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The Metaverse Business

Before getting into some links regarding the burgeoning metaverse business, let me mention that the pictures in this entry are mainly from a day recently spent on the bluffs at Davenport with our daughter Isabel — check out her online jewelry site! Hammered wedding rings a specialty.

I took a day off from working on my Hylozoic revisions and went to a conference called Metaverse U organized by Henrik Bennetsen of the Stanford Humanities Lab. As I explain in my nonfiction tome, The Lifebox, the Seashell and the Soul, and dramatize in my novel, Postsingular, my sense is that virtual reality can never replace actual reality—but maybe I’m missing the point. It’s stimulating to see what’s up in this rapidly morphing nexus of ideas. The latest wrinkle is to think of the metaverse as business.

As I mentioned in my notes on the NASA Virtual World conference, the people who talk about “metaverse” are particularly thinking about Stephenson’s Snow Crash. The word’s taken on a life of it’s own, usually referring to some kind of shared mixed reality. I had my laptop open during the talks and here in classic weblog style, are some of the links that went by.

Metaverse Roadmap Overview
What happens when we mash together video games, virtual worlds, geospatial maps, simulations, virtual business, and online avatars acting as your agents? The Metaverse! One of the biz talks was about how something’s added if a team works together in the form of online avatars instead of just via email. It’s science-fictional, imagining having to actually “go” to an office building and roam the halls so as to potentiate chance interactions with your fellow workers. The “water cooler” effect. Another guy remarked that just having a visible grid of webcam photos of everyone who’s at their machine might be enough.

Technology Review: Second Earth
Tech article about how the World Wide Web will soon be absorbed into the World Wide Sim: an environment combining elements of Second Life and Google Earth. I myself have had problems getting interested in Second Life — this stems from the “bus station” effect, which refers to the fact that new arrivals to this locale find themself in a somewhat dull and crummy part of “town” among unfriendly predators and mockers. Also, when you arrive, you’re “dressed” as a noob. Also I really dislike the way the world looks—all those blank polygons, it’s the same in videogames. But I guess if I was socializing there I might like it. And if it’s blended with the physical world, it could really take off. We’re almost talking about telepathy here…

SceneCaster – Design 3D scenes!
A tool for making 3D rooms to attach to something like your Face Book page.

Welcome to VastPark
Another tool for creating metaverse content such as a virtual World, online game or 3D visualization. I guess you could build a virtual office for your drones as well.

Stanford Virtual Worlds Group
The Virtual Worlds Group, Stanford University, Computer Science Department. They built an artificial life app called Dryad, which is about farming virtual trees. The novel idea is to use user selections as the fitness function for searching a 19 dimensional space of all possible trees. This is perhaps a foreshadowing version of Will Wright’s Apocalyptic SPORE game due Sept 7, 2008, when life as we know it will change 4ever.

3D Models, Plugins, Textures, and more at Turbo Squid
3d Models, Plugins, software, Textures, at Turbo Squid for purchase and free. A Borgesian universal library with one of EVERYTHING. The guys running this site (out of New Orleans of all places) told me that occasionally noobs will buy one of their meshes and then be looking for it to arrive in physical form in their snailmail—as opposed to downloading the mesh file using the key they purchased. One guy was hounding them for the glass bong he thought he’d bought. Some Nigerians, who’d been very pleased with buying seven hundred tennis balls for the price of one, were upset when they got no balls at all.

3 Responses to “The Metaverse Business”

  1. Spore Forum Says:

    I agree with your thoughts on Spore. It should prove to be the proverbial “year zero” for gaming!

  2. Brian Eisley Says:

    Rudy, thanks for the link to your daughter’s jewelry site. Very nice, and my sweetie and I have been looking for rings.

  3. metaverse4biz Says:

    Thanks for sharing the links. I’m going to check out the metaverse roadmap as soon as I press the submit button here. Anyhoo, I think the term metaverse has now reached the vernacular of not just your early-adopter of technology. Surely as virtual worlds progress, and these developers as well as the open-source community work to provide more API’s into such environments, the “metaverse” will encompass much more than what we consider it currently.

    I did happen upon your blog because I was searching for other writers on the topic of business in the metaverse. I think your use of the term “business” was more generalized than what I discuss in my blog (, but I appreciate the links you provide in this post. I’ve got more reading and sources to investigate. Thanks!

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