Posts filed under "General"

February 7, 2017

Open Source Lucasfilm’s Habitat Restoration Underway

Habitat Frontyard taken 12/30/2017Project Hub taken 12/30/2017

It’s all open source!

Yes – if you haven’t heard, we’ve got the core of the first graphical MMO/VW up and running and the project needs help with code, tools, doc, and world restoration.

I’m leading the effort, with Chip leading the underlying modern server: the Elko project – the Nth generation gaming server, still implementing the basic object model from the original game. is the root of it all. to join the project team Slack. to fork the repo.

To contribute, you should be capable to use a shell, fork a repo, build it, and run it. Current developers use: shell, Eclipse, Vagrant, or Docker.

To get access to the demo server (not at all bullet proofed) join the project.

We’ve had people from around the world in there already! (See the photos) #opensource #c64 #themade

Habitat Turf taken 12/30/2017Habitat Beach taken 12/30/2017

October 12, 2010

First! Randy to be the kickoff guest for new Community Chat podcast series.

Bill Johnston and Thomas Knolls are launching a new live podcast series: Community Chat on talkshoe.

I am so honored to be the lead-off guest on their inagural episode (Wednesday 10-13-10):

The kickoff episode of Community Chat! [We] will be discussing the premise of the Community Chat podcast with special guest Randy Farmer. Will also be getting a preview of Blog World Expo from Check Hemann.

I’ll be talking with them about online community issues developers and operators all share in common – well, as much as I can in 10 minutes. :-) Click on the widget above to go there – it will be recorded for those who missed it live…

April 21, 2004

Getting started

In May, 1990, Randy and I gave a talk at the First International Conference on Cyberspace, which we entitled “The Lessons of Lucasfilm’s Habitat”. In it, we presented the work we had done creating Habitat, one of the first big online virtual worlds. We talked about the things we had learned, the mistakes we made, and gave some advice for others who might be traveling down the same road. (The written version of the paper was published the next year in the book Cyberspace: First Steps, the procedings edited by conference organizer Michael Benedikt.) The attention this generated surpassed our wildest expectations. It seemed we had struck a chord with a lot of people. We were invited to talk about Habitat in numerous other venues. Electronic copies of the paper were widely mirrored, first on FTP sites and then on the Web (even today, a Google search on an exact quote of the title will yield hundreds of hits). This all lead to a consulting practice and ultimately to a remarkable company, Electric Communities.

This year, the organizers of the 2004 Muddev conference invited us to give a “fireside chat” presentation, updating the multiplayer games developer community on our experiences since the publication of The Lessons of Lucasfilm’s Habitat. So, on March 27, we gave the original lessons a critical reappraisal, talked about the projects we’ve worked on during the intervening years, and then put forward a batch of new lessons based on our more recent experiences.

You can find a copy of our PowerPoint slides from that presentation here. However, we promised the conference attendees that we would render the presentation into a somewhat less elliptical form than a set of slides that only make sense together with the words that were spoken. At the time we made this promise, we expected to be writing another paper, but, upon discussion, Randy and I both realized that we wanted to do something a little more adventurous. Since the presentation is part history, part sermonizing, part prognostication, and all very subjective, the different pieces did not seem like they wanted to go together in any sort of traditional academic form. We’ve been talking all these years about the unique capabilities of the electronic realm. And lately we’ve been preaching the virtues of incrementalism. Plus there’s a lot of good stuff that we just didn’t have room for in the talk. Plus there’s a lot of good stuff out there that other folks have been doing that we’d like to direct everyone’s attention to. So we decided it made more sense to do something on the web, something a little more dynamic and open ended than just writing an academic paper and posting the PDF file. Hence this site you are now reading.

This is an experiment. It’s going to be part weblog, part document repository. In the coming months we hope to fill in some history, document some cool technology, explain some ideas, offer some advice, pontificate wildly. And we want to look forward as well as backward. There are many cool and wonderful things remaining to be done out there.

Watch this space!

Besides virtual worlds/communities, Chip and I have also done work in the area of reputation systems, online-moderated negotiations, and e-commerce systems. If it’s about building systems for people to interact online, we’ve either done it, or have an educated (but sometimes unfounded) opinion on the subject – but so have you.

That’s why we’ve started a blog. :-) It’s not just about two old farts pontificating; it’s about sharing our thoughts and learning from each other. We expect this to be a dialog, with you.

For now, all we ask is to keep a civil tone, and to stay on topic.

This should be fun!