|Founded||March 30, 2001|
|Founder|| Daniel James |
|Defunct||March 4, 2016|
|Owner||Sega Sammy Holdings|
Number of employees
|Parent||Sega Games Co., Ltd.|
Three Rings Design, Inc. was an online game developer that was founded on March 30, 2001 by Daniel James and Michael Bayne. The company was named in honor of the Three Rings of the Elven-kings in Tolkien mythology.
The company's first product was Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates , an skill-based open-world MMOG in which player is tasked with action puzzle games corresponding to tasks of piracy, crafting and carousing. The player joins a crew to sail with other players and participates in a player-driven trading economy.
The company's second product, released December 1, 2006, was a western-themed Tactical Multi Player game named Bang! Howdy .
Whirled, the company's third virtual world, was a player created content platform using Adobe Flash and html5. Whirled allowed creators to list virtual goods such as avatars, in-world toys or game content and earn real-world currency from the system. Whirled went into beta testing in 2008 and became unavailable in April 2017.
Three Rings created a number of Flash games for Whirled, notably Corpse Craft which was later released on iPad. In 2010 the studio tested Facebook games including The Everything Game, a collectible card game.
Spiral Knights was the company's fourth MMOG, launched in April 2011. Spiral Knights is an action adventure world where players cooperate to defeat the denizens of The Clockworks, a mysterious ever-changing maze.
In 2011 the studio launched Doctor Who: Worlds in Time, in partnership with BBC Worldwide.
Three Rings was an independent developer from its founding in 2001 until 2011 when it was acquired by SEGA of Japan. The company had been funded by the founders, revenues from Puzzle Pirates and other games, and investors including True Ventures. Following the acquisition the studio operated as a label within SEGA until March 2016, when SEGA reduced its San Francisco R&D staff.
Puzzle Pirates, Spiral Knights and other Three Rings games remain operational under the banner of Grey Havens.
Shortly after Puzzle Pirates' launch Three Rings Design open-sourced substantial parts of the underlying technology for creating multi-user virtual worlds, available on Github.The company created a site called Game Gardens, which hosted free tools for creating and playing Java games using these libraries, a precursor to Whirled, which allowed players to upload client and server-side AS3 (Adobe Flash) code to create complex multi-player games.
A massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) is a video game that combines aspects of a role-playing video game and a massively multiplayer online game.
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Columns is a match-three puzzle video game created by Jay Geertsen in 1989. Early versions of the game were ported across early computer platforms and Atari ST. In 1990, Jay Geertsen sold the rights to Sega, who ported the game to several Sega consoles.
Sonic the Hedgehog is a 1991 side-scrolling platform game and companion to the 16-bit Sega Genesis game of the same name for the 8-bit Game Gear and Master System consoles. Ancient—a studio founded by composer Yuzo Koshiro for the project—developed the game and Sega published it to promote the handheld Game Gear. The 8-bit Sonic is similar in style to its Genesis predecessor, but reduced in complexity to fit the 8-bit systems. It was released for the Game Gear on December 28, 1991, and for the Master System around the same time. It was later released through Sonic game compilations and Nintendo's Virtual Console.
A multiplayer video game is a video game in which more than one person can play in the same game environment at the same time, either locally or online over the internet. Multiplayer games usually require players to share the resources of a single game system or use networking technology to play together over a greater distance; players may compete against one or more human contestants, work cooperatively with a human partner to achieve a common goal, or supervise other players' activity. Multiplayer games allow players interaction with other individuals in partnership, competition or rivalry, providing them with social communication absent from single-player games.
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Bang! Howdy is an online free-to-play, hybrid turn based and real time strategy game created by American company Three Rings. It was continued in 2020 by American company Affliction Networks. It was originally released on December 1, 2006 after public beta testing by Grey Havens, a non-profit organization founded by several former employees of Three Rings. In 2008, the game reached a milestone of 500,000 players as reported on Three Rings' website.
Daniel James, is a British-Canadian video game developer based in San Francisco. He is a co-founder and CEO of Three Rings Design, the company behind the MMOGs Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates, Bang! Howdy, Whirled and Spiral Knights.
Puzzle Pirates is a massively multiplayer online game developed by Three Rings Design. The player takes the role of a pirate, adventuring on the high seas and pillaging money from roaming enemy ships. The mechanics of Puzzle Pirates are driven by puzzles. For example, to effectively sail a ship, players must play puzzle games representing work at the sails for speed, pumping bilge water to remove it from the ship, and carpentry to fix any damage the ship may take.
Whirled was a website created by Grey Havens. It was announced at the Game Developers Conference in 2007. It was in the Open Beta stage, but never fully released. Until its downfall in April 2016, it remained in Open Beta to the public. The principle behind the game was that it will be a web-based social world for chat and games, similar to the PlayStation 3 game Home and Second Life. Where Whirled differed from other sites of a similar genre was that much of the content will be user created. Images from anywhere could be used and uploaded onto whirled and made as in-game objects. The site's domain became inactive on April 8, 2017.
Joel Breton is an American video game producer, video game designer, film producer and entrepreneur. He has worked as a producer on multiple award-winning video games, including Unreal PC, Bomberman Live, and Pirates of the Caribbean. In 2016, Breton became the head of virtual reality content for HTC Vive, where he manages both internal and external content development for the HTC Vive virtual reality platform. In October 2018, Breton premiered the world's first feature length VR film, 7 Miracles, at the Raindance Film Festival, where it won the VR Film of the Festival award.
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SmallWorlds was an online virtual world and social network service created by Outsmart Games, a privately owned company based in Auckland, New Zealand. The virtual world used Adobe Flash and ran inside a web browser. It integrated with YouTube, Flickr, SoundCloud, and a number of other Web 2.0 services. The game had thousands of players, peaking in 2012 with a total of 3.8 million visits globally from July to August.
Corpse Craft: Incident at Weardd Academy is a Flash and web browser game developed by Grey Havens and released on their game portal Whirled in 2008. A version for the iPad was released in December, 2010.
Doctor Who: Worlds in Time was a massively multiplayer online role-playing game created for the Adobe Flash platform developed by Grey Havens. It was based on the science fiction series Doctor Who and was commercially released on 12 March 2012 and was closed on 3 March 2014.
Spiral Knights is a massively multiplayer online game created by Three Rings Design and now owned by Grey Havens. The free-to-play, Java-based game was released in 2011 and is still updated occasionally.
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