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…
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“.
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 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…
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…