January 25, 2013

Linden Lab Annexes Blocksworld, Plans To Expand Its Reach

The folks behind Second Life – as well as several other titles like Creatorverse and Patterns – Linden Lab (NewsAlert) recently revealed that it has acquired the iPad title, Blocksworld. Those out there without iPads may be shrugging and reaching for the mouse, but don’t just yet, as Linden Lab has some interesting plans for the title that include bringing it out to other systems.

Linden Lab’s acquisition of Blocksworld was done with undisclosed terms, but one of the terms that does seem to be involved is that, rather than mass firings, the Blocksworld team will be joining Linden Lab’s roster to work on game development.

Blocksworld itself, meanwhile, is a platform that offers users the chance to play with blocks once again in a thoroughly electronic fashion, taking conventional items like cubes and wedges, but also throwing in some new touches like rockets, motors, wheels and several other unusual pieces to create three dimensional models of pretty much anything.

Then, these items can be "brought to life" on the display, using a realistic physics engine to allow users to send their creations hurtling around the electronic world. Users can not only explore the larger world in their block-made contraptions, but also interact with other users and share their creations back and forth to create new contraptions.

The company behind Blocksworld, Boldai, even has a comical trailer out showing just what can be built with Blocksworld physics. The options are surprisingly varied, including rocket ships with smiling human faces on their nose cones, motorcycles and robots of various effectiveness levels, and what the trailer calls "hospitals with incompetent staff.” This essentially shows a pair of characters carrying a stretcher with a third person on it and bouncing the stretcher to such a degree that one of the stretcher bearers ends up standing on his head with tiny legs flailing in the air.

Just what Linden Lab will do with this is a bit unclear, but coming out to other platforms would certainly be a start. Seeing this as an HTML5 game or a console title would likely open up a new set of markets for Blocksworld, and there would likely be plenty of gamers interested in creating, for example, a thing made entirely of legs.

Given the popularity of similar construction games like Minecraft, it’s easy to see why Blocksworld exists. Xbox Live Arcade’s indie section, by way of comparison, is positively swimming in Minecraft-style games, which serves as an excellent indicator of its overall popularity.

But there are plenty of differences between the two that should get builder fans very interested, and it’s just as easy to see where Blocksworld fits into Linden Lab’s overall scheme of user-built universes. Linden Lab’s next move with Blocksworld will likely take some time to emerge, but when it does make its play, it should be pretty well-received.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (NewsAlert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo


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