Blue Mars

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Blue Mars
Developer(s) Avatar Reality
Publisher(s) Publisher Missing
Designer Kaz Hashimoto
Engine CryEngine 2
status Status Missing
Release date Release Date Missing
Genre Virtual World / (MMOG)
Mode(s) Multiplayer
Age rating(s) Ratings Missing
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Arcade system Arcade System Missing
Media Media Missing
Input Inputs Missing
Requirements Requirements Missing
Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough

Blue Mars is a 3D massively multiplayer virtual world platform currently in open beta. It falls in the general category of social virtual worlds allowing user-created content.

Blue Mars was inspired by a vision of the future when the power to terraform whole worlds is within our grasp. The name Blue Mars represents possibility and hope.[1] A teaser trailer video[2] was created by 3rd-party developer Virtual Space Entertainment (VSE) as a showcase for their planned Blue Mars development.

Despite the title and the fact that Mars has been terraformed, the game has nothing to do with the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson.

Platform and Technology[edit | edit source]

The platform being developed by Hawaii-based Avatar Reality allows 3rd parties to create virtual worlds, MMOG games, simulations, shops, businesses, entertainment venues, clothing, custom avatars, furniture, virtual homes, and other items. It consists of four main parts: the client software, the Sandbox Editor SDK suite, the website, and the host servers.

The client software is a free download, and includes the "Welcome Area", face editing area, default avatars, clothing and animations. Additional cities to visit are optional downloads via a "Places Browser". New cities and updates to existing ones are offered as downloads when they become available.

The editor suite is a free download after upgrading to a developer account. It currently consists of seven editors with specialized purposes (Block, Body, City, Cloth, Furniture, Item, and Shop) and a developer version of the client software for testing.

Both the client software and Editor suite utilize the CryEngine 2 rendering engine originally developed by Crytek.[3] The video game Crysis also runs on CryEngine 2. The graphics engine is being modified by Avatar Reality, and features not part of a combat game but needed for a virtual world are being added. Content can be created on many 3rd party 3D and graphics programs so long as they can output a COLLADA interchange file format 3D model or TIFF image format. They are then converted to CryEngine native .cgf and .dds formats via the provided development tools.

The website provides account registration, access to player inventory and friends lists, and member and developer forums.

The host servers deliver city data files, individual item and avatar files, and player interaction and updates when logged in. In the future they may also provide rendering for users without adequate graphics cards [4]

Development History[edit | edit source]

June 2009 - Avatar Reality started closed beta testing

September 2, 2009 - Reached "open beta" status, with version 0.5822.[5]

December 17, 2009 - version 0.6589 of the beta software was released. This version added a "places browser", which allows selective downloading of city data, and Flash functionality within the player client. At the same time the website was revamped, new cities opened, and pricing was announced for city hosting.

February 18, 2010 - version 0.7470 was released. This version added a "Body Editor" to create custom Avatars.

April 5, 2010 - version 0.8237 was released. This version added custom hair creation, and improved chat features in the client software. The "world" at this point consists of 15 visitable cities with a small number of activities and working shops.

The development roadmap plans release of more features incrementally through 2010[6] on roughly a monthly basis.

User Statistics[edit | edit source]

As of early April 2010, there are approximately 3000 registered users on their beta forums, and approximately 200 developers who are creating cities, games 3D environments, and individual items for Blue Mars. Most of these developers are individuals, small groups or indie game developers. Developer registration is free [7] as is the developer kit, although some external 3D graphics software may require purchase.

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]