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History

Simutronics was founded in 1987 by CEO David Whatley. In the early days, they created text-based MUDs that ran on many popular internet services at the time, such as CompuServe and AOL. Since at that time, these providers charged for service by the hour, the games were designed to reward those who were able to spend the most time online. Their games have always had a focus on role-playing, as well, so there also was a social benefit to being active in the game. Their longest running game, GemStone, was launched in 1988 (as GemStone II) and is still active today (as GemStone IV). Later, in 1996, DragonRealms was launched, which is also still being actively developed and is one of the most popular text-based MUDs today. After AOL, CompuServe, and other providers went out of style, Simutronics changed all their games to a monthly-subscription model. Their revenue comes from their monthly subscription fees, as well as by charging licensing fees for their in-house developed technologies, and more recently their iOS and social gaming endeavors.

Technology

For Simutronics' MUDs, they use their proprietary Interactive Fiction Engine. This technology allows developers to make immediate changes to currently running instances of the game. In addition to these server-side tools, they also have developed several front-ends for their games. In addition to their Interactive Fiction technology, they have developed HeroEngine, a 3D engine for creating graphical MMORPGs. This has been used for their unreleased MMORPG Hero's Journey, and has been licensed to BioWare for use in Star Wars: The Old Republic, as well as to other companies. In 2010, Simutronics sold the HeroEngine technology and supporting staff to Idea Fabrik.

Games

Simutronics has developed and maintained several games throughout their existence, but their most popular products today are GemStone IV and DragonRealms. These are both text-based fantasy MUDs set in the fictional world of Elanthia (though at different periods of time). They have a heavy focus on roleplaying, and may in fact impose penalties on players who spend too much time talking out-of-character. They have extremely small user bases compared to today's MMORPG powerhouses, but many of their players are extremely loyal and active. Recently, they have begun developing games for social and mobile platforms, with the release of Fantasy University for Facebook, and Tiny Heroes for iOS.

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