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Design and share voxel widgets, then construct your world out of them. The possibilities? Endless.

The Big Picture

The premise behind Widgiverse is straightforward: design voxel widgets in the editor, then piece them together to build your own world. It's much like Legos, except that you get to make the Lego pieces yourself.

While the premise is simple, I'm hoping that the results will be anything but. There are a few aspects of Widgiverse that I hope will allow it to explode into a mecca of creativity:

  • The ability to import, export, and share widgets with others.
  • The ability to write and share scripts that produce procedurally generated widgets and environments.
  • Everybody gets one. If this Kickstarter campaign is successful, I am not going to sell Widgiverse, I am going to open source it.

While a single person creating widgets and building environments in their world can create some impressive work, many people working together will build vast creations that surpass the sum of their individual efforts.

Widgiverse Right Now

I'd like to tell you about where Widgiverse is right now. It's essentially everything you saw in the video, plus a few more features that I did not show.

  • A server-client architecture that allows multiple people to build the world at the same time.
  • A widget editor that allows you to create new widgets, edit existing widgets, tag widgets, and run scripts to generate widgets procedurally.
  • A widget browser that allows you to search by tag, import & export widgets, and preview widgets before placing them into your world.
  • A world editor and viewer for building environments out of your collection of widgets, either manually or by running scripts.

Oh, about the client...

If you watched the video, you probably noticed that Widgiverse is running in a Google Chrome browser window. The Widgiverse client is a web application. Don't be alarmed, you don't need to be online to play, or start playing, or keep playing, or anything like that. Widgiverse can be played completely locally without an internet connection. There were a number of reasons I decided to implement the client in the browser, but the primary reason was to make it easy for people to participate. If you want to play with your friends, they do not need to install anything except Google Chrome, which many people already have installed, and most are capable of using. If you want to show off your castle to your friends, it doesn't get much easier than emailing a link.

The Future of the Widgiverse

There's still a lot I want to accomplish with Widgiverse! This is where your funding comes in. It'll free me up for the next year or more to work on new features and kill bugs. Here's some of the things I want to implement:

  • Textures  Things are looking pretty nice with colors and ambient occlusion, but adding textures to the game will add another dimension to our creations. I'll be implementing this as a texture editor & browser with import & export capability.
  • Mapping  It would be sweet to be able to zoom out to a Google-maps-like interface to see a wide view of the world you and your friends are building.
  • Editable terrain  My focus in Widgiverse has been on the widgets, but being able to alter the terrain would add a lot to the experience. 
  • Custom avatars  How cool would it be to use the widget editor to build your own avatar? I think so too! I'm going to do it.
  • Server-Server communication  I think it would be awesome if you could import widgets, scripts, and worlds directly from other servers. Anything that lowers the barrier to sharing creative work has a high priority for me.
  • SSAO  While the vertex-color-based ambient occlusion is yielding very nice results, using screen space ambient occlusion would both simplify the code and fix some nagging bugs. 
  • Admin controls  We're going to need them to deal with the griefers!
  • More sophisticated algorithms  I waited until I was satisfied with the framerates and memory usage of Widgiverse before I put together this campaign, but I think I can do even better. 

A note on my game development philosophy:

I have a huge degree of respect for the crowd. There's no way I alone could come up with the best ideas to improve Widgiverse. The very best ideas come from many people working together, communicating and bouncing ideas off of each other until the best rises to the top. I view it as absolutely crucial to make the most of user input as I can. The developers at Mojang have done an outstanding job of being responsive to their fans while developing Minecraft. I'd like to take that as a challenge and do even better. 

So, while I have listed some goals I have for Widgiverse, I intend to select new features to work on according to their apparent demand (using a feature voting system that everyone can participate in) and their expected implementation difficulty, tempered by my vision for the game (I probably won't put in something outrageous that breaks the game, even if it is highly voted). Coupled with the assistance of open source developers that want to work on the Widgiverse project, I hope to make fast, reliable progress towards a product that appeals to more and more people.

FAQ

Exactly when are you releasing Widgiverse?

The public (everybody gets one!) beta release will be within two months after the end of the Kickstarter campaign. Those that received the early access reward will be able to download it at the end of the Kickstarter campaign.

Can I play Widgiverse on my Mac/Windows/Linux computer?

Yes!

Technical Details

  • When I open source Widgiverse, I will put it on Github under the WTFPL, unless I can find an even less restrictive license.
  • The server is in Python and utilizes the Tornado Web Server to communicate with the client over HTTP (to acquire the client web application) and Websockets (almost everything else).
  • The client is written in Javascript/HTML/CSS and uses the Three.js WebGL library.
  • Mac, Windows, and Linux are all supported.
  • I'm only targeting Google Chrome at the moment. That said, I have run the client successfully in both Firefox and Safari with no changes and no problems. (All three teams deserve kudos for that bit of magic.)

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

I'm happy to report that Widgiverse is ready to be released as a playable, alpha stage game right now. Because I will be releasing it as open source, I see little risk to the project nor to the community that supports it.

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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