe, where humanity has to start all over again:



Voyage across a persistent, Earth-like planet to harvest resources, collaborate with other players, and conquer new lands. This vast exoplanet is abundant with all forms of biomes, filled with various habitats, seasons, unpredictable weather, and ecology.


Develop and define the hierarchy of needs across multiple characters to ensure the growth, and more importantly, the survival of your colony.

Handle essential human demands and emotional states – hunger, thirst, fatigue – by forming routines that can be carried out to ensure the longevity of your colony. These routines are carried out even when you’re offline.

When multiple characters start interacting with each other, complex behavioral patterns will emerge – birth, death, marriage, divorce, love, hate.


Players will be able to construct comprehensive colonies that feel alive, with every entity having a purpose or role.

Every move, thought, or decision made by a player will have a knock-on effect and impact a colonization and overall structure of the planet, no matter how small.


Collaboration is the strongest asset for colonization. As a colony’s population grows, resources, research, and construction will increase, which can permanently impact the economy of the planet.

Players can freely construct and build structures to benefit themselves and their colony. This freedom can unleash the player’s sense of creativity and desire for recognition and power.

Through collaboration comes security. Players can contribute to the defense of a settlement, which builds dependency and forms a “power in numbers” mentality.

This sounds like a very interesting virtual world experiment! Here’s a more recent promotional video:

Dual Universe: A Brief Introduction

Dual Universe.png

An anonymous source told me about Dual Universe, which is an MMO/MMORPG which already has extensive in-world content creator tools. Dual Universe is by a company called NovaQuark:

Our goal is to create the first virtual online civilization, enabling millions of players to shape and share a universe of their own, together, at a scale never seen before.

A world with meaning, where everything you do has a permanent impact.

What we do is an old dream of Sci-Fi: create the first civilization online. Here millions of participants will be able to freely interact and build their lives and weave powerfully meaningful stories. If you are not afraid of trying to do the impossible, and are passionate about ambitious technology-driven projects, come join us.

My source tells me:

It’s in pre-alpha and I’m under a strict non disclosure agreement. But this is a link produced by the owners so it’s OK. The graphics are that good. It really does have building tools and NOT just for space ships, but buildings. It’s sort of a Second Life, but with a science fiction space underlying theme. It’s not divided up into separate experiences like many of the other newer virtual worlds.

Also look at the web site. Which shows its not a complete flash in the pan since there is serious money involved.

Here’s the video:

If you pay 180 euros (US$209) for the Patron Pack, you can join the pre-alpha now. There are other, cheaper packs you can purchase for access to later versions of the alpha. The game has already attracted 6,850,878 € in funding, and over 30,000 eager users have already set up accounts.

You can follow the development of Dual Universe via their website, or via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. It looks very interesting! The project reminds me of Worlds Adrift, which also has extensive in-world creation tools.

UPDATED: Virtual Universe Has Launched Their Game Portal

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am choosing to participate in the Virtual Universe (VU) Initial Coin Offering Partner Program. Why? Two reasons:

  1. After my recent guided tour of VU, I feel very strongly that this is going to be a successful and popular virtual world/MMO hybrid platform, and I want to be a part of it when VU launches their beta this summer. This is the very first blockchain-based virtual world that I actually feel excited about!
  2. As a Canadian citizen, I reside in one of the three countries where I am currently legally forbidden from purchasing VU tokens (the other two are the United States and China). This means that the only way I can legitimately earn VU tokens to use in this social VR space before the beta launch is via the VU ICO Partner Program.

I want you to know this up front: this blogpost is a promotion for VU, in exchange for VU tokens.  You can follow on this webpage to see how many VU tokens I have earned by completing tasks in this Partner Program if you wish (right now, I am at number two on the VU Token Leaderboard). There’s nothing stopping you from participating in this Partner Program yourself, and earning some VU tokens!

IMPORTANT: VU Tokens are not a real currency. They are ERC-20 based blockchain tokens intended to permit players of Virtual Universe exclusive access to digital assets within a VR game known as Virtual Universe (VU). They are a form of in-game virtual currency.  Virtual value attributed to the VU Token will be as a result of in-game efforts by players, and no future value is represented or guaranteed.

Virtual Universe Logo

This summer I have (rather impatiently) been waiting for the beta launch of the Virtual Universe social VR/MMO platform. The company’s original plans were for a private beta launch in July 2018, and a public beta launch in January 2019, and as far as I know, they are still on schedule.

In their whitepaper, VU is described as “part game, part social network, and part social creation platform, blending elements of Minecraft, Second Life and Simcity with innovative artificial-intelligence technologies that drive engagement”, and that is an excellent description of what it tries to be. It’s an intriguing mix of virtual world and MMO/MMORPG where you can collect wood, chop it up, and start a fire, feed worms to the AI-controlled bluebirds, or just explore your surroundings and interact with other users. As I understand from their recent Letter to the Community, explorers will be able to gather resources in the countryside in order to sell them:

Outside the city is our highly immersive LivingVR world, created from the ground up to feel as immersive as possible. Teeming with virtual life, beautiful sceneries and waiting to be explored by you. Let’s say you are exploring further than you have before and suddenly you discover a cave behind a waterfall. Inside it, you find rich copper deposits. You know copper is a desired resource in the city since its an ingredient in many crafting recipes for a wide variety of building blocks. You mine the copper and haul it back to the city. Once there you list your copper on the auction house and collect the cryptocurrency once someone wins the bid on it.

And it is not just resource gathering that can be done in VU, there will be plenty of quests available for you and your friends to experience exciting adventures with plenty of loot to be had!

We do know that there will be one main city in Virtual Universe, called Uruk (named after the ancient Sumerian city considered to be the first city in the history of civilization).

Today (July 6th, 2018), Virtual Universe officially launched their game portal:

VUtoken 4 July 2018.png

According to this brand-new website, you will be able to do the following in VU:

  • Own Property: Buy, sell, and invest in property. Purchase a unique property and customize it.
  • Start a Business: Generate BTC, ETH and VU through in-game product and service sales.
  • Find Hidden Treasure: Explore the planet and find hidden treasure. Recover lost artifacts in ancient ruins.
  • Adventure: Explore the Virtual Universe with your friends. Hang glide, sail, dive, and explore a vast world
  • Shape the Future: Shape the entire universe with decisions you make. Make your mark in VU.

Here’s the backstory:


You’re awake! Good. We have some catching up to do.

Earth as you know it is gone. Global warming and endless warfare left the planet in ruins. But humanity survived! Sort of… spaceships could make the journey to new planets, but human bodies couldn’t. They can’t survive any exposure to space radiation. The solution? House human consciousness in identity crystals, or IDCs for short, After all, isn’t consciousness that what makes a human, human?

So welcome to Uruk, the first city on the planet Raetis. For the past two years, your robot counterparts have been building Uruk. The ship you arrived on now serves as the city’s power source, which sits at the city center. We call this The Core. You’re joined by the thousands of other humans who continue to live through consciousness alone. It’s all right to not feel like yourself. Your chip has been activated inside an avatar, the way all humans now exist. So what’s next for you on this new planet? That’s for you to decide.

Explore Uruk with your friends. Sell your goods and services for real cryptocurrency. Even try on a new avatar for size – your IDC is compatible with any avatar here in Uruk. You aren’t confined in the borders of Uruk, either. The city relies on rare resources for power, which need to be uncovered and mined. You can help out, or simply explore the rest of your new home planet. But remember, most of Raetis is still a mystery. We can’t be sure what creatures or dangers lie amidst the planet’s rocky and cavernous landscape. The farther you venture from Uruk, the riskier your adventure becomes, so be careful!

It’s your life, do what you’d like. Welcome to your world.

VU planet 4 JUly 2018.png

VU city 4 July 2018.png

VU towers 4 July 2018.png

You can already claim an apartment from the website (there are 1,000 apartments available in what they are calling Genesis Towers):

VU claim apartment 4 Jul;y 2018.png

Here’s a sneak peek of the avatars from the Gameplay page on the website, which are a definite improvement over the simple placeholder avatars we used in my initial half-hour guided tour or Virtual Universe back in April:

VU avatars 4 July 2018.png

There are six different types of avatars, which at first glance appear to be similar to the character classes in most MMOs/MMORPGs like World of Warcraft:

  • Starter
  • Explorer
  • Creator
  • Merchant
  • Prospector
  • Warrior

And here’s some more details on the gameplay:

Play, explore and discover

Uruk is a gigantic city with endless opportunities. Participate in exciting adventures in the entertainment district, socialize with your friends in the finest clubs of the city and enjoy big community events!

Earn crypto rewards

Yup that’s right, you can earn cryptocurrency for playing our game. Help the community doing daily quests and get rewarded for your time and effort in VU tokens.

Harvest and sell resources

While you are exploring the vast landscape of planet Raetis, you will encounter a wide variety of resources. Gather these resources, bring them back to the city and sell them on the marketplace for cryptocurrency. But be careful, Raetis is full of hostile creatures so make sure you are prepared for battle before you venture into the unknown wilderness!

Shape the world around you

Collect enough VU tokens and you will be able to purchase your own plot of land on Raetis. Once you own your own corner of the world, you can shape it just the way you like it. Plant trees, place rocks, even design and construct your own home!

Customize yourself

Player will have a wide variety of avatars to choose from, all of them are highly modular so you can customize your character to make it unique!

Run a virtual business and earn crypto

If running around the world looking for rare resources is not your cup of tea then there is another major way for you to earn cryptos while playing VU: start your own virtual business! Purchase a commercial plot, construct one of the available player run ventures and start generating cryptocurrencies.

The website says, under the Beta tab:

VU beta 4 July 2018.png

I did have a question. It says the VU closed beta is “only accessible to pioneers”, and when you click through, “This section is only accessible to pioneers. You can become a pioneer by purchasing VU tokens.” So, how will Chinese, Americans, and Canadians (like me) be able to participate in the VU closed beta if we are legally forbidden from buying VU tokens?

I asked this question on the official Virtual Universe Discord server, and Jeroen Van den Bosch, VU’s Chief Creative Officer and co-founder, told me:

We are working on a way that token holders (not just buyers) can upgrade to pioneer (so that would include people participating in the bounty program). But that functionality is not ready yet.

VU is going to have to find ways to include people from countries where we cannot buy the VU token. Otherwise, they will be excluding a large number of potential players.

The more details that the team at Virtual Universe reveal, the more intrigued about this project I become! I’m looking forward to setting foot on the planet Raetis!

UPDATE July 8th: Virtual Universe has announced an airdrop of VU tokens, and their Telegram server has been inundated with floods of new users! Over half of the 1,000 free apartments in Genesis Towers have already been claimed, and the rest are expected to sell out within the next 12 hours, so if you’re interested, you’d better hurry!

SECOND UPDATE July 9th: The apartments in Genesis Towers have sold out!

Genesis Towers sold out 9 July 2018.png