The Lessons of Lucasfilm’s Habitat
This paper was presented at The First International Conference on Cyberspace held in May 1990 at the University of Texas at Austin. It was published in Cyberspace: First Steps, Michael Benedikt (ed.), 1991, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. Lucasfilm's Habitat was created by Lucasfilm Games, a division of LucasArts Entertainment Company, in association with Quantum Computer Services, Inc. It was one of the first attempts to create a very large scale commercial multi-user virtual environment.
The Habitat project proved to be a rich source of insights into the nitty-gritty reality of actually implementing a serious, commercially viable cyberspace environment. Our experiences developing the Habitat system, and managing the virtual world that resulted, offer a number of interesting and important lessons for prospective cyberspace architects. The purpose of this paper is to discuss some of these lessons. We hope that the next generation of builders of virtual worlds can benefit from our experiences and (especially) from our mistakes.