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Reader Comments (38)

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 8:17PM (Unverified) said

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I have tremendous affection "There". About seven years ago, during the summer, I got into the beta for the game and ended up meeting a lot of really terrific people, and having a great time. I have a number of friends that I met in "There" that I am still in contact with today. I can honestly say that the game has one of the best attitudes towards making avatars seem genuinely alive - with realistic looking body language and eye-line cues. A lot of MMO companies would do well to learn some of the lessons in player interaction/socialization from this admittedly failed game.

Also, "There" did micro transactions pretty well. People were indeed willing to pay money for cosmetic changes to their avatar. People gladly paid small amounts of money to purchase things like drinks they could hold in their hand - then take a sip of to have a randomized animation go off over their head. My favorite was a drink called the Volcano which would cause us law to arrive at the top of your head, or steam come out of your ears etc. The ability to invest so much emotion in your avatar and see others doing the same with their avatars made small interactions with objects like this much more meaningful.

A lot of people made some decent in game money through designing content.

I am writing an in-depth article about this on my blog:

http://www.popcultureofdestruction.com/

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 8:31PM (Unverified) said

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adult content = $$$
more specifically, freedom of creation = $$$

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 9:45PM esarphie said

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I have a suspicion I know why they're closing... I've played a lot of online games, and been heavily involved in creative spaces since their inception. I've got the usual laundry list of games I've subscribed to, and I regularly read sites such as Massively to keep up-to-date on games both current and future.

Yet, with all of this, I have never heard of There.com.

I don't think I'm alone in this.

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 11:58PM (Unverified) said

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They're closing because eddie's never heard of them? The US military's heard of them, which is why they use their game engine for some of their projects. MTV's heard of them, which is why There also hosted the Laguna Beach games.

There came out about the same time as SL, but they were two completely different flavors. There was more of a glorified chatroom with a great world/physics engine. I was active for a good number of years, but dropped off about a year or two ago. It's a shame to see it go down, but it's not a surprise, the place has been a graveyard lately.

It's a loss for a couple reasons, the biggest one being the impressive scale of the planet and it's impressively minimal lag. The cel-shade style characters were pretty cool, also. Quite expressive, especially with moving the mouths along with the in-game voice chat. Very convincing.

It was a niche, but I doubt anything will really take it's place. Not completely.
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Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 3:24PM Interitus said

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no, you're alone. there.com was quite well known. I only tried it for a brief time but I've known of it for years. As Lemmo pointed out, they were actually quite active.
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Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 10:29PM suntyl said

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where.com?

Posted: Mar 2nd 2010 10:47PM ultimateq said

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I played this a very long time ago in beta. I vaguely remember it, it seems to be like second life.

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 12:43AM (Unverified) said

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Oh wow - sad news.
I, also, was onboard 'There' from the beginning, and made a lot of friends (that are still to this day).

I have many fond memories of exploring the islands, crazy fun with the buggies and hoverboards, the housing, and the community events.

As others have mentioned here, 'There' was way ahead of it's time in many ways, most especially the animations, interaction and art style for it's day. And a real sense of community and friendship seemed to permeate the entire experience..

Wow, March 9th is awfully sudden. I read 'March 31dt' in my head for some reason - hrm will have to log on and take some happy snaps for posterity.

What a crazy week it's been for the gaming industry:
- Infinity Ward/Activision drama
- Apocalyps3 PS3 problem
- Kings Quest Silver Lining shutdown
- There.com closure
- STO 90day offer

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 12:54AM (Unverified) said

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they perm banned me neways, this game was alright back in its day, people were kool, then there.com had to feel powerful so they started banning all the cool people left and right for retarded reason, yes some good reasons, but they were way to strict on what happened, like some whiney ass kid would go cry to a Helper (Mod) "This guy will not leave my portazone in zephyr! or, HE SHOT ME AND HE WONT STOP, or my peepee hurts cuz he hit me with a buggy" and they would get banned for like 10 days or muted or perm banned.

Seriously, this is not a loss, yes some of the people is a loss, but its not a big deal, they banned all the cool people in it anyways and they went to other games, in my opinion i think there closing because they banned so many people and pissed so many people off, like not fixing lags and glitches that needed to be fixed, so the people stopped putting money into it and pretty much said screw it ill find a new game, so everyone else followed, so they lost people to pay for this stupid game. Plus they banned pretty much every good paintballer cuz they griefed people, oh well, the paintballers were the main reason they stayed up, paintballers put SO much money into this stupid game and they got rid of em, so its there own stupid fault, screw michael wilson.

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 3:13AM HackJack said

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Cool people say that? Wow! Cool people are dumb :|
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Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 7:38AM (Unverified) said

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wait...what?

Seriously, that is how you write? Dada-ist, post-modern almost, wonderous thunder of prose that flows down the page and crits you for infinity.
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Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 10:06AM Riskichi said

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So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 1:56AM (Unverified) said

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I remember trying There ages ago...but stuck with Second Life for the creative freedom. Still, very sad to see it go; it had its own unique charm.

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 5:12AM (Unverified) said

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Wow, I remember There as a meeting place for all my friends, and the "roumers" of the evil second life, how we told people in There, that Second life was the devil and should never be played, heh, then I gave second life a try, good bye There.

I do remember how the military was using the system for training and such, but, sadly, it never got to it's full potential.

Ah well, quoting Riskichi, So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 10:14AM (Unverified) said

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As a beta tester back in 2003 and an on again, off again member throughout the years, this really saddens me. But by the same token, it doesn't surprise me. This is because since the very beginning I noticed egregious mistakes the developers were making that sealed its fate.

The first mistake was never expanding beyond the base content with the vain hopes that users would pick up the slack. This is not to knock the work of designers by any means, just saying that because they were in fact volunteers new content was slow in the coming... I mean, it took years for a second card game to debut. And there was no way they could program with any success or speed the new types of activities that were sorely needed to add variety to There. So There basically stagnated.

The second mistake was allowing a core base of elitist fanboys to basically dictate what direction the game would go in. All you'd have to do is go to the "suggestions forum" on the old message board to see the damage they caused. People would go on there suggesting all sorts of things, only to be shouted down and insulted, usually with the rant that There was "too special" to include activities from other metaverses and that if they wanted that stuff, they could just go play The Sims Online or some other game.

Well, it was all fine and dandy if they wanted to narrow There's activities to such a limited agree as to squeeze out a large number of people. All they had to do was then pay Makena the thousands if not millions of dollars in lost revenue caused by the failure to attract the millions of players who would've joined They had some of their suggestions been implemented. Since these fanboys didn't, what did they expect? For the bills to magically pay themselves?

This leads to the third mistake that sealed There's fate: due to failure to increase membership, it had to go the product endorsement route. The problem is that these endorsements often ruined the ambience of There. Suddenly, you'd go out into a beautiful landscape, only to see it marred by big, giant-sized cars and non-contextual objects. Remember, There was supposed to be this magical, fantasy-based cartoon world and now here it was being literally littered with this garbage.

The last mistake? There made many changes that helped killed some of its most popular activities and communities. I don't remember the circumstances, but I do remember that hoverboarding-- my most favorite activity-- was ruined to such a degree that the community just became non-existent. One of the last lingering, saddest memories I had before quitting There was to see the once thriving hoverboard park a ghost town.

So I'm sad about There closing but like I said, I'm hardly surprised. That's what happens when you don't develop your product with an arrogance that it's "too good" to follow the lead of competitors or hope that your users will do the work for you. It fails. What a pity.

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 10:31AM (Unverified) said

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It’s sad to see There.com close its door and a community lose its home. There.com has been an inspiration also for Twinity. We at Twinizens would like to show the people of There that all is not lost; this is simply a new beginning.
We’d love to talk to you all and see how we could have a new home together. We’re meeting in Twinity at 17:00 (GMT), we would be delighted if you could join us!

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 10:37AM (Unverified) said

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This is indeed sad news. I have been playing for years, and have such memories of staying up late with my wife, having political conversations with people over voice chat...hanging out at parties.

Oh well, it had a great run, and provided a lot of fun. Unfortunately I agree that adult content seems to pay the bills easier, as well as the ability to allow your players to make anything within seconds.

If you made a product in There, it took a while to get "approval" for the item. While I liked that this kept things under a bit of control, I think it was creatively a little stifling. Still, I have fond memories of getting approval on pieces of art, etc...

Thanks for the good times, There!

Beau

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 10:41AM (Unverified) said

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Also, I would like to point out that I much preferred the stylized look of There over Second Life. Often, Second Life and other games attempt to mirror real life and only serve to draw attention to the failing of the graphics.

I would rather have a pretty cartoony world than a slightly under-realized realism.

Beau

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 2:25PM (Unverified) said

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I am very sorry to hear about this. Particularly because of the passion and love Michael put into this and the passion so many people feel for the many There.com worlds. Those of us at Mindark and Entropia Universe send our condolences and best wishes. JKB

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 4:17PM (Unverified) said

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I too, have an big affection for "there" the people i met there in 2005 end and 2006 start were the most enjoyable people i have ever met online. Most of them i still have contact with too. Its sad

But i will never forgive their owners for their failure to keep it afloat, all old mmorpgs i have played still exist, There had no reason whatsoever to become bankrupt other than the company CEO being an idiot.

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