Having been a fan of on-line 3D environments from V-Chat, Activeworlds, 3dAnarchy/Adobe Atmosphere through to Second Life, I came across this interesting development today. Metaplace describes itself as a "next-generation virtual worlds platform designed to work the way the Web does".
Metaplace is an online gaming oriented development from Areae, headed by Raph Koster of Ultima Online fame. Here Raph demonstrates some Metaplace features:
The demonstrations so far have been 2D or isometric. This is not too surprising in the light of Raph's recent paper Designing for Everywhere, in which he examines the features of various online games and implies that factors other than the display method are the secret of mass popularity. However, there does appear to be a 3D terrain editor in an a related flickr photoset, which indicates that Metaplace will move to encompass 3D too.