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Found 4 results

  1. The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) has announced today that they will be officially resurrecting Habitat, the first graphical massively multiplayer game. Created in 1986 by Lucasfilm Games for the Commodore 64, Habitat proved to be popular, but costly, leading to its discontinuation in 1988. Nearly 30 years later, MADE has overcome the technical challenges and will be reopening Habitat to the public tomorrow. While there had been online games with thriving communities prior to Habitat, they had all been in the world of MUDs, Multi-User Dungeons, games where interaction and visuals were entirely handled by reading and inputting text. Habitat brought games from text into a functional graphics-based format. It also originated the word avatar as used for a digital representation of a player. Players could contract disease, commit murder, rob strangers, and own homes. The game world ran on its own player-driven economy and was also governed by the players. This apparently led to chaos in the early days of Habitat before laws and rules of etiquette were established. Cosmetic items and accessories became an obsession for many in the community - 30 years might be a long time, but gamers still loved looking cool back in the first graphical MMO. “Habitat was so far ahead of its time, it was never able to reach even a tenth of the potential of its capabilities due to the future having not been evenly distributed enough at the time,” said Alex Handy, founder and director of the MADE. “Today, we think of thousands of players being in a single world at once as normal, but Habitat built this type of environment 30 years ago with the digital equivalent of sticks and stones.” As an interesting sidenote: Habitat ran on a Commodore 64 online service named Quantum Link, the predecessor of America Online. This is part of what made making Habitat compatible with modern systems difficult. The architecture of the Commodore 64 and modern computers aren't super compatible, to say nothing of the server-side issues. Restoring Habitat took MADE four years and that was with the help of the original programmers, like Chip Morningstar and Randy Farmer, beta testers, and online contributions from retro enthusiasts and leaders in the tech industry. Fujitsu, the company that purchased the rights to Habitat in order to release it in Japan, Dolby, Sony, and Stratus all contributed to the restoration efforts, too. Randy Farmer was the original C64 client programmer and the first Oracle, one of the administrator gods of Habitat. He also took the lead role in restoring the Habitat software and service. Said Farmer, “We couldn’t have pulled off the small miracle of this game, then or now, without a lot of collaborators: some original team members returned to help out, like original lead Chip Morningstar, myself, and a few of the 500 1986 Habitat Beta testers (who built much of the online world you can see today). Also, many fans of the worlds/MMOs descended from Habitat and contributors from the vibrant C64 retro gaming community. Our contributors are around the world – and include various tech CEOs, CTOs and VPs! We’d all like to thank the MADE for making this project possible: to restore the first MMO, Lucasfilm’s Habitat.” The server hosting the restored alpha version of Habitat will go live to the general public on June 2 at 6pm PT. There will be a local kick-off event at the MADE's Oakland, California location. Players around the world who want to check out the revival of Habitat can do so for free. There will be some fiddling with a C64 emulator and connection to the server, but you can find simple instructions on NeoHabitat.org.
  2. The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) has announced today that they will be officially resurrecting Habitat, the first graphical massively multiplayer game. Created in 1986 by Lucasfilm Games for the Commodore 64, Habitat proved to be popular, but costly, leading to its discontinuation in 1988. Nearly 30 years later, MADE has overcome the technical challenges and will be reopening Habitat to the public tomorrow. While there had been online games with thriving communities prior to Habitat, they had all been in the world of MUDs, Multi-User Dungeons, games where interaction and visuals were entirely handled by reading and inputting text. Habitat brought games from text into a functional graphics-based format. It also originated the word avatar as used for a digital representation of a player. Players could contract disease, commit murder, rob strangers, and own homes. The game world ran on its own player-driven economy and was also governed by the players. This apparently led to chaos in the early days of Habitat before laws and rules of etiquette were established. Cosmetic items and accessories became an obsession for many in the community - 30 years might be a long time, but gamers still loved looking cool back in the first graphical MMO. “Habitat was so far ahead of its time, it was never able to reach even a tenth of the potential of its capabilities due to the future having not been evenly distributed enough at the time,” said Alex Handy, founder and director of the MADE. “Today, we think of thousands of players being in a single world at once as normal, but Habitat built this type of environment 30 years ago with the digital equivalent of sticks and stones.” As an interesting sidenote: Habitat ran on a Commodore 64 online service named Quantum Link, the predecessor of America Online. This is part of what made making Habitat compatible with modern systems difficult. The architecture of the Commodore 64 and modern computers aren't super compatible, to say nothing of the server-side issues. Restoring Habitat took MADE four years and that was with the help of the original programmers, like Chip Morningstar and Randy Farmer, beta testers, and online contributions from retro enthusiasts and leaders in the tech industry. Fujitsu, the company that purchased the rights to Habitat in order to release it in Japan, Dolby, Sony, and Stratus all contributed to the restoration efforts, too. Randy Farmer was the original C64 client programmer and the first Oracle, one of the administrator gods of Habitat. He also took the lead role in restoring the Habitat software and service. Said Farmer, “We couldn’t have pulled off the small miracle of this game, then or now, without a lot of collaborators: some original team members returned to help out, like original lead Chip Morningstar, myself, and a few of the 500 1986 Habitat Beta testers (who built much of the online world you can see today). Also, many fans of the worlds/MMOs descended from Habitat and contributors from the vibrant C64 retro gaming community. Our contributors are around the world – and include various tech CEOs, CTOs and VPs! We’d all like to thank the MADE for making this project possible: to restore the first MMO, Lucasfilm’s Habitat.” The server hosting the restored alpha version of Habitat will go live to the general public on June 2 at 6pm PT. There will be a local kick-off event at the MADE's Oakland, California location. Players around the world who want to check out the revival of Habitat can do so for free. There will be some fiddling with a C64 emulator and connection to the server, but you can find simple instructions on NeoHabitat.org. View full article
  3. Following a successfully funded Kickstarter and a subsequent launch as an Early Access title through services like Steam, Habitat will be coming to PlayStation 4 owners as a downloadable title. Habitat tasks players with creating a new home for the residents of Earth as they flee the untenable remains of our homeworld. The only remaining solution is to piece together bits and pieces of debris that now orbit the planet. Players will lead a team of engineers as they manage the population and environment of their growing space station. On top of the day to day management of the station, players will need to protect it in the event of an attack by using whatever means are at their disposal including: missiles, lasers, and particle accelerators. “Since development began on Habitat, it has always been our wish to bring our space survival simulation to as many platforms as technologically possible,” said Charles Cox, founder of 4gency. “We are incredibly excited to announce that Habitat will be launching on PlayStation 4 in 2015 and can’t wait to see how the creative PlayStation community reacts to Habitat’s gameplay mechanics.” There is no solid release date for Habitat: A Thousand Generations in Orbit, other than the entire year of 2015. If you are set on checking it out in an unfinished state, Early Access is currently available on PC through Steam, Amazon, Humble Store, GameFly, Gamer's Gate, Green Man Gaming and Nuuvem for $14.99. I don't know about you, but I am very interested to see the final version of Habitat. Any game that lets you strap rockets to the robotic head of the Statue of Liberty and fly around in space is definitely worthwhile in my book. View full article
  4. Following a successfully funded Kickstarter and a subsequent launch as an Early Access title through services like Steam, Habitat will be coming to PlayStation 4 owners as a downloadable title. Habitat tasks players with creating a new home for the residents of Earth as they flee the untenable remains of our homeworld. The only remaining solution is to piece together bits and pieces of debris that now orbit the planet. Players will lead a team of engineers as they manage the population and environment of their growing space station. On top of the day to day management of the station, players will need to protect it in the event of an attack by using whatever means are at their disposal including: missiles, lasers, and particle accelerators. “Since development began on Habitat, it has always been our wish to bring our space survival simulation to as many platforms as technologically possible,” said Charles Cox, founder of 4gency. “We are incredibly excited to announce that Habitat will be launching on PlayStation 4 in 2015 and can’t wait to see how the creative PlayStation community reacts to Habitat’s gameplay mechanics.” There is no solid release date for Habitat: A Thousand Generations in Orbit, other than the entire year of 2015. If you are set on checking it out in an unfinished state, Early Access is currently available on PC through Steam, Amazon, Humble Store, GameFly, Gamer's Gate, Green Man Gaming and Nuuvem for $14.99. I don't know about you, but I am very interested to see the final version of Habitat. Any game that lets you strap rockets to the robotic head of the Statue of Liberty and fly around in space is definitely worthwhile in my book.
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