The Arden project is one that I’ve been following for about a year. It caught my attention specifically because it was to be one of the first virtual worlds to be developed using Multiverse (that just went into v1.0 this past week). The other reason it caught my attention is because it was a project of Edward Castronova (author of Synthetic Worlds and soon to be released Exodus to the Virtual World).
Terra Nova has an article up tonight by Edward Castronova about the changing scope of this project, the change in focus, and the jumping of platforms:
While it does not appear that the project is dead, it has definitely hit a plateau in development, and has been significantly downsized from the original plan. The project was apparently shifted from Multiverse to Neverwinter Nights (an open ended PC based RPG with an isometric view). This is somewhat disappointing as NWN’s was released in 2002, not exactly cutting edge in the world of online gaming.
As he states in the article about what is in store for the project:
“What now? Work continues, with an uncertain time frame. I really enjoy writing systems in NWN Script, so I will keep tinkering. But – there’s no telling when there will be anything to report. Based on the current direction and progress of the project, I should downplay expectations. Think “small Dungeons-and-Dragons world with a Shakespeare layer,” not “World of Warcraft but with Hamlet.” When we have built a small world that people like to play in, we will do some experiments. Small, limited objectives. The bigger objectives of the Arden project are on indefinite hold.”
I wish them all the best in getting this project through the pilot. I hold out hope for this project, and others that are trying to push into this space in a big way for education.
While PacRimX is nowhere near the scale of Arden, even small educational projects can sometimes become overwhelming. We have tried to pace ourselves with what we are trying to accomplish with PacRimX, and have not tried to do too much too soon. So far this strategy has paid off. Educators wanting to pilot projects using virtual world platforms, especially those in the K12 space, need to have very clear goals in mind before they dive in head first. There’s often much more work involved than expected, a learning curve that needs to be traversed by all participants, and funding issues. Any one of these factors can have a severely limiting effect on new projects.