Monday, 31 January 2011

Trying to capture place

Above is a model of the Eiffel Tower in Second Life.

IMVU Eiffel Tower above and Google Earth below:

As a human you can understand right away that these are three models or maps of the same place in the real world. You can deal with the various differences between the 3 simulations to understand that they encode the same place in the real world.

So how do you write this in a semantic triplet. I have struggled with this for a few years and not been able to find a clear grammar for classing virtual reality models to real world places.

What is interesting about Twinity is that is gets rid of this entire problem by building its virtual world upon the real world as mapped in Google.

I would say that Twinity imposes singularity, consistency and isomorphism of a location in their reality with the real world location. Second Life and IMVU allow any number of "simulations" of the real world.

Certainly IMVU and Second Life are "freer" and more open. But sometimes what a technology needs is restraints. We call that a framework. Second Life provides a framework for creating virtual spaces, it does not provide a framework for easily mapping these virtual spaces to real spaces. Twinity provides such a Framework. When they make Virtual Paris it will be mapped clearly to real Paris.

So why does this matter. Well if you want your Paris to play a game in it does not matter at all. Also if you want online social networking it really does not matter. The IMVU Tower is as good for chat rooms as any other so. But say you want to link virtual reality clear with the real world, having a business with a virtual presence that is linked to its real world presence. Or perhaps you want to have events in both virtual reality and the real world at once. Though it is possible for Second Life, a Twinity would make this more consistent and easier to implement.

Developers who use the Geo-Position data from Google could write applications to link Foursquare, Facebook and Twinity together allowing future users with Tablets or smartphones in say a Virtual Parliament Square in London to interact with people all over the world in real time in a kind of virtual space.

This idea is so obvious it has been a part of Science Fiction for years. Verner Vinge in Rainbows End presents a world of such augmentation, and obviously there must be some platform that joins the real world to the imagined world that joins up and augments it.

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
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