An old source for new inspiration
Perhaps you’re surrounded by virtual reality enthusiasts. If so, you’re one of the lucky ones. For many of us, there are very few people that we can hold conversations with on the subject of virtual reality, yet alone the Metaverse. It is hard to find inspiration in a vacuum.
If you find yourself looking for ideas, you might consider the wealth of old books that are out there. They’re mostly from the 1990s. Sure, they’re a bit dated, but that isn’t all bad. You may be able to look at old ideas with a fresh perspective. Some of the old ideas have gone unreviewed, and are waiting for easy solutions and new applications.
Most of the value derived from these old titles may not be concepts that are directly pulled from the pages. They’re not going to say, “If you have a smartphone, then you might be able to use this technology and that.” Rather, they set the stage for you to think about similar problems in different ways.
Some months back, I filled a couple of shelves with virtual reality books for around $4-5 per title. Most of the cost was shipping. I located the majority of them on Amazon and eBay. If you find an interesting book in one source, try another — it may be cheaper. Also try searching for the title on Google and then clicking on the Shopping tab just under the search bar.
Here are a few more tips you may find helpful:
- Use good search criteria. “virtual reality” seems to work the best. “cyberspace” titles are usually newer (2000+) and more often have to do with the topic of cybersecurity. “metaverse” will likely yield books about Second Life. “virtual worlds” can be mixed. If there are good titles with “avatar” in them, you’re going to have to comb through a lot of junk to find them. Be sure to limit your search to the book category.
- There are a few really expensive titles out there, often academic. If you don’t want to risk $185 to see if Virtual Worlds and Metaverse Platforms: New Communication and Identity Paradigms is a good book, consider something you may not have done in years: go to your local library and ask them for an interlibrary loan. They’ll find a copy for you.
- Role-playing Games don’t appear to be a great source for ideas or implementations. You’d think they’d have some concrete ideas of how things might appear or be structured in the Metaverse. I went through a number of these, like GURPS Cyberpunk and Shadowrun titles. I really didn’t see much that was useful. In fact, these types of books probably aged far worse than anything else I acquired.
- You probably want to avoid books that include a CD or are focused on coding (unless you’re writing a 3D engine from scratch). These will be badly dated. The only exception may be the titles on 3D positional audio, which have made little advance since the 1990s.
- Philosophical books tend to hold up pretty well and can lead to some interesting ideas. Glimpses of Heaven, Visions of Hell: Virtual Reality and Its Implications didn’t offer very many new ideas, but I walked away with a few gems.
Is anyone else purchasing old books on virtual reality and the Metaverse? What have you found?
DISCLAIMER: I have no known relationship to any of the books mentioned other than having loaned or purchased them.
- Augmented reality
- Data Collection
- Intellectual Property
- Science Fiction
- Second Life
- Virtual home