Thinking Outside The MUD:
Ludicorp CEO Stewart Butterfield on the Game Neverending

Mike Sugarbaker talks to Stewart Butterfield about his company’s take on massively-multiplayer gaming.

Published: May 05, 2003

You just know that Stewart Butterfield was on a MOO way back when. His collegiate studies were in cognitive science and philosophy, and I can say from experience that those types were drawn to the MOO’s questions of constructed reality and social illusion like low-level EQ fighters to a mob-spawn point. When early versions of Mosaic and Netscape sucked all the casual users out of MOOs (and MUDs, for that matter) in the mid-90’s, many who might eventually have hacked MOOcode started hacking JavaScript and server-side Perl instead. Not only was Butterfield blogging before it was cool, but he created a contest called The 5K that was equal parts political statement against web-bloat, and demo scene for JavaScripters. Now he’s taken the surprising move of entering the most cutthroat business in computing – games – with a company called Ludicorp and a multiplayer online world called the Game Neverending. GNE takes the social focus of MOOs and combines them with the Web technologies the MOO tribe has adopted since. The game that will result later this year just might hit the massively multiplayer gaming market in its blind spot.

Butterfield took time out from his young company’s frantic push towards beta to exchange a few emails with Mindjack.

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