Some nine months ago veteran MMOG designer Raph Koster announced his new game company, called Areae ... but not what they were making. To go along with the TechCrunch40 Conference, the company has finally taken the wraps off of their project: Metaplace. Essentially, Metaplace is going to be a virtual world toolkit. The whole thing is built on open standards, and attempt to 'bring virtual worlds to the web', instead of keeping them boxed away in a separate little garden. As the site puts it: "We knew it was all coming together when one of our team made a game in a day and a half. And then stuck that game on a private MySpace profile. You can inherit someone else's world (if they let you) and use it as a starting point. You can slurp whole directories of art and use them as building blocks. Cut and paste a movement system or a health bar from one world to another. Use an RSS feed for your NPCs. We made puzzle games, RPGs, action games... and set up doorways from one to the other." Virtual World News and GigaOM have writeups of the presentation at the TechCrunch Conference, while Areae's Community Manager Tami Baribeau writes in a post why gamers should care. Over at his site Areae President Raph Koster just breaths a sigh of relief.