Not content with hooking me back up with, yesterday my MMO dealer, Massively OP, turned me on to. Something different and strange.I'd seen the name Occupy White Walls a couple of times before but it hadn't stuck. Some kind of gameified art project, wasn't it? In closed alpha, I think? The sort of thing you file away for future reference to look at when there's something there to see, then promptly forget about.I would have left it at that but the latest MOP piece came with a video and for some reason I watched it.
I can't say why but it was definitely a moment.Although the video was made by someone highly skeptical about the project, by his own admission not at all part of OWW's target demographic, it nevertheless turns out to be a very effective piece of promotion for the game. It's a considered, informative, thoughtful overview, well worth seven minutes of your time.
Occupy White Walls is an MMO, where art is the quest and self-expression the reward. Build your own place from a thousand components. Flow free hexes 112. Put art where you want it – a stately home, a desert, a metro station, in the void of outer space – or all of the above, it’s for you to decide. This is about creation, not destruction. That it is taking its art gallery MMO Occupy White Walls to Kickstarter. Artists, but modern creators can upload their work to the game for $9.
It was certainly enough to send me on to. I thought I'd take a look at the application process for the closed alpha for which, according to Massively, sign-ups were being taken.Only Massively is wrong. Sign-ups aren't being taken because the closed alpha isn't closed.
To quote the appropriately arch statement on the front page of the site itself:OWWis almost ready to go public and shake up everything you thought youknew about the world of art. So now we are releasing theAlpha version of OWW to the selected few individuals who have thecourage, the audacity, the vision or who just clicked our Ad.
Alphameans that the game is mostly stable but under heavy development.So I downloaded and installed the thing, which took maybe ten minutes. Then I made an account and 'played' it for a couple of hours.It's definitely an alpha. There's not much of a warm-up. It throws you right in. The Tutorial is tricky to navigate and the controls seem to be fighting the UI at times - windows overlap a little, you have to back up and come around now and again - but it works more than well enough already to give a clear idea of the potential.For an MMO player the initial impression is something like a mash-up of Landmark and The Secret World's Museum of the Occult.
There's an extensive bank of building pieces - walls, floors, ceilings, stairways, pillars, lighting and so on - which you can place in a way that feels very similar to how it was in Landmark.It felt so familiar I'd already built my first room before the Tutorial prompted me to open the interface. I messed around with that for a while, changing my wooden avatar for a scarier shattered glass model, topped off with a fedora. The part I really wanted to try out was DAISY, the AI that supposedly learns from your choices and suggests art you'd find to your taste. Fevir, who made the video above, was very impressed by DAISY, to the point that he found the experience unsettling. He's not wrong.I spent about half an hour letting DAISY learn my preferences. Within a few minutes the artworks she was suggesting were beginning to pique my interest and stimulate my pleasure centers. I was hard-put to pick even one of the first nine, random pictures she suggested for my walls.
I didn't really like any of them. After a dozen or so iterations, and by the time I decided I'd spent enough of my $100K seed money for a first run, the problem was stopping myself from buying everything she put in front of me. I loved it all.Although some of the pictures I ended up buying are mostly by artists entirely unfamiliar to me, while others are by established favorites, and though they hail from different countries, schools and centuries (although the time period is actually quite tight), the final grid of my initial acquisitions shows an astonishing degree of coherency.
It's quite a weird, discomfitting experience, having one's thoughts, tastes and feelings second-guessed in this way. With my purchases made, I was intending to stop as it was getting late but in that oh-so-familiar Landmark fashion I thought I'd just pop a couple of pictures on the wall. Half an hour later I was still fiddling around, changing frames, trying to get a couple of lights to go just where I wanted them.As I was futzing about my tiny, one-room gallery began to fill. As you place art, it attracts visitors. NPC visitors, that is, although players can visit each other's galleries and comment on the works, the layout, whatever they choose, as well.The more NPCs visit your gallery, the more money your gallery makes.
You need the money to buy art and furnishings and gallery space. That, I guess, is the 'game' part of this MMORPG. No doubt that aspect will be fleshed out in time and I note that the EULA (which, yes, I did read) contains all the usual caveats and commands related to gameplay that you'd find in a traditional MMO.Whether or not Occupy White Walls eventually turns into some kind of fully-functioning game or not it very clearly has a shining future in the MMO building/decorating sub-genre. It absolutely has that hook that Landmark had. I'm not saying it has the potential to be the hipster Minecraft but it might.For now, it's free and open and it's well worth a look if you have any interest in either building stuff or looking at art. I will be working on my gallery in those quiet moments when I don't feel like killing monsters. Plus I'm really curious to see what I can learn about my own tastes and preferences, with DAISY's help.
I just worry about what she might be learning about me.
What do you get when you mix The Sims, Minecraft, and a dollop of Vincent van Gogh in an online multiplayer? The answer’s Occupy White Walls, a “sandbox-building, AI-driven MMO” that gets players building custom art galleries and discovering real-life masterpieces. StikiPixels’ game has been in Steam Early Access for a year, but it’s just hit a big milestone towards launch – its Kickstarter campaign is now live.
As revealed in a press release, OWW’s Kickstarter launch is designed to help the studio bring some shiny new features to the game, which has already seen “tens of thousands of players” get stuck in to build elaborate and complex architectures to showcase hand-selected art by real-world artists. The fundraising campaign “aims to unlock player-requested features like art uploads, unique new in-game assets that help players further personalise their spaces, and the ability for players to build and host multiple galleries,” the studio announces.
The Kickstarter launch also means some extra trailers to get a look at, if you’re curious to see what the game’s all about. Check them out below.
One of the most intriguing aspects of OWW is its AI-driven gameplay, powered by ‘Daisy’. This analyses players’ interactions “to bring them together with the art and artists” that it thinks they’ll like best.
PCGamesN was treated to a brief look at how this works in-game, with studio CEO Yarden Yaroshevski telling us Daisy is designed to “very, very quickly pick up on your individual taste in art and show you more artworks that will resonate with you – and not show you stuff that won’t. It’s totally individual, so you’ll see things that I won’t’ and vice versa.”
Yaroshevski also gave us a look at how the gameplay works, which it seems will be accessible for seasoned PC gamers and art-loving newbies alike. Using a simple grid-based system comparable to The Sims series, the range of gallery building options and assets offers the depth to go wild and create something pretty sensational, but also the tools to craft something you’ll be proud of if you’re an entry-level creator.
Examples already in-game are astonishing, ranging from Renaissance-style recreations to modern installations, with the CEO explaining: “The creativity and what people do is just mind-blowing […] Every day someone will share a screenshot or a video or something, and we will look at it and just [be] like, ‘How do they do that?'” One particularly pretty example we get to see is a walled garden with butterflies hovering over, a cloudy sky looming above.
Reassuringly, you won’t be judged for your ability or taste in art in the game, the studio head tells us. Instead, the game encourages you to explore your own creativity and inspirations – and go take a look at other players’ too, of course. “You basically don’t have to know anything about art to actually play the game,” we’re told.
Aside from this player-focussed aspect, the game also serves an important function for artists. The game’s repository of real-world art keeps on growing, and information such as titles, the creator’s name, medium, dimensions, dates, and even a description are attached to the piece in-game. Szone online system requirements 2017. OWW also acts as a kind of hub through which artists and fans can connect, with pieces allowing players to post comments, providing feedback for creators.
“For artists, Kultura can be used to drive traffic to their social media, and galleries or websites where they sell their works, connect with fans (via dedicated notifications) and follow stats and comments about their artworks,” the press release explains.
“With Occupy White Walls the team at StikiPixels wants to strip away the boundaries between the public and the stuffy old art world with an intelligent, fun, and boundary-free platform,” Yaroshevski says. “With this KickStarter campaign we aim to continue building on OWW as a truly new way to experience art.”
The Occupy White Walls Kickstarter campaign is now live, and there are loads of features to look forward to if it succeeds. You can find the page with all of the information here. You can also head to the game’s Steam page here if you’re keen to try it for yourself in Early Access.