Tiny Speck Uncovers Glitch, A New Flash-Based Massively Multiplayer Game

Last July, we reported that the new company by Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield had received a name, and was looking to hire. Tonight, Tiny Speck’s first project has revealed itself to the world: Glitch.

So what is it? As we suspected, it’s an online game in the vein of Game Neverending, the gaming project that eventually became Flickr (weird, I know). It’s a Flash-based massively multiplayer game that revolves around solving puzzles. While the game itself will be free, there will be some level of in-game purchases. Or as it’s described on the site:

This is not something you’ve seen before. Glitch is a neverending feast of imagination, a celebration of creativity, a labor of love, and a monument to play.

Or, in English:

Glitch is a massively-multiplayer game, playable in the browser and built in the spirit of the web. It is currently in development and will launch late in 2010. Private alpha is beginning shortly and a public beta period will begin this summer.

We’re told that the alpha testing will begin in the next week or so. And there’s an interesting way Tiny Speck is thinking about doing it. “We’re going to try something we made up called ‘strobe testing’ where we open the world up to testers for, say, 24 hours during a given week, then wipe it and start again. Some of the tests will be cumulative (so everyone invited to the last round will be in) and some will be fresh batches of people. Since most people who sign up to test give us some basic background info, we can do one strobe with all women, one strobe with all people older than 35, one with all hardcore gamers, one with maximal network density (via facebook connect), etc., and see how different groups of people react and what patterns of play emerge …,” Butterfield tells us.

CNET has more about the genesis of the project, and we’ll be meeting with Butterfield tomorrow for more details. For now, be sure to watch the trippy teaser video on the site.