Archive | Culture RSS for this section

Internet 2021: A Metaverse Project on Kickstarter

In the moderation queue for the Metaverse subreddit, I came across a submission that had been withheld by the AutoModerator.

I visited the link and found something very interesting. It was a Metaverse project on Kickstarter. Their apparent crime appeared only to have been in putting too many dashes in the title, so I approved the link submission to /r/metaverse.

I am not involved in this project and I can’t provide a personal endorsement for their effort. Still, I thought it was interesting, and because this is the type of project that readers of Metaversing would tend to be interested in, I wanted to share this with you.

Technically, this isn’t the first Metaverse project to hit Kickstarter. That title probably belongs to either Surreal Adventures, or the VR Sandbox MMO called Voxelnauts. But this appears to be the first one that puts the Metaverse aspect of the project as something that is front and center, and not as an additional consideration to the side.

The traditional sales approach for a Metaverse project would show us a unique virtual world and sell backers on the sizzle of unique avatars, interesting environments, and a massively shared virtual environment. That isn’t what is happening here. They’re attempting to engage us… intellectually. Strange, isn’t it?

They start with their definition of a Metaverse, based upon the pillars of realism, ubiquity, interoperability, and scalability. They identify four major obstacles to include monetization, proprietary elements, lack of critical mass, and a premature focus on realism.

Their primary aim is to overcome the first two obstacles, which again are monetization and a proprietary platform. They propose a three year project for a core development team to work with backers to create a final project that would be released to the subject as open source.

Various levels of participation by the backers would result in increasing levels of influence in the project as well as rewards, such as a five year contract for land in the residential and commercial areas.

I’ve embedded their Kickstarter video below.


The part of their presentation that has generated the most interest begins at the 8:11 mark. They illustrate a live portal inside the world of Minecraft which would allow one to peer live into the world of Doom (and presumably, one in the world of Doom could peer in the reverse direction into the world of Minecraft). One might join their counterpart on the other side as simply as crossing the threshold. That appears to be the level of interoperability that this project hopes to enable.

The project itself is light on details, and it is something that I would like to have seen more of. Part of this may be because the goal of the project is to actually flesh out those details and implement them. Another reason may be the real threat of Brain Rape, a process where a venture capitalist or other developer seeks more disclosure, but only for the purpose of using that knowledge for themselves.

You can find out more about the project by visiting it on Kickstarter, and if you have specific questions for the project’s creator, you can always use the Contact Me link on the project’s main page.

I’m happy to see someone going in a different direction and breaking away the convention of a typical Metaverse project.

Book Review: Designing Virtual Worlds

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…

A Call for Shepherds in the Virtual Reality Community


This is the third and final article (in a series) on the issues that face the virtual reality community as it finally enters a period of rapid and sustained growth. If you need additional context, please begin with the first article in the series, “Before the Eternal September of Virtual Reality“.


Developers

You are a developer, right?

That’s the impression that many of you gave Oculus when you agreed that you were purchasing a product that was intended for developers. If that is actually not the case, we’d like for you to stick around.

Given the amount of time that the development kits have been available, and the introduction of other “innovator” products (like Cardboard and Gear VR), I think that it is a safe bet that software developers are already a small minority in the VR community.

This time around, nobody is holding your order hostage until you click the checkbox with the correct answer. Do you mind giving this unscientific poll a quick response?

 

Only a year ago, we were using the original Oculus Rift Developer’s Kit (DK1). The community could be an unfriendly place for non-developers. Do you know how we tended to respond to those who were having problems finding good games and getting them to work? Repeat the mantra from the caption below.

“The Oculus Rift is Intended for Developers Only”

The image above is clearly a fake, as is the quote, but the sentiment was (and to some degree, still is) true. Even today, the Oculus Rift is intended for developers, and it works well for Oculus not to be sandbagged with end-user support at this time. Read More…

Before the Eternal September of Virtual Reality

Image: Autumn Season Source: Hot Wallpapers HD

Image: Autumn Season, Source: Hot Wallpapers HD

I watched a worldwide community die. Not just one. Hundreds of them. Thousands of them. As the National Science Foundation Network transitioned into the public Internet, everything changed.

Up until the mid-1990s, Usenet Newsgroups were the place to go for lively conversations and well reasoned debate on any number of topics. Social issues, technology, cooking, auto repair, you name it. The topic was already there, and people were ready to talk about it.

What we may not have realized at the time was that there was a secret sauce which made it all come together. It wasn’t the servers or the NNTP protocol which transported the messages across the globe. First and foremost, it was the people: the informed participants who were passionate and well-informed about whatever topic they had come to discuss. Read More…