Ai Sp@ce


Ai Sp@ce

Infobox VG
title = Ai Sp@ce


caption =
developer = Ai Sp@ce Production Committee
publisher = Ai Sp@ce Production Committee
engine =
version =
released = October 15, 2008
genre = MMOSG, Virtual world
modes = Single-player (online)
Multiplayer (online)
platforms = PC
media = Download
requirements = Windows XP/Vista
input =

"Ai Sp@ce" is a Japanese virtual 3D massively multiplayer online social game (MMOSG) developed by several companies that form the Ai Sp@ce Production Committee which will launch on October 15, 2008, despite an earlier announcement of a summer 2008 release.citeweb|url= http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-04-08/clannad-shuffle-d.c-ii-to-launch-3d-virtual-world |title="Clannad", "Shuffle", "D.C. II" to Launch 3D Virtual World|publisher=Anime News Network|date=2008-04-08|accessdate=2008-04-08] The first phase of a closed beta test of the game restricted to 1,010 users commenced between September 16 and September 19, 2008.citeweb|url=http://aisp.jp/others/project_emigration.html|title="Ai Sp@ce" Beta Testing|publisher=Ai Sp@ce Production Committee|accessdate= 2008-08-06|language=Japanese] Primary development was handled by Headlock, with Dwango providing the world's infrastructure and Internet service. Dwango's subsidiary Niwango ties in the Nico Nico Anime Channel from the Nico Nico Douga video sharing website by providing users the opportunity to upload gameplay sequences online.cite web|url= http://aisp.jp/about/|title=About section at "Ai Sp@ce"'s official website|publisher=Ai Sp@ce Production Committee| accessdate=2008-04-27|language=Japanese]

A downloadable client program enables its users to interact through motional avatars with each other and primarily with bishōjo game heroines from three visual novels: "Clannad" by Key under Visual Art's, "Shuffle!" by Navel under Omegavision, and "Da Capo II" by Circus.citeweb|url=http://aisp.jp/introduction/|title=Introduction section at "Ai Sp@ce"'s official website|publisher=Ai Sp@ce Production Committee|accessdate=2008-04-27|language=Japanese] After a player creates an avatar, one of the bishōjo game heroines is selected as a personal character doll, or "chara-doll", to live with on one of the game's three virtual "islands" which are patterned on the worlds featured in the three visual novels. The islands are connected by a central Akihabara Island where players with their chara-dolls can gather for chatting and events. The first theme song for "Ai Sp@ce" is sung by Kotoko.

Gameplay

Before gameplay can begin, a player must download a client program unique to "Ai Sp@ce" which will enable its users to interact on the game's servers. The player will be given the chance to customize a motional avatar to explore the virtual world. This avatar can be chosen to take on a male or female form; the male avatars are described as "cool" while female avatars are described as "sweet".citeweb|url= http://aisp.jp/service/avatar.html|title=Avatar description section at "Ai Sp@ce"'s official website|publisher=Ai Sp@ce Production Committee|accessdate=2008-05-10|language= Japanese] Facial expressions, figures, and hairstyle among other things are customizable, and the player can even customize personal information like birthdays and blood type. The main gameplay will begin when the player has chosen one personal bishōjo game character from the visual novels "Clannad", "Shuffle!", and "Da Capo II", which the player will be able to customize. These bishōjo characters, known in the game as character dolls, or "chara-dolls", are able to wear different costumes (based on in-game items), and do a variety of things such as memorize various motions to act out or dance.citeweb|url=http://aisp.jp/service/charadol.html|title=Character doll section at "Ai Sp@ce"'s official website|publisher=Ai Sp@ce Production Committee|accessdate=2008-06-14|language=Japanese] The chara-dolls can even eventually develop a unique personality for each user, known in-game as each chara-doll having a different "aitune".citeweb|url=http://aisp.jp/service/aitune.html|title= Aitune description section at "Ai Sp@ce"'s official website|publisher=Ai Sp@ce Production Committee|accessdate=2006-06-23| language=Japanese]

The player and the selected chara-doll will be able to live together in the game on one of the game's three virtual "islands" which are designed to resemble the worlds features in the three aforementioned visual novels used as reference material for the game. The house in which the players reside will be equipped with furniture, though more could potentially be bought, along with items for the chara-doll or player to wear.citeweb|url=http://www.itmedia.co.jp/news/articles/0804/08/news104.html |title="Clannad", "Shuffle!", "D.C. II" to Reappear in a 3D World|publisher=IT Media|date=2008-04-08|accessdate= 2008-04-27|language=Japanese] When inside the house together, the chara-doll will move of her own accord, though when outside the chara-doll will stay with the player.citeweb|url=http://aisp.jp/words/|title=Terminology explanation at "Ai Sp@ce"'s official website|publisher=Ai Sp@ce Production Committee|accessdate=2008-04-27|language=Japanese] The player will be able to freely converse with their chara-doll in a manner similar to visual novels where the text appears in the lower portion of the computer screen. The three islands will be connected by a central "Akihabara Island", modeled after the real Akihabara, where the different players and chara-dolls can interact via chatting and events. When in Akihabara Island, the names given to the avatars and chara-dolls will be viewable above their heads.

Development

"Ai Sp@ce" is a collaborative effort from several companies that form the Ai Sp@ce Production Committee.cite web|url=http://www.4gamer.net/games/048/G004832/20080408012/|title=You Can Live With Bishōjo Characters! 3D Living Space Service "Ai Sp@ce" to Begin in Summer 2008|publisher=4Gamer|date=2008-04-08|accessdate=2008-04-27|language=Japanese] The project is headed by the Dwango online service provider which developed the virtual world's infrastructure and Internet service support. According to Dwango's executive vice-president Toyoki Ōta, planning for the project began in 2006. The initial idea was to make a world like "Ai Sp@ce", but only incorporate the "Da Capo II" franchise, but this was changed to incorporate the "Clannad" and "Shuffle!" franchises as well. In 2006, Dwango was still primarily involved with the mobile phone industry, but were able to gain Internet service experience due to launching their subsidiary video sharing website Nico Nico Douga, which made it possible for "Ai Sp@ce" to move forward in development.

Primary development was handled by Headlock which worked in collaboration with Key under Visual Art's, Navel with Omegavision, and Circus for the design of the bishōjo game heroines featured in "Ai Sp@ce" from "Clannad", "Shuffle!", and "Da Capo II". "Ai Sp@ce" was initially going to be a text-based game similar to that of visual novels, but this was changed in favor of a 3D environment. Dwango's subsidiary Niwango ties in the Nico Nico Anime Channel from Nico Nico Douga by providing users the opportunity to upload gameplay sequences online. The trading card game company Bushiroad is also involved in the project. I've Sound member Kotoko sings the first theme song for "Ai Sp@ce", entitled Nihongo|"U Make Ai Dream"|U make 愛 dream, and the single will be released on December 3, 2008. Other music provided in the game is taken from the three visual novels used as a basis for "Ai Sp@ce". "Ai Sp@ce"'s full version will be released on October 15, 2008 playable on a Microsoft Windows PC.

Beta testing

Despite an initial announcement of a summer 2008 release of "Ai Sp@ce"'s full version, beta testing for the game is being conducted in three separate phases. Phase one commenced between September 16 and September 19, 2008 and was restricted to 1,010 users. People had the chance to buy one of 1,010 "Ai Sp@ce" Deluxe Card Sets" for 500 yen (about US$5) each at Comiket 74 between August 15 and August 17, 2008, [citeweb|url= http://aisp.jp/others/c74.html|title=Comiket 74 information page at "Ai Sp@ce"'s official website|publisher=Ai Sp@ce Production Committee|accessdate=2008-08-06|language=Japanese] but those who bought the card sets also had to submit a participation application between August 18 and September 3, 2008 at "Ai Sp@ce"'s official website. Phase two beta testing occurred between September 22 and September 26, 2008 (though not September 23) and consisted of the first 1,010 users plus another 2,525, bringing the total number to 3,535. Finally, phase three will start on October 7, 2008 and will consist of the current 3,535 users plus another 2,525, bringing the total number of beta testers to 6,060.

References

External links

* [http://aisp.jp/ "Ai Sp@ce"'s official website] jp icon


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