I’m happy to announce that /r/metaverse is now a public subreddit which is dedicated to the discussion of metaverse issues. Do you have an article to share? A question to ask? Head on over to /r/metaverse and join the conversation.
On a more personal note, I’ve returned to my writing. I am currently drafting an article which explains Festival Blanket, an application for shared public experiences for a VR audience. Some of our previous conversations about scale and non-euclidean space end up working their way into the solution. Stay tuned!
As many of you know, I am working to do something more than just analyzing, commenting, and reviewing virtual world and metaverse issues. I am actually proposing a viable metaverse design.
I have an upcoming article, currently titled, “The Metaverse. Actually Explained.” It is the first article that directly advances that effort. It provides a definition of what the Metaverse is, demonstrates a whole new market for applications, illustrates the real-world value the Metaverse provides, and gives us a starting point on how we actually go about implementing it.
I’m making this article available ahead of time to a limited number of people for the purpose of a private peer review. You get an early look at the article and a chance to shape where it is heading. In exchange, you agree to provide your feedback on what you see, and you promise to keep the article confidential until published. Simple as that.
I’m wanting to keep the circle somewhat limited at this time, so I’m going to restrict it to those who have at least had some sort of interaction with me as of yesterday. Twitter follower, online discussions, etc. If you’re interested, send me an email at email@example.com agreeing to these terms and reminding me how I know you.
I’m looking forward to where this goes.
This article is much longer than I would have liked, yet I wasn’t able to dive into each of the subtopics in as much detail as I would have hoped for. Still, it provides some foundational material for a later examination and proposal for a metaverse implementation. If you are a serious virtual world or metaverse enthusiast, this article is probably for you. The more casual reader may want to skip this article.
If you are involved in a metaverse project, you may find it referenced below. Nothing you read here should be considered a harsh criticism of any one particular approach. In most cases, these implementations are named to illustrate an example or a counter-example. This article doesn’t attempt to perform a complete review of platforms or to call winners.
Previously, we identified seven issues which hold back our current metaverse implementations. Can a metaverse actually break through all of these issues to become a major platform?
What if we build on a distributed services architecture? Should we position the desktop client as a 2D/3D content browser? What if we use open standards, or build upon a proven engine? These and other suggestions may turn out to be very good ideas, but we don’t know. We’re still trying to understand the underlying issues which are holding us back.
SPECIFIC PROBLEMS ILLUSTRATE SYSTEMIC ISSUES
Clearly, there are more problems than the original seven which were provided in the first article, but those seven create a pool from which we can look for more systemic issues. Read More…
I’ve been invited to participate in an online panel on MUDs, MMORPGs, and the Metaverse which includes Edward Castronova, a professor of telecommunications at Indiana University. He was heavily involved with the early MUDs and virtual world scene, and has written both papers and books about virtual worlds and their economies.
In the early 1990s, it was easy to sum up the MUD experience in just a sentence. You could say, “It is just like Zork, except, multiplayer” and most technical types would nod their head in quiet appreciation. Today, it is much more complicated to explain only because text-based games are unfamiliar to most people. Read More…
It has been over a year since my last review of a vintage virtual reality book. I’ve recently come across a good one that I’d like to share.
In 1978, Richard Bartle co-authored MUD, the very first virtual world. In 2003, he shared his twenty-five years of virtual world and MMORPG experience in the book Designing Virtual Worlds. Here are some excerpts from the preface:
Too much virtual world design is derivative. Designers take one or more existing systems as foundations on which to build, sparing little thought as to why these earlier worlds were constructed the way they were.
Are designers even aware that there are decisions they can unmake? Although a good deal of design is evolutionary, that does not mean designers can’t be revolutionary, too.
The key is in recognizing the face that what seems eminently logical to you from your usual perspective might turn out to be disastrous when viewed from another angle — and then realizing that the worlds you’re drawing inspiration from almost certainly contain elements designed by people who didn’t recognize that fact until it was too late.
Obviously, the preface resonated with me on the topic of metaverse design.
The book is an incredible seven hundred and fourty-one pages, filled with decades of experiences and observations in virtual worlds. According to Wikipedia, it has been called “the bible of MMORPG design”. Read More…
There is a story retold in the virtual reality community which emphasizes reaching perfection through a quantity approach over a quality approach. The text originally came from the book Art and Fear, which is about the process of making art. I like Derek Sivers’ shortened version, so I’ll repeat it here.
The ceramics teacher announced he was dividing his class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right graded solely on its quality.
His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would weigh the work of the “quantity” group: 50 pounds of pots rated an A, 40 pounds a B, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an A.
Well, come grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity!
It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
Sure, you have to question the authenticity of the story, but for most people, the lesson rings true. This is the lesson that we should walk away with, right? Quantity trumps a quality approach when trying to reach perfection?
No. Not at all. It is critical to understand the story in its original context. Read More…