Raph has announced his new endeavor, Areae, being entertainingly mystifying about the details.  Even the various announcements and interviews give little direct information about what Areae will actually be making.

So, of course, how can I resist speculating?  Come on, Scooby, let’s go look for Clues…

What do we have, what do we know… well, we know that it is areae.net, not areae.com.  Is this choice a result of all-too-common domain registration blackmail, or is this a Clue?  I’m leaning toward the latter….

Consider the graphic on the main page.  A definite Clue.  A set of platforms, connected by bridges.  The central platform is a modern day cityscape, with helicopters, puppies playing with balls, a busy place.  We have a medieval castle on one of the outlying platforms, a spaceport with both alien and human spacecraft on another, and iconic (virtualized?) people in conversation on a third…

Hmm, wish Thelma was here…

The name itself, it’s definition as “many places”.  That’s a Clue with a capital Cl-uh. Quoting from the Areae front page:

Something anyone can jump into. Something where anyone can find something fun to do or a game to play. Something where anyone can build their own place on the virtual frontier.

In the Gamasutra article, Raph mentions Web 2.0, as well as stating that “Honestly, there are as many differences from Second Life as there are from Everquest.” Clue alert!

No, Shaggy, no ghosts.  Not yet, anyway…

The programmer job descriptions… emphasis on scripting languages, SQL, UDP.  Not exactly shocking, but still a potential Clue…

Consider the protagonists: Raph Koster and John Donham, plus the advisors…

Hmm, only a minute before the episode ends, better wrap it up… Fred, Daphne, go get Shaggy and Scooby out of the kitchen, would you?

I’m thinking this is will be an attempt to create a “portal”-type operation, but with a focus toward enabling creation of individual realms (platforms?) by the creatively inclined.  Far more of a focus on “game” than Second Life, far less of a focus on a single unifying story/mechanic than EverQuest and the like.  Maybe even the type of thing that would count as filling the vast chasm between Multiverse and NWN/NWN2, between “define everything” and “everything is defined”.

The creativity potential of Second Life and it’s kith, crossed with the focus on play of EverQuest and it’s kin, and packaged for the “common folk” like us to handle as they wish.

Or is that just my wishful thinking talking? 

In any case, pass the Scooby Snacks, this should be good…

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