Arden: The World of William Shakespeare ended a year of development yesterday, closing with a stress test. (Many thanks to our alpha testers!) Unfortunately, that might be the last bit of news from Arden for a long time. We have come to the end of our funding, and while we are still working, I'm not sure when we will have anything worth reporting.
Follow these links for background on the Arden project. The basic objective has been to revolutionize social science by introducing controlled experimentation at the macro level. This first year of production was funded generously by the MacArthur Foundation, who now wait while we work to bring the pilot phase of the project to a close. Multiverse was used for early production, after which we switched to Neverwinter Nights. The world is hosted on the Teragrid.
It's been a bumpy road. We've learned lots of lessons, mostly that this is very hard to do, and especially hard to do in an academic context. I have new layers of respect for the world-builders out there.
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.
Even completing the more limited objectives will take a lot of time. Thus, while I appreciate all the support and inquiries that have been made, my stock response now is "don't hold your breath; nothing worth noting is going to happen for a long time." The Bard has left the building for now, and his return date is unknown.