In the mid 90s, we put together what we thought, especially at the time, was a really cool and fairly unique idea for a game. The game was called "Mobilization".
The game would use the Total Annihilation engine and allow users to build up cities that, in turn, they used to conquer the world map by map. These maps would be part of a larger world much like Cavedog's fantastic Boneyards universe where Core and Arm (the factions in Total Annihilation) battled for control of the galaxy. In this case, things would be even more persistent, more interactive, etc.
In terms of game mechanics, Mobilization didn't have peons. Instead, your citizens were born and it was up to you to create the right conditions to get your population up there. You would direct what your population was doing through sliders so that there was no micro-management of units. The only other buildings you would build were for military purposes to "mobilize" your citizens. You would then draft citizens into the military and send them off to war (which is where the TA engine really shined).
The project got as far as pre-production as GT Interactive was interested. But then they got bought out and everything kind of stalled. And by that point, we were busy with other projects anyway.
As time went on, and hardware improved and net connections improved and our development resources grew, our design changed, expanded. We had other ideas we wanted to incorporate into the game to make it much more open ended and provide multiple ways of playing the game other than war.
At that point, the name "Mobilization" didn't quite fit anymore and so we came up with the name "Society".
Over the months, we hope to give you glimpses and then eventually beta versions of Society to play. It will be available first to TotalGaming.net members. But eventually it'll be available for everyone. And then after that, released to everyone in its final "gold" form.
These journals will hopefully be interesting and give you some insight into how a small development house goes about creating a massively multiplayer game. You'll hear a lot of details on how the servers are put together, the issues we run into in terms of budgeting and technological limits, and all kinds of other details. In short, you're going to see the sausage factory.