On Developing a Passively Multiplayer Online Game

Last month, we mentioned something called PMOG, a passively multiplayer online 'game' of sorts, developed by GameLayers. One of the developers of this little experiment is Merci Victoria Grace, and she's over at Terra Nova for a guest writing stint; she's put up an interesting little article explaining what's going on with PMOG: how it came to be, how it's been implemented, and the challenges that come along with the 'game' design:

We're now in the beta of our second public version. Both versions were implemented as Firefox extensions that follow players as they surf the web. The players provide the game with access to their browsers; the game provides the players with weapons, writing instruments, a.gifting system, and a self-generating RPG character.

We started out to make a casual, massively multiplayer online game that took place alongside the rest of a player's online life. To do that, we had to answer two questions. One: what kind of interaction that occurs alongside the Everyday can we provide to players that they'll accept? And two: how can the game provide players with a set of behavioral summations that they could reasonably attribute to their decision-making process?

It's worth a read through, even if you have no intention of throwing your hat into the PMOG ring.

Human Data as a Playfield: The Passively Multiplayer Online Game [Terra Nova]


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