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Metaverse the Next Big Thing? 288

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the gentlemen-start-your-pocketbooks dept.
CrashPanic writes to tell us TCS Daily has an article entitled "The Next Big Thing" which is about Multiverse. It does a good job of making the case for the evolution to a 3D web through the lens of the past history of Netscape. From the article: "Forces are coalescing that will produce a shift comparable at least to the spread of broadband. This change will have enormous financial, cultural and political repercussions, and the most interesting aspect of the coming transformation is that it will not be some new and unexpected thing. Rather, the Web for many will become the cliched 3D virtual reality that has been so overused as a literary and cinematic devise that most of us have forgotten how compelling that vision was when it first appeared."
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Metaverse the Next Big Thing?

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  • Yes but ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Is it practical?

    Come on now ... 3D web is very appealing, and we are starting to get the tools to work with these, but as long as we have the trusty mouse and keyboard, navigation in a 3D realm will always be awkward.

    Also there is the production costs involved with making such things.

    I am not sure if the industry will see this as the Next Big Thing (tm) soon.

    --
    Mike, the Anonymous Coward ;)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by LiquidCoooled (634315)
      Isn't second life taking off now?
      Embedded reporters and businesses are now entering the space.
      Whilst having a fully immersive encounter suit might be the end game, currently your mouse and keyboard control your hands in the 'verse and your screen gives a window.
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @06:44AM (#16557238) Homepage Journal
        Of course, it's nonsense to say "the interface is too clumsy" or "it's impractical". The early adopters and a whole bunch of their friends are already there and doing just fine. If you think a keyboard can't handle graceful movements, you've never been aced in Unreal or Tribes by somebody who's shooting you from over there one second and kicking you ass from over there, the next. All while doing a victory dance and providing a running commentary on your p0wnage.

        No, the interface is pleny rich, but of course it's going to get better.

        And I'd be careful of thinking that the "fully immersive encounter suit might be the end game". There are those that thought that animated gifs would be the end game, too. "Someday, we will even have on-demand delivery of music on the internet. Maybe even video!". All whilst many of use are downloading The Departed via bittorrent, and the Goth-Rock boxed set, while watching The Daily Show via YouTube. Be very careful when thinking you can envision an "endgame".
        • by Khuffie (818093) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @08:35AM (#16557972) Homepage
          Hey! Damn youths today! Everyone knows the internet went downhill after them animated gifs! You kids with your fancy torrents and goth music and videos coming from tubes...GET OFFA MAH LAWN!
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by ePhil_One (634771)
            Everyone knows the internet went downhill after them animated gifs!


            Feh! The introduction of the blink tag signaled the downfall of the web to me!

          • Hey! Damn youths today! Everyone knows the internet went downhill after them animated gifs! You kids with your fancy torrents and goth music and videos coming from tubes...GET OFFA MAH LAWN!


            Animated GIFs? Bah! Young whippersnappers! The Internet went downhill with the introduction of gopher!

            • by mgblst (80109)
              Gopher? I haven't seen such debauchery since sodom and gomorah. Young idealists. The internet went down with the introduction of ftp, email and telnet.

              If you can't interpret the packets yourselves, then you have no right even looking.
        • by Jerf (17166)

          No, the interface is pleny rich, but of course it's going to get better.

          No, it's not. Modern 3D interfaces are like a musical instrument, like a clarinet. To get really good takes a lot of dedication, and when you're done, all you can do is play the clarinet, or half-transfer your skills to a clarinet-like instrument. You still can't play a trombone, or a piano.

          Sure, if all you want to do is point and shoot, go figure, a point-and-click-based interface is halfway decent, once you learn how to get around in

      • by FooAtWFU (699187)

        Isn't second life taking off now?

        Depends on who you ask. I for one would be wary of trusting whatever Linden Labs says on the matter, and note that last I checked they still weren't making any money off it. Aside from that, there are a lot of generally "net savvy" types there who are looking for the "next big thing", and there's a small population of rather creative and sometimes entrepenurial people, and a number of people who are there to do something to fulfill their own fantasies in a 3D online space (

    • Re:Yes but ... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by FirienFirien (857374) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @06:08AM (#16557096) Homepage
      Navigation in a 3D realm will always be awkward

      Tell that to the MMORPG players. If you want to be able to go up and down rather than having gravity pulling you down to the ground, then think back to even early versions of UT - being able to zoom around the map in flying mode. Mouse - point. Aim. Whatever. WASD or arrow keys, go towards aim; this includes flying, flying backwards, going straight up or down, or looping round in a climbing spiral with a half twist at the top. That isn't "awkward". Any beginner user in any system has trouble; think of the expense of driving lessons. In a computerised 3D realm, you can zoom around and bump into things without harm, so the learning curve is easier, and the range of movement much higher.

      Movement and navigation in a 3D realm is no barrier whatsoever.
      • Re:Yes but ... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TapeCutter (624760) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @06:53AM (#16557286) Journal
        "Movement and navigation in a 3D realm is no barrier whatsoever."

        Agreed, I'm an old fart and have have taught quite a few other old farts to "appreciate" 3D games. I find it takes an hour or so to learn reasonably fluid motion in a 3D game (and thus start to experience the game), but once learned the skill will transfer to most other 3D games. I know it does because they keep on playing without the need to retrain every time they get a new game.

        I think it is well worth the hour or two to learn the interface via practice, in the real 3D world most "noobs" can't even stand up for 10-15 months and many people never achive fluid motion even after a lifetime of practice!
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by DataSurge (953063)
        Why restrict ourselves to three dimensions?

        Following a hyperlink can be thought of as navigating along an extra dimension right?

        Turn all the words on the web into hyperwords and navigate along as many dimensions as you like: see your selection of text in dimensions of entries in references, in searches, on maps, in blogs or tags and so on.

        If you can see a database organized by any criteria, such as by date or alphabetically, why not see any text on a web page by listings in different reference
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Maybe it's possible, but is it really better in some way? How is navigating an avatar through a hallway of doors better than clicking a link?

        There are some potential social possibilities in a 3d web site, but does it really help you get to the information any better?

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by josquin00 (675292)
          Maybe it's possible, but is it really better in some way? How is navigating an avatar through a hallway of doors better than clicking a link?

          Anyone that has to support a user base that has difficulty navigating to a folder on a file server to find a document would appreciate this. Imaging telling your user, "go down the red hall to the third door on the left. Go in, and grab the box marked . Take it back to your desk and work on it. Put it back when you are done."

      • Re:Yes but ... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Shaper_pmp (825142) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @08:44AM (#16558070)
        The main problem is that the web isn't two-dimensional, paper is.

        Ticker-tape: One-dimensional (you read along).
        Paper: Two-dimensional (read along, skip down/up)
        MMORPGs: Three-dimensional (move in three dimensions)
        Hypertext: non-linear - you can jump from the middle of one document to the middle of a completely different document.

        Hypertext is effectively omni-dimensional, limited only by the number of links the author chooses to put in the document (and, increasingly, by the number of browser extensions, AJAX goodies, javascript favelets/bookmarklets, etc) that use the current clipboard selection or source of the page you're reading and offer you even more navigatioal options.

        The web is multi-dimensional, not just two or three.

        This is why everyone predicting "the death of the web" in favour of some "better" 3D option has always been wrong. Every time. (Anyone remember VRML?)

        3D games won't kill hypertext, because a clunky "spatially-based" interface to a three dimensional world (bonus points: realised on a two-dimensional interface device!) is already worse than the effectively infinitely-dimensional system we're currently using.
    • by Nijika (525558)
      You said it in a nutshell. Our interface is awful. It's not the 3D universe that's the problem (since we live in one, we know it's entirely practical), but that we're using a 2D interface to interact with it. I'm hoping that the Wii will inspire some alternate interfaces to trickle down and become popular in PC culture.
    • by AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @07:11AM (#16557338)
      I think the real problem here is that once we make the transition to a 3d virtual internet world, all those CS players will be running around shooting each other while we're at the cs_Office trying to get some damn work done. I don't want to work in a world where every 5 minutes we hear the bang of an AWP (and the subsequent "awpers r n00berz"), a constant "teams, teams, teams" and "teams are fine, teams are fine" all while getting frag and flash spammed. It just wouldn't be very productive.
    • by snooo53 (663796) *
      I'm going to say that the real problem isn't navigation, but lack of content that is well adapted to a 3d environment. There's too many common computer uses that the 3d environment adds nothing to.

      Word processing? No
      Spreadsheets? Doubtful
      Web browsing? Probably not.
      Music and Video? No

      But there are areas where 3d would be great. For example:
      Virtual tour of a museum
      Real estate (walkthroughs)
      Shopping (3d models of products perhaps)
      Scientific visualization

      The problem is that many of these haven't been done ad
  • and the author managed to get through the whole article without using the FLA: VRML!
  • So basically... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by joto (134244) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @05:40AM (#16556994)
    This man uses several pages to talk about the origins of the web and how revolutionary netscape navigator was, but he doesn't even remember it's immediate predecessor NCSA Mosaic, or the predecessor of the web: gopher? And you expect me to think this person is more qualified to predict the future of the web, than someone else, such as my grandmother?
    • by quigonn (80360)
      They needed some blabla so that it's not entirely obvious that the whole thing is actually an ad for Multiverse Network, Inc., and that was the best to author could produce.
    • by Speare (84249)

      You don't need to remember such trivia as how the Ford Model T's floorboards were recycled wooden crates from the parts suppliers, to then talk about how the hybrid engine may replace simple engines in the coming decade.

  • Bob? (Score:5, Funny)

    by DaveCar (189300) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @05:41AM (#16556998)
    Imagine how much more useful your computer experience would be if you were able to design a virtual office as large or complex as you needed, and reach anything in it without leaving your chair.

    My God! They have invented Microsoft Bob!

    Patrick Cox should stick to making shoes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jugalator (259273)
      I agree... I already have that virtual office with stacks of documents neatly organized and the tools to work with them at my fingertips. The tools are icons on my desktop, the documents files in folders. Why the hell does it need to emulate the real world, if the real world is more awkward to manipulate using a 2D device with some buttons?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DaveCar (189300)

        Yeah. 3D is great for games and visualisation. Why are they trying to shoehorn all this stuff which has no real-world analogue into a model of the world? How does a Gantt chart work in this crazy place? Is it like some set of blocks which represent tasks which when I throw up into the air twists around like a Transformer toy into a diagram representing a critical path analysis?

        Why have we spent the last 50(?, 60?) years getting away from the physical limitiations of meatspace just to reimpose arbitrary cons
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by kinnell (607819)
          ...and then there's virtual conferences. Until the avatars can replicate every facial expression and gesticulation, it will be about as useful as a conference call, and significantly less useful than a regular video conference.
          • by Shads (4567)
            ... which is to say productive and not a complete and total waste of time?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Dr. Manhattan (29720)

          Yeah. 3D is great for games and visualisation. Why are they trying to shoehorn all this stuff which has no real-world analogue into a model of the world? How does a Gantt chart work in this crazy place? Is it like some set of blocks which represent tasks which when I throw up into the air twists around like a Transformer toy into a diagram representing a critical path analysis?

          You're right, there are areas where 3D doesn't make much sense. But as a file manager I think it might work reasonably well. Pic

      • Browse the internet to go on www.ibm.com. Search for drivers ? Old fashioned !!

        The future is:

        Connect to the new 3D virtua-net. Go to the nearest NetTube station next to your ISP building. Take the first Alphabetical Northbound metro on the COM line. Stop at station "I". Walk outside and take the NetBus to IBM Netplex. Ask politely the receptionist for the support area (Otherwise you will get kicked out by the security officer). Walk to the right departement (Hold SHIFT key to run), take the box with updated
        • by KlaymenDK (713149)
          Aw man, I wish I had mod points, I'd mod you up!



          ....hey wait, what now? You want to get the data during opening hours? By asking politely? Because you're worried obout getting kicked by security? You've been playing SR way wrong! ;-D
      • Well .. I'd say look at how many objects you know where to find in your home.

        There is the kitchen, the living room, the study, the bathroon, the bedroom, perhaps a cellar, maybe an attic, and the garage.

        Now think of all the cupboards you have in each room ... from kitchen to garage, and then think of all the different objects you have somewhere in those cupboards. Say that you have perhaps 20-odd cupboards in total. Now I bet you have a fair idea of what's in each of those cupboards.

        Now suppose I aske

        • I think that you can store and retrieve more information much more easily and effectively in terms of this virtual 3-D environment than in an ordinary set of folders.

          Bah. You're just using a set of mnemonics to organize your information. What I want to see is a system that automatically accumulates meta-information as I use it. So instead of "looking" for something, I just grab my Magic Frickin Wand (TM) and say "Presto! A broom-cutter!" and it appears before me in a puff of smoke.

          Everybody seems to want

  • No it won't (Score:4, Insightful)

    by realnowhereman (263389) <andyparkins@gmail. c o m> on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @05:41AM (#16557000)
    The current web represents a huge investment in time, effort and money. It's not going anywhere for a long time.
    • by aug24 (38229)
      I don't think the author suggests that the 2d web is going away. More that the 3d web is coming along.

      As a programmer who really has built (in VRML) software bikes and raced them in the darkness of the electronic night (although it didn't scale past two racers on 28k dial-up!), I look forward to it.

      As a Java contractor who is sick of driving for miles to work at client sites when I could do exactly the same work from home, but the clients like to see what they are paying for, I really really look forward t
    • The web is the biggest thing to hit publishing since the printing press took the bussiness away from monks, agreed! So sticking to that benchmark for "NBT", I can only imagine that the NBT would be something like the perfection of "addressable minds". Whatever it is, by his implied benchmark the NBT cretainly isn't alternative 3D interfaces that have gone nowhere except into hollywood movies (eg: you must display every fingerprint on the screen while searching a huge database). Now this is not to say that 3
    • Besides the investment, there's just the issue of how efficient text is. Really, I would expect slashdotters, the people who are still using a CLI and text-only web browsers, to understand that flashy graphics that don't do anything aren't always going to work out.

      Now, I'm not saying that 3D just won't ever catch on. Yes, I do expect that one of these days there will be a successful mix of a MMORPG and these social networking sites, perhaps resulting in a game with no game, so to speak. Just a big virtu

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)
      Nonsense. That's what they said about flying cars! Now they're everywhere.
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @05:45AM (#16557012) Homepage Journal
    The computers most of us use give us a virtual desktop complete with files and crap scattered around. Minus spilled coffee I suppose.

    It would be next to impossible to convince a non-technical person to virtually walk through a filing system to find their work when they could just browse to it normally without the 3D stuff.

    But the desktop paradigm breaks down when we talk about portable devices. These devices are both much more limited (by being small) and much more powerful (because by their nature they have to be close to the user and their environment) that a totally new way of seeing the inside of your system may have traction.

    William Gibson had this in Virtual Light. Neal Stephenson had it in Snow Crash. I think it will eventually come true.

    One thing I am sure of. If I am going to have little LCD screens in my glasses I want to focus on infinity to look at them. Not sure how you do that without massive amounts of refractive material in the small space available.
    • by onion2k (203094)
      I doubt that desktop interfaces will ever shift to full 3D. There's no reason to, it would be more difficult to navigate than '3D' paradigm of nested directorys accessed through a 2D window display that we use today. Personally I think that filesystems are going to stop being organised using a 'physical' representation like files within folders, and will shift to a more database-y style similar to iTunes. Instead of thinking that a file is in a particular folder you'll end up with files being grouped by met
      • by indifferent children (842621) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @08:27AM (#16557864)
        I doubt that desktop interfaces will ever shift to full 3D. There's no reason to, it would be more difficult to navigate than '3D' paradigm of nested directorys accessed through a 2D window display that we use today.

        That's what the Xerox Execs said about computers moving to color. And to be honest, they were right that there is very little reason for a business desktop to use color. Sure, it makes the pie charts pretty, but there are enough hash-mark patterns that do the same job.

        As for a 3D filesystem being more difficult to navigate, a command-line is still a hell of a lot easier way to navigate our filesystems than point-and-click. I can get anywhere on my filesystem a lot easier and faster using "cd" (esp. with command-completion) than I can by clicking: "My Computer", "C:", "Program Files", "Adobe", etc. Just because a new GUI hurts productivity, doesn't mean that it won't be wildly popular. Yes this applies to the bottom-line-loving suits, too.

        • by famebait (450028)
          That's what the Xerox Execs said about computers moving to color.

          Really? That it would be more difficult?

          I think 3D is coming, but gradually, partially, and with more subtle mappings than older VR efforts have imagined. Console games are on the right track with 3D interfaces that more-or-less normal people can actually use.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by suggsjc (726146)

          a command-line is still a hell of a lot easier way to navigate our filesystems than point-and-click

          Agree and disagree. Agree because (7 times out of 10) it is faster. Disagree because it isn't always the most obvious/direct (or even fastest). If you need to go to /var/log/apache, then yep cd /var/log/apache is just about the quickest method I can think of. However, navigating to a directory that you haven't been to in a while or not exactly sure how to get there the cd ls cd ls cd ls cd ls method actual

    • by FooAtWFU (699187)

      It would be next to impossible to convince a non-technical person to virtually walk through a filing system to find their work when they could just browse to it normally without the 3D stuff.

      This reminds me of something else. I had been on a Tom Clancy spree, had read most of his big thick books, and I thought I'd pick up Net Force. (Big mistake. Avoid the Ops Center stuff as well.) The novel posited a fantastic virtual reality world of some sort for people to traverse the Net with. And what were people do

  • No Compelling Need (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sagefire.org (731545) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @05:49AM (#16557028) Homepage

    This sounds like change for the sake of change.

    Until there is a real NEED for this, I don't see it happening.

    That said, I would think that true VR will come to game consoles long before it comes to any generic computer. In the Console market, this seems like a natural evolution and not just some NEAT-O idea being added on for the sake of change.

    • by joto (134244)
      Sounds reasonable. After all, consoles got colour graphics before business computers too.
    • by kabocox (199019)
      That said, I would think that true VR will come to game consoles long before it comes to any generic computer. In the Console market, this seems like a natural evolution and not just some NEAT-O idea being added on for the sake of change.

      Well, there are different levels of VR quality. Everyone currently thinks that the Wii is cool. I'll take a 3-5 year wait and see on that. If it turns out that's a new gaming niche that Nintendo grabs in the next 3-4 years, I can Nintendo working on scaling down the Wii for
  • by zoeblade (600058) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @05:52AM (#16557044) Homepage

    The Metaverse, if anyone manages to create one that is truly decentralised, will co-exist with the web. If it's going to replace anything, it's going to replace IRC - a fun place to wander around aimlessly and meet new people, or to form a small group of friends you have things in common with regardless of your physical location. The web is a resource for finding or publishing information. The Metaverse is a communications tool for hanging out with friends and meeting new people.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Yetihehe (971185)
      Yes, and probably it will be named something like Second Life. Oh wait...
      • Yes, and probably it will be named something like Second Life. Oh wait...

        Second Life is good, but it's not quite decentralised - one company has the monopoly on renting land to users. That's the equivalent of the W3C renting web sites to anyone who wants to write pages on one.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FooAtWFU (699187)
        I disagree. IRC is generally a topic based system divided into discrete channels, several of which you can occupy simultaneously. Second Life is a location-based system with a moving radius of audibility, and it's quite possible to get lost. There are spatial concerns regarding crowding. The modes of interaction in these two environments are substantially different enough that Second Life by itself is inadequate as a replacement.

        Come up with a multi-location (tabbed?) VR client, perhaps, with a slightly mor

  • House! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Channard (693317) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @05:59AM (#16557066) Journal
    Man, I love buzzword bingo.
  • Flashback (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pubjames (468013) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @06:12AM (#16557110)
    I remember going to a presentation at SGI UK in about 1997, which titled something like "Web 2.0 - the coming 3D web space". It was about how the next generation of the web would all be in 3D. I thought it was bollocks then, and I think it's bollocks today.

    If 3D user interfaces were better then we'd be using 3D versions of desktop applications by now. Clearly Photoshop or Microsoft Word with a 3D interface doesn't make much sense, so why should it for online applications?
     
    • Agreed 100%. The same *3D is teh bett3r" bullshit is often applied to video games. Even a game like worms, which by its very nature was 2D (or lemmings) is 'reminagined' in 3D, and none the better for it. The idea of navigating a 3D inernet just sounds like hell to me right now. I'm all for a greater variety of 3D online communities and worlds like second life, I hope such things thrive and expand, but to think I'd need to fire up some 3D avatar to go check my share prices is just bullshit.
      Just because comp
      • by pubjames (468013)
        Even a game like worms, which by its very nature was 2D

        yes, I find it a real shame that people 2D games are thought to be inferior. We live in 3D space and yet all our classic games (chess, go, cards etc) are all essentially 2D. This suggests to me that 2D space is actually better than 3D space for many sorts of games - Worms and Lemmings are good examples.

        (p.s. yes I will look at your web site - I'm sure you do some great 2D games!).
    • This isn't a dig at your comment, but don't we already have 3D interfaces? My windows' sit forward or behind each other - I have x,y and z. So what they are talking about is 'more 3d-er'. More things behind and infront of other things - or things further behind other things. I'm sure I could make a KDE skin that made all my windows look like buildings, with a bit more fake 3d depth to them, but that's just an affectation - it has no intrinstic value or advantage. I can open hundreds of windows already and s
      • by pubjames (468013)
        This isn't a dig at your comment, but don't we already have 3D interfaces? My windows' sit forward or behind each other - I have x,y and z.

        They may lie on top of each other, but they are all in the same plain, there is no distance between the windows, i.e. the range of z is zero, so current desktops are 2D, not 3D.
    • Photoshop or Microsoft Word

      Probably not, when you are editing 2D images or text which is inherantly 2 dimensional. But think beyond making pictures and text and yeah, it is out there.

      so why should it for online applications

      Because a lot of us are interested in things that aren't pictures and text. Simple example, a DNA molecule marked up in VRML (although, I hope to God they come up with a better markup language, I learned VRML in high school and yea, it isn't pretty) with metadata (text, images) dr
      • by vidarh (309115)
        So what you need is the ability to embed scriptable VRML or perhaps SVG with 3D extensions in layers in existing web-pages. That is far from a "3D web" with avatars and the like, and a much more reasonable request.

        As for MMORPG, nothing is stopping you from using separate clients for that. Nothing says you need to do all your online activities in the browser - most of us don't.

  • No. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Rix (54095) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @06:13AM (#16557118)
    C# client with a java server?

    No.
    • by Zombie (8332)
      Agreed. At least Second Life has a MacOS X and a Linux client (alpha, but works peachy for me so far).

      I guess this is their first demo version, to appease the investors, that will have to be rewritten from scratch once they manage to get their second run of VC capital. Writing the client in C# also means it's not portable to game consoles or non-x86 embedded devices that mostly run Linux, so they're on a dead end.

      • Writing the client in C# also means it's not portable to game consoles or non-x86 embedded devices that mostly run Linux, so they're on a dead end.

        What about Mono [mono-project.com]? I haven't played with it and understand that there are some features of .Net not yet implemented and others that are probably never going to work due to being stuff specific to Windows, but we've got a .Net environment and compiler for Linux.

  • Second Life (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pr0nbot (313417) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @06:24AM (#16557164)
    Second Life, or some successor, may be the thing to kickstart it. Already we're hearing about the likes of Sun and Reuters setting up camp there.

    To really gain traction though it would need to be as free (speech and beer) as the web is, and so long as it's run by a single company, it probably won't be.
    • by shomon2 (71232)
      Second life is already quite a positive step towards open source compared to game engines, in that they opened the content area and are very focused towards creative commons and open source in the scripts you use within the site. With recent developments like adding .mono, it's really moving faster towards being a fully open source system and it looks like it's a long term solution to the problem of storage maintenance, but possibly also a safety net for the inevitable end of Linden Labs one day in the futu
  • by slim (1652)
    The reason VR (by which I mean the illusion of reality through 3D googles and motion sensing) was such a flash in the pan was that the concept was sound but the technology wasn't ready.

    I remember trying it out in arcades in the early 90s. This was a time when we'd see the first Ridge Racer coin op and be astonished by the texture mapped 3D.

    The VR stuff was low res (whether due to the graphics cards used or the screen technology in the goggles), used flat shaded models with low poly counts. But that wasn't t
  • by andrewmuck (89322) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @06:46AM (#16557252) Homepage
    Opencroquet [opencroquet.org]
    It is stunning, biggest drawback is needing openGL which for the life of me I can't get going under Linux. Thus I have only tested on win2k where it is great. Download and try it, it is smalltalk based. It is built for decentralised use. It is very scaleable. It also does not like NATs so thats is a slowing point.

    It is probably not going to change the world this week, but once more people are working on it and it gets around NAT and if openGL was not so critticle then I am sure lots linked up worlds would start happening.

    Words can not describe it properly, you got to try it. Have a look at the demo videos of interactions. Technically it scores well mostly because so little bandwidth is required for people to share worlds, it does require half decent machines for the computations but anything in the last few years is good enough (ie in the GHz range)

    • I don't know, I have played around with it a lot and to me it seems like SecondLife v0.0.1

      Finkployd
    • Croquet

      Thanks for reminding me. I downloaded the sources once and tried to compile it. Its a pity that netbsd and ubuntu (the two platforms I use) don't have it in their package collections.

      One question which I can't find an answer to on the web site is about the distinction between client and server in Croquet. Does every node have to have a UI? The reason I ask is that my server runs all the time which is desirable if you want to publish an environment. My workstations are laptops and tend to come and g

  • Ain't gonna happen. Why? By now, too much commercial interest is directed towards the web. The technology will be developed, but it will be developed by some company that'll lock it in with patents. Subsequently, it won't gain enough traction, wont be based on open standards and thus won't work as infrastructure that everyone will accept to invest in.

    Too expensive to develop for free -> dead before it's even invented.

  • It's called VRML and it was a miserable failure.

    why dont these people get it in their heads that most of the public is not interested in reading morning news in a 3d manner, they want a nice smallish tablet that is easy to use, does not require charging every 20 minutes and is always on to view it in the form it is presented right now.

    3d for conveying basic information is useless and cumbersome. It's great for medical, engineering and chemistry, but for regular joe it sucks.

    VRML proved that.
    • The year was like, 1997 (I know, I was trying to teach myself in high school). We were all still in dialup. That was half the problem right there. The other problem is the language isn't that great. VRML proved nothing, it was before its time. Ubiquitous broadband, faster computers with hardware acceleration, we are now at the point in time where if 3D makes sense as an online platform, said platform will emerge.
  • Adobe [adobe.com] created a program that would allow users to create a 3D website. It was a great concept, but it did run very clunky like, but I think if they revived it it might work. I downloaded a copy a long time ago and messed around with it. It was pretty basic but I guess they got no support for it cause now its dead.
  • the real metaverse will only happen when people have a portal with 3d avatars. instead of a slashdot forum, you'll be chatting with people in a room with infinite exits. In one exit, you'll have a link to City of Villains, where you can just walk in and the game starts loading, and in another exit you'll have a link to WoW or whatever else floats your boat. The ability to then take your avatar from those games and bring them back to the slashdot room is also something that's needed.
  • way off base (Score:5, Interesting)

    by briancnorton (586947) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @08:31AM (#16557912) Homepage
    I have spent the last 5 years researching information visualization, recently gettinging into immersive (glasses, multi-wall, etc) visualization, and I can say without hesitation that his primary arguement holds no water whatsoever for most tasks relevant to computer users. "three dimensions, even virtual dimensions, are so much better than the two we experience on our monitors today" The problem is that the author makes no case for *why* this is. I don't want to get too far into the weeds here, but a fundamental concept of design is to strip abstract away irrelevant material (noise) to leave that which is important (signal) for the user. He is suggesting moving from a paradigm of 1 dimension (text is 1 dimensional, not two) and moving to four dimensions (time is as relevant as place when you start dealing with avatars, VWs, etc) The human perceptual system doesn't really work that way. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors left us with a hybrid 1D/2D ability, with limited capacity to perceive or reason in higher dimensionality. If we look at information absorbtion, we can do very well with 2d in the form of pictures, maps, etc, but if the story being told doesn't lend itself to that medium, then we are 1-dimensional learners. Reading and speaking are our primary communication mediums for complex ideas and they are completely linear. (time) It boils down to complexity. A virtual world adds unneeded complexity to simple phenomenon. (social networking, productivity applications, etc) Value is derived from making information MORE accessible, not less accessible in a prettier way.
  • I get *REALLY* annoyed with the constant bombardment of crap from these idiots.

    "Well guess what, everyone? The way we've been doing things up until now is completely wrong and this is how we're all going to be doing it in the future!"

    Do these fools have no concept of the merest possibility that *JUST MAYBE* some of the stuff the human race has invented over the years has been pretty much refined to the best it can be, works as it is and therefore doesn't *NEED* to change?

    For example, I think it's pret

  • I refuse to take the author seriously because he/she used the following words together in one paragraph...

    Forces
    coalescing
    repercussions
    transformation
    cliched
    virtual
    cinematic
    compelling

    and lastly but not in the paragraph but the title

    Metaverse

    I was surprised we didn't see paradigm thrown in there as well!

  • Yah and like that really took off in a big way. This article seemed interesting until he mentioned that the so-called "metaverse" is merely vaporware at the moment.

    Also, he seems to ignore the fact that VR headsets have real usability issues that anyone with any common sense would immediately realize. For instance, are you going to go into your VW (Virtual World) while on a train or subway to work, or will you just use your laptop or cell phone to communicate.

    Even more important, if the "Web 2.0" buzzword m
  • FTFA:

    My 8-year-old daughter, once a devoted PS2 platformer, now spends most of her gaming time online with friends in ToonTown, Disney's Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG or MMO,) This is despite the fact that ToonTown's game play and graphics are clearly inferior compared to, say, current generation Ratchet and Clank.

    Did anyone else read this and think of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? [imdb.com] Let's hope that the kids never discover the secret of Dip!

  • does a good job of making the case for the evolution to a 3D web

    As other readers have already commented, the web is already multi-dimensional. TFA is actually referring to the user interface, not the web itself. I already use a couple of 3-d interfaces, namely Google Earth and NASA World Wind. For the type of information they display, the 3-d interface is wonderful. In fact when using plain old Google Maps I often attempt to treat it as a 3-d interface and am frustrated when I realize my mistake. D
  • This isn't going to happen in this generation, and I can tell you why. 3D makes me sick. Literally. I play 3D games and they leave me feeling disoriented at best, nauseous at worst (gah, there's some super-fast sonic game that I absolutely can't even watch, let alone play).

    And from what I've read, this is a common problem for women. Probably related to the fact that women see more detail than men do, on average - we can differentiate between more colors, we notice more of the objects surrounding us. It's

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cr0sh (43134)
      You must be highly susceptible to simulator sickness. Most people have some experiences of it, though fewer have it using a monitor for 3D viewing than others. To combat it, there are a few things to try (they may or may not work for you) - mainly, have good lighting and sit back far enough to see the area around the monitor (basically, you are trying to minimize immersion here, instead of maximise it as most people do). As you play, move as you would (or could) for the motion being simulated on screen.

      What

  • Imagine how much more useful your computer experience would be if you were able to design a virtual office as large or complex as you needed, and reach anything in it without leaving your chair.

    I have heard this assertion before and I still don't see any validity to it. Maybe I'm missing the vision. Maybe in 10 years I'll look back at comments like this one I'm writing and say, "What was I thinking?!" Maybe, so, but I just don't understand how a 3D desktop experience will offer me any improvement to p

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