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I broadly categorized these tools according to a few factors that I felt were the most critical in evaluating them:-> First, the tool set had to have been used in other games; we could not afford to be anyone's guinea pig. > Second, the software had to be of reasonably high quality. It will be inevitable that we'll have to dig into the middleware code and make changes; our ability to do that with confidence is a direct expression of how well written the original code is. > Third, we wanted middleware that encapsulated as much of the MMO ecosystem as possible. The more of these aspects of the game we could buy "off the shelf" from one vendor, the less code we would have to write, and the more likely the code would work smoothly across all these aspects of the project. There is no middleware platform that actually does all this; it was a Platonic ideal. > Fourth, we wanted to be able to tap into a large community of developers who were familiar with the software. > Fifth, we wanted a great partner. We needed to find a middleware vendor that was as open and transparent with us as possible, and we intend to reciprocate.