Tuesday, December 4, 2007

ARDEN - The World of Shakespeare

This is a virtual World of Shakespeare, that was an experiment that seems to have either failed, or did not live up to expectations. I found this through Shakespeare Geek. It's an online virtual game about Shakespeare's world called ARDEN. The designers blog recently posted the following.

In short, lots of Shakespeare. It’s also rather boring, as I’ve said before. We failed to design a gripping game experience. As several of our playtesters said, Where are the monsters? -- a good question to ask of any serious-games initiative. We do have monsters, Shakespearean ones even, but they are out in the woods somewhere, not part of the main game experience.

No monsters is a big problem for our larger goal, which is to use virtual worlds to run experiments. No monsters means no fun, no fun means no people, and no people means no experiment. Back to the drawing board. We are taking our experience with Arden I and putting it into “Arden II: London's Burning," conceived entirely as a game.

I am releasing Arden I to the public now for two reasons. First, there continues to be tremendous interest in the basic idea of building a virtual world at a university for the purpose of research and education. Arden I splashes lovingly cold water on the face of anyone who dreams about that. The research and education part is easy, as you can see here. You can also see that fun is not so easy. The second reason to release is to encourage other people to build on what we started. If you want to take a traditionally-conceived Shakespeare world and make it fun, please do. I think it would be cool to see where others would go with it.

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