[MUD-Dev] Clay Shirky's "Playfulness in 3-D Spaces"

Nick Shaffner nicks at 3drealms.com
Wed Jan 5 14:50:20 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000


Raph wrote:
> From: J C Lawrence <claw at kanga.nu>
>> http://www.shirky.com/writings/quake.html
>>
>> --<cut>--
>> Playfulness in 3-D Spaces
>> I have now found what I was looking for, and found it, to my
>> chagrin, years late. A networked 3-D engine with excellent shared
>> space capabilities, open source code, a well-published
>> world-building specification, an active development community, and a
>> project showing the kind of rapid improvement year after year that
>> comes from the best massively parallel design efforts, such as the
>> Web.
>>
>> It is called Quake.
>
>Oh, good God. :P Somebody go show him EverQuest.
>
>To me, this realization betrays the fundamental blindness of the academic
VR
>community. The real problems with shared VR spaces aren't even
>technological, they're social--but they can't see the forest for the trees.
>In most ways, text muds are a more sophisticated VR than their (largely
>theoretical) endeavors can encompass. The fact that they are still hung up
>on the issue of display, of all things, indicates how much thinking they
>actually have to do about the problem.
>
>Clients are the least of your concerns in virtual space design. :P


<SemiRant>
    I agree whole-heartedly that the academic VR community has completely
missed the boat, but not just with the social issues.  In the home PC world,
it's seems fairly accepted that gaming is the primary drive for sales and
technological development of and on new PC's.  Processor manufacturers have
embraced this with specialized 3D instruction set extensions such as 3D
Now!, KNI, CMMF, etc.  Video card manufacturers have embraced this and
created an entirely new  market for low cost 'super workstation' class 3D
Accelerators at consumable prices.  Sound card manufacturers have integrated
3D sound processing into hardware.  And of course, all of these features are
exposed (some exclusively) through DirectX - the gamer's api.
    It should seem obvious that games and game related technology will be
the defining force for VR,  and that solutions to the social problems only
come with years of experience practicing the technology =)

    It also seems painfully obvious IMHO that VRML in general is rapidly
becoming little more than an antiquated view of what the present might have
been.  For example it's inability to adapt to what has become pragmatically
nessecary in the current and next generation of games.  Concepts such as
portals - which prove very useful for distributing worlds, as well as an
interior visibility system, security, parametric surfaces, CSG, wavelets,
LOD, MultiTexture, Skeletal systems (Its current support for skeletal is far
from adequate).
    I for one, would love to see a universal world file spec that was
actually usable for today's games.  I'd use it in a second. Every time I
look at a VRML file, my mind is thinking of that old Rend386's programs .WRL
files  :^)
</SemiRant>
                            Nick
--
The above message represents my opinions, not nessecarily those of my
employer.
Nick Shaffner
3D Realms




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