Meta Place is an online Flash 10 based game making environment and social networking tool that is totally web based. It is similar to Kodu from MS research but not as slick. Some of the tools are a little bit flaky and because the underlying scripting seems to be based on action scripting, the behaviours are limited and a not very intuitive. I think Kodu’s Xbox controller based menu system is more intuitive (with the menu system very similar to that of the Lego Mindstorms code builder). Gamemaker is also superior from a (visual) programming perspective. But MetaPlace does allow for customised avatars, quite a bit of content and customisation I think. You create your own home world and then you can share and jump from world to world. Worlds can be games also.
You do get the feeling that the collection of worlds are populated by a younger audience. Although one game (a weak exploration game called Verik Online) was quite artistic. I believe it is created by two traditional fiddle players from Finland.
The co-creator of Meta Place is Raph Koster. I found Raph Koster through his book “Theory of Fun for Game design” which is an interesting read (so far anyway). It’s available on Ebrary, a library facility provided by IT Sligo Library and other places. I’m sure it’s on Amazon also.