Update, October 9th, 2014: Linden Lab announced that development work on Patterns has been discontinued.
Updated February 19th, 2014: Linden Lab has discontinued Creatorverse, therefore link to its website have been removed.
Linden Lab has today announced the first two of its new products, Creatorverse and Patterns. coming after a year of speculation which started at SLCC-2011 in August last year when Rod Humble announced that the company would be diversifying its product stream,
Both of the new products go some way towards revealing the directions in which the company is heading aside from the continued development of Second Life.
Creatorverse is described as a “Simple, shared 2D creative space” which will be available on the iPad. The basic idea is that users create whatever they wish – pictures, puzzles, games, etc, and then place them in the creatorverse universe, where others can download them, add to them and re-share.
As with in-world building in Second Life, Creatorverse appears to use simple and complex shapes which can be dragged and dropped into the application and combined to create more complex elements, forms and shapes which can in turn be animated. There is a website associated with the new product, and the Lab’s press release includes a video overview of the product, narrated by Rod Humble. It has been submitted to the Apple Appstore and should be available in the next few weeks.
Patterns first came to prominence in July of this year, when it appeared that the official Linden Research website was being prepared for a re-vamp (which has subsequently happened – see below). At the time, it wasn’t clear if “Patterns” was indeed a new product or simply a placeholder in a proposed new web design (interestingly, and in something of a repeat of events surrounding Linden lab’s “other” leaked product, dio, the images relating to the proposed site redesign vanished shortly after the news broke). The press release describes Patterns thus:
Patterns is a new 3D creative environment to explore and shape, where you can build large-scale structures that reach the sky, bridges that traverse chasms, and more, all while the pull of gravity challenges your construction techniques. Soon, we’ll share more details with a video trailer, and adventurous early adopters will be able to get the ‘genesis release’ (our first public build), help shape the development of Patterns by providing feedback and suggestions, and get their names added to the credits as founders.
While the Linden Research website adds:
Imagine a 3D universe of creativity… Explore caverns and valleys, while you harvest substances with real world densities. Build large scale structures that reach the sky or bridges that traverse chasms. Challenge real-world physics to see which creations will tumble — or withstand — the power of gravity. It’s your universe to shape. Interestingly, and in difference to Creatorverse, there is no mention of any specific platform for Patterns. Whether this is indicative of it being available for platforms other than the iPad (the only platform mentioned in reference to Creatorverse) remains to be seen.
Revamped Corporate Website
Alongside the announcement, Linden Research have launched a new, much slicker, corporate website, which places equal emphasis on both Second Life and the two upcoming new releases – with plenty of room for further products to be added over time.
The website still includes an opportunity to sign-up for the company’s beta programme for new products, which I reported on at the start of the year thanks to a nudge from Daniel Voyager, although the sign-up page itself has also been given the once-over.
While it is hard to judge either product from what is seen in this release and on the websites, it would appear that perhaps they are aimed at different age groups. Creatorverse in particular would seem at first glance to be the kind of activity that might find appeal amount younger people and could even be used as something as a learning tool to encourage children to interact with tablet devices (or at least (initially?) the iPad). Certainly, it would seem to be something one could see parents and children playing with together. Obviously, a large part of this observation is based purely on the graphics shown within the screen captures and the video; the reality of the product might will be something else entirely.
Patterns appears – again on the basis of the screen shot and web text – to be somewhat more involved, and thus potentially aimed at an older audience. Both products certainly appear to build on concepts found within Second Life, such as building complex, potentially interactive creations using relatively primitive building blocks. As I’m not an iPad owner, I doubt I’ll get an opportunity to play with Creatorverse.
If for no other reason than this, I hope that Patterns will be more widely available for those of us who have not taken a bite from the Apple. And if it is intended for mobile use, I hope LL takes account of the fact that Android is increasingly enjoying the lion’s share of the mobile market. Nevertheless, the news is now out – and with at least one, if not two more products also in the offing, times are certainly about to get interesting when Linden Lab is concerned.