Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Interview with Corey Evans of GridRock City

A native of Montreal, Canada, Corey Evans is foremost a father and husband. His passion for 3d games and virtual worlds began to take shape in Second Life where he had his own business. He is expanding his 3d content and hosting services into Blue Mars in the form of 'GridRock City' a virtual environment for creative people to collaborate on virtual world / casual gaming experiences.

Q: How long have you been involved in virtual worlds, Corey?
CE: Well I started out in Second Life where I had a business selling sculpted prims. While I was in Second Life I met some amazing, creative people, and one of those, Gypsy Paz teamed up with me to explore a concept we had for the emerging Opensim. We ran our own Opensim, which we called Gridrock (derived partly from my name reversed, yeroc > yroc > Gridrock). However, problems with the lack of currency support in Opensim, and concerns over the Hypergrid, led us to look for alternatives. At one point we looked at the Exit Reality VRML plug-in, which you could say was phase 2 of Gridrock.

Another amazing person I came across was Romsey Homewood, and we collaborated together on a sci-fi project called Nebula West, which was exhibited in the Second Life 6th Anniversary celebrations.

Nebula West

All along I had been evaluating other virtual world platforms, such as Vast Parks, until finally, around April 2009, I heard about Blue Mars via a Google search for virtual worlds, and reading more about it in an SLU forum post. I signed up for the City Developer program, downloaded the City Editor and loaded up Taki. That was the defining moment for me. I had always been a fan of Crysis, but Taki demonstrated that the leap from gaming engine to virtual world engine was indeed possible, and the CryEngine2 was probably the best gaming engine out there.

Gypsy was heading in another direction at this time, so along with Romsey I teamed up with Luna Bliss, another SL resident who has a garden business there, and who mentored me in my early days in SL, and we started to plan Gridrock City on the Blue Mars platform. Luna now takes care of the business side of Gridrock City and is also our City designer.

We also have a fourth member of our team, Iain, who you may know from his alphaklata-marsdev Blue Mars blog, who concentrates on the architectural aspects of Gridrock City.

Q: So what kind of City will Gridrock City be?
CE: Well at first I toyed with the idea of being normal, corporate, but someone introduced me to the story of Nikola Tesla. This hidden genius, this truly great man, standing behind the curtains while others such as Marconi and Edison stole the limelight. This story gave me inspiration for the theme for Gridrock City.

The City will have four Blocks, which will be divided into Guilds. Each Guild will be dedicated to a particular craft, and the Tailors' Guild will be the first, headed by a Guild Steward, and Romsey will fill that first role. Other Guilds are yet to be finalised, but an Authors' Guild is likely. Each Guild Steward will have shared ownership of the Block, and will champion that particular Guild skill.

Q: What is the future Schedule for Gridrock City?
CE: Well I hope to get Gridrock City included in the next major build of the Blue Mars client, and I hope to have Block developers included in that build.

Good luck, and thanks very much Corey.
CE: You're welcome.

Further information on Gridrock City, and a teaser trailer, is available on the official website.