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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.

A Review of Earlier Articles… and a Return to Metaverse Issues

Nine months ago, I wrote my last article on the Metaverse.

It was a short piece, mostly referencing an email from Fabian Giesen, a demoscene coder (and more) who was doing some VR work at Valve as a contractor. I’ll be honest, his message was a real downer for me, and I had my own Notch moment. Why was I working towards something that, if successful, would ultimately be used just to provide value to Facebook?

Over the past nine months, a surprising number of you have told me how those early Metaverse articles had actually been very helpful to you. A few of you said that you had a Metaverse effort going, but most of you were creating multiplayer virtual environments. Thank you all for your feedback and support!

I think the moment that it all crystallized and brought me back to Metaversing was seeing the return of Valve with the HTC Vive. Suddenly, it seemed like there were possibilities once again. Thanks, Gabe. I’m looking forward to learning more about your shared entertainment universe… perhaps a non-traditional Metaverse? Read More…

Valve’s Lighthouse as USB: Anything More than a Bunch of Spin?

This is the third article in a series on the Valve/HTC Vive Ecosystem. If you you need additional context, please begin with the first article in the series.

Quote from Gabe Newell's interview in The Nerdist Episode 306. Image source: unknown

Quote from Gabe Newell’s interview in The Nerdist Episode 306. Image source: unknown


A famous quote from Gabe Newell is about a lesson that Valve learned early-on when dealing with the Internet. You can find it in Episode 306 of the Nerdist Podcast at 00:12:14.

Don’t ever, ever try to lie to the Internet because they will catch you. They will deconstruct your spin. The will remember everything you ever say for eternity. -Gabe Newell

At this year’s Game Developers Conference where Valve announced their Virtual Reality partnership with HTC, and at that time, Gabe made an incredible claim about the Lighthouse tracking technology:

So we’re gonna just give that away. What we want is for that to be like USB. It’s not some special secret sauce. It’s like everybody in the PC community will benefit if there’s this useful technology out there. -Gabe Newell (Valve)

The story which accompanies the interview describes Lighthouse as a way of providing infinite input solutions into Virtual Reality. “As long as tracking is there, anything can be brought into VR, like how USB ports enable you to plug (virtually) anything into your computer.”

What the Technology Brings

In the previous two articles, we’ve dug into the technology itself, and it supports what we’ve been told. Spend perhaps $100-150 for two of Valve’s Lighthouse units and mount them in opposite corners of the room. At that point, you can almost forget about them. But any enabled device that you bring into the room can take advantage of:

  • Rock-solid positional data with high precision and resolution
  • Rock-solid orientation data with high precision and resolution
  • Very low additional power use (passive sensors, undemanding electronics)

Read More…

The Future of Vehicular Safety Communications Systems

This article is going to stray a little off-topic. Before the end, I’m going to bring it back to the topic of augmented reality and virtual reality. I hope you find it interesting.

As mentioned in my previous article, I’m taking some graduate level computer security courses as part of my continuing education. Right now, I’m taking a quick break from my project which investigates security vulnerabilities in next generation vehicular safety systems. These systems, under development today, have been given the green light by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If things go as plan, your vehicle will send and receive reports on position, speed, heading (and more) to surrounding vehicles. The road may transmit information to you such as posted warning signs (curve ahead), weather conditions, or upcoming road hazards. Read More…

An old source for new inspiration

Amazon search: "virtual reality" in Books

Amazon search: “virtual reality” in Books

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. Read More…