Tower Unite is an ambitious, crowdfunded, virtual world game for PC. Its aim is to integrate users’ music, streaming and gaming experiences all within an interlinked communal environment. A key plank of what the developers, Pixel Tail Games, are providing is that there will be no micro-transactions involved at any stage. There are no subscriptions, no premium currency and, in short, no hidden charges. The community will be there simply and straightforwardly as a community resource and for the joy of gaming. It is an admirably ambitious project.
As the slick publicity insists, “Tower Unite is a decentralised, massively multiplayer online game (MMO). Unlike other MMO games, Tower Unite is hosted, managed, and powered by the players”
Three key zones
There are three key arenas within Tower Unite. These are a personalised condo, a communal plaza where everyone can meet and greet to their hearts’ content, and a Games World.
The Condo is a home space that users can arrange to suit their tastes and where they can watch and listen to whichever media is grabbing their attention at any point in time on YouTube or Soundcloud. A key feature will be that your buddies will be able to share in exactly what you’re enjoying.
The Plaza will allow users to instantly hook up with like-minded players as well as trading and generally upgrading and unlocking enhancements to the condo. It also boasts a boardwalk, a theatre, a nightclub, ports to the Games World and a casino where you can gamble virtual chips with your friends. This could be shape of the online casino of the future.
But it is the Games World where the designers are really hoping Tower Unite to really come into its own. The Games World is intended to provide large multiplayer games for 4-18 players. Getting those players together is what the Plaza is for. The whole offering is tailored to precisely this multi-player payoff.
An early assessment suggests that whilst the ambition and vision for the project look impeccable, there is still some way to go before those ambitions can be fully realised. In particular, the gaming offers appear to be restricted to the developers’ own productions. Doubtless, the ongoing crowd funding attempts are an effort at bringing this aspect of the proposition up to the level that is set elsewhere. There are plans – but no more at this stage – to incorporate Vive and Oculus Rift as well as unnamed others.
At the time of going to press, the latest crowdfunding effort appears to be struggling to meet the $100,000 goal required to deliver that next tranche of funding. We’ve got our fingers crossed on that because there is a lot that is really cool about Tower Unite, not least the evident commitment of those involved to the gaming community. It makes a refreshing change from the corporate mentality that shapes so much of the games industry elsewhere.
As a forum that seeks to bring together and updates the best of Third Life, media portals and multiplayer gaming options the idea has no shortage of plus points. There is some serious talent involved in what has already been produced. The hope must be that they attract some serious support – either through the crowd or in the form of a one-off sponsor. The idea is too good not to go forwards.