“Family Village” to Officially Launch on Facebook Next Tuesday

Imagine working and living in the same cabin with your great-great-great-great grandparents.

With “Family Village,” a new Facebook game launching next week, that’s exactly what amateur genealogists will be able to do.

The new computer game, produced by Draper developer Funium, allows players to import their ancestors into a “Sims”-styled virtual world where they can build homes, go to work and share experiences just like in real life. The game has its official launch Tuesday.

This week, Funium announced that it received $1.2 million in new funding from both Utah entrepreneur Jim Sorenson and genealogy site FamilyLink, which was co-founded by investor Paul Allen.

“The vision of the game is to help people who play it to understand that we are all a part of one great world family,” said Funium chief executive Jeff Wells.

Wells came up with the idea for “Family Village” more than four years ago while working on his family genealogy one night.

“I stayed up all night and found it very engaging,” he said. “I thought it would be a very good game concept — finding historical documents about our ancestors and finding out about ancestors I didn’t know anything about.”

A team of about two dozen programmers began working on the game in May. About 8,000 players have been testing the game to hone its playability.

Read the full article in the April 12, 2011 edition of the Salt Lake Tribune.

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