In a previous post I mentioned that would take a look at a steampunk-inpired MMO called City of Steam. The game is currently in closed beta and this very weekend is one of their closed beta weekends, the second of them – out of four weekends. I say steampunk-inspired; the game company Mechanist games says it is rather an Industrial Age fantasy game with steampunk elements. It is certainly a mix of a Victorian steampunk world and a few industrial/technology elements seen in some other fantasy games. The setting is rather what a fantasy author living in an alternative steampunk universe would make up.
It is a browser-based MMO which uses the Unity3D engine and thus can be played in any browser that is supported by the Unity web player. This currently includes a couple of different browsers on Windows and Mac platforms.
While closed beta for some games means a non-disclosure agreement and everything being very secret, for City of Steam and Mechanist games this is pretty much the other way around it seems. The encourage people to spread the word and get people to play and help test their game and are quite open with what they do. Note though that what I write here is still from a closed beta and many things will change/improve. Thus I will try to avoid any judgement on specific features and not go into too much detail on everything.
Lead designer and producer for the game is a a David Lindsay, who is also the author of a pen&paper RPG called The New Epoch. The world setting in this RPG also forms the base for City of Steam, although it does not share the same ruleset – this has been adopted to fit the video game format. Reading the some of the background lore and information it is clear that this is not just a thin lore layer that is slapped on. Regardless of the actual setting, this is something I think one wants to see with an MMO-type game – that there is a consistency and depth to why things are the way they are.