Last year, a small startup from Seattle, Washington showed up to GenCon with a prototype and a dream: to be the destination for artists and writers to bring their stories to the world. They developed a software which allowed creators to write and bring in art and music into a format which required little-to-no technical expertise. After spending over a year tinkering with it while creating their game, MetaArcade is nearing a beta test of the platform.
When MetaArcade first started this process, they licensed Tunnels & Trolls, a property from the early days of pen and paper RPGs from Flying Buffalo (the publisher). This was done for a number of reasons: David Reid, the Founder and CEO of MetaArcade is a fan of the game, the game has a ton of content going back decades with some of the best fantasy writers being attached at one time or another, and the format of the previously written adventures made translating them into MetaArcade’s platform an excellent proof of concept.
The whole idea of this platform, as we’ve previously reported, is to make an easy to use interface for creators to breathe life into their stories. David Reid demonstrated how the software works for us. If you look at the main screen, there is a free flowing series of bubbles, called frames. These frames each contain an element of the story, which is designed to present a series of options. Thus far, based on the Tunnels & Trolls Adventures app (review currently in progress) these choices including picking a direction for your character to go, interacting with a challenge in the room, or fighting a character. When asked, David Reid did say that even though they hadn’t considered dialogue options, he didn’t see a reason why a creator couldn’t do that.
The interface was clean and easy to use, and included a search function to find assets to add into each frame. The most intriguing aspect of this platform is once it’s rolled out to the public, it will allow people who create art, people who create music, and people who write to upload their content to the MetaArcade library in exchange for a cut of the ad revenue earned by their stories. The goal is that by winter 2017 the platform will be in closed beta. It will be available on PC intially, and then roll out to Mac, Steam, Android and iOS.
Check out the trailer for Tunnels and Trolls Adventures below.