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How attached are we to the open world and Euclidean space?


Math with Bad Drawings, “A Fight with Euclid”

In an earlier post, “The sci-fi Metaverse is bad (and you need to leave it behind)“, we talked about some of the notions we inherited from science fiction which shape our thoughts on how the Metaverse should exist. One such item is the open world concept. Another notion is of a single large contiguous (Euclidean) three dimensional space. These are romantic notions of the Metaverse, but do we really need them?

Second Life is an interesting example of both an open world and a contiguous Euclidean space. (This is the classical view of the Metaverse.) Land is a virtual resource in Second Life which is sold to players; it must be purchased in order to be used.

In Second Life, location can be important. The size to which your land can grow can be important. Sure, your avatar can teleport to almost anywhere on the map, but if you are so inclined, your can probably fly there as well. In 2011, almost 80% of the company’s revenue was from land fees. With revenue based on the constraints of real estate, Euclidean space makes a great deal of sense here. It is baked into the design, and with reason. Read More…

Selling games in the miserable virtual mall

ReadWrite: "Virtual Shopping Malls Making a Comeback?" (2006)

ReadWrite: “Virtual Shopping Malls Making a Comeback?” (2006)

The image above represents the most obvious model for selling all types of real-world products in a virtual environment. Sad, isn’t it? We’ve taken the worst features of the real world and combined them with the worst features of virtual reality. If we’re selling video games in this manner, then we’ve failed to realize the potential of virtual reality.

So how about ReadWrite’s old question above, “are virtual shopping malls making a comeback?” I can only hope not. At least, not in this form.

VirtuaView "Virtual Aracde"

VirtuaView “Virtual Aracde”

So is this how we are going to be selling games in virtual reality? The virtual arcade? This is the second most obvious conceptual model. Perhaps you go to an arcade, look around the arcade machines, see one you might like, and use its interface to explore the game. If you like what you see, you purchase the title. This is only slightly more clever than the virtual shopping mall experience — it fits into a gaming theme. Functionally, it could work, but it really isn’t a, “Wow. This is a virtual reality experience!” Read More…

The measure of a Metaverse


Source: Cover of Businessweek, November 26, 2006

What kind of metrics can we use to measure the success of a Metaverse?

We could measure the users. How many are there? How happy are they? How engaged? How long they stay? How much content they are consuming and creating? Something like like deviantART might measure and compare their success in these terms.

In my previous post, “Discussing Second Life: It is (and it isn’t)“, I talked about the difficulty in making general statements about Second Life. Everyone is all over the map. Second Life is a failure. Second Life is a success. Second Life is still alive, but it can’t survive.

Conventional wisdom is that Second Life is a failure. But that all depends on how you measure success. Did Second Life take over the world? No. When it hit critical mass, was it able to capitalize on it? No. Is the business a going concern? Yes! They’re still in business, and they’re still bringing in new users, even if there is still an 80% churn rate in their new subscriber retention numbers. A publicly traded company that answers to shareholders might find that situation intolerable. For a private company, that might just be okay. Read More…