Virtual World Platforms

Metaverse Game Changer: MyWorld Starts to Pull Back the Curtain


Project MyWorld will be a game changer for the metaverse: a virtual world that mirrors the real world and a platform for social gaming that could easily be the new go-to destination for the Farmville crowd.

And Project MyWorld is clearly taking aim at Facebook:

Project: MyWorld is the “Placebook” for a next generation of social games.

Project: MyWorld turns the real world into a 3D social gaming experience. Project: MyWorld is a platform for creating a virtual version of the real world and combining it with 3D online gaming and social networks and media.”

I was fortunate enough to have a sneak peek of MyWorld just under two years ago and I remember thinking that if they could pull off what they had planned, they could radically change how we socialize online.

A Procedural World

The technology behind the platform is inspiring and ingenious. By procedurally generating  the content, MyWorld is able to give users the ability to navigate through an entire country without needing to download asset-heavy models and textures.

Building this kind of environment using standard game development and modeling techniques would create a file that would be too large for even server-side rendering. But by procedurally generating the displayed content, MyWorld is able to create an exact replica of, to start, the UK.

Every building, roadway and landscape element is generated by algorithm. No 3D models – everything created on the fly by generating the environment from map rather than model data.

This isn’t a virtual world that is “like” Berlin (as, say, Twinity is), but is a replica of an entire country. And unlike Google Earth, for example, MyWorld is generated not to be a map with an optional 3D fly-through, but as a 3D world to start with.


My understanding is that MyWorld could generate a virtual world for any location in a matter of days given access to detailed mapping data.

In order to accomplish this, the biggest challenge is in the maps themselves – gathering street maps, satellite imagery, and even things like utility data (for the placement of things like street lights).

With this kind of data more readily accessible in the UK (through county offices) the company will launch MyWorld with a UK ‘world’ and will follow with other locations.

By loading maps into their engine, MyWorld is then able to procedurally generate an entire country, down to individual lamp posts and laneways.

MyWorld Platform

MyWorld is being developed by RealTime Worlds, which was founded by Dave Jones, creator of Grand Theft Auto.

A teaser video gives a sense of the platform:

What’s clear from the video is that the world itself is the main form of interaction, as compared to avatars. The ability to explore an entire country provides the backdrop for an incredibly wide range of potential games, as explained on the project blog:

As we work with publishers and business partners, we also want our players to help us develop Project: MyWorld. If this is the kind of entertainment product you’d love to play, post your comments on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, share Project: MyWorld with your friends and give us your ideas. We have an entire world to fill so there’s plenty of room for everyone. And if you’re a traditional game publisher looking to go online with a bold project or a social gaming or media company that sees the opportunity of Project: MyWorld, we’d love to hear from you as well!

The video also gives a sense of how user-generated content will be handled. Because while the buildings are procedurally generated, its clear that users can ‘tailor’ the buildings using in-world tools.


This is a clever way to handle the fact that although the mapping data might be accurate, it will require users to add detail and character to building facades.

I imagine there will be points, badges and rewards for helping to flesh out a house or a neighborhood.


Commerce and Games

The video also hints at virtual commerce:


And is clearly meant to tightly integrate with social media:


And will finally include games, although the early examples (like virtual fishing) are definitely more in keeping with what you’d expect from Facebook than a rich immersive 3D world:


But clearly MyWorld, at least to start, will be aiming for a unique combination of social media, location-based content, exploration and casual games.

I sort of think of it as a 3D version of FourSquare (and can’t imagine why they wouldn’t partner with 4Square or, more probable, replicate the service) mixed with Farmville and a sort of junior version of Grand Theft Auto.

The visuals are clearly aimed at a mass market and perhaps trend to a younger demographic. Having said that, Farmville is hardly being played by high school students, its finding a much larger audience in an older demographic.

As an aside, I actually think the ’tilt-shift’ photography look of things is a clever choice which gets around issues of rendering things in the distance.

Tilt-shift photography

What remains to be seen is how they plan to handle partnerships with other game developers, whether the platform has an open API or a software development kit of some sort and how the revenue model will work.

But what Project MyWorld may be able to achieve isn’t just a true mirror world built specifically to be served online as an interactive 3D platform for socializing and gaming. Instead, MyWorld, while initially tightly integrated with social media, may go beyond that and create instead a replacement for Facebook.

Why play Farmville when there’s a whole world to play in instead?


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