Linden Lab, the makers of shared creative spaces including Second Life®, PatternsTM, CreatorverseTM, and dioTM, today announced the launch of Versu, a new character-driven interactive fiction platform that immerses readers in living stories. Versu is available for free today for iPad on the App Store. Versions for Android devices will be released soon.
A product of Linden Lab’s acquisition of LittleTextPeople earlier this year, Versu provides unique narrative experiences in which the reader is an integral part of character-driven interactive stories. In Versu, you take on a character with distinct preferences, concerns, and desires, as you explore and change a story through your decisions and interactions with other characters. The characters you encounter are endowed with sophisticated artificial intelligence and have their own unique personalities, motivations, and emotional reactions as you interact with them. The decisions you make and how you treat other characters define your character in the story and influence the narrative, giving each title the potential for many unique experiences to explore. In the future, the tool set used to build these immersive stories will be made available to users, enabling readers to insert their own characters and scenes into the narratives they explore.
The initial version of Versu for iPad is available today for free on the App Store. In addition to a brief tutorial, an interactive scene adapted from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and an original playable ghost story by Emily Short, titled “The House on a Cliff,” are included with the free app. Another playable story by Short, a murder mystery titled, “A Family Supper,” is available today for $4.99 and additional titles in a variety of genres will be periodically added.
“Entertainment is most gratifying when it’s driven by your own creativity,” said Rod Humble, CEO of Linden Lab. “That’s why at Linden Lab, we make digital spaces where people can have fun while exercising their creativity. Reading has always engaged a reader’s imagination, but with Versu, you’re not just a reader, you’re actually a creative participant in the story. Today is just the first step for Versu, with the iPad version and our first few stories, but we’ll soon be expanding to Android devices and adding more titles, and in the future, we plan to open the platform to allow authors to publish their own work on Versu as well.”
iPad is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.
Android is a trademark of Google Inc.
About Linden Lab
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in San Francisco, Linden Lab makes shared creative spaces that inspire and empower users to explore and share their creativity with others.
In 2003, the company released Second Life, the pioneering virtual world filled by the unique creations of its users, who can build anything they can imagine, socialize with others from around the world, and share or sell their creations in a thriving real-money marketplace.
In 2012, Linden Lab is expanding its portfolio to include four new digital entertainment products, including Patterns, a new 3D universe for users to shape; Creatorverse, a tablet and mobile game that allows users to set their creativity in motion; dio, a new shared creative space on the web; and Versu, an interactive fiction experience that makes the reader a part of a living story.
For more about Linden Lab, its products, and career opportunities please visit LindenLab.com.
As for myself, I’ve been a fan of Emily Short and her work for quite some years now, and I’m very much looking forward to getting my hands on Versu for a look-see.
What about you?
3 thoughts on “Linden Lab Launches a New Platform for Character-Driven Interactive Fiction: Versu for iPad”
How much of the contents of the alternative story isn’t written by the author? And how much control does the author got on what happen to ensure it stays within the intended writing style, genre etc?
Problem is even a ‘hobbyist’ can easily skip over Linden Lab & publish their creations directly on iPhone, to the net, or wherever they choose? Versu has same disadvantages as SL. It is another walled garden that hides a creative persons labors inside Linden Lab’s proprietary system. Less visibility than publishing independently! Less audience reachable! Less profits also! The developer should be happy only with Linden Lab’s ‘monetization’ handout? I think most developers would say no to this bummer of a deal. Just like SL, Versu is also very limiting. You can only make ‘choose your own adventures’ with preset AI characters, same as SL it is very limited with LSL. Using any of dozens of free publishing tools gives wider scope.
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