Check out this rather impressive imagining of virtual world construction in a fully tangible VR / AR environment.

The interface used is quite cool and inspirational, but there’s a lot of funky interface videos out there, and the basic idea of creating worlds from within isn’t new; Snow Crash has this sort of thing, and, to some extent, it’s a logical extension and extrapolation of Wayne Piekarski’s PhD work in using AR to build 3D models on the world around us. That said, it’s a very polished imagining of this idea, and well worth the watch.

What I really liked, though, is the emotional context in which this is placed – the film’s not just a cool interface concept, but rather an example of how virtual worlds and technology might be able to provide emotional support of a sort. Effectively, the protagonist is creating worlds to embody and relive his memories. Once, our memories were limited to shared stories, then writing, then photos, then video – it seems logical that, if 3D environments and simulated experiences could be captured, then these too would be something that we collect, file away for posterity, and maybe share with our friends.

Imagine if, instead of showing wedding photos to friends who couldn’t make it, you could compellingly simulate the experience of being there.

found via Long Now

Why do I blog this?
I’ve always loved world building, and the idea of being able to easily create and experience worlds excites me. To really be compelling, though one would need to be able to create believable simulated people and animals to populate the world; as it is, the world in this video seems somewhat lonely.

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In Second Life, everything is made from primitives – cubes, cylinders, prisms and so forth that you can place together to create pretty much anything. There’s a size limit of 10x10x10 metres that’s sometimes a real pain in the arse.

I’d heard of something called megaprims that allow you to make much larger blocks (for walls and the like) and, wondering how they worked, I found out why they’re banned.

Kuula buried under Megaprim – in which, on Jan 11, 2007, Kuula and nine other regions (about 50 hectares in total) were struck by disaster – a massive sheet of 5m thick virtual plywood plummeting from the sky. Those underneath were not crushed, but caught inside the prim, causing bizarre and erratic behaviour

It’s not quite the alien attacks of Sim City, but as far as virtual disasters go, pretty awesome

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