You know, when you think about it, Second Life and freeform voxel builders like Minecraft really aren't all that different. I mean, both offer players tremendous creative freedom - which they generally mold into either a) likenesses of their favorite TV/movie objects or b) unspeakable, physics-defying flesh horrors even your greatest nightmares wouldn't dare conjure up. So I suppose it kind of makes sense that Second Life creator Linden Labs would try its hand at an easier-on-the-eyes craft-'em-up. Maybe? A little? Granted, Patterns does at least look quite attractive - if a little familiar.
So yes, now we have triangles instead of blocks, although those seem to be just one of many options in Patterns' shape creation tool. Beyond that, a full physics is also in place, which suggests some interesting possibilities when it comes to both building and blowing stuff up. Linden, meanwhile, is also shooting for multiplayer, procedurally generated worlds, and other such genre (Is this actually a genre now? Should it be?) staples. Here's the all-too-brief rundown:
"Explore caverns and valleys, while you harvest substances with real world densities. Build large scale structures that reach the sky or bridges that traverse chasms. Challenge real-world physics to see which creations will tumble - or withstand - the power of gravity. It's your universe to shape."
Beta sign-ups are open right now, and Linden has specifically mentioned how much it values getting testers into the process as soon as humanly possible. So head over here and register to give Patterns a go.
If nothing else, I'm certainly interested in seeing where it ends up. I mean, watching every developer under the sun - large or small - be at least partially influenced by Minecraftian ideals of sandboxy-ness has been really fascinating - not to mention a tremendous relief in a world where hyper-linear shooters briefly threatened to take over. Admittedly, it's resulted in a glut of me-toos, but I think we're finally starting to see some differentiation show in solo projects like Cube World and bigger to-dos, ala Epic's Fortnite. Here's hoping Patterns can shape its enticingly topplable triangles into something similarly outside-the-box.