Castle Marrach Opens its Doors to the Entire Internet
BERKELEY, CA, October 2, 2000 Castle Marrach, Skotos Tech's first multiplayer interactive fiction game, has opened up its beta test to the entire Internet. An earlier, limited beta test that began on September 21 has became an instant success. Players from all over the world can now try out Skotos' new online text-dominant game.
Castle Marrach is a unique experience combining the best elements of games and stories. "It's multiplayer interactive fiction," says Christopher Allen, Skotos Tech President & CEO. "We've created the background, the main characters, the outline of a story arc, and the first plots, but how it goes from there is up to the players."
Thus far, the players of Castle Marrach have been enthusiastic. Matt Seidl, one of the early beta testers, enthusiastically commented "The last two nights have been some of the best role-playing I've done in quite some time." Another beta tester, Erica Mallat, noted, "I have viewed and taken part in a great number of 'dramatic' scenes. I am impressed and very, very addicted."
"The overwhelmingly positive reaction to Castle Marrach has been amazing," says Christopher Allen. "In the first week of our limited beta test, we welcomed about a hundred pre-selected players. One minute the castle was empty and the next it was full of people working together to tell stories. In the first couple of days a major feud developed into a duel and rumors began to circulate about an upcoming marriage between the characters of two of the players. We've barely had time to tell the stories we had planned."
Castle Marrach's multi-layered background is full of mysterious stories. The castle itself sitting atop a high mountain peak with only clouds and sky and snow as far as the eye can see is a conundrum. Who built the ancient fortress? Why has the drawbridge not been let down in living memory? How does the Castle replenish its supplies? The players themselves are enigmas too. Where did they come from? What has become of their memories? Why did they awaken now? The answers can only be discovered through roleplaying.
Even when the mysteries of the castle begin to unravel, intrigue, romance, and adventure will form the core of new stories in the castle. "We've created a whole world," says Christopher Allen, "all contained within Castle Marrach. There are tens of important court members and we expect thousands of guests. The possibilities for stories are boundless."
Castle Marrach is the first game showcasing Skotos Tech's StoryBuilder Server. Socialization is supported by a colorful set of gestures, evocations, poses, stances, and gaits. Carefully described people, places, and things, each filled with vivid details, create an immersive virtual reality. In-character forums and in-game memories help supplement the roleplaying experience. Together, these systems form the core of a multiplayer interactive fiction game.
However, the StoryBuilder Server not only offers an excellent platform for interactive fiction games it also allows non-programmers to create these games. "Castle Marrach proves that anyone can use our StoryBuilder Server to create a game," says Christopher Allen. "Skotos coordinated the creation of the game, but Castle Marrach was largely built by external game designers and they didn't do any programming at all." Skotos is in the process of recruiting the Skotos Seven, a group of game designers who will create the next generation of Skotos games using the StoryBuilder Server. Other upcoming releases include Golden Gate: 1849, the first of Skotos' historical offerings, and games based upon Lovecraft Country, Paranoia, and Og.
The beta test of Castle Marrach continues through the end of December, 2000. Interested players can sign up at http://www.skotos.net/games/marrach/.
Skotos Tech is an online game company committed to creating a community of StoryBuilders and players. Skotos offers tools that allow its game designers to concentrate on the plot, character, and detail of the worlds they create. Skotos provides an environment that allows players to explore these worlds, share their accomplishments, and possibly become StoryBuilders themselves. Skotos Tech is located in Berkeley, California. It was incorporated in 1999 and plans for continued release of its virtual worlds throughout 2001. More information is available at http://www.skotos.net.