At the GDC two weeks ago, Three Rings gave a preview of their new virtual gaming world, Whirled. Like Second Life, the world is focused around user-created content, unlike Second Life the focus of that content is gaming – specifically casual games. I’m excited that we’ll get to see this new world at ETech.
This isn’t the first time that Three Rings has merged MMOG’s with casual games. Their very successful Puzzle Pirates and newer Bang! Howdy both follow this model. For example, in Pirates when you challenge someone to a sword-fight you play a form of tetris with each other. I’m not much of a gamer (either in skill or passion), but I like the merger – social interactions coupled with really lightweight fun games.
They’ve been experimenting with game platforms for a while as well. They released their open-source Game Gardens site and developer kit in the past year. It provides a Java-based framework and hosting for game developers. Whirled is Flash-based and developers will be able to code in Flash or Java.
SF-based Three Rings was founded by CEO Daniel James and CTO Michael Bayne. Michael formerly worked on the casual gaming platform for old-skool company Go2net and Daniel is a veteran of many a game company. They took funding from Mercury Capital Partners less than a year ago.
We were able to arrange for Michael to give a tutorial on theWhirled platform at ETech next week. In the half-day session he is going to review the architecture and tools for making games for Whirled (you’ll also get advanced access to the the game).