With BETA 1 released, this article discusses the scope of the Source Media Arcade project in general. To download or read the features of the released BETA version, head to the ModDB profile.
The Source Media Arcade project has uses in single player, small peer-to-peer multiplayer, and also in large dedicated server multiplayer modes. Each of these modes present very distinct uses, but are all interrelated through SM Arcade's design and game play.
One thing that all of the game modes have in common is launching files. Whether a person is customizing their personal 3D desktop or logging onto their favorite arcade server just looking for a good game to join; they're going to be using Source Media Arcade to launch their games and files.
At its core, SM Arcade is a sophisticated 3D shortcut launcher; working together with your operating system to allow the games and applications that it opens to operate in their natural environment.
This gives the PLAYERS the freedom to decide what they use Source Media Arcade to launch; they are NOT restricted to any incomplete catalogue of "supported" games or applications.
On top of this lies the multiplayer aspect; which comes in two varieties. In small peer-hosted servers, players are able to get together with friends in virtual hangout spots to view photos and home movies as if they were all really sitting in the same room. This virtual room doubles as a gaming lobby; as starting a quick session of that new co-op game is as easy as walking over to its 3D arcade cabinet with your buddy.
Each player is free to customize these "hangout spots" as they like in Source Media Arcade's single player mode before they invite their friends over to visit. But before we get into that, let's talk about the other variety that multiplayer mode comes in: large dedicated servers.
From the player's perspective, dedicated servers in Source Media Arcade act very much like real-life arcades; they are match making hubs where you can go to find a good competitive game, or maybe just some gamers who want to have a good time. Joining in on one of the games is as easy as walking up to an open control pad on the cabinet. Each arcade cabinet acts as a sort of sub-lobby; consisting of the players standing there using it. Popular games are easy to spot due to the crowds of players that their cabinets attract.
Every server operator has the freedom to place what ever games or applications he sees fit into these cabinets. If a player does not own or posses the game in the cabinet, they are able to purchase or download it, respectively, from a location defined by the server operator. This means that the server operator is not restricted to using any particular store or distributor when offering the media to the players in his server.
This, combined with the showcase potential that Source Media Arcade offers, opens the door to the most entertaining way to virtually shop, discover, or browse for new media. Websites can maintain special RSS feeds that keep the contents of their SM Arcade server in synchronization with the contents of their actual website. This allows all the latest games, videos, news, or images posted on the site to be visible in their 3D version automatically. When a player joins a Source Media Arcade dedicated server, they aren't just "joining a game", they're entering a distinct online community.
The Single Player
In single player mode, Source Media Arcade is all about customization. Here players are be able to drop their game cabinets exactly where they want them and decorate the 3D world as they see fit. While a multiplayer server is a hub to what a community has to offer, a single player game is a hub to what your personal computer has to offer. Either use single player mode to prepare your 3D world before you host a server and invite people over, or create a personal 3D desktop to use on a daily basis to access your files and programs.
The Big Picture
Everything from work to entertainment, with a little social networking thrown in; all at your fingertips and all in a single, fun, and engaging 3D interface called Source Media Arcade.