Active Worlds: The 27-Year-Old Virtual World You Haven’t Heard Of

extra reading:

https://web.archive.org/web/19990224221757/http://www.mixed-nuts.com/nutnews/newspaper.htm

Virtual Space: Spatiality in Virtual Inhabited 3D Worlds

https://worldschat.fandom.com/wiki/1994-1997#The_End_of_the_World

https://www.helmasawatzky.com/datatraveler/alpha.html

music:

  • Sim City 2000, PSX — Sim City Segue
  • Command & Conquer OST — Recon
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert — Mud
  • Armitage III OST – A City Without Sunshine
  • Unreal Tournament OST – Nether Animal
  • Krossfire KKND 2 – Survivors 1
  • Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire – Encounter! Ace Trainer
  • System Shock 2 OST – Ops 2
  • Deus Ex OST – UNATCO
  • Blast Corps – Credits

Sources: No One Knows What the Metaverse Is

video: https://youtu.be/dlbgPKIox78

1: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/poll-nearly-two-thirds-americans-say-social-media-platforms-are-n1266773
2: https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2020/01/09/trends-in-income-and-wealth-inequality/
3: https://omr.com/en/metaverse-snow-crash/
4: https://www.hpcwire.com/2008/08/28/what_is_the_metaverse_and_should_hpc_care/
5: https://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/16/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/16peoplewe.html
6: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2kG0J9sKKg
7: https://twitter.com/simonw/status/1454530724065804291
8: https://people.well.com/user/bbear/vrml.html
9: https://web.archive.org/web/20121003092729/http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/abrash/valve-how-i-got-here-what-its-like-and-what-im-doing-2/
10: https://www.thewindowsclub.com/what-is-metaverse
11: https://www.digitalspace.com/avatars/aworld.html
12: https://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2013/04/second-life-is-a-killer-app-for-oculus-rift/
13: https://superjumpmagazine.com/how-the-virtual-world-second-life-is-a-showcase-of-the-metaverse-5bd9fb67450
14: https://medium.com/@ow/the-metaverse-is-already-here-its-called-fortnite-3a7d92e4acfd
15: https://medium.com/mutualmobile/were-already-in-the-metaverse-we-just-don-t-know-it-f4e7c08af529
16: https://twitter.com/Scobleizer/status/1454170183833059330
17: https://www.adweek.com/commerce/how-brands-find-value-in-metaverse/
18: https://twitter.com/andytouch/status/1462836908447440899
19: https://twitter.com/ShaanVP/status/1454151237650112512
20: This is taken from marketing newsletter copy. Sorry, I don’t have a link to it — you’ll just have to take my word for it!
21: https://www.matthewball.vc/all/themetaverse — if you can stomach it, https://www.matthewball.vc/the-metaverse-primer
22: https://seekingalpha.com/article/4473606-facebook-meta-platforms-investing-billions-to-make-trillions
23: https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-hit-with-antitrust-lawsuit-by-federal-trade-commission-state-attorneys-general-11607543139
24: https://www.npr.org/2021/10/18/1047033994/facebook-metaverse-10-000-workers-europe-virtual-reality
25: https://youtu.be/Uvufun6xer8
26: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/facebooks-acquisitions-of-instagram-and-whatsapp-are-antitrust-targets-but-its-metaverse-mergers-may-be-the-victims-11640644272
27: https://cointelegraph.com/news/a-letter-to-zuckerberg-the-metaverse-is-not-what-you-think-it-is
28: https://www.cnet.com/tech/computing/the-metaverse-isnt-what-you-think-it-is-because-we-dont-know-what-it-is/
29: https://www.freethink.com/culture/digital-goods-metaverse
30: https://www.barrons.com/articles/cryptocurrency-metaverse-coinbase-stock-51635782938
31: https://hellofuture.orange.com/en/journey-through-the-metaverse-digital-twins-are-synchronizing-the-physical-and-virtual/
32: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/30/technology/metaverse-virtual-reality-big-tech.html
33: https://cointelegraph.com/news/new-tribes-of-the-metaverse-community-owned-economies
34: While I’ll source most Tweets, I won’t source these — some are by ordinary folks, and some are by journalists or “thinkers” who you can easily find by searching for yourself.
35: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVBCWFlgaXc&t=231s
36: No Maps for These Territories, Mark Neale, 2000

Sources: Full Dive VR Isn’t Going to Happen

video: https://youtu.be/XLDjW9IDnBQ

Text:
1: https://www.theverge.com/2021/6/17/22537349/facebook-vr-oculus-quest-ads-privacy-questions-analysis
2: https://www.roadtovr.com/valve-openbci-immersive-vr-games/
3: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asoc.2020.106954.
4: https://doi.org/10.1080/00051144.2011.11828400
5: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0026322
6: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0104854
7: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/psychiatry/specialty_areas/brain_stimulation/tms/faq_tms.html
8: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28034451/
9: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/media/2020/sarah-h-lisanby-transcranial-magnetic-stimulation-safety-and-risk
10: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100126153425.htm
11: https://www.ele.uri.edu/Courses/bme181/F07/Erin_1.pdf
12: http://www.brainblogger.com/2015/10/29/personality-changes-after-deep-brain-stimulation/
13: https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/shadow-profiles-facebook-has-information-you-didnt-hand-over/
14: https://www.fastcompany.com/40557799/zuckerberg-just-proved-once-again-that-congress-doesnt-understand-the-internet
15: https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/06/our-modern-congress-doesnt-understand-21st-century-technology/
16: https://vhil.stanford.edu/pubs/2018/protecting-nonverbal-data-tracked-in-virtual-reality/
17: https://www.roadtovr.com/oculus-quest-camera-privacy-rift-s-facebook/
18: https://aeon.co/essays/your-brain-does-not-process-information-and-it-is-not-a-computer
19: https://psychcentral.com/blog/your-brain-is-not-a-computer
20: https://www.infoq.com/articles/brain-not-computer/
21: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/07/ten-years-human-brain-project-simulation-markram-ted-talk/594493/
22: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-fading-dream-of-the-computer-brain/
23: https://iep.utm.edu/hard-con/
24: https://www.livescience.com/what-is-consciousness-mystery.html
25: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/nov/14/health-insurance-medical-bankruptcy-debt
26: https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/newsletter-article/survey-79-million-americans-have-problems-medical-bills-or-debt
27: https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/04/who-had-medical-debt-in-united-states.html
28: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/05/americans-fear-they-wont-be-able-to-pay-for-health-care-this-year.html
29: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/10/americans-are-drowning-in-medical-debt-what-to-know-if-you-need-help.html
30: https://www.bmj.com/content/370/bmj.m3097
31: https://www.pewresearch.org/science/2016/07/26/public-opinion-on-the-future-use-of-brain-implants/
32: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/techtank/2014/04/22/would-you-get-a-brain-implant-if-it-could-make-you-smarter/
33: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/9310231

Video:
1: Sword Art Online, Episode 1: The World of Swords (2012)
2: The Matrix (1999)
3: Mysteries of the Brain: Brain-Computer Interface: https://youtu.be/p1XQ4uxqxZI
4: Gabe Newell on Valve’s Brain Computer Interfaces and Gaming Inside the Brain: https://youtu.be/tVu-96J6_I0
5: How do brain scans work? – John Borghi and Elizabeth Waters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B10pc0Kizsc
6: Noninvasive EEG-based control of a robotic arm for reach and grasp tasks: https://youtu.be/w6QEGeIKHw0
7: Hernandez-Pavon J, Makela N, Lehtinen H, Lioumis P, Makela J, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
8: Divergent Minds – Mind Field S2 (Ep 7): https://youtu.be/wcPzTr-BbAA
9: Neil Harbisson: I listen to color: https://youtu.be/ygRNoieAnzI
10: Neuralink: Elon Musk’s entire brain chip presentation in 14 minutes (supercut): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLUWDLKAF1M
11: How OpenBCI Products Go Together: https://youtu.be/QIWswAOFp8w
12: Vision 2017 – Advertising in VR: The Money is Coming: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBWYhlZt5Fo
13: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testimony on data privacy before Senate committee | ABC News: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQN4On0K7-w

Additional Reading:
1: https://news.ncsu.edu/2020/11/brain-computer-interface-ethics/
2: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-ethical-challenges-of-connecting-our-brains-to-computers/
3: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3096836/

Minimum VRChat Hardware (for Raves)

Alright, so no intro here — you’ve seen the video.

For Desktop

You’ll need a dedicated graphics card, likely a NVIDIA GeForce 1660 Super or better. Likewise, you’ll need a processor from around 2014/15 or better. Think something like an Intel i7 4770k (or the laptop equivalent). You’ll probably also want at least 16GB of RAM.

For good performance, you’ll want an NVIDIA GeForce 1080/AMD Radeon 5700 or greater, paired with at least an Intel i7 7700k, AMD R5 3600, or newer processor. You’ll want 32GB of RAM, too.

For VR

While I’ve heard people running some crazy setups, the lowest I’ve personally witnessed was my own laptop driving a Quest 2. That machine’s (relevant) specs were:

  • Core i7 9750H
  • GTX 1660 Ti (6GB GDDR6)
  • 16GB DDR4 2666MhZ

Realistically though, if you want GOOD performance in VR… well, I hope you have deep pockets! My current system uses an 5800x combined with a 3090 and I still barely hit over 40 FPS in most crowded clubs. So yeah, skies the limit, really.

And yes: this sucks! But it kinda just is what it is. Using some optimization techniques (as shown in the video) and turning off people’s avatars, you can get a livable framerate. But if you want to show everyone’s avatar, with shaders? Prepare for pain.

THE VIRTUAL UNDERGROUND

THE VIRTUAL UNDERGROUND

MAY 5, 10:00 AM EST: YOUTUBE.

RELEASED: WATCH IT NOW

The Virtual Underground is an hour-long tour of VRChat’s thriving, underground music scene.

In this documentary, Strasz discusses what makes the VRChat rave scene so special, featuring interviews with some of the most prominent members of the scene, including BarryBlueJorts, Velatix, 2ToneDisco, Kye, Lamp DX, Noire, 0b4k3, and Cannorin.

Special thanks to Finn, whose help was crucial throughout this project.

Group content generation

A few months ago, a good friend of mine started a project of sorts — or rather, a hub (sort of?) of projects called Port Zero.

Port Zero, named after a public spawning point in Snow Crash, is essentially a group of people that have self-selected to be part of a creative group whose purpose is just… to create. Create what? That’s up to the group.

There were many reasons Jayne started Port Zero (you can read about some of them here), but ultimately it’s an attempt at doing many things at once:

  • Creating a group consciousness that can chew through creative problems and make something unique as a team
  • Train people how to be influencers/creators without also taking advantage of them
  • Creating a group of talented individuals who are willing to share their skills and abilities (and who, in return, can learn from other similarly talented individuals)

Despite being the “founder” of the group, Jayne isn’t the boss. The group does what the group wants to do. That could be creating a vtuber, or a D&D campaign, or even a Discord bot.

So what does this have to do with me?

Outside of being a fan of the idea — I’ve been wondering if I could use a similar, smaller framework to generate helpful content for the communities that *my community* belongs to.

To be blunt, because of the content I’ve created, my community contains a high percentage of trans women.

Often this leads to a lot of questions: Where can you find resources for voice training? What about practicing your speaking voice in a safe space? What communities in VRChat are “safe”?

While I don’t have a large platform (barely any lol), I have convinced a bunch of people to join our Discord server, many of them who are eager to help others.

So maybe… we could create a working group of sorts that would attempt to tackle some of the above questions (and problems). We could start by putting together and maintaining resource lists, as well as maybe even setting up servers and events to help people out.

To be clear — these sorts of things exist elsewhere, but I’m not sure to what extent they exist in *our* space, in virtual reality.

My goal here wouldn’t be to run these projects, but rather shepherd them. The way I see it, I could help direct resources where they need to go, empowering members of my community to do the groundwork necessary. Then, we can all work together to get the resources we make out there.

I also wouldn’t want to stop here.

The way I see it, this sort of thing could lead into charity events, or maybe even tackling other problems — some serious, some not. Maybe we could have numerous working groups, all working on different problems.

I don’t know.

Is this a good idea? Is it a bad one? Is it really my place to jump in?

This blog post is a jumping off point. I’ll be posting this in a new channel in my community, and letting it stew for a week or two. Depending on the ensuing conversation, we’ll maybe do something together… or maybe we’ll shelf the idea. Maybe for later. Maybe it’ll just disappear.

TL;DR:

Anyway. Yeah. That’s the idea: I’d like to build a community group that is self-guided (although the first few projects would be based around offering resources to those that need them most). From there, if it works, we could build it up into something larger.