Blockland, torque and user created content

We have blogged several times about our internal metaverse (or one of them) and how we are looking at what we can do with the Garage Games Torque Engine. Our internal team has grown a bit recently and we have some interesing things we want to deliver. Sometimes it can be a little tricky to find the right examples of how things work so it was really nice when I bumped into this very nice creation, Blockland.
Blockland is written in Torque and has a community growing around it and its modability. It uses a slightly different metaphor for creation in that it uses established blocks from known sets that can be bolted together by a visitor to a server. The server itself can be a run anywhere. So this is not the sort of grid we are used to but the Torque/games model. However usually on a Torque server it is quite tricky to let others create content as the content creation pipeline is based around an Admin building a map and deploying it. We had been doing some experiments with some scripting that allowed objects to be moved around in the space to allow for some user interaction and emergent behaviour. Of course our metaverse is more about interacting with internal corporate systems and information so much of the work has gone into that.
Anyway the developer(s) of Blockland have created the ability to form collections of these blocks, colour them, stack them, and save them. People gather together on multiplayer servers both to game, but also to build. I think its a smallish community, but it looks really interesting.
Of course there is a certain similarity to a certain platsic block real life creation set, and they are doing their own virtual world down the line.
For now I am intrigued to learn how some of the problems and challenges we are solving have been solved by Blockland.
There is a free demo version, and the full version is a whole $20, so yes epredator is a fully signed up member of Blockland now.
There are avatar customization features under the player section.
When building you select bricks from a palette and spray paint them different colours.
Whilst Torque has a mission creation editor, which you can patch back in, this is designed to do the maps before you start the server. Here these are in world live running modifications. I am not quite sure of the persistence model, I know I can save bricks and load bricks like Rezzing in Second Life.

Check out the website and youtube for a stack of videos.

Charity sales of AM Radio’s cornfield

Roo wrote a post with a nice video here of AM Radio’s delightful piece of art creation. The Cornfield, 1920’s style with a fantastic textured train and some incredible prebaking of textures.
We had seen this buidl happen on our internal blogs, and it was good to see it go public. Now AM Radio has decided to raise some funds for the charity but selling copies of his work that you can go and view here.
Its a subtle yet amazingly detailed set of objects and well worth a look. I will post some stills when they get through the system, but I needed to post this update for all you art appreciating and charity minded individuals out there.
*update here are some of the snapzilla’s from the build