Metaverse: Does nowhere go somewhere?

Metaverse: Does nowhere go somewhere?

Back in August, I blogged about the poor aesthetics of deadMetaverse, the project in which Mark Zuckerberg poured billions. Unlike most of my blogs, it has caught the attention of several people, including Katie Rosen, who serves as an advocate for an alternative metaverse called Nowhere. I was offered a chance to try out the files a programso I spent half an hour last week anywhere in particular – literally.

According to Rosen, there was no place where the event development company started windmill factory She faced a crisis caused by COVID-19. “Event Developer” is my catchphrase to describe an organization that, in their own words, “makes great experiences.” For the younger generation that values ​​experimentation over things, this would probably be a good business going forward.

virtual community

Judging by the list of experiences on their website, they specialize in getting people together in a specific space to do something cool – listening to a concert, perhaps, or experiencing some sort of event with the help of a light show. Without attending one of their events, I can’t say what it looks like, but I suppose they don’t use the word “sublime” lightly.

Anyway, the Windmill folks have been planning their next big effort for April 2020 when you know what happened, and they’ve had the problem of doing events without people. And so the idea was born that eventually became out of place.

The goal of Nowhere is to establish personal connections in a safe place. In terms of safety, everyone who enters Nowhere should at least be identified by a legitimate email and password. And your real name is available to anyone who happens to meet you anywhere.

What does it take to get into Nowhere – Special VR Glasses? no. A middle-aged Macbook Pro running Chrome and two speakers was all it took. This is a big plus in my book already.

What do you see when you get there? First, there’s a black screen with animated stars on it, a bit like the old Star Wars titles. This is a screen saver to give the program time to boot. Then one of the stars grows and enters one of its many spaces.

The first thing I got wasn’t that impressive. They were completely black except for the things around the perimeter of the box that looked like electronic billboards. I can move my view with a few simple key commands or mouse movements.

When Katie appeared, she took the form of a “nonagram” (a nine-sided circular screen) inside of which was a view as you see it on Zoom, just an actual video of her sitting at a desk. But the way I got into space reminded me of how Glinda the Good Witch got to Oz to save Dorothy—her position zoomed in from a tiny spot and appeared before me. What took MGM thousands of dollars in optical printer equipment and hours of time can now be yours for free.

The disembodied form seen from the side is shaped like a thin slice of a ball, as if you were cutting off the end of a tomato. The flat part holds the screen and the back is just a black surface. It is floating above – the ground – or whatever is below it, and its location (technically, four degrees of freedom – x, y, zand yaw) under the control of everyone who is not ongram.

One thing I hope they install is a mirror, so you can see your nonagram. There may be one, but I haven’t gotten to it.

A whole new world

Katie took me to two spaces that were much nicer than the black space with billboards. On one of them was what looked like a grassy hill and with a giant apple on it, surrounded by a blue sky. She told me it was supposed to be a cherry, not an apple. Then we went to a forest (there was a selection of about six or eight such places on a pop-up panel at the bottom of the screen), which had some sort of wooden platform that she guided me to. The background was very calm – trees in the mist and the sounds of birds.

What that place reminded me of is the old video game mysterywhich is somewhat mythical among people of a certain age (appeared around 1993). mystery It consists almost entirely of static scenes that the user can navigate in a limited way – but any scenes! The whole thing was a work of art depicting a kind of elevated reality that was the product of much study of how the real world looks and sounds.

To the extent that the Nowhere developers follow this principle, they have my vote. It’s exciting to be in the early stages of another medium, if metaverse It can be called. Zuckerberg clearly wants to dominate the new broker, but we might see something of a sort on PC versus Mac, as the old, dominant platform may not be agile enough to come up with innovative approaches that many people prefer.

I’d rather show other people as a kind of video on a tomato slice than as a simple animation of myself. I’d also like to know who I’m talking to – really – rather than risking my chance to pretend I’m a CEO or what you have.

It’s very important to get some things right when the organization is small and starting out, and it doesn’t yet have a lot of old issues to deal with. In principle, I suppose we can redesign the Internet so that everyone can be immediately tracked. But such a redesign is practically impossible, now that massive infrastructure is in place allowing anonymity on such a large scale.

I wish the developers of Nowhere well, and I hope that their good ideas about beauty, if not their actual platform, will positively influence whatever will happen to most people most of the time. Beauty is one of the three transcendental, and the other two are truth and goodness. Anyone who ignores it in making something that could be beautiful is against the design of the universe, and will face the consequences.

This article Reposted from the author’s blog, engineering ethicspermission.

Karl de Stefan received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1976. After a year of study at Cornell University, he received his master’s degree in engineering in 1977…More from Karl de Stefan


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