We had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Daniel James about the new vision of Whirled, and you'll be able to read that discussion tomorrow. For the time being, go check out Venturebeat's analysis of the project or (if you're so inclined) read upon the full press release below the cut. PS: If you play, we recommend Brawler Whirled or Corpse Craft. They're both fantastic!
Three Rings Opens "Whirled" for Business
Indie MMO Leader Calls Upon Game Developers and Flash Designers to Hop Aboard the Whirled Platform to Create and Sell Virtual Goods, Custom Multi-player Games, Virtual Worlds.
SAN FRANCISCO – Nov. 10, 2008 – Three Rings, a leading independent developer of casual massively multi-player games, has opened Whirled, its player-created virtual world, for business. A full suite of rich APIs, example code and a growing audience of players await monetization by skilled developers. Players can explore a rich catalog of games, customize social areas and begin uploading games and other content to www.whirled.com today.
"Whirled delivers a complete platform for Flash games and virtual worlds" said Daniel James, CEO, Three Rings. "Our proven infrastructure is now officially open for business and developers are making money. Join them!"
Whirled is an in-browser virtual world that is open to player creations and customizations; anything can be uploaded to the Whirled, from simple image furniture to mini-MMO games. Sophisticated avatars, pets, toys and games are coded to Whirled's Flash ActionScript APIs, which support multi-player games with arbitrary numbers of players driven by client or server-side code.
"Three Rings is taking a 'ridiculously open' approach to Whirled by publishing metrics, transparent business terms and a large part of the code-base as open-source" said Michael Bayne, CTO and co-founder. "To kick-start creativity, Three Rings offers the source code and assets for all Three Rings' original games and other content as examples for developers to explore and modify to their own nefarious ends."
Whirled's library of over 12 complete, multi-player example games includes the hit 'Corpse Craft' described by Penny Arcade as "... f*cking banging, and may even bang off the hook.'' To learn more, visit wiki.whirled.com
Gamers play Whirled games to earn Coins, and may purchase a second currency, Bars for U.S. currency using credit cards, paypal, SMS, Target pre-paid cards and other payment methods. Whirled emulates aspects of the success of Puzzle Pirates: part of the power of the business model is that it provides a seamless exchange between player's time and this cash currency, thus effectively monetizing virtually the entire player base, rather than a small fraction. Creators' sales in the Whirled Shop accumulate a third currency, Bling, which can be cashed out for real-world money. Three Rings' Whirled infrastructure is fully operational today: creators are making money from avatars, interactive toys, game items and level packs.
"Not only can you make money selling virtual goods, but also Whirled offers a lifetime revenue share on new players referred to the game – you can simply embed a game or Whirled room into your blog or website, or tell a friend, and we'll take care of the rest," added James. He pointed out that "hit content will generate revenue not only from initial sales, but developers will also continue to earn from the players they bring to the party. And here at Three Rings, we like to party!"
Today, Three Rings is also rolling out its Flash Game Developer challenge and the Whirled Game Developer Bonus Bling Pool. Flash game developers who create games using the Whirled APIs stand to participate in $25,000 of prizes each quarter, and share a monthly pool of $10,000 divided up each day according to hours of gameplay on the site.
"Join premier game developers like Brad Borne of The FancyPants Adventures, Skunk Studios of QBeez, and others who see the wisdom of getting on board early," urged James.