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P2P Roaming Chat 188

fexter writes "A coder called Brendan Reville has released BrendanLand, which he claims is "the world's first peer2peer application where each participant serves their own piece of geography in the overall world." Basically, everyone walks around and chats. But each person gets to design their own piece of land, and everyone roams between these lands. It's all free, and the website has lots of technical notes and a developer diary." Oviously this is hugely basic stuff, but conceptually there is a lot of potential cool ideas. But for now it looks just silly ;)
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P2P Roaming Chat

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  • ...the business plan for every single video game company over the next five years. Final Fantasy XI? Neverwinter Nights?

    I'd love to play around with this BrendanLand thing, but I don't see a Linux version anywhere. :)

    (First post?)
    • the business plan for every single video game company over the next five years. Final Fantasy XI? Neverwinter Nights?

      Not quite the same, but I see your point. Certainly, not the case for Neverwinter Nights.

      I'd love to play around with this BrendanLand thing, but I don't see a Linux version anywhere. :)

      Have you tried it in Wine? Just a thought.

    • Looks like a MUD, frankly. A peer-to-peer graphical MUD, but a MUD nonetheless. Is this really the first peer-to-peer MUD?
    • Re:Looks like... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by trix_e ( 202696 ) on Thursday June 13, 2002 @11:05AM (#3693793)
      Yeah, but the cool potential I see in this is making something like this as an open-source project.

      Set up a basic world, and basic character interaction rules, basic item rules, and physics, etc. And then everyone can create their own "country" or whatever metaphor is chosen to represent your own little chunk of the Metaverse/Other Plane (credit where credit is due...)

      Then allow folks to go to town developing open source add-ons, or modifying their own real estate. Want to make a public amusement park, a private club, who knows what?

      I know that they're planning on taking the Sims to a massively multiplayer platform in the next year or so, but this would be so much cooler with folks from all over the world developing modules, items, and god-knows what. Like anything with enough of a cool factor, this would grow into something that we can't even truly envision right now... Plus you wouldn't have all of the copyright and licensing issues that you'll inevitably have with OnlineSims mods...

      Yes, you'll have cheaters, and all kinds of other non expected events, but the community will take care of that too...

      sounds like fun.

      • Set up a basic world, and basic character interaction rules, basic item rules, and physics, etc. And then everyone can create their own "country" or whatever metaphor is chosen to represent your own little chunk of the Metaverse/Other Plane (credit where credit is due...)

        Sounds like WorldForge... ;
  • by Cheap Imitation ( 575717 ) on Thursday June 13, 2002 @10:42AM (#3693593)
    Wow! Virtual North Dakota!

    Hey, there's no one here either....

  • I was interested in doing something similar with a 3d first-person type game with "doorways" that take you to other servers. Reminds me of snowcrash, with server owners having their own "real estate" in a connected "multiverse". It would be a nice metaphor for online shopping, chatting with friends, etc.

    • AlphaWorld (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This is sort of like the Active Worlds [] concept on drugs.

      Active World has the same "build your own space" concept, but it is pay to play. You don't really play, it is just a 3D chat environment. Other than paying, the main difference is it is all based on really huge servers. There are huge clusters of teleport tubes to go to different servers. You can even pay for servers that are private, where you control the access to the world.
  • In 5 years you're going to have virtual worlds in which you can literally purchase a piece of virtual land and establish a trade, turn the computer off for 6 months, return, and your property will still be there.
  • Rental DVDs, online worlds, telecommuting, and pizza delivery. There's no need to interact with more than one human being ever again! Surely no reason to shower! Imagine the savings in gas and water.
  • The Metaverse! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by clmensch ( 92222 )
    Woohoo! I claim username "Hiro"!
  • that could be fun...

    you'd have to kill the orcish hord to download that new Saves the Day video. watch out for pks, though, for your hard earned No Doubt mp3s are at stake!
  • I guess slashdot insists on reinforcing that their primary purpose is to allow litle known business or a persons homepage to recieve massive numbers of visitors and publicity when they barely deserve it. Sure it is a cool idea, but it is weak and not terribly ground-breaking.
    • I agree, this isn't new. It looks more like a graphical representation of nested chatrooms, with the added tweak of EVERY user owning a chat room.
      This is the kinds of stuff they are working on commercially for next generation MMORPGs, in fact I think Everquest2 is supposed to allow for land ownership of some sort. I could be wrong.
  • The submitter is the coder's buddy! shameless plug!!
  • ...True Names by Vernor Vinge. If NPC's get introduced into this little world (computer generated characters) one of them could very well become "The Mailman"......
  • uh (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by British ( 51765 )
    I have a feeling this will be a new innovation of communication, but the only thing anyone will ever say is......

  • Hmm (Score:2, Troll)

    by aardwolf64 ( 160070 )
    Oh wow! Maybe one day when this technology is mature, we'll be able to store files on our "homespace". What??? Morpheus, Kazaa, and Bearshare already do this?

    Ok.. so, it's interactive. So is IRC. Anyone played Tanks???

    I'm sure that this will eventually turn into something meaningful, but right now it's of little interest. Let me know when it's 3d...
  • The world is designed by the users to be the perfect place. Only a matter of time before someone desides to hook up into this thing with their head and then we will have to wait for Morpheus to free us from it..... Wait isn't that a movie?
  • How would one go about that? Could someone clarify?
  • Yes, 'Oviously' it is pretty neat.

  • Well, this is kind of cute, I guess, but I'm not sure what real value it has. Perhaps users can put 'treasure chests' on their land with shared files on it :) It looks like this system is not much more than an interesting diversion. Perhaps if there were more to it, there could be some interesting things going on...I always thought it would be kind of neat to have something like a massively-multiplayer-simcity type thing, although this is very far from that!

    I suppose this would be a big hit with all those 12-year-olds that presumably run around AOL chat rooms these days...
  • With a little tweaking I can move my virtual world Shadowrun campaign to the actual virtual world... Maybe spin out a MMRPG out of it...
  • I used to use MUDs as chat systems when I wasn't up to adventuring. This looks like a P2P graphical version of the same thing. Except I never imagined the MUD rooms like scenes from Blue's Clues. :)
    • There was a version of the old LPMud library that did something similar to this. Ivory Tower ran allowed you to finger and chat with folks on other MUDs running the same mudlib.

      Back then (late 80s, early 90s), we were all talking about a nice standard to allow you to real-time migrate your character from one MUD to the other. The problems we encountered with setting up a system were obvious: The very things that made each MUD a unique and interesting environment were what impeded us from establishing a standard for transferrence.

      Ah, the good old days of throwing darts in a bar and discussing MUD enhancements.
  • by forged ( 206127 ) on Thursday June 13, 2002 @10:55AM (#3693712) Homepage Journal
    Just email Brendan [mailto] and he'll tell you where to download the software.
    (This is being done so that we can manage the size of the community.)

    I have two words for you Sir: Good Luck.

    Seriously though, unless the guys either
    a) bounces all emails for the next 24 hours
    b) store them on some large capacity HDD
    c) buys some bandwidth,

    I'm under the impression that he will ge a lot more requests for download that he normally gets !!!

    Enjoy being Slashdotted to death :-)

    • I'm under the impression that he will ge a lot more requests for download that he normally gets !!!

      That or a lot more email addresses to spam.

    • "This is being done so that we can manage the size of the community"

      He can code a little universe but making a simple homepage with a form that collects the info he needs is too difficult?
      Then again, looking at the screenshots I'm not surprised ;-)
      • He can code a little universe but making a simple homepage with a form that collects the info he needs is too difficult?

        Unless you go to (remember the "OSDN is dying" scare?), you can't really get inexpensive hosting that includes server-side dynamic content. If your provider allows only static pages, then how does it respond to an HTTP POST from a <form>? That's right: "Method Not Supported".

    • Now that you've linked to his email address at Slashdot, I wouldn't be surprised if many more 'friends' that he'd expect would "send him a file to get his advice"... o_O
    • To:
      Subject: a special humor game

      This is a special humour game
      This game is my first work.
      You're the first player.
      I hope you would like it.

      Prepare for Attack of the Klez.
    • This poped-in my inbox this morning. I am sharing it with the rest of the community for those who would like a follow-up.

      From: "Brendan Reville" <>
      Subject: Welcome to BrendanLand
      Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2002

      hi there,

      thanks very much for your interest in BrendanLand! It goes without saying that the response, particularly due to, has been overwhelming.

      There are too many emails to respond to any individually, so this mail has been automatically sent to you.

      If you've surfed through the site, you'll probably realise that this was just an evening hobby project, done mostly to prove a concept to myself. BrendanLand has known bugs, many things could have been done better with hindsight, and the master server isn't that tough. But it's occasionally cool :). I'm going to spend a little while toughening up the master server before I release the product.

      I'm going to make future announcements about BrendanLand via the Yahoo Group named brendanlandgroup. If you are interested in trying out BrendanLand, please subscribe to this group: []

      The download instructions will appear in this group shortly.

      Only I can post to the group at this stage, but I might open it up later. If you don't want to receive individual emails, you can choose to read the group on the website only. You can unsubscribe at any time, too.

      I apologise for not having the chance to respond to individual emails. If you really need to talk to me without receiving this message automatically, in response, then mail [mailto]. To answer some of the more frequently asked questions, it's Windows/DirectX for now, the source is not open at the moment (don't worry, you'd learn more about what *not* to do :), and while there are a lot of good ideas out there for improving this system,, I have a job, other projects, and A Real Life to maintain, so I hadn't planned to expand BrendanLand too much further.

      I'm really excited to have so many people interested in hanging out in BrendanLand. It's going to be interesting.

      Sign up to that Yahoo Group, and keep your eyes peeled; I'll have news soon.

      - Brendan

  • I'm sure it wasn't intentional, but by limiting the client to windows platforms only, isn't this creating a homogenous, one-world-view pseudo-civilization?
    I, for one, would prefer a "melding-pot universe simulation" to this limited one.

  • by mblase ( 200735 ) on Thursday June 13, 2002 @10:57AM (#3693727)
    Now you should walk completely off the edge of your own land. There will be a pause, and then, like magic, the Master Server will send you off to your next destination. And hooray, all of a sudden you're on your friend's land, served all the way from the other side of the world!

    So, it's kind of like EverQuest, except you get to make your own ugly little piece of real estate and there's no actual conflict.

    Yeah, it's technically peer-to-peer because your land is stored on your own client instead of a central server. But calling it a "Napster-style network" is shamelessly self-promoting, since there's nothing useful for you to share. It's instant messaging with ugly graphics.

    Let me know when the next release comes out, with the power to take over adjacent pieces of "geography" and form a collaborative village or army or something.
    • > It's instant messaging with ugly graphics.

      I think you underestimate the effort that has to go into laying out even simplistic protocols for a server and a single client to chatter with each other. Much less creating one that's scalable and avoids looking like alphabet soup.

      Then to expand it to a p2p type setup where every client can (potentially) talk with every other client.

      In other words the simple act of getting such a relationship between multiple systems is easily half the battle. Once you get that running, attracting interested parties to actually turn it into a game becomes child's play by comparison. The graphical frontend can easily be retooled to display the world in any fashion the coder wants.
      • I think you underestimate the effort that has to go into laying out even simplistic protocols for a server and a single client to chatter with each other. Much less creating one that's scalable and avoids looking like alphabet soup.

        If this were "scalable," the developer wouldn't require users to register by email before downloading.

        I have no argument with the amount of effort involved for the developer. My point is that it's not really that useful. Active Worlds [] already does this, in 3D and with better potential; The Palace [] has provided graphical avatar-based chat for quite some time now without the P2P aspect.

        So it's neither scalable, nor novel, nor revolutionary. I'll pat the developer on the back for coming up with it on his own, but I'll not download it myself nor recommend it to my friends when other long-time applications already do the same job, and better. If someone wants to make a MMO game out of it, they'd be better off starting with one of those other apps instead.
        • > If this were "scalable," the developer wouldn't
          > require users to register by email before
          > downloading.

          How do you know that he's not trying to limit accounts due to limited personal bandwidth? He still has to maintain a master server, and if 30,000 slashdot goons are suddenly flooding his server with new accounts you can guarantee his DSL at home is gonna melt into slag.

          This is obviously a one man show, I see his email registration as more of a quality of service guarantee than any kind of statement about his software.
      • I agree. If this works as the creator claims, then he has created something quite advanced. If he really has done all the behind the scenes work, there is no reason anyone else couldn't create their own "portal" to the network and serve 3d graphics, or whatever their heart desires.

        There is nothing inherently different in sharing text vs. streamed data (ie music, video or whatever).

        Its definately a good first-step.

    • Yeah, it's technically peer-to-peer because your land is stored on your own client instead of a central server. But calling it a "Napster-style network" is shamelessly self-promoting, since there's nothing useful for you to share. It's instant messaging with ugly graphics.

      Sorry if that was misleading. I called it "napster-style" because of the way the master server manages the directory of nodes... just an architectural thing. If I'd had a dynamic super-node structure I guess I'd have said it was "kazaa-style". Hope I didn't get anyone's hopes up that there would be mp3z on BrendanLand :)

      Let me know when the next release comes out, with the power to take over adjacent pieces of "geography" and form a collaborative village or army or something.

      Now that's something I'd like to play :)

      - Brendan

      • Since it seems we have the developer here, here comes the standard slashdot question: when can we expect the linux version? ;)

        Oh yeah, and the thought of some strange form of p2p 'risk' type game as mentioned above sounds damn nifty.
    • with the power to take over adjacent pieces of "geography"

      You can do that already, just r00t them ;)

  • by voya ( 582627 )
    what you need is an online virtual reality world with an engine that can be dynamically updated. otherwise these virtual reality worlds die pretty quickly due to decay of the graphics / rendering system as soon as the next big multiplayer game gets released. (people lose interest)
  • Someone ought to make a system like this in which clients use the released source code from Quake 1 or 2. Jimmy
  • it needs roads, i dont want a shitload of people walking through my yard trying to get to Bob whos three cell over. where are the roads/adresses/freeways.

    but a cool start, i hope this evolves into something cool

  • YES! And some ideas (Score:2, Interesting)

    by olethrosdc ( 584207 )
    Hm... yes, this kind of thing reminds me of MOOs [] (Multi-user Object-Oriented iirc) - in that each player is able to create his own environment and integrate it into the existing. However, the really cool thing about this is that all things are NOT stored in a single server - rather each person has responsibility for storing his own stuff, and linking to the world. On the down side, if I understand correctly, this means that whenever someone logs off, his land is gone. Perhaps it would be interesting to let lands be cached between computers?

    Anyway, this is the first truly novel application of the peer-2-peer networking philosophy, albeit via a centralized server - and as such it is not very ... interesting. Now, if only more people would try and do something more ambitious, in this kind of general direction.... - this kind of thing could be used for many more things apart from merely chatting and wandering around some simplistic graphics.

    Perhaps the answer lies with the addition of a MOO-like language, (perhaps Java?) - where each object in each person's 'home' would have some embedded code and thus could be interacted with in a meaningful way. There could also be repositories of commonly used objects, that would NOT rely on the distribution of a new src/exe of the main application for this type of p2p. (yeah, I guess kind of having the app update/recompile itself ala emacs style) - but that is off the mark:

    What a real distributed server/computing application would enable people to do, is to collaborate on projects without relying on each one of the involved parties to have the software that would be necessary for the collaboration. The software iteself could work on a distributed level. Hm.

  • Wow pretty cool (Score:2, Interesting)

    by loomis ( 141922 )
    This is pretty neat. As someone mentioned, the possibilities this technology presents to online gaming is pretty cool. Back in the days of online games such as Sierra's The Realm and Origin's Ultima Online, players would "decorate" their virtual land and/or home by placing items, food, trash, etc... in patters on the ground in order to personalize the area. With this new technology a lot more personalization of play areas could be done. The ability to truly and continually decorate one's area would add incentive to play X game. Very cool.

  • Am I the only one who thinks that the concept of using a limited set of tiles to build your "land" is an incrediably lame idea? It looks like graphics out of an old Atari 2600 (even the tile based Sim City did much better than this). And the applications need to be version locked so they all have the same tiles?

    If you're going to use tiles at least let the server send you it's own custom tiles. I would rather opt for movable objects however, that don't have to sit on tile boundries. And again, the systems should be able to share this data amoung themselves so the users can create some interesting worlds. How many worlds can you visit made of cookie cutter cacti before it gets lame? For me the answer is somewhere less than one.

  • Reminds me of Snowcrash. Been a while since I've read it, but wasn't there a whole strip dedicated to this sort of thing where people (including large Corporations) could design their own "block" of land in cyberspace?

    Perhaps we can have an Asheron's Call sort of setup where not only do you get to customize and grow your character, but also your plot of "land."

  • In a cute way. My favorite is this Walk around and admire the Programmer Artwork(TM) I'll download it at home. Work is on a Mac. :)
  • Active Worlds (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Hasn't anyone ever heard of Ative Worlds []? It used to be known as Alpha Worlds. This program was the sole reason I upgrade my 486DX2 33 to a PII 266, so I could "play" in alpha worlds. I didn't go for the big graphics card, so it wasn't that great, especially on my modem.

    Active Worlds gives you everything this guy is trying to provide, except it isn't P2P, so you have to pay to build. The client is a free download, so you can walk and talk to your hearts content.

    A paid account give you your own avatar. Worlds, as there are portals to other worlds, aren't restricted to "real" world environments. You can build whole worlds that are just matrices of connecting lines, etc. Every client then downloads different sound and graphics to represent the new world they came into.

    It is essentially just a 3D chat program, but I like the fact that if you aren't in the vicinity, you don't "hear" the conversation. Check it out, the client is free to windows users.
  • This is not new... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Indras ( 515472 ) on Thursday June 13, 2002 @11:10AM (#3693821)
    This is exactly what ActiveWorlds [] does. I played around with it a couple years ago. Last week, I looked it up to see if it is still there, and it's grown quite a bit.

    The difference between ActiveWorlds and BrendanLand? ActiveWorlds is free to view and free to build things, but anything you build has public ownership, so anyone can modify it. If you subscribe (which I've never done), you can start your own world, and nothing built in it can be modified by anyone but you. Oh yeah, and ActiveWorlds is three-dimensional, first or third-person view :o).
  • Has anyone found a copy of the program yet? I've tried a couple of major filesharing networks as well as FTP and web searches and even so much as typing in different paths off of his web site...
  • Obviously, this is a very cool app, no doubt about it. But using DirectX is just brain dead as it locks the app into Win32 machines only... as if the world would consist just of Win32 machines *sigh*

    Very sad, it looked quite promising
  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <.teamhasnoi. .at.> on Thursday June 13, 2002 @11:12AM (#3693835) Journal
    Back in the day, (Pre-Quake) John Carmack gave an interview in which he stated that Quake would have all these servers run by people who would control their 'land', having whatever kind of level/rules/physics! the admins wanted. You would get to these servers by running thru the 'sparkly doorways'.

    He gave a scenario where a server had a 'tag' game of some sort going on. You would be chasing this guy thru a castle, he runs thru the 'sparkly door', you follow and seamlessly end up in another level with different physics (low grav) different rules (bouncing rockets) and different look,(Space Mountain).

    I'm still waiting for this.

    • Just to clarify. The servers were run on players machines, and everyone? ran one.

      I just realized something. Bandwidth not being what it should be to run Quake like this, this would be the way to finally network NETHACK. Kind of like Dungeon Keeper, I guess. All players get to make a 'castle', in which they can put treasure, summon monsters, place traps, ect. Want to go on a quest? Head over to the 'Raging Dragon' and make some pals. Share weapons, ect.

      This would be playable on any machine, use little network resources, and you could put a scrolling ad or something to support development costs ala' Limewire. Nethack is open source, so no limits on what can be done!

      If I had this I wouldn't need P2P Quake. (For awhile ;)

      Why oh why am I a musician and not a programmer. :(

      • Why oh why am I a musician and not a programmer.

        Maybe it's because you never have to spend 6 hours figuring out the reason the final measure sounds like fingernails scratching a chalkboard is that one of the notes in the first measure should have been an eighth note not a sixteeth note.

    • I actually implemented this in Quake2. By hacking around with the game source, I turned the exit of each level into a "portal" to another server. I actually had it working. I could connect to Server1, run through e1m1 (or whatever the offical map name was, I forget) and hit the exit. Server1 would tell my client to connect to Server2, where I would spawn in at the beginning of e1m2, complete with all my stats/weapons/etc from when I exited the previous level.

      The warp was interesting. I repurposed the savegame/loadgame code to dump the players current status to disk, then I transmitted the file to other server via a TCP connection, and used the loadgame code on the other server to restore the player.

      You could also introduce new portals into levels (that appeared as teleport pads) to create links to other levels/servers. All configured via a text file.

      I was planning on joining all of the Quake2 single player maps together into a huge chain, and setting up a huge internet team game. ie Blue team starts at the beginning map, Red team starts at the end map, and then it becomes a territory fight for everything in between. When there were only players from one team on a map (ie they got there first, or killed off the other team players) then they would "own" that map and get points for it.

      I was going to call it "Quake World War", and have the whole campaign spread out across dozens of servers on the net (1 map per server, for load reasons). There could have been potentially hundreds of players involved, spread across all the servers. It could have lead to some interesting strategies/tactics. Since some players would have better ping times on some servers than others, you'd want to deploy your troops to the right places to take advantage of that.

      Obviously, I never finished it. Just another project that went on the pile. :)
  • The Metaverse! Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash! Hellooooooooooooo!???
  • Snow Crash's Metaverse but without the VR stuff. Great... and I was hoping to be one of the early ones so that I could drive around in a huge pirate ship at the speed of light :)
  • I don't really see how this is much different than say, The Sims online. Users' create their own virtual world, and when they connect, they can converse with other people playing who have also created thier own virtual world.

    A big game devoloper should definetly stick with this idea, though. It's got a promising future.
  • It was interesting to note that he thought it might be a world first. I have discovered that there always seems to be someone that has been there first. In this case, LucasArts Habitat from the mid-80s has yet to be met in terms of community and "playability." But still, good luck and keep hacking!
  • by E1ven ( 50485 ) < minus author> on Thursday June 13, 2002 @11:17AM (#3693876) Homepage
    I've been waiting for technology like this, almost Snow-crash-esque.

    Imagine the scenerio- You're walking down a virtual street, on the servers of a search engine, such as Google. Each server appears as a shop on the side of the street, that you can walk into.

    It takes ungodly bandwidth, and processing power.
    But imagine if each business was run on it's own server. You want to buy a server, you walk into IBM's machine, and talk to a receptionist there.
    IBM hosts the enviorment, after you walk in.

    The most interesting issue, IMO at least, is that of trust with Client data. The information about your persona, what he's carrying, and how it interacts with the rest of the world.
    The problem is, you can't leave it server side without sending it to each server that you enter, and trusting them not to modify it as you enter another. Imagine walking into a Script-kiddie hangout, and walking out with a virus.
    Not a pleasant thought.

    So you could store it client-side, but that opens up the possibility of people editing their data. Could you design a system that can withstand that?
    Having user data editable could be interesting. People could design whatever 3d model they wanted to use, and basically have whatever objects they wanted (and could code)

    Transactions with cash would be handled much the way they are on the internet now. You would trust the server with a credit card number, which you would send through a secure tunnel.

    It's an interesting set of possibilities.
    • "Transactions with cash would be handled much the way they are on the internet now. You would trust the server with a credit card number, which you would send through a secure tunnel."

      credit cards suck. sorry to nit-pick, I realize this wasn't the main thrust of your post, I just wanted to rant briefly about how much credit cards suck.

      Credit card numbers are like keys to your bank account. What kind of commerce system operates by having the customer hand over the keys to their bank account to every merchant they want to buy from? It's ridiculous, "here's the key to my bank account, please don't take any more money than we agreed upon... oh, and please don't keep a copy of my keys"

      There's no security at all, it's just supported by insurance and we pay for it in the form of transaction fees to the tune of several billion dollars a year. It blows my mind. Any half-way decent electronic commerce system should be using cryptographic tokens to represent cash in transit.
  • Cute idea. Could lead to a real "virtual office". You'd design your own cubical [or windowed office, if you're an upper level exec ;)] complete with a desk, fax machine, phone, file cabinet, trash can (of course) and clock (even more of an of course). To work from home, just log on, punch the clock, and go. Move files between the network and office with the file cabinet. Click the phone to use the net to dial. Send documents with the fax machine.

    Oh, and the Nerf gun is there to fire on your cube neighbor.
  • Remember AberMUD? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Quixadhal ( 45024 )
    Ok, so this is a very basic mud server with portals that are self-discovered in a peer-to-peer fasion? Sounds like a quick hack to an old copy of AberMUD would accomplish the same thing, and not require a custom client to connect (unless telnet is considered custom these days).
  • Neat concept, but it could be annoying for trying to chat with multiple friends at once (each walking to each other's regions). And since all of the rooms are connected, what if you are trying to get to a specific room to meet a certain person?

    What I think would be a cool project in terms of networking would be to develop a p2p system like this that does not require a master server at all. I've been trying to mentally figure this out... how would you contact your buddy across the world if you don't know their IP address... how would you get it? Could you get it using pop servers? What about if they're behind a NAT server.

    Build that, and I think you'll revolutionize p2p networks. Until then there will always be a central server mapping addresses.

  • Oviously [sic] this is hugely basic stuff

    "Hugely basic stuff." Anybody have a clue in hell what that means?
  • BrendanLand: Clickable thumbnails that get larger, so you can actually see the screenshots

    The problem with this is that there is no compelling action that will drive people to go through the hassle of setting up their worlds. If he wanted to really tie in the Napster aspect, he should have included filesharing in the form of "stashes," or something similar.

    However, it would still suck. There's a reason why all that cheesy "virtual malls" and "click on the storefront to enter the store" crap never took off- because simulating an annoying real world experience (trudging through a mall, or wandering through a desert) does not make for a compelling online experience.

    Want community? Write a front end for connecting people's Civ worlds... or Sims worlds... those are compelling experiences, and I think someone's already on that :-)
  • I'm not sure how many times this has already been posted, but isn't this pretty much the same idea as Neverwinter Nights? With NWN you can host your own 'module(s)' which are basically your own created world which you can DM or you can just let run off of scripts. Modules can be linked to each other, so eventually there could be 'persistant worlds' of modules linked together all over the internet.

    Actually, the idea is basically just like the world wide web. Think of it, everyone has their own little site that is linked to lots of other sites creating a 'world.' Only now there games and applications like this one that do this in 3D instead of text.

    Wow, I hope that trend does continue though--the 3D one that is. I'm not sure how my lynx browser would keep up!
  • Did you guys read William Gibsons "Cyberspace"?
    The cyberspace is a virtual world where everone can design "his" location. But the elements he uses aren't trees or stupid stuff, but programs, buildings representing computer systems and so on.
    Take BrendanLand, add network-accessible COM-Objects with self-registering avatars and you have a Matrix as described by William Gibson.

    I know this will be important stuff, because there are so few high rated comments about it. At first poeple ignore it, and once it booms, we can hardly remember whose idea it was in the first place...

    Sig Nature
  • I had an idea for a P2P screen saver, where you design an A-Life creature, and set it free. It will then roam around, and interact with other creatures from other screen savers. They might fight or fall in love. Who knows. There was more to it, but it was a while ago.
  • Does anyone else remember a couple of different experiments in 3d worlds on the internet back in 1997-98 where you created your own avatar, could create your own city, travel around, and talk to people you met along the way? I don't remember names anymore, but I do remember playing with a couple different iterations back then. This looks the same, without the 3d part.

  • I'm afraid that Brendenland is definitely not the earliest peer-to-peer MUD. David Ackley has been working for many years on ccr, a system where individuals create and interconnect independent MUD-like worlds. One of the most important questions ccr addresses is the issue of security: when you are visiting another person's world, what should that other person be able to do to you? Also, ccr addresses the issue of hacked clients through code signing and chains of trust.

    If you are curious about ccr and Dave's ideas, check out his home page [] and ccr's central keyserver [].


  • This my sound a bit, uh, arrogant, but in the basics this seems a bit unimaginitive to me.
    Two points:

    - Snowcrash (been mentioned in some comments above): what I found frustrating about that story was the limitations: "teleporting in cyberspace is impossible [not implemented] because it would confuse users." Huh? What's the point of having a freely configurable environment if you're going to make it just like meatspace?

    - Cthulu: I've never actually read any Lovelace (yet), but I really dug a description I read once: "Space around Cthulu becomes non-Euclidian ..." Yay! Now if I go into a virtual environment, and I'm stuck with variations in gravity, perhaps some cludge to bend the law of conservation of momentum or something, but other than that, straight vanilla three-dee space, unit-style avatars etc. etc. ... well, I'd be kinda disappointed.

    (yadda yadda, so if I'm so cool, why don't I do it myself ... heh ... fine, I'm a user, "my passions are quotations", I confess!)

    Whatever. I'll get round to it. Sometime.
  • Everything old is new again. I founded Worlds Inc. which started (prematurely it turns out) the 3d virtual worlds walking around avatar thing. Activeworlds was designed without knowledge of snowcrash, but was certainly synchronous with that novel. It turns out that the main problem with the concept is that it is less like a living world and more like "neutron bomb world"...tons of buildings and constructs, but nothing to do there. There were two main lessons learned. First, the aesthetics must be of Movie quality which we now have with the PS2 and XBoxes of the world. The second lesson is that there must be SCARCITY of land (hong kong and manhatten) creating reeflike ecologies/economies rather than North Dakota as far as infinity and nothing to do and no way to find anything interesting. Hmmm - I wonder if it's time to take another run at the concept Cheers, David Gobel If knowledge is infinite, then I MUST be infinitely ignorant
    • The most obvious problem it had was simple- unless you give the geography a purpose, all you're doing is hindering communication and simulating very annoying properties of the real world. That made it pretty hard to get into.

      The aesthetics of the world do not matter one whit- they will only attract newbies once, and then once the newbies have gathered a base of friends, they generally don't leave their standard stomping grounds. There are certain people that live for exploring the world for its own sake, but they are rare

      The fact that nearly all MUDs include some kind of broadcast chat channel and affinity group chat systems is a big hint as to what people want. They enjoy overcoming the challenges of the MUD's geography, and yet prefer all possible haste in communicating with one another.

      The problem with alphaworld was that it provided all the lovely geography, but there was no point to even leaving the same area.

      In this vein, Ultima Online is probably the most successful in the "personal space chat" category- players wander around in a pre-made world, but as they gain more power by interacting with that environment, they can eventually exercise that power by building their own house, which functions as a meeting place and status symbol. Your point about land scarcity is dead on as well- if your giant castle is a hard thing to make, people might come on over just to see it.

      If you make the avatars able to kill each other, then the world is generally a great success, because the inconveniences of geography become a challenge to overcome and a situational help or hindrance to the hunters or hunted.
  • Well, I wrote this large essay in here about a brainstorm I had about tiered servers to control a Metaverse-like virtual world.

    Basically I said that you could have trusted root servers for the universe, similar to the DNS root servers, then everything underneath arbitrates and delegates control over subdomains.

    In this case, the domains would be like this:
    World -> Continent -> Country (-> maybe region) -> City -> Block/Region -> Building (-> building subdivision).

    For an example, a person installs the software for the city server on his machine, configures it, then would vie to become a city server. The country server would test the city server's capacity (speed, storage, etc), check whether its information conflicted with other cities (ie, has an identical name and location) then brings it into the city network as a peer if it passes. Other cities within that region would reflect their information to this new city server, and it would then be known as New Gondoland or whatever.

    There would have to be a lot of checking and intelligence built in, to prevent cascades and problems when servers crash or get bogged down.

    Servers with X amount of uptime would have good marks stored in the controller's database; if there is temporary network congestion, a controller with a good history will be chosen over one with an unknown or rocky history.

    Big fleas have little fleas... but the smallest flea, the apartment/house/office owner doesn't have fleas. He controls his own space, but he also gets an avatar. Other domain controllers don't get one; they are dedicated servers.

    Your avatar can go anywhere within the system; he can choose to view at any of the hierarchy levels. Information states are stored with checksums so that only diffs have to be sent to clients (not in a textual method surely; that would be very wasteful of resources). A city would merely have records of street and area and building placement. Entering a city would cause a check against your last update for that city, and the last X hours or days of changes are stored so that the city can send you a diff based on your last update.

    Shrug, maybe someone can run with this idea. I can see an idea similar to this becoming the basis for a real Metaverse (so to speak).
  • by jcoleman ( 139158 ) on Thursday June 13, 2002 @03:31PM (#3696157), I won't go there, b/c that's not funny anymore.

    I'd like to see him patent this. Now *that* would be funny.

    Please tell me that no one that is posting in this discussion takes this as a serious piece of software.
  • Ugh. I'm sorry, but that name has GOT to go.
    And no, I don't think AlseeLand sounds any better.

  • The Multiverse is a virtual reality world -- you can "buy" real estate in it, and code your own piece of land. Everything ran using the Multiverse protocol, so that they can interact. A few large corps hosted the backbones, from whom you purchased prime virtual real estate. This project sounds like something similar -- individuals can program their own little lands that others can see.
  • This sounds exactly like the virtual world from Snowcrash. You get an avatar. Cool hackers can customize them, people on public terminals got slow, jerky, greyscale avatars. You have to travel on some sort of virtual transit system along a main road that was 32,768 miles long. 'Course the l33t hax0rs could travel many thousand miles a second.

    Anyway... read it... it's a good book. This software however? I dunno... maybe if they guy would actually post a *LINK* to it hehe...
  • I see this being popular with younger surfers, too young to type, yet big enough to draw things with a mouse. Yes, there's security/wierdo infiltration considerations, but you don't usually leave your 2-3 year old alone with the computer that much anyway.

    I'd do it as SVG, and have everyone be able to select object oriented avatars that could inherit different characteristics like clothes or noises. Quick transfer when you go to another land. And I'd let older people create the base class for the avatars, so that they could be copyrighted cartoon characters or other things that appeal to children. There's the napster-like content...


"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors