Goodbye, Glitch
November 14, 2012 6:22 PM   Subscribe

A year after the game Glitch 'unlaunched' to retool, Glitch is closing. Glitchens everywhere mourn their fabulous homes. Glitch had a quirky style and offered a large number of possible crafts to their players, but unfortunately the game did not attract a big enough audience to remain viable. previously previously
posted by winna (184 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Sys Rq at 6:25 PM on November 14, 2012

omg I haven't been on much lately but I has a sad. They'd been continuously rolling out new content recently too.
posted by juv3nal at 6:26 PM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

I know I just went to log in and thought it was maybe for maintenance until I read the note.

I am actually very sad. I have a lovely house and many pigs and trees and herb gardens that will vanish forever.
posted by winna at 6:26 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I wanted to try it but it seemed like it was in some sort of closed beta every time I tried to sign up. Guess I just missed it.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:27 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

More than half-seriously considering a tattoo of the ancient symbol of Alph, the giant whose shrine was on the street where I bought my first house (and scrambled after the reset to level- and currant-grind enough to get the exact same one back again before someone else snapped it up).

Goodbye, baby museum of glitch simulacra! Goodnight, Groddle! :(

(Note that we still have until 8pm PST on December 9 to revisit all the most beautiful places and bask in the music there.)
posted by bewilderbeast at 6:30 PM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

the game everending
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:30 PM on November 14, 2012 [9 favorites]

It just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me that they're closing because they couldn't attract enough players. I mean, the game was in closed beta for ages and ages, only reopening a little while ago. What did they expect?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:31 PM on November 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

The music was always amazing. Half the time I stayed in Shimla Mirch just because I loved the soundtrack so much.

They also said that the move to mobile and away from Flash were additional factors. I wonder that they didn't build an app game, but it was so complex maybe it was too challenging.
posted by winna at 6:33 PM on November 14, 2012

I played it off and on for about a week. It didn’t hook me, but I never did the social aspects, just farmed the skill tree.
posted by stilist at 6:35 PM on November 14, 2012

It was the most boring game I ever played. All gamification and no fucking game at all.
posted by unSane at 6:36 PM on November 14, 2012 [14 favorites]

I played Glitch day in and day out for several months last year. I kept toying with the idea of playing again, but I guess it's too late now. It's too bad things didn't work out, it was a beautiful game.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 6:36 PM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

That's funny. I was just wondering last week if the game was out of beta and open yet. Sys Rq is right.
posted by zsazsa at 6:36 PM on November 14, 2012

Aw man, I spent so many workdays mostly afk in Onbo Park with the highland music on quietly in the background of whatever I was supposed to be doing, taking hourly breaks to stretch and brush foxes for a few minutes and sneak /home to put the fibers in a tower SDB for sale. SO MANY.

Here is one of my favourite Glitch memories from recent weeks: stoot barfield (Stewart Butterfield) offers foxbrushing advice to an eager new player. Lookit that sucker!.
posted by bewilderbeast at 6:37 PM on November 14, 2012 [6 favorites]

For current players, you can continue to play until December 6th. And it appears they've granted everyone(?) 2500 credits to buy things in the wardrobe/vanity as a farewell, too.
posted by asciident at 6:38 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I miss GNE. But I never really found my place on Glitch. I really wanted to like Glitch, but it just wasn't the same for me.
posted by yeoz at 6:39 PM on November 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

I learned about Glitch here and it was one of the very few things my teenage daughter and I enjoyed together.
It was just brilliant and will be terribly missed in my house.
posted by Mamapotomus at 6:41 PM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Just yesterday I was talking with a friend about Glitch and how, no matter how much I love it, will probably never gain the commercial appeal required to sustain a game of that size and how it was more of an art project than a real business. But, maybe Stewart Butterfield et al. had just enough Flickr money lying around to keep funding it.

I guess I jinxed it. :(
posted by mhum at 6:43 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Glitch became interesting to me once I met a bunch of Mefites. It was really a chat system plus ways to goof off in a game world (that had beautiful art and music, too). But I reached a point where a) most activities were grinds rather than fun exploration (build a tower being a stand-out) and b) I got an iPad, and Glitch was never (that I know) ported to that.

It would have been a pretty neat "I have five to ten minutes to myself, I'll play on my iPad" game. It was smart, had a whimsical heart, and I think just needed to be more fun or more portable to succeed.
posted by zippy at 6:45 PM on November 14, 2012

dammit, someone just tried to turn me onto this game TONIGHT and I was sitting down thinking "hey, maybe I'll check out glitch, let me look at my rss feeds first" and right there, Goodbye Glitch.

Plate. Shrimp. Plate O Shrimp.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:45 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Aw man. I played the early betas and they were beautiful, but I think being flash and web-based meant they could never run on iPads or iPhones and that's where nearly 100% of my gaming is done these days.
posted by mathowie at 6:46 PM on November 14, 2012

I got notified of this by the warning from Paypal that they'd cancelled my subscription.

/sigh. Although I didn't play as much as I could have, I got really attached to my character and the world. So much whimsy.

Here's hoping that whatever they've got brewing is in a more universal platform (bad Flash, bad) and is more friendly to mobiles.
posted by thanotopsis at 6:49 PM on November 14, 2012

Nooooo I liked petting trees and mailing people cheeses
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:57 PM on November 14, 2012 [7 favorites]

Oh man! I loved my little life there as fromohio. But yeah, the last few times I haven't seen anyone I know, or really, anyone. But it was so fun! and so magical! And engaging in all the wrong ways. for any productivity in real life purposes.
posted by pomegranate at 6:57 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I love this game so much, and will miss it a lot.

This is really sad, and I feel terrible for everyone at Tiny Speck. This was clearly an experience made with lots of love and attention to detail and and and ... ... yeah.
posted by wells at 6:59 PM on November 14, 2012

What unSane said. Played it for about 20 minutes, bored me to tears.
posted by mullingitover at 7:05 PM on November 14, 2012

I tried it briefly and really wanted to get into it, but I just couldn't.
posted by immlass at 7:08 PM on November 14, 2012

Okay, one more, the other recent favourite Glitch memory is figuring out that if there is a 2d6 item in the game where when you roll them they appear above your head and the result is announced in local chat... and Apocalypse World only ever requires that you roll 2d6... you can definitely assemble a gaming group out of your nerd BFFs and hang out to play in someone's living room with drinks and snacks, in costume even.
posted by bewilderbeast at 7:10 PM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

This makes me really sad. I love Glitch! It's such a great, relaxing game to play at night, to wind down. I'm going to miss my little Glitch.
posted by sarcasticah at 7:11 PM on November 14, 2012

I am so sad. :( :( (I am Yubi on Glitch.)
posted by Andrhia at 7:12 PM on November 14, 2012

I was Snarkbutt on Glitch. Not that it matters much any more.
posted by thanotopsis at 7:19 PM on November 14, 2012

I'm going to just say this: This game was an awful trap and waste of time for smart people. It was literally sweatshop online except that it didn't contribute to keeping your family alive. I am sad for those who worked on it, but happy to see it go.

To all those who loved it: I cannot fault you, nor argue that my pursuits are more valuable. I am speaking from my own experience, and yours may have been very different.
posted by poe at 7:20 PM on November 14, 2012 [5 favorites]

uh, yeah, my experience was very different from that. it is a beautiful game and it will be missed.
posted by nadawi at 7:22 PM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

The worst thing about a project like this failing is that it discourages others from trying anything similar.
posted by chronkite at 7:24 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm so sad. I kept waiting for them to roll out an iOS app, but I knew it would be a major project to convert the game from Flash to JS or something else iOS friendly. I'm sorry they don't have the resources to do that because that could increase their userbase 10-100x.
posted by bendy at 7:25 PM on November 14, 2012

Any good Let's Plays for it?
posted by Ad hominem at 7:26 PM on November 14, 2012

what the fuck? Why am I just finding out about this? I want to mail people cheese, too!
posted by Tarumba at 7:28 PM on November 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

ARGH. This makes me so sad, because I'd only played a couple hours and was really looking forward to really digging into the game.

Any places I should definitely visit before the game shuts down?
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:28 PM on November 14, 2012

Just last weekend I was talking with a friend about Glitch and wondering if it was out of closed beta yet.

Sad I'll never get to try it. It looked like my kind of game.
posted by Georgina at 7:29 PM on November 14, 2012

Yeah Tarumba, I tend to find out about these things when they're closing too.
posted by JHarris at 7:30 PM on November 14, 2012


Go to Lotha Hart in Nottis. Imbibe some Purple Essence. Definitely check out the ancient lands and become overcome with nostalgia.

You can also travel around to some places via dinosaur butt.

Find some Seam Streets, too.
posted by wells at 7:32 PM on November 14, 2012

If anyone wants to try it before it closes I think new players can still be invited.

I'll really miss the game I made some great friends on it and spent a wasted a lot of time on it during a time in my life where I really really needed both company and a diversion.

I'll never forget coming back to find my house full of random kindess. I'll post the pic if I can find it.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 7:34 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Biggest problem with the game was.. there really wasn't a game. Art was fun, the setting was a refreshing change, and hopefully some of the team will work on something more game-focused (and less mindlessly grindy and microtransaction-focused).
posted by curious nu at 7:35 PM on November 14, 2012 [9 favorites]

Oh, look what I just found in my email: an old beta invite link for Glitch. Just click on it and click the "Give it a try" button and you can play too!
posted by zsazsa at 7:37 PM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

There were a lot of (and I do mean a LOT of) emergent gameplay things happening all throughout the game world that utilized or rejected the game structures according to the whimsy of the players.

I mean, I get that the game wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but there was a lot more going on than the grindy aspects.
posted by wells at 7:38 PM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

wells: can you elaborate on some of those?
posted by curious nu at 7:39 PM on November 14, 2012

Whimsy is a good word. It was whole-heartedly a rejection of classic game tropes.
posted by thanotopsis at 7:40 PM on November 14, 2012

some people really enjoy grindfests. people like different stuff. for instance, i don't like halo, but i understand the appeal.
posted by nadawi at 7:41 PM on November 14, 2012

Darn. I felt like it wasn't that engaging to me, a player who enjoys more traditional gameplay, but it was enough for me to waste the occasional hour. It was definitely much better than other social games.

But I feel like a big problem was that the game didn't really have a good hook to keep me coming back. I never got in a really satisfying progression loop, where I tried to improve one thing, that then leads me to improve another thing, and so on. It worked at first, but the fun started diminishing rather quickly.

I really wish they could at least make a more conventional (ie single player/nonsocial) game set in the universe, as the art and backstory were a big part of the charm, but it sounds like the company is running on fumes.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:42 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I really wish they could at least make a more conventional game set in the universe, as the art and backstory were a big part of the charm

This x10000000000000. But, yeah.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:46 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I never got in a really satisfying progression loop, where I tried to improve one thing, that then leads me to improve another thing, and so on. It worked at first, but the fun started diminishing rather quickly.

I dug up my comments over on mefightclub when I tried this a few months ago, and my takeaway from the game was: "gather stuff, use stuff to craft, use crafted stuff to gather more stuff, repeat." Most of the decorative options seemed to require real monies, too.
posted by curious nu at 7:46 PM on November 14, 2012

Man, I've only played for a few minutes and the music and sound design is fantastic. I hope they release a soundtrack or something as a going away present.
posted by zsazsa at 7:50 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I played it for about 6 hours today after not playing for a few months, and it sucked me right back in, and now this? GRARRRRRR.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:51 PM on November 14, 2012

you can find the music here and here.
posted by nadawi at 7:53 PM on November 14, 2012 [5 favorites]

Glitch has always looked interesting and I am sorry to hear about it closing, but surely someone should have realized that Flash might not have been the ideal platform for an MMO launched in 2011.
posted by oulipian at 7:55 PM on November 14, 2012

I loved it when it was in Alpha (milking butterflies was awesome!), then I stopped playing for some reason and never went back. Not sure why, really. I still follow them on Twitter and FB, despite not having played in forever, 'cause it was fun to see what they were up to. Sad that they couldn't make a viable business of it.
posted by gemmy at 8:01 PM on November 14, 2012

One thing in this story that hasn't really been featured: Tiny Speck is offering to refund people's charges and subscriptions for the last year.

I had 98.00 coming to me. Not that I'm going to take it: I could use the money, yes, but I have a job, and a lot of talented people I really respect are soon to be out of theirs. On their refund page, you can either get your refund, have it donated to charity, or let Tiny Speck keep it.
posted by thanotopsis at 8:04 PM on November 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

One thing about Glitch is that I don't think that it was meant to be a game like an MMORPG (or maybe any other modern genre). I think it and its predecessor, Game Neverending, were much more like a social-ish MUD than anything else.
posted by mhum at 8:09 PM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

some emergent gameplay stuff I've witnessed, and I've missed a lot:

The customization of houses and home streets meant that players could create specifically-themed spaces like fully-curated museums (Glitch items attached to stories written by the player) or environments that evoke a certain mood/feeling/story.

Communal activities (partially encouraged by achievements) where up to twenty players teleport/travel simultaneously to several locations throughout the world, or host parties on special temporary streets, or crazy lag-tastic gatherings on popular trade routes to give out Zilloween candy.

Player-led ghost tours. (there are ghosts to actually go find, too)

Storytelling and role-playing threads in the forums, supported by in-game theming/costuming/set dressing.

Glitch Routes - Players working together to subvert the grinding aspects by creating resource-rich home streets and linking them together to free up time and in-game currency for other things like parties.

My favorite: There was this funny thing you could do, where you would leap up to interact with something in the air/higher than your character, and interact with the item (like, say, milking a butterfly), and you could keep that context menu active long enough that you would simply hang in the air, mid-leap. You could even hang on other Glitchen in this manner. A bunch of us coined a term for it (Snurtling), and it became this incredible ice-breaker as people would enter a street and see over a dozen players frozen in mid-leap, merrily conversing and trading tips or just shooting the shit about whatever. "COME SNURTLE!" we'd shout, and sometimes that would scare people off, but the majority stuck around to try and join us up in the air. It was bizarre and had nothing to do with the game, entirely 'unproductive,' but ridiculously fun and unexpected.

Lots and lots of cool semi-altruistic systems have popped up as players have leveled up and amassed Too Much Stuff, or find it fun to spread around the wealth in super-creative ways. People leave notes in little out-of-the-way nooks, with items or clues on how to find a rare piece of treasure, etc.

One of the skills you can learn allows you rename animals. Sometimes the names are regretful or lame, but I've seen some really great puns or themed streets where all the chickens are named after characters in novels, etc. (Favorite piggy name? Pjörk.) One of my fave Easter eggs in the game is typing "KFC" into the Local Chat when standing near chickens. :)

Some players have started new accounts to see how far along they can get in the world without using their allotted home, or attempting various real-world behavior patterns, like being a Glitch vegetarian, stuff like that. Depending on pure foraging rather than storage and crafting. Never teleporting. Only meditating for energy and mood. Etc.

I am sure other players have even better examples, too.
posted by wells at 8:15 PM on November 14, 2012 [26 favorites]

This is sad news. I don't play it like I did during Alpha because it seemed to grindy, but I always had a lot of fun. I love Zilloween and the parties and naming the animals. (Pigs were "Bumblescrump", butterflies were "Crimpshrine" and chickens were "Blatz".)

The music and the art were really special.
posted by kendrak at 8:37 PM on November 14, 2012

If someone invited me to COME SNURTLE I'd punch them in the face and run away.

I guess this game really wasn't made for me.
posted by unSane at 8:42 PM on November 14, 2012

I have worked on this game pretty much nonstop for the past 3 1/2 years, and man, I gotta tell you, well... fuck, I don't have anything to tell you. I'm a mixed bag of emotions right now. But! If anyone is looking to hire some talented people, you should definitely see if anyone fits your bill here.
posted by ericost at 8:44 PM on November 14, 2012 [25 favorites]

posted by evidenceofabsence at 8:45 PM on November 14, 2012

I am crushed. I loved Glitch. The world needs more games like it - sure, it was grindy, if you played it that way (and there were times when I was all about the badges and leaderboards), but it was also a decent platform for just goofing off. It was simple quirky fun and not puzzly strategery killing fields. It became my go to destinations when I needed to recenter on a stressful day or clear my brain of whatever bs was blocking my creative juices. A few minutes in Ur was a blast of internet sunshine... I don't know what it was about that place (the art? the music? surely it can't just be that simple!).
posted by imbri at 8:54 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Indie Games are the new Indie Bands, I only hear about them after they have broken up.
posted by roboton666 at 8:56 PM on November 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

If someone invited me to COME SNURTLE I'd punch them in the face and run away.

I guess this game really wasn't made for me.

*splanks unSane*

posted by Sys Rq at 8:59 PM on November 14, 2012 [11 favorites]

As someone who got in during alpha (and also was on GNE, its original inspiration) I'm gutted by this, and surprised by how sad I'll be to lose that quirky, gorgeous game-world, given that I haven't spent a huge amount of time there over the past year.

Ever since the return to beta, I'd worried about drift: that the attempt to solve gameplay problems behind closed doors would create a vicious circle, as early enthusiasts gradually dropped away and thinned out the social aspects of the sandbox, and the improvisation that came out of it. (Splank Flight was hilarious.) The people who stuck around tended to be the ones most tolerant of the drift, which I suspect helped perpetuate it. It resembled, in some ways, a sped-up version of the lifecycle of MUDs and MOOs, especially when the home-decoration features arrived, which always struck me as a bad sign.

Stewart's a perfectionist and I admire that, but in hindsight I wish that he and Tiny Speck had been willing to work with the flaws in Glitch's original gameplay model.

Hire the people who built this. I'll be hanging around Ix for the next few weeks.
posted by holgate at 9:02 PM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

I love this game. I'm going to miss it so much. The community was (mostly) really great, and the way that helpfulness was coded into the game (with quests for giving people gifts, getting more out of mining/digging when more people were there, etc) really made a community that was focused on fun more than most games.

I have not played a ton of MMOs, but I doubt that as many of them end up with the same kinds of flash mobs, performance art, poetry in notes left randomly around the game world, and creatively named stuff (both the officially named places and the player-named animals and towers).

posted by NoraReed at 9:06 PM on November 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

If anybody wanted to try it, and didn't get a chance to, you have until December 9th, and I'm just going to leave this right here:
posted by crawl at 9:10 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Glitch, the game that kept saying "hi" and running away.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 9:11 PM on November 14, 2012 [8 favorites]

Also, if you log in before we shutdown, there is always "/beans" in local chat.
posted by crawl at 9:17 PM on November 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

apparently Prisencolinensinainciusol triggers audio again too
posted by juv3nal at 9:30 PM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have played Glitch for a year this month; it is the only online game I've ever subscribed to. Folks have already mentioned the artwork, the music, and the community, but what hooked me initially was its charm - and its sense of humor.

I'm a bit surprised, actually, at how saddened I am about losing the game; I've grown fond of my little glitch and the world she helped imagine into being. Like so many things in life, the actual game may not have lived up to everything it wanted to be, but in the effort were some truly magical moments.

You probably had to be there.

Mneme, Curator, Ur Museum of Wine, Women & Song
posted by faineant at 9:50 PM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm going to miss it -- I've played off and on for the last couplefew months, and it's been nice to hang out with other MeFites there. (I'm Jennifer Walters).
posted by asperity at 10:01 PM on November 14, 2012

I eventually got bored and wandered off. But one of the things that resonates here is that I was just playing with my Nexus 7 earlier and thinking, "You know, I know they think that Flash is dying, but I wish I didn't have to jump all these hurdles to get it on here, because there are still people developing for Flash."

And, well, this is the thing. Whatever the successor technologies, if you built your game for Flash and you've spent all that time making it awesome on Flash, these few companies declaring that, "Oh, users don't actually need Flash," have done quite a bit to hasten your demise, I think. I dunno if Glitch would have been viable even if that weren't an issue, but I'm baffled by the insistence on declaring Flash dead long before that actually seems to be the case.
posted by gracedissolved at 10:04 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by IndigoRain at 10:08 PM on November 14, 2012

Played it, enjoyed it, but it was a bit sandboxy for my general tastes.

Still, sorry to see it go.
posted by Archelaus at 10:18 PM on November 14, 2012

Oh man, Glitch. I obsessed over it for a good couple weeks weeks late last year, exploring the content and the skill tree and farting around with other mefites. Went to a party that ColdChef through. Played some competitive minigames. Helped a friend contrive some rather degenerate hyper-efficient mining routines. Renamed a lot of animals after various mefites.

Probably my favorite thing was when ericost made me a Plate Of Beans. Such a wonderful weird little thing, really made my week.

It was a marvelous little space but I never really found a game in it and I wasn't in the market for such a visually rich, textually constrained chat space and so at some point I just stopped actually playing it. This was before the unlaunching, and I kept meaning to pop back after that to see what tweaks were being made but never did. But I kept working the skill tree for months; I liked that I could passively develop skills via the web without even popping into the game itself, and so I think over a four or five months I managed to learn everything it was possible to learn.

I don't know what I expected from Glitch. I never played GNE. I don't know to what extent Tiny Speck knew what it expected from it exactly. But it was a nice place to be confused about.
posted by cortex at 10:20 PM on November 14, 2012 [10 favorites]

Sigh. Many enjoyable hours spent in the likes of Ix and Chakra Phool but my interest faded away when herb pilfering became the bane of honest gardeners. Great style, loved the music but it got grindy and the community seemed to drift towards drama. I wanted more from my spice trees and Cocktail Crafting but never quite got it. I kept meaning to check out the new sights and sounds but it was 341 days since I last dropped in so the pull wasn't strong.

Should have got my kids on before the end, revisiting Glitch tonight reminds me how much simple fun can be had there if you aren't looking for an actual game.
posted by N-stoff at 10:22 PM on November 14, 2012

Many enjoyable hours spent in the likes of Ix and Chakra Phool but my interest faded away when herb pilfering became the bane of honest gardeners. Great style, loved the music but it got grindy and the community seemed to drift towards drama.

FWIW, the herb drama basically vanished when the new housing was introduced. There was still some drama right up to the end, but you'd have to really pay attention to the forums to notice.

(There was some recent butt drama. Apparently, some people really do not like climbing up cartoon dinosaur butts. Weirdos.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:41 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I really wish they had read this and thought about it. Glitch focused on Explorers and Socializers, but it turns out you need some Achievers and Killers to keep things interesting. And maybe a bit of a plot?
posted by lubujackson at 10:42 PM on November 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

posted by KatlaDragon at 10:42 PM on November 14, 2012

I played Glitch a lot at the end of last year or so. Ended up banning myself from it, much like Minecraft, on account of having Things To Do. Only two games I've ever done that with, though FTL is currently teetering on the brink there, and Nethack, like Crawl, is on permanent probation.

Unlike Minecraft, about which I have absolutely nothing negative to say, it wasn't too hard to ban myself from Glitch, as there were some negatives, which made it easier. For me these mainly comprised the way the whole Glitch world stood either on or over the edge of seeming - to me - unbearably and cloyingly twee, for all the music was lovely, the artwork was great, the game content substantial (if grindy), and the community, in my experience at least, uniformly welcoming and friendly. Much as I did become addicted to it - enough to ban myself - I also, as I was playing it last year, found myself hating it too. I wanted to spray graffiti everywhere or break things. Or something. I didn't. But I wanted to. And oy was it playable nonetheless.

If this is remotely similar to your experience, I urge you to log in again, as I just did for the first time in nearly a year. Lots of things have changed (what the hell happened to my house - oh, ok, the whole housing thing has totally changed, and undoubtedly for the better), but that cloying tweeness is now totally gone. It's now a dying world, suffused with melancholy, much more beautiful than you remember. Visit while you still can.
posted by motty at 10:42 PM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

I played this a bit back when, bought a house [back when you had to save up for that shit and scour the market], named some animals. Butterflies after pokemon starting with Butterfree, of course. Then one pig named Emboar and the others named after Dukes of Hazzard characters [starting with Boss Hogg]. Oh, and Sir Oinks-A-Lot. Chickens named after Hindu gods, which I think I inherited from whoever had my house before me. I joined a group that pooled emblems to make icons. I traded cubimals and music blocks.

I quit when I felt it was no better than Farmville. I would log in, tend to my animals and trees, and log out. I logged in out of a sense of obligation, and I quit because I was disgusted the game brought me to that.

I remember being angry when I was trying to cap daily on coins collected, and someone had clearly run through collecting the favor coins, leaving the worthless money and mood. I remember being angry when people harvested out the wood trees on my street, leaving fruit trees and bean trees. It was all the frustration of WoW gathering with none of the story, or skill, or satisfaction.

While I had/have quite a few friends who evangelized the game [one of whom has posted here], I agree that there was no real game there. "Emergent gameplay" to me just reads as "bring your own conception of fun, because the creators didn't provide one". But hey, I don't enjoy Minecraft, either, so. Different strokes, I guess.
posted by ego at 11:09 PM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

I want to mail people cheese

These people will mail cheese.

Perhaps learning what is in the final cube will move some of you?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:31 PM on November 14, 2012

Glitch got me through being bedridden for a couple weeks in December, and again in February. Grind-y though it may be, it gave me something cheerful to do when I was too sick to do much of anything else. I'm sad to see it go.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:44 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I really wish they had read this and thought about it. Glitch focused on Explorers and Socializers, but it turns out you need some Achievers and Killers to keep things interesting. And maybe a bit of a plot?

I think it had achievers covered. And there were bits of plot, but if you were to say there should have been more, I couldn't disagree with you.

It wouldn't have been the game I loved anymore if it had catered to the Killers though.
posted by juv3nal at 12:10 AM on November 15, 2012

It was a good game but my kids thought it was boring as hell. they should relaunch with an appeal to four-year-olds.
posted by parmanparman at 12:20 AM on November 15, 2012

I lost hours and hours mining in Ajaya Bliss. Met a lot of neat people there.

Best part of the game? Randomly running into someone who asked, "Are you MetaFilter's ColdChef?!" Which would always lead to a lovely conversation.
posted by ColdChef at 12:30 AM on November 15, 2012 [6 favorites]

This game could have been fine given the right monetization model and the willingness to get the hell out of beta. (ok, being in flash didn't help at all) Beautiful game. Sent link of devs to our HR in hopes we can pick a few up.
posted by jopreacher at 12:36 AM on November 15, 2012

When we had the Old Housing and had houses on streets, instead of our own home streets, I had the honor of living next door to ColdChef. I won't be his neighbor anymore. :(
posted by IndigoRain at 12:38 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

joyceanmachine and others who are just now having a look at the game: Do not miss the "Last Pilgrimage of Esquibeth" quest! I might have to reminisce that and record it in Fraps for posterity. So sad :(
posted by Skybly at 12:47 AM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

It's a real shame that Glitch is going away because I know a few people who really loved it. Personally, I'm not a huge fan but that's the why of things.

I assume that given its headcount of the 30-40 people I can see on the 'Hire a Genius' page, Glitch had a burn rate of a few hundred thousand per month. Clearly it wasn't always that big, but I imagine they must have sent a few million in development, at least. That strikes me as being an astonishing bet on a game concept that hadn't established how big the audience was.

There obviously is an audience - but not an audience that can sustain such a massive investment. I really wonder why people discount the idea of more organic growth instead of this go-for-broke, hell-for-leather approach. It's not sexy but it gives your game time to grow and attract more users, and that's one thing that's absolutely necessary for community-based games.
posted by adrianhon at 1:24 AM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

Does anyone know what happened to Keita Takahashi, the Katamari creator? He moved to Vancouver (kind of) to work for them, and he's not on their "for hire" list and hasn't updated his blog since October (though that's not unusual and he actually didn't write much about Glitch there anyway).

I've previously gotten pretty worked up over Glitch because viewing the promo video and the descriptions of the game it sounded pretty great, but I found exactly none of that sense of wonder in the game. Some people mention here and elsewhere that there is a good backstory or there are interesting things to do if you get in to it, but if after an hour the game is still "click on stuff and wait until you can click on stuff again" there's no game there. It's a cynical game design, like self-aware fence-painting.

That said, the charm that initially attracted me held out for some people, and it seems like there's a lot of good talent there - I hope it's put to good use elsewhere. Best wishes to ericost and the rest of the team.
posted by 23 at 1:43 AM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

There wasn't that much for advanced players to do in the game at this stage and there were many days I just opened the MeFi group to chat without intending to play at all but the sandbox aspect made it so much easy to create your own fun. I'll miss the underground parties; spending days (and weeks!) collecting rainbows and chicks and lumps of earth to fill people's houses with; nekkid Glitch trains's a sad day. I got a little ferklempt last night when the main priority of the MeFi group was brainstorming ways we could continue to have a space to hang out in together.

ColdChef, every time I saw someone with a skull mask I thought you had returned and was always disappointed that it wasn't you.

There was something about Glitch that brought out the good in almost every single player. Good Night Groddle.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:56 AM on November 15, 2012 [7 favorites]

I am not a gamer. I never understood gaming. But I fucking love Glitch. I joined during alpha, got really hooked a little over a year ago and played every day since. I'll miss it lots.

But maybe that was the problem. Maybe it was a game for non-gamers. Which there aren't enough of.
posted by prolific at 2:14 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

23: "Does anyone know what happened to Keita Takahashi, the Katamari creator?"

They launched a feature very recently where you went through dinosaurs to teleport to other lands, and it was reported on their blog that Keita designed it. Here's the link - scroll to the part about Shim Shiri.
posted by IndigoRain at 2:51 AM on November 15, 2012

When I joined Glitch I joined the Metafilter group and got a bunch of friend requests. I remember thinking "who are these weirdos?!?" before working out they were all Mefites. Some of whom I have now met and become friends with.

ColdChef invited me to my first Glitch party and I had no idea what to do there and I was kind of in awe. But sadly the game at some point developed into glorified IRC where I only logged in sometimes to hang out in the Mefi chat (Hi guys!). Or just stand around with chatting with them.

I'm not a gamer and I've never played another MMO and I probably won't play another. The game was weird and kind of pointless at times and I think its a real shame that the game aspect often seemed to come behind the putz around and create your own fun aspects. While both of those were great I don't think they were enough to captivate people who wanted to play casually or didn't get sucked into the game community. There also seemed to be an increasing number of technical glitches and a lack of progress on any overarching story or direction.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 4:58 AM on November 15, 2012 [5 favorites]

I played Glitch for a little over a year, sometimes every day, sometimes taking short breaks. The game is weird and delightful in a lot of ways, but I don't think I would have stuck around for more than a month or so if I hadn't joined the MetaFilter chat group there. There were a lot of times I only logged in to chat with the group, but sometimes I'd end up getting sucked along on some kind of crazy adventure when all I planned on doing was standing in my backyard and chatting. The game itself could get limited or frustrating or grindy, especially after you'd been playing a while, but the world is big enough and open enough to allow you to make your own fun, especially when you have a group of co-conspirators. And so much of the world really was just so beautiful and lush and unexpected and weird.

I know our chat group will find some other way of staying in touch, but I'll miss the way chatting on Glitch naturally led to having adventures together. That was a thing that worked really well on Glitch - it gave you the sense of not just hanging out together but being able to play together and goof off together, with as little or as much investment in traditional gameplay as you wanted.
posted by jessypie at 5:15 AM on November 15, 2012 [14 favorites]

Oh, man. I haven't played much in the last few months, but this bums me out! I still haven't been all the way through Hell yet. I'm going to have to log on this weekend and do that.

The game became less fun for me after the houses changed, and there were fewer quests. Like Ego says, it started to feel like a really beautiful Farmville. I never got into the community aspects as much as some, though I do recognize some Usernames here from MeFi chat. (I'm Apwoh on Glitch)
posted by apricot at 5:24 AM on November 15, 2012

My heart broke a little when I found this out today. Thank you Glitch for a year of glee.

Lay your picks and scrapers down,
Catch the fading evenlight,
Butterflies rest in the fruit trees
as we sing to Ur, "good night."

Fireflies glimmer, glimmer 'round all
Shimla Mirch and back to you
Bearing sparks from all the Glitchen
Cosma, Tii and Friendly too.

To be woven in our dreaming
Good night Groddle, good night.
posted by Acarpous at 5:41 AM on November 15, 2012 [10 favorites]

On the one hand, Glitch seemed like a game world detached from any actual gameplay, and as beautiful as the world was, the complete lack of any challenge failed to engage me even slightly. I feel more engaged trying to decide who to tag in a status update on Facebook, and that... that is not the bar you should feel comfortable sliding under. So Glitch's failure doesn't surprise me, and when my roommate discovered Glitch last month I was astonished that it hadn't closed yet.

On the other hand, yes, that world was beautiful. And what makes an interactive game world, more than anything, is the people who make their homes in it. Those people are losing a home, and a place to connect to one another. Losing a community.

Anybody interested in the phenomena of gamers who lose their world, there's an interesting book about this by Celia Pearce called Communities of Play. It's really quite fascinating, and also melancholy, to realize how much some people lose when the virtual world they've chosen to live in disappears. Especially because of how quickly and suddenly those virtual worlds can disappear.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:05 AM on November 15, 2012

Thanks for everyone here sharing how they enjoyed the game. I tried it a couple of times and it didn't work for me, which made me feel bad because I have huge love and respect for the founders. It's great to hear from people for whom the game worked.

Note that Tiny Speck isn't some vanity self-funded project. They've been around for 3 years and raised over $15M from venture capital firms. It's a real company. Both the shutdown notice and Stewart on Twitter have teased that there's a second act for Tiny Speck, probably focussed on the technology, so I'm hopeful something good will persist.

I love the idea above of someone using the world and art assets to make some completely other game.
posted by Nelson at 7:48 AM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

I totally get why people didn't get into Glitch for the reasons outlined here.

But I loved it -- even the grinding. Maybe even especially the grinding. Long after I didn't need to, I would still end up petting and watering every tree I went past on some days. I'm not sure why -- probably because watering and petting trees and cleaning up pig shit and planting herbs that slashing and killing don't give you. Which is weird because Glitch totally re-opened my love of gaming -- and now I'm playing plenty of games where I slash and kill.

I guess I'm not saying much that hasn't already been said -- but I feel like I just had to say goodbye somewhere where folks would understand. Because really this was a total bummer to read this morning.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:22 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can obtain personal copies of the music, wallpapers, and even ringtones at
posted by CancerMan at 9:26 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

I liked it OK, but sort of drifted away and once they reset, I didn't really feel like redoing the grinding. It was gorgeous and sounded great, and I love love love exploration based games, but I wanted that exploration to a) connect to some greater aim or plot, because it mostly ended up being too samey to get the real thrill of exploration (I wanted places that I wasn't supposed to be, or places that could kill me, I guess), and b) involve less grinding.

But hey, I've never understood second life either.
posted by klangklangston at 9:27 AM on November 15, 2012

If someone invited me to COME SNURTLE I'd punch them in the face and run away.

I guess this game really wasn't made for me.

This info has been added to your permanent file.
posted by wells at 9:43 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's probably my fault. I'm the sort of person who, when I like something, it immediately stops production. Can't buy my old favorite perfume or my old favorite boots because once I'd gotten hooked... donesville. Restaurants I like close in my wake.

So when I logged into Glitch a few weeks ago on a whim after 347 days away, it was clearly a sign of the end times. Had some good times with MeFites - like when ColdChef got us all hooked on NoNo Powder.

I think I'll miss my octopus hat most of all.
posted by sonika at 10:04 AM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]

I tried playing it and it struck me as a terrible office job, but very cute.

I'm sorry that it is going, because many seemed to love it (and it was so cute!), but I didn't Get It.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:11 AM on November 15, 2012

I tried it from Eriol's beta invite above, it looks very nice, reminds me of a previous such world I was involved in that was similarly "pointless," but that didn't stop us from spending a whole lot of time in it around '93-'98. All the time I was there I didn't encounter anyone though, and subscription charges are a lot to ask from someone these days of hyper-competitive MMORPG pricing when the game is so non-game-like.

I hope they find some way to help this to live on, in some fashion. There's too many dead worlds out there. Maybe open source the whole thing?
posted by JHarris at 11:33 AM on November 15, 2012

I was one of the folks who played because of the MetaFilter chat group (and the quirky little quests and parties), but I really liked the game. It was beautiful and sweet and I'm kind of surprised about how bummed out I am that the whole thing is disappearing.

I also feel partially responsible because I didn't renew my subscription and hadn't played in 176 days. (I wanted to play, but late pregnancy and early momhood used up all my spare everything.)
posted by Specklet at 11:47 AM on November 15, 2012

I'm going to just say this: This game was an awful trap and waste of time for smart people.

I'm going to dispute this. If that's true, then you're against video games on principle. And even if you accepted that, genuinely beautiful things are not ever wastes of time, and the socialization here is a positive benefit that other MMORPGs (like WoW) tend to lack.

Those calling it a grindfest or a sweatshop are missing the point, I think, these kinds of places I think aren't meant to be more cooperative, social experiences where the game aspects aren't emphasized.

I wish I had known MeFites were playing this, it would have been some extra incentive to check this out (and maybe also get an invite). These kinds of worlds come and go frequently, but this one looks like a real stand-out.

Glitch dies, but WorldsAway/Dreamscape/VZones continues to struggle-on, zombie-like.
posted by JHarris at 11:49 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Let's see, what other worlds like this have there been? Legions of MUDs and MOOs. Sims Online and There jump to mind. What else has there been?
posted by JHarris at 11:55 AM on November 15, 2012

I guess I held onto my GNG Musicblock for too long, huh...?
posted by cacophony at 12:30 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

I signed up for Glitch way back last fall, but only actually started playing in the past two months (one or two of you might have crossed paths with me - I'm Chuff). I really, really enjoyed the play for a while - so much to do, look at, listen to! The people, all so nice! So much intra-personal support built into how you play! But the truth is that if it weren't closing next month, I probably would have started slowly drifting away by the end of the year, anyway.

Basically, I had run out of things to do. I'd learned most of the skills, and the ones I hadn't, they no longer earned me a quest when I learned them, anyway. Skills were no longer something I could learn overnight and have new content waiting for me the next morning; instead, they took a week - a week during which there was nothing to do but grind (both literally and figuratively - if you want to increase your imagination points fast, you make rainbo sno cones. Which call for a whole lot of ground-up rock). I had made all the foods and drinks there were, and discovered that most weren't worth the effort. I kept trying to set myself new, self-directed tasks (explore every location in Jal! Drop foods on thirty streets, so random passers-by could pick them up! Create pages on the strategy wiki for new streets! Buy more upgrade cards!), but those things ended up either not being as rewarding as I needed them to be, psychologically speaking, or they turned out to be so time- or energy-consuming that I couldn't sustain them. I'm only a level 26 player, too. The highest-level players are level 60, and I can't imagine what they were finding left to do.

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed Glitch. The world was beautiful, the soundtrack was beautiful, the gameplay (when it was there) was wonderfully creative, and above all, I was astounded at how the community seemed to truly enjoy helping each other. I've never before played a game where people would go "Oh hey, here, have this item worth thousands of [currency]. Why? Well, why not? It's fun when other people are having fun!" That's what I'm really going to miss. I mean, sure, I can find another game with MMORPG elements, but I don't think it's going to be as easy to find one with the community elements.

Perhaps the best example of this community sense was the behavior that broke out in-game with this news of the closing broke last night. Glitchens everywhere, all other the game map, "rioted" (as it was being referred to in the global chat), but they didn't "riot" by yelling, or attacking, or trying to break things. No, they "rioted" by emptying their inventories of everything they thought anyone else could find useful, fun, or interesting...and leaving it right there, on the street. Behind a tree. Up high on a ledge. Anywhere someone else could find it and pick it up. Because why not? It turns out that this kind of stuff is more fun when everyone else is having fun, anyway.

That's my takeaway lesson from Glitch.
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 2:42 PM on November 15, 2012 [14 favorites]

IndigoRain: Thanks for the tip - good to see some of his involvement with it. Still curious as to what's next for him, though.
posted by 23 at 5:23 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

For those that haven't played, there was a feature that allowed you to take in-game snaps. You can browse them here and get some small sense of the incredible artwork in this game.
posted by vacapinta at 6:26 PM on November 15, 2012

(Oh, and I forgot to mention as a Glitch who had a different moniker there: I was/am Mixterrific on Glitch. Sadface.)
posted by fiercecupcake at 6:55 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

(Hi Mix! I was/am Wrong Way.)
posted by Room 641-A at 7:11 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

MT! WW! JP! KG! Juv!
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 8:17 PM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]

I was (well, still am) Plin. I drifted away for a while, but picked it back up in August, and was very happy with the changes. The shutdown was a big shock because they'd been adding so much new content, there'd been a bunch of successful (and super fun!) feats, talk of developing new recipes.

I wasn't very good at the chat parts, because I'm shy in new environments. But one good friend of mine was REALLY into this game, and I loved running into her, standing in my yard chatting while squeezing the occasional chicken or watering my herbs, teleporting with her to save a poor stranded piggy on a ledge somewhere. (She was really into pig rescue.)

The apocalyptic feel at the moment is both heartwarming, and kind of weirding me out. It's so bittersweet to stumble across random love notes to Ur, or go to end-of-the-world parties where everyone's giving stuff away and playing their music blocks. I wish they'd give us all the skills, just so we could see what life in Ur is like with no barriers.

I'm going to miss it.
posted by Superplin at 8:24 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm Rodney, I created my account today. Say hi if we meet in-world.
posted by JHarris at 9:00 PM on November 15, 2012

As I posted on Facebook a little while ago, my plan is to explore as much as possible and pet all the piggies I can before it's over forever. Which is really my basic life philosophy, in general.
posted by Superplin at 9:11 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

I come here to report that i have been playing glitch pretty much nonstop since my last comment, two days ago. I learned to make cheese, stinky cheese, and very stinky cheese. I also did not go to the office because I felt learning how to brush foxes was way more important.

In a way, I am glad they are closing this down in December. It is too addictive.

In another way, I am heart broken and I will miss my butler with a sunflower head.
posted by Tarumba at 7:10 AM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

So I totally joined the party late, but my first adventure was figuring out how to spell FAREWELL GLITCH with letters hovering over our heads, and people were so friendly! It was quite adorable.

posted by Tarumba at 7:20 AM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm so late to this thread, but I'm so sad about this. Glitch was the only game I've ever really gotten into, and I feel like it's never even had a chance to succeed--it never even really left beta, you know? So bummed.
posted by MeghanC at 8:14 AM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

MetaFilter Group in Glitch

The actual group page isn't too active, but once you join the group you can click the group name in the pane and join us in chat.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:34 AM on November 16, 2012

All this love for a dying game.

At the risk of adding a harsh note to the wake though, I figured I should respond to this entry in the shutdown FAQ:

Why don't you give the game away or make it open source or let player volunteers run it?

Glitch looks simple, but it is not. Any massively multiplayer game is several orders of magnitude more complex than a multiplayer game (and those are usually an order of magnitude more complex than a single player game). The state of the world changes hundreds of thousands of times a second, and each of those changes has to be immediately saved in a way that is safe and redundant. Most of those changes — decrease in a chicken's lifespan, the regeneration of a rock, the health of a tree, the movement of every player — have to be sent from server to server and from server to player's local computers. If you're in a busy place in Glitch, your computer might be receiving hundreds or even thousands of messages about stuff that's happening around you every second.

It takes a full-time team of competent engineers & technical operations personnel just to keep the game open. Even if there was a competent team that was willing to work on it full time for free, it would take months to train them. Even then, the cost of hosting the servers would be prohibitively expensive.

With all due respect, this is hogwash.

Yes, the game might be too complicated for an outside person or group to run... now. But with interested hands working on the code the requirements to run it could decrease, the falling cost of computer processing means it could be in interested people's price range in the future (right now the game appears to be hosted with Amazon's cloud computing resources), having the code available means people might be able to do their own work on a mobile version (being tied to Flash appears to be what's doomed Glitch), and anyway just having the project available means that people would be able to look at parts, see how they worked, and generally have it available for their own use.

What this is actually about, which they're trying (understandably) to couch in the same fluffy playful terms as the game in order to avoid giving everyone a sad just when the game is closing down, is preserving the economic value of their work. It could still be bought out; that might be their secret hope, especially if news of the shutdown brings in enough users. But still, they would rather have the game die, and bring everyone's characters screaming and swirling into the void, have all their work become a quiet, sad footnote in the history of MMORPGs, than give that work away. Which is their right, of course, but I think it really should be put in those terms rather than having them smokescreen it.

Most of those changes — decrease in a chicken's lifespan, the regeneration of a rock, the health of a tree, the movement of every player — have to be sent from server to server and from server to player's local computers.

Most of these changes, all those except for the player's movements, are actually pretty simple, because they're predictable. Those object behaviors are the result of strict timers, they don't have to be updated every second unless they're on-screen, at which time the client is capable of doing it itself. You could do it lazily; when the object is loaded, figure its current state by multiplying the time since last seen by the progress rate of the current state.
posted by JHarris at 8:46 AM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

Wait, I got my Glitch name wrong, I went with JHarris, my mistake.
posted by JHarris at 9:10 AM on November 16, 2012

Glitch was a completely new thing, for me. I loved the sandbox aspect, I loved the player interaction, I loved how open-ended it was. It was a silly curious little world to climb into and explore. And I'm genuinely sad that it's ending, because it didn't really get a chance, with the betas and the re-vamps and everything else. It could have been so much more than it was.

Aglet, Aglosaur, Poet of the Ceiling Bean, loves you all. Sneeze.
posted by cmyk at 6:51 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

Just wanted to say a sad thanks to all the awesome MeFites that I met in Glitch (hey WW, Meghan, TN). Such a beautiful game, but it's been weeks (months?) since I've logged in, so I guess I'm part of the problem. Sigh. (Oh yeah, I was Pippastrelle.)
posted by at 7:40 PM on November 16, 2012

JHarris, with all due respect, you know nothing.
posted by ericost at 8:36 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

I will admit that's a possibility. But could you elaborate then?
posted by JHarris at 8:47 PM on November 16, 2012

Well, sorry if I sounded a bit harsh on them above, but this, popular MMORPGs dying and vanishing from the world, has happened quite a lot more often than people think. Habitat, Club Caribe, the original AOL Neverwinter Nights, Island of Kesmai, There. Tabula Rasa, Asheron's Call II. It won't be the last, either.

It is true -- I don't know that's why they're shutting it down. But after seeing so many virtual worlds die, their sole remaining traces a handful of aging memorial sites, I guess I don't have a lot of sympathy left.
posted by JHarris at 8:59 PM on November 16, 2012

JHarris, I don't think anyone is looking for your sympathy. We failed, we take responsibility.

As for elaboration on my previous comment: you are conjecturing about our motives, and the way the game works, and you are incorrect. We do not have any plans or hopes to sell the game and/or IP.

And while it might not be strictly impossible that we could turn the game over to the community and hope to ever see it running again, it is without a doubt a supremely impractical option, and would be a significant expense of time and energy on our part to do that. Our stated reasons are not hogwash.

And your closing claim about how really it is quite simple to maintain state amongst thousands of connected clients and game servers in a persistent, non-sharded game world by offloading the task to clients, well, that's just not how it works. Almost nothing is "predictable" and simply a "result of strict timers". Almost everything is dynamic, and dependent on conditions the clients know nothing about. Sure there might be some things that could be implemented as you suggest, but that would not materially affect the overall situation, which is that there are a fuckton of messages that need to be distributed to the many nodes of the network that comprise the game.

Anyway, sorry to be grumpy. It has been a rough week.
posted by ericost at 9:49 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

JHarris, I don't think anyone is looking for your sympathy. We failed, we take responsibility.

(Noting the "we.")

That is not what I mean. What I mean is that I've heard stories like this firsthand*. Take all the responsibility you want, but a lot of people cared about this world, and it is closing, and all the love and effort they put into it is disappearing.

Tonight I saw a room in which dozens of people had written farewell messages on notes and left them for others to read. Some of the notes I saw noted that no other online world they had seen had had this kind of community or emotional outpouring at the prospect of its closing. Well, I have seen that kind of thing, or heard about it -- but a lot of other people haven't, because when these places die, very rapidly most traces of them vanish from the web. Even now, most people have forgotten that there ever was a thing called The Sims Online. Star Wars Galaxies wasn't really all that long ago.

That is the thing I worry most about is that this is all going to become part of the Dead Internet, like Geocities, except the Internet Archive can't back up stuff like this. That is why I hope they rethink their reasons for not open sourcing it, or at least coming up with some way to preserve it, maybe for future users. I think the world losing Glitch is a tremendous shame, or maybe more than a shame.

Well, that is what I think. I am sorry if my words hit you hard. I am not trying to accuse you personally or your co-workers -- but even so, the strength of my feelings here forbids me from being entirely conciliatory. It is hard for everyone. It is the nature of the beast.

And your closing claim about how really it is quite simple to maintain state amongst thousands of connected clients[...]

...was not a claim, you're looking at that part of the comment too closely. I don't think it is simple, it is simply how I would have expected the system to be designed. I was not trying to imply anything. If I am wrong then I am wrong. Thanks for the information.

* The world I was involved with, "Dreamscape," didn't die. Maybe it would have been better if it had. But it had a lot of refugees from Club Caribe and Habitat, which were very Glitch-like, as was Dreamscape in its early days. This is dredging up a lot of history for me.
posted by JHarris at 10:45 PM on November 16, 2012

So I started picking up random plates of beans and then I realized one of the options is to overthink them!

Of course I did!
posted by Tarumba at 8:40 AM on November 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

You can download .png images of your avatar, in its various forms depending on how often you changed it.

On a whim I decided to try and update my avatar's wardrobe and appearance, and discovered that I now had access to subscriber-only content. Still had to pay any credits, but at least now I am no longer restricted to the default free set.
posted by CancerMan at 1:35 PM on November 20, 2012

CancerMan, you had to pay credits for it, but you've also been given 2500 credits to blow on wardrobe and house/tower customization in addition to being given access to formerly subscriber-only content. Everyone is going to be pretty well-dressed for the apocalypse!

I've been taking cubimals out into the world to visit their real-Ur counterparts as a way to revisit favourite old places before they're gone forever. Trisor! Crab! Meal vendor! Fox ranger! Fox! Tool vendor! Hell's Bartender! *sniff*
posted by bewilderbeast at 2:05 PM on November 20, 2012 [6 favorites]

I think if Tiny Speck version two, Daughter of Glitch, allowed you to play a smaller version on your iPhone, and incorporated the chat features, that could be successful.

Instead of a game with chat, all running on their servers, instead focus on the chat plus whimsy part, and make it a distributed environment covering a smaller world. Smaller could just be "your home and your friends' homes."

I'd install a Glitch miniworld with chat on my iPad.
posted by zippy at 10:37 AM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

A Glitch miniworld? I'm seeing nothing here that wouldn't run full speed on an iPad. Why Tiny Speck is closing up shop instead of refocusing on mobile I don't understand.
posted by JHarris at 11:39 AM on November 23, 2012

(I mean, it's not even like their business model was all that different from "Freemium," except a lot less greedy.)
posted by JHarris at 11:40 AM on November 23, 2012

JHarris: The game is currently coded in Flash. Not supported on iOS, although I have heard there are hacks to run Glitch on iOS, but it's slow and buggy. To recode the entire game on another platform would probably take a LOT of resources and time that the company doesn't have. Flash dying was stated as one of the reasons for the shutdown.
posted by IndigoRain at 12:21 PM on November 23, 2012

The game is currently coded in Flash.

And what an awesome design decision that was.
posted by unSane at 1:57 PM on November 23, 2012

A Glitch miniworld? I'm seeing nothing here that wouldn't run full speed on an iPad. Why Tiny Speck is closing up shop instead of refocusing on mobile I don't understand.

Tiny Speck is not closing shop. Glitch however is. They say they don't have the cash to run the servers to maintain a distributed, dynamic world (where object state for bazillions of objects changes in real time, as I think Eric mentioned above).

A miniworld would allow them to use the art and music, but not require them to maintain global state to the extent they have to now, nor support a very high-speed message passing client-server architecture which I suspect would crush an iPad's battery.
posted by zippy at 4:38 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

FWIW they did at some point try to make a super-simple Glitch mini running game on iOS. (It looks like they modified a game called Simple Runner.) Or at least they were blogging about making it. I don't believe it ever got released though. It's not in the app store. Here's the blog post on the Glitch Developers' blog about it. (It links to a couple previous posts.) Or if you just want to see the game, here's the video.

There is a free Glitch app (not an iTunes link) in the iOS App Store that let you access your profile wall (where you could post pics and status updates), your friends list, and your in-game mail, as well as view achievements, quests, the game's encyclopedia, and more. I loved the app because it was a great way to keep in touch on the go, or answering messages without loading up the game. (For a while I was playing on a severely underpowered netbook and the game wasn't always fast.) I heard there was some poor fan who ported his app called Glitch Remote to iOS, and released it mere days before the shutdown was announced.

Also, here is an article on Joystiq about why the closing of Glitch matters.
posted by IndigoRain at 5:16 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

JHarris: The game is currently coded in Flash.

I know. When I say that there's nothing here that couldn't run on an iPad, I mean in terms of performance requirements.

And I know converting the game wouldn't be a simple process. But they have all these wonderful assets laying around, and certainly what they have could serve as a great foundation for a port. I'm almost desperate for this not to die. This is probably past world closures dragging on my mind.
posted by JHarris at 6:49 PM on November 23, 2012

After a totally kickin' Friday night chasing simulacra around, I finished taking every cubimal to visit the thing it's a cubimal version of, which involved my having fortuitously shirked the ghost-finding quest for many months and also the intervention of a staff member to bring back the maintenance bot in Le Misérable for me. Aw man, I will miss everything about this game.
posted by bewilderbeast at 12:21 AM on November 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

Er, so, super late to both this thread and the game, but with the Imminent Un-Uring and all, I decided to finally actually try Glitch and I really rather love it but it feels a bit lonely. If any MeFite glitchen want to hang out with me and pet trees, that'd be super awesome.

About what I love: the art direction, the charming writing, the mythology (happy Elder Gods! the Butlers! magic rocks!), exploring, screwing around with cooking. It does a better job creating an interesting setting than I thought it would.

For those of you who don't love it: I wonder how much you enjoy playing dressup and decorating houses, because personalizing your avatar and home is a huge part of the appeal for me. I haven't seen any two glitchen who really even look alike yet. The same goes for Butlers and homes. I like that; I think gamer culture is often hostile to stuff like this, but please understand that it's actually fun for lots of us.

I can see the gamification, but find it forgivable because the writing is charming and there's not really any particular push to go grind. It feels more like a virtual world with some gamey stuff layered on. The social aspect seems intended to be front and center, which would be wonderful, but so far in my wanderings I've found Ur to be a rather emptied land. I guess that's to be expected, at this stage.
posted by byanyothername at 1:29 PM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

byanyothername: I appreciate what you mean there. I think one of the reasons people who look for something more gamey react negatively to an emphasis on earned customizations is that, especially over the last few years, it's been a means of slowly extracting money from your players. See "horse armor".

I'd still rather be creative without constraints or with tighter ones - I enjoy decorating my own real house, and I can enjoy sketching out imaginary places, but I don't enjoy painting a virtual fence to save up for a virtual peace lily.

I think there's definitely a place for things like that and I know many people enjoy it, but if it's billed as a game and that's all that's going on I'm going to be very frustrated.
posted by 23 at 9:25 PM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

gamasutra interview with Stoot
posted by juv3nal at 3:23 PM on November 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Ohhhh Glitch, I will always love you!
posted by geeklizzard at 12:19 PM on December 1, 2012

I'm going to miss Glitch terribly. It was such a great thing getting to know the mefites who played over there.
posted by Miss Matheson at 1:54 PM on December 1, 2012

We should pick some other MMORPG to be an official Metafilter hang-out place. Someplace popular, free to play...

I know, City of Heroes!
posted by JHarris at 4:15 PM on December 1, 2012

Star Wars: The Old Republic, clearly. We can all stand around in Sith HQ discussing moderation while some jerkoff admiral tries to tell us to go murder some peasants or something.
posted by cortex at 10:47 PM on December 1, 2012

If you're sad about the death of the great artwork, there's still hope...
posted by Superplin at 9:28 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'd love to get a real music box.
posted by vacapinta at 6:23 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you're sad about the death of the great artwork, there's still hope...

Never in recent memory have I wanted quite this much to have $5,000 lying around burning a hole in my pocket. I dithered between the $15 and $75 options for a good fifteen minutes, arguing with myself. "But self, I want the pretty book!" "Now Badger, you know you have nowhere to put another hardcover book, and it would just end up in the attic. If you're only ever going to read the pdf version, go for that option. And besides, you haven't got $75 this month." "But SELF! They would put my PICTURE! In the BOOK!" "$15, young lady. Be responsible."

...responsibility sucks :(
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 1:17 PM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

"But SELF! They would put my PICTURE! In the BOOK!"

I was only going to go for the pdf, but while this may not have convinced you, it convinced me.
posted by juv3nal at 11:41 AM on December 7, 2012

This game is absolutely preposterous.
posted by asperity at 3:23 PM on December 7, 2012

It's about to become postposterous.
posted by JHarris at 3:34 PM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Aw, you broke the incantation! We'll have to start over.
posted by asperity at 3:49 PM on December 7, 2012

Thought it's sad to see it go, I'll always treasure all of the times I got to go on quests and adventures with all you silly people.

And I was just about to win, too.
posted by ColdChef at 8:07 PM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is how the world ended....
Goodbye Glitches!
posted by beatmenace at 8:09 PM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Actually ColdChef, I noticed the logout message near to the end was changed to "WAIT! You just won!"
posted by JHarris at 8:12 PM on December 9, 2012

Goodnight Groddle...goodnight.

I'll miss the world and the people. I won't miss compulsively reloading flash a few times a day, however...
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 8:13 PM on December 9, 2012

posted by ColdChef at 8:14 PM on December 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by fiercecupcake at 8:26 PM on December 9, 2012

posted by Andrhia at 8:30 PM on December 9, 2012

My favorite snap of the day. In retrospect, it makes me sad that I was never much into many people seem to have captured such beautiful moments that I just sort of took for granted.
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 9:48 PM on December 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Snaps of Eglesgown Wanks shortly before we all "won" the game.

I subscribed during alpha and wasn't able to play much after that due to real life commitments, but damn, when I came on and saw the Forehorsemen ringing bells, jumping around, and saying "The end is neiiighhh!", randomly received confetti crackers to pull, and saw apparitions of Giants/gods as the time came close, my heart welled with sadness that such a great game world was coming to a close, and shed a tear when Good Night Groddle came on and ended just as the server died.

It was perfect.

posted by Lush at 9:51 PM on December 9, 2012

I took lots of snaps in the past couple of weeks. I'm going to try to upload them to the Memories of Giant Imagination Flickr pool, you guys should do it too!
posted by JHarris at 10:03 PM on December 9, 2012

(I don't think I'll ever quite forget Shim Shiri. Yeah, more games need giant shortcut butts to traverse.)
posted by JHarris at 10:04 PM on December 9, 2012

oh jeez - this just made me legit tear up.

Flowers tucked into the grate outside our SF office overnight, discovered this morning. Thank you!
posted by nadawi at 1:07 PM on December 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

posted by faineant at 10:21 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Is anyone still reading this?

Might I suggest uploading some of your snaps to the Memories of Giant Imagination Flickr pool?
posted by JHarris at 6:57 AM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm still here. I WILL ALWAYS BE HERE.
posted by Andrhia at 4:04 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am not only still here, I am making mournful fan art and listening to the variations on the Highland music on shuffle :(
posted by bewilderbeast at 4:11 PM on December 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

bewilderbeast, that's amazing.
posted by asperity at 5:47 PM on December 12, 2012

I'm still here uploading the videos i made the last day to dropbox and reading the memorial site and chatting with people from the game on IRC.

The outpouring of emotion in Eaglestown Wanks was really touching and it made me glad I got to spend time with so many mefites in game doing silly things and making friends. It was a really great place that I will miss a lot.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 5:52 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am not only still here, I am making mournful fan art and listening to the variations on the Highland music on shuffle :(

Oh my god bewilderbeast, that's awesome. Any chance I could get you to share the pattern with me? I have some aida and floss just begging to be put to use on such a project.
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 7:24 PM on December 12, 2012

badgermushroomSNAKE, here you go!
posted by bewilderbeast at 7:44 PM on December 12, 2012

There's a Flickr group with even more photos here.
posted by JHarris at 1:16 AM on December 13, 2012

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