Habitat / Dreamscape Lucasfilm Games LLC / Fujitsu 1995

Habitat is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed and the first attempt at a large-scale commercial virtual community that was graphic based. Initially created in 1985 by Randy Farmer and Chip Morningstar, the game was made available as a beta test in 1986 by Quantum Link, an online service for the Commodore 64 computer and the corporate progenitor to AOL. As a graphical MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) it is considered a forerunner of modern MMORPGs unlike other online communities of the time (i.e. MUDs and massively multiplayer onlines with text-based interfaces). Habitat had a GUI and large user base of consumer-oriented users, and those elements in particular have made Habitat a much-cited project and acknowledged benchmark for the design of today's online communities that incorporate accelerated 3D computer graphics and immersive elements into their environments. You control an avatar, seen from a third-person perspective in a 2D world. Avatars can gesture, move around, communicate with other characters, and manipulate objects. The world consists of thousands of regions - different environments that can be accessed through doors, teleportation and other entrances. You can also communicate through the in-game mail system or by using ESP (telepathic abilities), and personalize your avatar with the skin tone, features, or clothing. Players can visit stores, houses, pubs, forests... and use objects such as tools, weapons and magical items. The stress is on the social dimension. You can get married, play games, write a book, go adventuring, visit theatres or lectures, or start a company, a guild, or a religion. Each player has a bank account and there is an in-game economy based on tokens. The game designers even appeared in the game as powerful opponents and global quests were organized. These are presented as one-time challenges, and not as instances multiple players can encounter at different moments. Players can also turn into ghosts to discover new areas without risks. Although there are no real classes, people can behave as thieves, law enforcers or clergymen. There are no regulations and players are only limited to what the game code allows. Quests are provided by the Oracle, an almighty entity that 'created' the Habitat. The libertarian approach with the freedom in gameplay was introduced because people solved quests too quickly and the developers would never be able to keep up with new content. New features were added gradually. Rather than controlling or limiting the possibilities, the developers observed gamers' behaviour and introduced novelties according to the needs. It also includes PvP fighting (player vs. player) and safe zones in the cities. Habitat has its own newspaper, The Rant, documenting events and reserved for announcements. The project was ended in 1988 when Quantum Link observed that the 500 players played the game so much that the game's traffic ate up 1% of the total capacity of the entire QL service. The company feared it would not be able to sustain the network with a full release open to many more players, and scrapped the project. It resurfaced later in 1988 as Club Caribe, and as Fujitsu Habitat in 1990 when the technology was licensed to Fujitsu. Eventually, Fujitsu bought it entirely and launched it on CompuServe in 1995 as a free service for members. The world was called Dreamscape and moved to the public Internet in 1997 still under the operation of Fujitsu. As CompuServe morphed into AOL's "value brand", Fujitsu sought to sell off its product as they were making a loss. Inworlds.com (who later became Avaterra, Inc) stepped up and bought the licensing rights and took over the reins. In 2011 the Dreamscape was still surviving independently as one of the VZones.com worlds – owned by Stratagem Corporation. The VZones.com worlds closed in August 2014. In 2017, it was revived as an open-source project led by Randy Farmer (one of Habitat's creators) named NeoHabitat.
NeoHabitat - Free Game (uploaded by Official Site)

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