An image of Tateru Nino's second life avatar, printed in a book, atop a stack of other booksWhy are the Elder Scrolls Online and Star Wars: The Old Republic like Second Life?

They’re both built in much the same way… collaboratively from the inside.

These two major MMOG properties use HeroEngine which (if you ignore Open Simulator) is probably the closest engine to Second Life, insofar as its content-creation methodology goes.

With HeroEngine (as you will get an inkling of in the video below), you’ll see that creating content in HeroEngine is actually not that much different to creating content in Second Life – though in HeroEngine you essentially forego rendering-inefficient constructs like prims.

Groups and teams of developers can pile into HeroEngine and create content in a surprisingly similar fashion to the way individuals and groups of content-creators do for Second Life.

Of course, one of the major differences is that the content is specifically created to work well specifically with the strengths and weaknesses of the engine – something that many creators do not think too much about when working in Second Life.

When the time comes to go live all of that content is neatly packaged and preloaded, to avoid the slowdowns and issues that come with dynamic, streamed content.

From where I sit, the idea of “building from the inside” – which many people only know from Second Life, although it has been used extensively for more than two decades prior to Second Life’s inception – will become increasingly prevalent for making games, both online and off.

The sheer power of large-scale collaborative content-creation that this model embodies has often been overlooked, but with two high-profile titles sitting on HeroEngine (and more on the way), I don’t think it is a methodology that will remain overlooked for very long.

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