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Re: virtual worlds redux

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  • Todd Zircher
    ... I used to be a member of the World Builders Guild for Colony City/Cybertown. While it was enjoyable enough as a social setting, I never found any deeper
    Message 1 of 14 , Jan 3, 2007
      Brandon wrote:
      >
      > Anyone got a thought on what virtual worlds can be, other than chat
      > channels with big badass production values?

      I used to be a member of the World Builders Guild for Colony
      City/Cybertown. While it was enjoyable enough as a social setting, I
      never found any deeper utility than entertainment for the casual user.
      There was also some light advertising which had the potential to keep
      the site low cost or free. While I was there, I did learn a lot about
      VRML modelling and animation. So, I gained a level of artist
      expression and creativity that most casual users did not have. That
      enabled me to build custom avatars, props, and settings.

      Second Life is a pretty big improvement on the old VRML sites community-
      wise, but I don't care for the way that they host everything. You can
      not develop anything offline except texture images. I find the
      interactive creation tools to be pretty primitive.
      --
      TAZ
    • Daniel Granatshtain
      ... Reading Social Software: Second Life or World of
      Message 2 of 14 , Jan 3, 2007
        > Brandon wrote:
        > >
        > > Anyone got a thought on what virtual worlds can be, other than chat
        > > channels with big badass production values?

        Reading Social Software: Second Life or World of
        Warcraft?<http://swik.net/User:alex/Alex+Bosworth%2527s+Weblog/Social+Software%253A+Second+Life+or+World+of+Warcraft%253F/rp22>got
        me thinking about Second life and where is it actually going.

        With his description of Second Life as chaos, it reminded me of the way the
        internet was first viewed. Now i am not saying Second Life is the next big
        evolution, but enabling 3rd parties to create the content, it's only a meter
        of time for the right strategy to be taken. It may be some other virtual
        world platform, designed in a new approach, of user personalized.

        I for one, needing to do some shopping, would love going to a visual-mall,
        instead of typing shopping.com (a company i once work in), or even better
        entering the 3d shopping.com mall. Maybe it would even be possible for my to
        build MyShopping.com compiled only by my personalized taste. i could walk
        around, see what others are liking. I am sure retailers would love for
        buyers to be able to actually see that the item they where after almost is
        sold out!

        The Question: is Second life it? would they be the ones to be in the history
        pages or are they yet another glorified chat room? As Alex Bosworth
        concluded:

        For experiments and new services, chaos works well and is a lot more
        interesting, but as things mature people want something that just works
        rather than something that has promise and flexibility

        When people start wanting, some Google/MS/Outbrain(my job ... ;-) ) will
        step up and deliver. Faced with the right man/woman, the problem will
        become a great corporate with greater solutions. And in the spirit of this
        group,it can be cool to have a gaming-space done by the all big ones, so
        playing battle-field 2 will be like going with friends to Paint-ball.
        Daniel


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Brandon J. Van Every
        ... Some kinds of merchandise need to be physically interacted with, or the customer won t buy it. For instance, I m not sure how many people would buy an
        Message 3 of 14 , Jan 3, 2007
          Daniel Granatshtain wrote:
          >
          >
          > I for one, needing to do some shopping, would love going to a visual-mall,
          > instead of typing shopping.com (a company i once work in), or even better
          > entering the 3d shopping.com mall. Maybe it would even be possible for
          > my to
          > build MyShopping.com compiled only by my personalized taste. i could walk
          > around, see what others are liking. I am sure retailers would love for
          > buyers to be able to actually see that the item they where after almost is
          > sold out!
          >

          Some kinds of merchandise need to be physically interacted with, or the
          customer won't buy it. For instance, I'm not sure how many people would
          buy an expensive leather purse online, judging only from a low quality
          digital photograph. Some kinds of merchandise, people will buy it
          online, but only if they've pre-shopped it in a physical store first.
          So if that purse is Gucci and a known model number, then perhaps a
          person will get it for cheaper online, shortchanging the retail merchant
          whose store they used to evaluate the item.

          Then of course there are some items that people are perfectly happy to
          buy online and it makes no difference. Shrinkwrapped software, books,
          CDs, DVDs. People might want 'em in their hot little hands faster than
          the online service can deliver, but that's true of all products.


          Cheers,
          Brandon Van Every
        • Daniel Granatshtain
          ... There was a time when i would have gave the same response, only after working in shopping.com, i was exposed to the kind of shopping people do like, shoes,
          Message 4 of 14 , Jan 4, 2007
            On 1/4/07, Brandon J. Van Every <bvanevery@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Daniel Granatshtain wrote:
            > >
            > >
            > > I for one, needing to do some shopping, would love going to a visual-mall,
            > > instead of typing shopping.com (a company i once work in), or even better
            > > entering the 3d shopping.com mall. Maybe it would even be possible for
            > > my to
            > > build MyShopping.com compiled only by my personalized taste. i could walk
            > > around, see what others are liking. I am sure retailers would love for
            > > buyers to be able to actually see that the item they where after almost is
            > > sold out!
            > >
            >
            > Some kinds of merchandise need to be physically interacted with, or the
            > customer won't buy it. For instance, I'm not sure how many people would
            > buy an expensive leather purse online, judging only from a low quality
            > digital photograph.

            There was a time when i would have gave the same response, only after
            working in shopping.com, i was exposed to the kind of shopping people
            do like, shoes, jeans(http://www.zafu.com/zafu/shape.do). It's unclear
            to me how people do buy those online, but the fact is that they do!,
            so back to the issue at hand, making all this in a virtual 3D world
            can only improve the experience, and attract more users to start doing
            it. This can make the difference so as a user you will have high
            quality 3D digital photograph!

            I am not saying i have a complete solution, nor is there any other
            good working solution (that's what makes it more interesting). Using a
            3D platform changes the way thing are done today, and it's a all
            different approach.
            Solving the problems you mentioned is all about the right technology
            and implementation!

            Daniel.
          • Gerry Quinn
            ... From: Daniel Granatshtain ... I can just imagine people at home unwrapping their new clothes: It fits my avatar! WHY DOESN T
            Message 5 of 14 , Jan 5, 2007
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Daniel Granatshtain" <daniel.granat@...>

              > There was a time when i would have gave the same response, only after
              > working in shopping.com, i was exposed to the kind of shopping people
              > do like, shoes, jeans(http://www.zafu.com/zafu/shape.do). It's unclear
              > to me how people do buy those online, but the fact is that they do!,
              > so back to the issue at hand, making all this in a virtual 3D world
              > can only improve the experience, and attract more users to start doing
              > it. This can make the difference so as a user you will have high
              > quality 3D digital photograph!

              I can just imagine people at home unwrapping their new clothes:

              "It fits my avatar! WHY DOESN'T IT FIT ME?"

              - Gerry Quinn
            • Daniel Granatshtain
              ... Good point Gerry, but that was already solved, by a company i don t remember the name. What they do is take a person foot size, the real one ...;-), and
              Message 6 of 14 , Jan 5, 2007
                On 1/5/07, Gerry Quinn <gerryq@...> wrote:
                > ----- Original Message -----
                > From: "Daniel Granatshtain" <daniel.granat@...>
                >
                > > There was a time when i would have gave the same response, only after
                > > working in shopping.com, i was exposed to the kind of shopping people
                > > do like, shoes, jeans(http://www.zafu.com/zafu/shape.do). It's unclear
                > > to me how people do buy those online, but the fact is that they do!,
                > > so back to the issue at hand, making all this in a virtual 3D world
                > > can only improve the experience, and attract more users to start doing
                > > it. This can make the difference so as a user you will have high
                > > quality 3D digital photograph!
                >
                > I can just imagine people at home unwrapping their new clothes:
                >
                > "It fits my avatar! WHY DOESN'T IT FIT ME?"
                >
                > - Gerry Quinn
                >
                Good point Gerry, but that was already solved, by a company i don't
                remember the name. What they do is take a person foot size, the real
                one ...;-), and put it in their DB.
                When that user wants to buy a shoe, he is using that company, to get
                the right size of the shoe. The thing is that in every show
                manufacturer, the size 8, turns out to be in different actual size,
                and that is where the "company" steps in, they know the person actual
                size, and the manufacturer actual size!

                Conclusion: where there is a will there is a way! when the time comes,
                that there will be a lot of users using Second life (or any other
                virtual-world), there will be a way to overcome those technicalities.
              • Brandon J. Van Every
                ... If you buy the same brand of jeans, and you know your size, that s pretty trivial. You might want a return guarantee from the merchant, if it s not
                Message 7 of 14 , Jan 5, 2007
                  Daniel Granatshtain wrote:
                  >
                  > On 1/4/07, Brandon J. Van Every <bvanevery@gmail. com
                  > <mailto:bvanevery%40gmail.com>> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > Some kinds of merchandise need to be physically interacted with, or the
                  > > customer won't buy it. For instance, I'm not sure how many people would
                  > > buy an expensive leather purse online, judging only from a low quality
                  > > digital photograph.
                  >
                  > There was a time when i would have gave the same response, only after
                  > working in shopping.com, i was exposed to the kind of shopping people
                  > do like, shoes, jeans(http://www.zafu com/zafu/ shape.do
                  > <http://www.zafu.com/zafu/shape.do>). It's unclear
                  > to me how people do buy those online, but the fact is that they do!,
                  >

                  If you buy the same brand of jeans, and you know your size, that's
                  pretty trivial. You might want a return guarantee from the merchant, if
                  it's not actually your size due to manufacturing variation, but that's
                  it. Levi's actually did a pretty exotic thing in the late 90s IIRC
                  about ordering custom sized jeans online. Applicable to women with
                  funny hip shapes. Generally you can buy things "off the shelf" if
                  you're not difficult to size for. Shoes, similarly. If you don't have
                  weird feet, you may be ok. That said, global manufacturing can throw a
                  monkey wrench in shoe sizes. I think I've heard that due to Chinese
                  manufacture, shoe sizes have slipped towards being smaller. I think I'm
                  wearing a size 11 or 11.5 now, and it used to be 10 or 10.5 when I was
                  younger. I know arches can fall with age, but I'm not convinced my feet
                  have changed that much.


                  > so back to the issue at hand, making all this in a virtual 3D world
                  > can only improve the experience, and attract more users to start doing
                  > it. This can make the difference so as a user you will have high
                  > quality 3D digital photograph!
                  >
                  > I am not saying i have a complete solution, nor is there any other
                  > good working solution (that's what makes it more interesting) . Using a
                  > 3D platform changes the way thing are done today, and it's a all
                  > different approach.
                  > Solving the problems you mentioned is all about the right technology
                  > and implementation!
                  >

                  Yeah, I'm just saying, I heard all of this before in the mid-90s. At
                  least nowadays our 3D HW is a lot better, as is our bandwidth for
                  high-res 2D images. The latter may be the more important factor. With
                  a lot of items you want to know exactly what you're getting, and our 3D
                  HW still can't do that. Generally speaking, the more bandwidth we have,
                  the more it may get spent on image-based rendering approaches. A
                  high-res 2D image is of course the simplest form of image-based
                  rendering. But even in the mid-90s, I saw demos of so-called "image
                  based rendering" in the lab at Microsoft. You'd sweep things with a
                  video camera and hey presto, you'd have a 3D view of everything you
                  actually recorded. I don't know what's become of that technology. It
                  was an awful long time ago and it seems they could have done something
                  with it by now. But, oh well, not everything in computerdom moves
                  quickly. VR hardware in particular moves slooooooooowly.


                  Cheers,
                  Brandon Van Every



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Brandon J. Van Every
                  ... Because your avatar is a dishonest facsimile. You wanted to be more buff, more slender, etc. Change of personal identity seems to be one of the more
                  Message 8 of 14 , Jan 5, 2007
                    Gerry Quinn wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > ----- Original Message -----
                    > From: "Daniel Granatshtain" <daniel.granat@ gmail.com
                    > <mailto:daniel.granat%40gmail.com>>
                    >
                    > > There was a time when i would have gave the same response, only after
                    > > working in shopping.com, i was exposed to the kind of shopping people
                    > > do like, shoes, jeans(http://www.zafu com/zafu/ shape.do
                    > <http://www.zafu.com/zafu/shape.do>). It's unclear
                    > > to me how people do buy those online, but the fact is that they do!,
                    > > so back to the issue at hand, making all this in a virtual 3D world
                    > > can only improve the experience, and attract more users to start doing
                    > > it. This can make the difference so as a user you will have high
                    > > quality 3D digital photograph!
                    >
                    > I can just imagine people at home unwrapping their new clothes:
                    >
                    > "It fits my avatar! WHY DOESN'T IT FIT ME?"
                    >

                    Because your avatar is a dishonest facsimile. You wanted to be more
                    buff, more slender, etc.

                    Change of personal identity seems to be one of the more interesting
                    things you can do with a virtual world. In a gaming context, this has
                    typically been the "role players." In an anthropological context, you
                    could probably get most people to do it... if there weren't the social
                    censures on people behaving "unlike themselves." This is a great source
                    of tension in online communities. You've got some people who feel it's
                    a "fake world," so nothing you do matters. Then you've got others who
                    go ape if you don't act exactly like you do "in real life." There is no
                    socially accepted "fantasy space" online, apart from the crude fantasies
                    we've made for people in games (ogre, barbarian, assassin hottie).


                    Cheers,
                    Brandon Van Every



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Philippa Cowderoy
                    ... A significant amount of Second Life is exactly that, from what I ve heard. And not just due to the inhuman avatars, either - though some of the Goreans are
                    Message 9 of 14 , Jan 5, 2007
                      On Fri, 5 Jan 2007, Brandon J. Van Every wrote:

                      > There is no socially accepted "fantasy space" online, apart from the
                      > crude fantasies we've made for people in games (ogre, barbarian,
                      > assassin hottie).
                      >

                      A significant amount of Second Life is exactly that, from what I've heard.
                      And not just due to the inhuman avatars, either - though some of the
                      Goreans are disturbingly insistant that things aren't fantasy or
                      role-play.

                      --
                      flippa@...

                      Society does not owe people jobs.
                      Society owes it to itself to find people jobs.
                    • Brandon J. Van Every
                      This is long, and I suppose is just fodder for social engineering issues. Pick points of departure as you may. ... So, that s sort of the problem of humanity.
                      Message 10 of 14 , Jan 5, 2007
                        This is long, and I suppose is just fodder for social engineering
                        issues. Pick points of departure as you may.


                        Philippa Cowderoy wrote:
                        >
                        > On Fri, 5 Jan 2007, Brandon J. Van Every wrote:
                        >
                        > > There is no socially accepted "fantasy space" online, apart from the
                        > > crude fantasies we've made for people in games (ogre, barbarian,
                        > > assassin hottie).
                        > >
                        >
                        > A significant amount of Second Life is exactly that, from what I've
                        > heard.
                        > And not just due to the inhuman avatars, either - though some of the
                        > Goreans are disturbingly insistant that things aren't fantasy or
                        > role-play.
                        >

                        So, that's sort of the problem of humanity. People make culture, and
                        then cultures get into wars with each other. It's terribly divisive and
                        acrimonious. Then the business administrators step in and dumb
                        everything down, because they're more concerned about cash flow than
                        about cultural evolution. In fairness, cultural clashes can't lose so
                        many customers that the network goes dark. And, people have all kinds
                        of psychological damage that the business doesn't want to be responsible
                        for.

                        If cultural identity is a creative opportunity, what makes a community
                        more creative and positive? I tried this out in real life with the
                        Fremont Arts Council, once upon a time. One thing that helps, is if
                        people aren't fighting over resources. Example: I wanted to open the
                        FAC building at various times in the evening so that people in the
                        neighborhood could do "art studio stuff." I had sort of a community
                        outreach philosophy: bring in new people, have fun, grow bigger.
                        However, a significant contingent was very protective of the FAC, and
                        despite an organizational charter to engage the community, they really
                        preferred to be parochial, isolated, and "special." There was a
                        defensiveness and cliquishness about such people that I couldn't
                        identify with. I won the right to open the FAC building as a studio,
                        but it was a Pyrrhic victory. The conflict over the studio as a
                        resource, was sufficiently poisonous that soon afterwards I terminated
                        my involvement with the FAC.

                        I got the best artistic stuff done when I just used freely available
                        materials at the FAC, and there was nobody to argue with who could get
                        in my way. I think that communities inevitably breed "gatekeepers,"
                        those who wish to control what other people can do with stuff. I
                        suppose that people have a need for empowerment, and when they can't get
                        it in their ordinary lives, they seek to obtain it at other people's
                        expense. Unfortunately I think a community is guaranteed to have people
                        with this impulse; there are no perfect enlightened societes floating
                        around out there.

                        I belong to 2 open source communities: one surrounding the Chicken
                        Scheme-to-C compiler, and the other surrounding the CMake build tool.
                        I've made major contributions to Chicken and minor bug reports for
                        CMake. I haven't seen much contention in these communities, other than
                        a rare flare-up. I think it helps that the heads of the communities are
                        easygoing, and that a substantive, important project is under
                        development. This gives people a sense of shared value that they can
                        take seriously. It also gives people a reason to filter themselves out
                        of the community, i.e. Chicken or Scheme isn't working for them, CMake
                        isn't working for them. So when the purpose is functional, the people
                        who aren't being served by the function typically leave. Rather than
                        hanging out complaining how things are supposed to serve them. I think
                        in a more creative realm, with less definition of a utilitarian purpose,
                        the open-endedness will probably encourage people to whine and fight
                        more. Again, people who aren't getting what they need out of life, will
                        try to get it out of a community at other people's expense.

                        I did that myself with several open source groups before I settled on
                        Chicken Scheme and CMake, actually. Well, I don't think I was
                        deliberately attempting to do things "at other people's expense," but I
                        was failing to understand how different our cultural imperatives were.
                        The typical project that would piss me off, would be a GPLed game, would
                        have something boring about the game design, would be using an
                        uninteresting programming language, would have an irreproducible build
                        on Windows, and would have at least one immature little prat as a
                        principal programmer. It actually took me a long time to realize that
                        my own values as a programmer (commercial friendly, easy to use, Windows
                        compatible or platform neutral, advanced programming languages) were at
                        odds with those of most volunteer open source developers. Really I only
                        saw cultural similiarity with the Eclipse developers, and that's because
                        a lot of companies are dumping a lot of money into it.

                        After 2 years of melting down various mailing lists I got wise. I
                        stopped talking to people about my values, goals and visions, and only
                        spoke when I actually needed something. Which was rare, as I'm pretty
                        good at grunting my way through stuff. My "quiet phase" started with
                        Bigloo Scheme, and eventually I determined that Bigloo wasn't adequate
                        for what I wanted to do. So I quietly bowed out and moved on. The
                        Chicken project leader didn't like its Autoconf build system, and I had
                        his buy-in to replace it with something better, so I ran with it. So it
                        was important to find a community where I had a productive role that
                        suited my own needs. It took a long time to find that role.

                        And now, the irony is that Chicken Scheme has made me poor! I've laid
                        out this quality infrastructure, but the reality is it doesn't put food
                        on the table. So now I'm trying to figure out the IBM Cell /
                        Playstation3 universe. I figure there's actually a business model in
                        that somewhere. So the point is, perhaps, that people's functional
                        goals change over the long haul, and then people move on.

                        gamedesign-l used to fulfil a very different function for me once upon a
                        time. People who have been around here a long time, know that I used to
                        be much more confrontational and up for a "biting argument." That's how
                        our co-moderator system arose. Then I sort of "debated myself out" in
                        real life. I was part of a political debate group at a local pub, and
                        it just got tiring being the only Iraq war supporting moderate in a
                        bunch of liberals. The knock-down-drag-out debate that precipitated my
                        exit from the group wasn't about politics, but about open source
                        licenses! The old MIT vs. GPL bugaboo. Well, at some point you feel
                        you're talking to the beer + people's childhood baggage. That debate
                        group got me interested in the Myers Briggs Type Indicators and other
                        psychological metrics, because after awhile, I could pretty much predict
                        what everyone was going to say about any given political issue. I got
                        interested in people's core drives, as opposed to the surface
                        expressions of those drives, be they politics or techno-religions.

                        gamedesign-l has gone through lotsa quiet time over the past year or
                        two. I've maintained it because there didn't seem much sense in killing
                        it. My need for high volume communication has greatly diminished in the
                        past few years. I occasionally "binge" in various forums, but day to
                        day, mostly I'm not talking. Too much stuff I've gotta program. Also,
                        one gets to the point where one feels "talked out." Like, what
                        *haven't* I talked about in game design? Even this is more of a
                        revisitation of some old subjects. On the other hand, it's been a long
                        time since I worried about the social construction of virtual worlds or
                        MUDs, so who knows, maybe something fresh can come of it. Plus there
                        are always new people to talk to.

                        I helped create SeaFunc, the Seattle Functional Programmers. I wanted
                        to find a business model in advanced programming languages. Eventually
                        I realized there is none, and that the people attracted to SeaFunc don't
                        have any money or useful contacts. It's intellectually and academically
                        stimulating, but it's not industrial. I don't really need the academics
                        at present, so I've been a non-participant for almost a year now. Also,
                        my problems with Chicken Scheme have been pretty low brow. I've never
                        really gotten any significant Scheme programming going! I'm just a
                        helluva CMake build master.

                        Programmers are definitely easier to organize than artists though. My
                        "Art Gang!" didn't last. I could get it going again if I had the free
                        time, but that's been lacking the past year. Too much survival mode,
                        and it isn't over. Communities fall apart when people don't have the
                        basic time resources to maintain them. Programmers have a higher
                        threshold for how much regimentation and slogging they'll do on their
                        own, before they get burned out. Artists have very little. Socially
                        speaking, they're butterflies, not architects. Also they're
                        heterogeneous: you can have a group of 7 artists, but they aren't
                        necessarily "the right kind of artists" to share values with you and
                        contribute to a common culture. Programmers, in contrast, have very few
                        cultural strains. All programmers are far more similar to each other
                        than different.


                        Cheers,
                        Brandon Van Every



                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • daniel_granat
                        ... Just to close this chapter in this discussion: http://blog.secondlife.com/2007/01/08/embracing-the-inevitable/ As to the blather about the need for open
                        Message 11 of 14 , Jan 27, 2007
                          --- In gamedesign-l@yahoogroups.com, "Brandon J. Van Every"
                          <bvanevery@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Some blather about the need for open source virtual worlds.
                          > http://www.linuxjournal.com/node/1000133
                          > IBM being commercially interested in this sort of thing, makes it more
                          > interesting.
                          >
                          > In the mid-90s, I was on a mailing list called vworlds-list. We tried
                          > to imagine the possibilities of VR "free of any technical constraint."
                          > That is, no arguing about whether your 3dFX card could handle such a
                          > world, or when you'd have the computing horsepower to do X Y Z.
                          > Instead, if you could have any amount of computing power you cared for,
                          > what could you do? And are there any theoretical limits to the medium?
                          >
                          > So I'm wondering about that question in a reduced form. The article
                          > above talks about the greatness of people listening to iPod tunes, then
                          > turning to each other and saying, "Hey, how 'bout that iPod tune?"
                          > Which to me is damn dull because I'm not musically oriented per se and
                          > don't have an iPod. I'm like, so what, this could have been done in
                          > text muds, and for all I know maybe it was done at various times. It
                          > certainly doesn't take 3D, and I've seen an awful lot of virtual worlds
                          > that were no more than glorified chat channels.
                          >
                          > Anyone got a thought on what virtual worlds can be, other than chat
                          > channels with big badass production values?
                          >
                          >
                          > Cheers,
                          > Brandon Van Every
                          >

                          Just to close this chapter in this discussion:
                          http://blog.secondlife.com/2007/01/08/embracing-the-inevitable/

                          As to the blather "about the need for open source virtual worlds" - I
                          guess time will tell .... ;-)

                          Daniel.
                        • Brandon J. Van Every
                          ... A GPLed client does not particularly impress me as an act of altruism or goodwill. Microsoft s C# has been an ISO standard for awhile now, after all.
                          Message 12 of 14 , Jan 28, 2007
                            daniel_granat wrote:
                            >
                            > --- In gamedesign-l@ yahoogroups. com
                            > <mailto:gamedesign-l%40yahoogroups.com>, "Brandon J. Van Every"
                            > <bvanevery@. ..> wrote:
                            > >
                            > > Anyone got a thought on what virtual worlds can be, other than chat
                            > > channels with big badass production values?
                            >
                            > Just to close this chapter in this discussion:
                            > http://blog. secondlife. com/2007/ 01/08/embracing- the-inevitable/
                            > <http://blog.secondlife.com/2007/01/08/embracing-the-inevitable/>
                            >
                            > As to the blather "about the need for open source virtual worlds" - I
                            > guess time will tell .... ;-)
                            >

                            A GPLed client does not particularly impress me as an act of altruism or
                            goodwill. Microsoft's C# has been an ISO standard for awhile now, after
                            all. Microsoft can afford to do that because .NET is what actually
                            matters to most people. Of course .NET is proprietary with all the
                            leverage over other would-be vendors that implies. Microsoft's term for
                            this kind of marketing strategy is "the network effect." You get people
                            tied up in interdependent networks of technology, so it doesn't really
                            matter if one component in the network is free. The lock-in to the
                            entire network and business model is the leverage.

                            As long as the Second Life server software is proprietary, they're just
                            using open source as a way to make themselves the premiere virtual
                            worlds vendor. I don't have anything against them trying to do that, I
                            just am not going to be told that the motive is altruism. Now, I think
                            having some kind of open source component to your business model is
                            healthier and more enlightened than completely proprietary stranglehold
                            systems, but I really get a smirk on my face when I hear their rhetoric
                            because I know what they're doing. What they really want is to make
                            lotsa real $$$$$$$ selling virtual real estate, and they'd like everyone
                            to be using their standard to do it.

                            My interest in the question "what can virtual worlds be?" is aesthetic,
                            rather than social or mercantile. I tend to get bored when the answers
                            are more in the latter direction. I don't think crowds make good Art,
                            and I think money is just a facilitator for Art.

                            Actually, my distate for crowds triggers a concept: what if you
                            visualized the crowd dynamics occurring in a MMOG, and used that as a
                            basis for Art somehow? To hearken back to my erstwhile "Games Of
                            Mallor," it would be as though Mallor puppetted everyone, and the final
                            output of his social engineering was a painting. Actually, from a high
                            concept standpoint, I like this. I wonder if it is applicable to other
                            domains, such as the extension of Builder or 4X TBS games to an
                            overarching visualization of "what occurred." No reason to prejudice
                            RTS or FPS either. But the question remains, what kind of "overview
                            replay" would be aesthetically satisfying? I've watched replays of my
                            world conquests; they were of interest to me, but I wouldn't call them Art.

                            I think it would have to be complex input to a visual orchestration of
                            my own design. A lot of abstract paintings suggest movement; this kind
                            of work would actually have movement. Would the source of input be
                            relevant? Does a crowd do anything that a random number generator does not?


                            Cheers,
                            Brandon Van Every




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