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IBM, Linden Labs Call For Portable Avatars

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the door-from-sl-to-google-earth dept.

IBM 93

destinyland writes "IBM just announced a push for universal avatars with Second Life's creator Linden Labs. Then they joined Google, Cisco, Intel, Sony, Microsoft, and Motorola for the first planning session on how to make it happen. There's already speculation that Google is working on a 3-D social networking environment incorporating Google Earth and Google Maps." Virtual Worlds News has up a copy of the joint press release.

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FANTASTIC (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20941097)

Another next-gen Web 3.14159etc bit of market driven consumer comfort teat dehumanization flavor of the month I can conveniently not give a shit about. YEEEAH!

Ahhh.... Portable Avatars! (2, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#20944013)

"The comic book guy's" wet dream. [bungie.org]

A little too specific... (2, Insightful)

parcel (145162) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941137)

TFA doesn't say much, but it seems like this would end up a lot like Miis... where whatever style they chose for the avatars would only work in certain scenarios. I suppose they could make a more generalized system which would then be translated to whatever format "fits", but it seems like it would end up too generalized to really be useful.

Re:A little too specific... (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 6 years ago | (#20948879)

Yeah, and meanwhile everyone else is assuming that your SL avatar will be able to skip merrily into WoW, which just isn't going to happen. It simply isn't in the best interests of anyone but Linden Labs and IBM to force this sort of interoperability.

I could see SOE do something like that for the games in their Station Pass stable, but you're still looking at either a standardized rendering engine, or some method of transporting geometry and texture data back and forth between virtual worlds.

Re:A little too specific... (1)

MaxShaw (1151993) | more than 6 years ago | (#20949749)

COLLADA [wikipedia.org] and DDS is enough for most asset exchanges. It's the fitting that's the problem.

Re:A little too specific... (2, Interesting)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20950079)

Transporting graphical data isn't the issue, making the avatar come out in a way that fits the new world is (e.g. can't take your phaser rifle into Everquest and with those shoes you aren't getting in, either. Never mind we have a strict "no Klingons" policy!). You could just duplicate the data between all engines with minor adjustments but realistically you don't want people who don't fit the environment. Of course Second Life can appreciate that, they have no coherent style anyway but nothing would ruin the atmosphere of a coherent game more than a furry invasion (unless the game was something like Conker: Online).

Good luck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20941143)

Good luck getting this to work with linux anytime in the near-future.
"Sorry, avatars are currently not available under KDE, please try GNOME".
sigh.

Re:Good luck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20942113)

All you have to do is "aptget --password {your-my-rootpassord} --installTarget /opt/IBM/Avatars {~/path/to/Avatar-package} --ibm-avatar-host="www13.avatars.ibm.com" --enableForAllUsers=Y" and then hup inetd and you're golden! Oh, don't forget to reconfigure ipchains to allow your box to connect to the avatar server. And sometimes the avatard hangs, especially the first few times it tries to connect to the avatar server, and you gotta hup that, too, until it builds a cache of all the redirected server names in IBM's server pool.

Great. (5, Funny)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941157)

At least we'll have open and standardized furry suits and dildo hats, now. Thanks.

Bin Laden Labs? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20941325)

anyone read IBM Linden as Bin Laden

I did! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20941851)

Does anybody know how to log into to Slashdot using my AOL avatar?

Re:Great. (3, Funny)

The Angry Mick (632931) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941693)

I suspect that some company mandated "appearance rules" or regions will eventually have to apply.

I can't imagine that an anatomically "enhanced", gimp mask wearing, bondage squirrel is going to be too popular after crossing into the inevitable Disney world. If only everyone looked the same . . . like say, with blond hair and blue eyes . . .

Re:Great. (1)

sgartner (1108101) | more than 6 years ago | (#20942679)

Forget corporate requirements, I could see Germany or China weighing in with rules like:

  • You must reflect your real sex
  • You must reflect your real race
  • You must reflect your actual age
  • You must define one avatar for adults to see and another for children to see
Plus, who wants to be known as Joe the wizard dwarf everywhere they go?

Re:Great. (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20943927)

Not forgotting:

You must present your ID card whenever requested or forever be banished to the field with the tractor and the television set.

Re:Great. (1)

The Angry Mick (632931) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945713)

You must define one avatar for adults to see and another for children to see

This is the bit that I think would be pretty cool to see . . .

Germany? (1)

harmonica (29841) | more than 6 years ago | (#20950471)

What makes you think Germany would do that? Germany has rather harsh laws to protect personal privacy. Forcing people to reveal stuff about themselves to the world doesn't really fit into that.

Re:Germany? (1)

sgartner (1108101) | more than 6 years ago | (#20957467)

What makes you think Germany would do that? Germany has rather harsh laws to protect personal privacy. Forcing people to reveal stuff about themselves to the world doesn't really fit into that.

The reason I included Germany in my comment is that they seem to be amazingly paranoid and they have shown a willingness to enact laws trying to censor information; all under the guise of "protecting" their adult and youth population. Specifically they seem to have a broad definition of what is "harmful" so I could easily see them legislating that lying about your age, sex, and/or race, or having a "risqué" avatar, as being "unsafe".

However, my point wasn't to attempt smear a specific country, but just to point out that as soon as they try to make avatars homogeneous, they not only have to deal with multiple incompatible systems, but political borders.

Re:Great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20943291)

Damn, you didn't just GodWIN, you GodWON.

Just what we need (4, Insightful)

The_Mystic_For_Real (766020) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941165)

More ways to trace you online, from the guys that brought online stalking to the mainstream.

Different identification at different sites cuts down on spamming, trolling, phishing, everything bad out there.

Re:Just what we need (4, Interesting)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941255)

you got that right. You know how many ppl would be dumb enough to put their real, actual location that they live at in on google maps and earth. Then when they piss somebody with no life and anger management problems off, they can print off directions to their house.

Re:Just what we need (2, Funny)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946113)

you got that right. You know how many ppl would be dumb enough to put their real, actual location that they live at
What you are describing is called a "phone book."

Re:Just what we need (2, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941381)

More ways to trace you online, from the guys that brought online stalking to the mainstream.

Well, Social Networking and Web 2.0 is a huge recruiting tool for every marketer and especially post-secondary institutions. CRM solutions and colleges themselves are scrambling on how to embrace this technology and make a buck off of it. Unfortunately, these services don't have any real unique identifier (OpenID?) that people can track the success of their campaigns to market from the inside out.

If they are really looking to do some more serious online stalking and to make a buck, they should be less concerned with these mobile avatars and more concerned with creating an identifier (like the Google Account I guess) that is trackable throughout all systems on the web so that third parties can effectively market to the people that want to be marketed to via their communication channel of choice...

You Don't Have To (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20941651)

Nothing says that you have to use the same avatar across networks and applications. The only difference will be that, for those who are proud of their avatar or don't want to rebuild their network of friends, things will be easier.

Dibs! (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941171)

IBM just announced a push for universal avatars

I call dibs on Lexa Doig!

Mightyware calls for proprietary Avatars! (5, Funny)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941173)

While IBM, the Second Life Guys, Sun, and who knows all else want portable avatars, I from my company, Mightyware (annual sales: $78), thinks that Avatars should be proprietary and incompatible.

"Universal avatars mean an LCD approach to avatars, or a hideously complicated API, and to what end?" says, Stork. "Why not allow all developers, in the name of freedom, to make up their own kinds of Avatars...these things represent your -life-, and so, while an LCD approach might be ok for things like Java, they certainly should not apply to a digital representation of your own psyche."

Let's all agree that the privacy invading portable avatar nonsense is just that, and get back to the business of writing our own propreitary avatars...

Re:Mightyware calls for proprietary Avatars! (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 6 years ago | (#20943113)

Maybe you're joking, but there's actually a point you're making that could at least be easily mistaken for a reasonable one.

The "right" solution is to make the standard layered. Define a mandatory core, optional extensions which can be implemented in a common manner, a system for proposing additional optional extensions, and a system for utilizing proprietary extensions.

Then you can wander from metaverse to metaverse, and your basic core will remain intact, but the level of fidelity and the types of things you can do can flicker up and down around you depending on the context.

Re:Mightyware calls for proprietary Avatars! (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#20944095)

Maybe you're joking, but there's actually a point you're making that could at least be easily mistaken for a reasonable one.

Well, I was joking, but, I think the whole layered standard thing only makes life better for some big corporation that would wind up writing a layered standard thing for Avatars, thus, making it impossible for small players to make avatars or have games that are actually different.

The other thing too, is, what's a sword in one world might not be applicable in another. In some worlds, you have magic swords that people just leave lying around, and there are more orcs than ants. But, maybe someone would want to make a world where a magical item of any sort is a rare and precious thing, that maybe one out of a hundred people could even have any sort of a magical sword.

At some point, the artistic integrity of the person creating the world must take precedent over the hoards that would inhabitit, otherwise, there's just no point in being there.

So if I understand correctly (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20941191)

So if I understand correctly, they want the cartoon avatar that accompanies my email to be used as my U.S. passport photo?

Re:So if I understand correctly (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941525)

So if I understand correctly, they want the cartoon avatar that accompanies my email to be used as my U.S. passport photo?

At least it'll look more life-like than an actual passport photo. Is there some course that public servants take on how to make photographs turn out bad every time?

All jokes asside.... (5, Funny)

ZipprHead (106133) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941195)

Yeah, there are going to be 1000 comments about why not just step outside? But I think it could be a great resource if I could step out my virtual front door and

Look to my left and see my neighbors blog and the books he's published
Look further down to see another slashdot reader living a few doors down
Look to my right and see the restaurant hours and menu posted

Look down the street a block or two and see what movies are playing

and of course... add a pink flag to any and all women living in the area that are my age, and have their social networking profiles set to single.

one persons utopia is another's dystopia of course but I like the concept.

Re:All jokes asside.... (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941405)

Look further down to see another slashdot reader living a few doors down

Oh oh!

(starts looking through past posts to see if I ever got into a lame war with user ZipprHead)

Great terminology change! (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 6 years ago | (#20942023)

I like your post. We should stop romanticizing petty on-line bickering. Stop calling it flame wars, and as you have, refer to it as "lame wars".

Awesome!

Arson (2, Funny)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941539)

Look further down to see another slashdot reader living a few doors down
That's sure to make the flamewars more memorable ;-)

Re:All jokes asside.... (1)

Malizar (553281) | more than 6 years ago | (#20942307)

Yep, look at your neighbor's blog and find out he is a transvestite into spanking straight guys. Read the blog of the kid down the street and find out he hates you, yep, lots of things you want to know about your neighbors...

Yeah, there are going to be 1000 comments about why not just step outside? But I think it could be a great resource if I could step out my virtual front door and Look to my left and see my neighbors blog and the books he's published Look further down to see another slashdot reader living a few doors down Look to my right and see the restaurant hours and menu posted Look down the street a block or two and see what movies are playing and of course... add a pink flag to any and all women living in the area that are my age, and have their social networking profiles set to single. one persons utopia is another's dystopia of course but I like the concept.

Re:All jokes asside.... (1)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945883)

>Yep, look at your neighbor's blog and find out he is a transvestite into spanking straight guys. Read the blog of the kid down the street and find out he hates you, yep, lots of things you want to know about your neighbors...

How else would I know to introduce that snotty kid to my neighbor?

Can it be executed? (3, Insightful)

kevmatic (1133523) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941217)

It would be a neat idea to "walk though a portal" in one MMO game and walk out another, but that obviously would require you to install both games, anyway.

And having the same appearance in all games? Would anyone even WANT that? Where's the variety? I'm guessing that your avatar is transmitted by metadata (your eyes are GREEN and x big) ala Spore, but all you're saving then is the creation of the character, and it could end up wrong without hand-adjusting it. I don't think that you could carry things like clothing and armor over, so you'd just end up with different avatar with the same face.

And you couldn't carry over in-game data (like what level you are in an RPG) unless everyone used the same basic battle engine.

Might have a bit of use in different "Second lives," but you're gonna end up linking economies such that you end up with essentially one giant world economy with exchange rates. I guess that's the idea.

I dunno, I think its going to either make all the games seem the same, or end up carrying over very little.

Re:Can it be executed? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941551)

Might have a bit of use in different "Second lives," but you're gonna end up linking economies such that you end up with essentially one giant world economy with exchange rates. I guess that's the idea. I dunno, I think its going to either make all the games seem the same, or end up carrying over very little.
*probably bad analogy warning* imagine if travel worked like MMORPGs now. you'd need a whole new set overything you have, from the cash you make, your job, your house, your clothes, car etc. all different sets for each country you visit. what exactly is the sense in that? why does it make any more sense doing it with MMORPGs? does not having seperate sets of everything for each country you visit make it the same? does it make traveling dull, uninteresting and a waste of time? why would it do so with MMORPGs? amagine a network of online banks [standardized that is] that let you transfer exchange credits to different games, of course there would need to be a way to determine the relative worth of them as credits in second life would require a different amount of work than another game. would that decrease the playing value of the game? does the fact that the EU standardized their currency make theirs any less worth visiting?

Re:Can it be executed? (2, Insightful)

kevmatic (1133523) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941853)

You're equating Real Life and Virtual Life too tightly, and are throwing the technical aspects out the window, so yeah, bad analogy.

Let me ask you this: Are you going to download gigabytes and/or buy a game just to visit it for a few hours? No, you're gonna buy it to put time into it. And if its just like the game you already bought besides basic appearances, you're just gonna keep playing the first. Traveling and looking at stuff gets a tiresome a lot faster on a monitor than real life.

Its not just currency, too, like in the EU. There's all the landscapes and places to see in Europe. Are you going to buy a game just for that? If you make the games much more different than that, your avatar isn't going to carry much over. A Money Exchange would be far easier to implement than whole avatar sharing. I'm not sure even that's a good idea; you don't want a glitch in one game (say a reproduction glitch) to destroy the economy in dozens of games.

Re:Can it be executed? (1)

g-san (93038) | more than 6 years ago | (#20942577)

That would be the purpose of the portal. The "translations" would not be perfect. But that would be how you could tell where someone was "from" online. That would also be when your exchange rate happened for your little economic problem.

Well Second Life could begin the process... (1)

Glasswire (302197) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941333)

...by permitting user-chosen surnames. I assume the portable aviatar will not be required to use one of the Linden Family surnames as all SL users must. This has always been the goofiest aspect of SL.

Re:Well Second Life could begin the process... (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 6 years ago | (#20943019)

You can choose your own surname, if you sign up as a Premium account.

It's called Gravatar... (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941345)

...but good luck in getting a Gravatar to actually load...

Re:It's called Gravatar... (1)

ukpyr (53793) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946153)

Actually it's not called gravatar. All they do is let you pick a picture, associate it with an email and use that on supported tools that reference their API to retrieve the avatar. Which is neat on it's own. If you use gravatar in your app you don't have to write any avatar code and the user doesn't have to set up the same avatar over and over.

TFA is talking about virtual world avatars. Presumably abstracting their apppearce to a lingua franca. Much like HTML tags. 'B' implies "bold" but not what "bold" looks like, which is up to the person implementing it on the client.

Google-Microsoft Alliance (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941397)

I was just thinking, what if one could combine Google Earth, Sketchup, and Photosynth? Maybe throw in Wikipedia for good measure. Imagine how cool it would be if you could zoom to Chicago and see a scale model of the Empire State Building, with all the texturing done by a combination of photos. Something like this I think would be amazing, and would be one of the sweetest way to check out buildings and monuments that are far away and expensive to travel to.

Re:Google-Microsoft Alliance (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941809)

could zoom to Chicago and see a scale model of the Empire State Building


Someone failed a class or two. The Empire State building is in New York. :)

Re:Google-Microsoft Alliance (2, Funny)

c_forq (924234) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941839)

Give me a minute and Wikipedia will back me up.

Re:Google-Microsoft Alliance (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 6 years ago | (#20942491)

Give me a minute and Wikipedia will back me up.

Was something thinking of the Sears Tower? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Google-Microsoft Alliance (1)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945963)

I'm sure there's a scale model of the Empire State Building somewhere in Chicago. Or perhaps in a scale model of Chicago.

My standard avatar is a scale model of the Empire Today Carpet Guy.
http://www.empiretoday.com/images/home/2.gif [empiretoday.com]

No, he's not visible if you zoom in Chicago.

Yup... (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941845)

Computers allow humans to make mistakes at the fastest speeds known, with the possible exception of tequila and handguns

zoom to Chicago and see a scale model of the Empire State Building,

Being unnecessarily pedantic I'm sure, but last time I checked, the Empire State Building was in New York City. Now, I haven't been east of Colorado in a couple of decades, but I think I would have heard about the move....

Re:Yup... (1)

AVryhof (142320) | more than 6 years ago | (#20942401)

The actual building might not be in Chicago (It isn't)... but there's nothing to say there isn't a scale model of it there...

If there are scale models of ships and cars and other popular buildings, why not the Empire State Building... hell.... I bet there's a scale model of the WTC somewhere too... (the old one, and the one they want to rebuild)

Re:Yup... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20944315)

No, you see, they're keeping a scale model of it in Chicago, just to be safe. You know, in case anything happens to the real thing.

Have Avatar, Will Travel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20941453)

As a bounty hunter, I can find work anywhere. Just try to outsource me, just try!

Nice in theory, unlikely for some time in practice (4, Interesting)

kbonin (58917) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941467)

For clients as graphically primitive as SecondLife, this is a relatively straightforward task of publishing a simple texture & mesh specification. But if you want to push things to support more complex graphics and more efficient avatar and object systems, you quickly step deep into implementation specific issues that generally kill efficiency across implementations.

I worked in games tools and engines for almost 20 years, with years of art path work and a focus on avatars and interoperability, and frankly the more efficient you design your system, the harder it is to describe it in simplistic generic terms. Add vested interests and committees, and you are likely to get a repeat of VRML - one company railroads the process to accept their spec, which hobbles progress forever.

Shameless plug: I've also been working for over a decade on massively multiplayer vr & games over p2p, something that will come online this year as proprietary, but move to open source once our small group leverages our first mover advantages. Our website doesn't show it yet, but the underlying tech is at least a generation past anything on the market to date - imagine a superset of Sims2 avatars and active objects with coding interfaces in Python and C++, in-engine collaborative editing of the world, open art import paths, integrated CreativeCommons rights, content rating, audio chat, all built on military grade crypto w/ Byzantine robustness. And we're always looking for more help, need more veteran programmers and human animators. http://www.vscape.com/ [vscape.com]

Re:Nice in theory, unlikely for some time in pract (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941609)

I've been 'trying to get into game programming' for a while now, and I see a lot of talk about 'why doesn't someone create a standard library for objects' and such.

It usually comes down to 2 simple things:

1) Technology changes a -lot- year to year, and more complex items can be created.

2) Different people want the objects to do different things.

The 2 interact to quite an extent as well. Say someone creates a stove. Person A only cares that it looks like a stove, but B wants to have the oven door open realistic, the knobs turn, flames on the burners... A doesn't need that complexity because it's simply a background prop and having all that will slow the game/app down for no reason. B intends to have a Sims-like game where the stove is going to be 'used'.

Even the simplest of object have this problem.

As for VScape, it sounds nice, but will it handle first-person well? Physics? Run-n-gun gameplay? User-operated vehicles? Also, your news page says 'the latest news from the Joomla team' or something like that. Might want to change that.

Re:Nice in theory, unlikely for some time in pract (1)

kbonin (58917) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941801)

We have a few test apps we're assembling in VScape - a first person shooter, a vehicle combat game, a Sims2 clone, and a kids game that could be considered a cross between Animal Crossing and some of the Harvest Moon games.

First person is simple with good architecture and low latency, frankly its the easiest game to build (and we have team members that have worked on several such AAA titles), although FPS is difficult to differentiate from the myriads of entries in that space. Physics is a religious issue inside games - they're highly overrated outside of a few niche applications where they shine, like ragdoll effects, some collision dynamics, and IK/FK. We've been playing with ODE, but often application specific solvers are far better.

And thanks for the heads on the news, almost all of our web work to date has been in the private side of the wiki, getting hundreds of docs ready to go public with the client.

Re:Nice in theory, unlikely for some time in pract (0)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20942201)

Sounds like your a project to watch, then. I wish I had more time to mess with stuff like this. -sigh-

Re:Nice in theory, unlikely for some time in pract (1)

zariok (470553) | more than 6 years ago | (#20944319)

well well. Beta invites avail, send me one!

Re: [your shamless plug] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20947715)

If that's a side project you've been working on in your spare time, then you deserve MAJOR kudos. However, I sincerely hope that's not your day job, because I don't think you're going to make any money off of it.

javatars (0)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941471)

Why not implement them in Java and call them "javatars"?

Re:javatars (1)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941557)

Sounds to me like the nasty coffee that comes out of that single cup machine we have at work. JavaTar. Bleach.

Monotars. (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#20942459)

They seem to be more interested in Mono, and the OpenSIM project is in .NET. :(

Suprising that SL would go for it. (3, Insightful)

Jartan (219704) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941479)

SL's whole business model relies on an artificial land scarcity system to basically heavily overcharge for independent server hosting costs. I'll be surprised if they truly open the system up to another system that lacks artificial land scarcity.

They seem to be smarter then DEC (2, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#20942335)

DEC systematically avoided extending their systems into the personal computer world, and overcharged when they did, so that despite the fact that virtually all the personal computer platforms in use today have descended from DEC systems[1] or were developed on DEC hardware[2], DEC was swallowed up whole by a personal computer company and virtually lost as the corpse of Compaq was digested by HP.

Linden Labs has to either adapt to an open virtual world environment someone else comes up with, or drive the development of the open environment themselves. They seem to be making the choice of leading the charge instead of waiting to be run over.

[1] CP/M is much like an RSX-11/RT-11 lookalike, and MS-DOS and Windows inherit that. NT was designed by the principle architect of VMS and RSX.
[2] UNIX of course grew to maturity on the PDP-11 and the VAX.

Re:Suprising that SL would go for it. (3, Informative)

tonyreadsnews (1134939) | more than 6 years ago | (#20942535)

I take it you haven't seen their new propsed architecture grid which allows people and other companies to have their own simulators? Whether they open themselves up or not, doesn't matter, someone will, and they *do* appear to be moving in that direction. http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Proposed_Architecture [secondlife.com]

cross it with RL (1)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941529)

I've always thought it would be cool to cross information available online with information in the real world. The major problem is the interface obviously. I would love to be able to walk down an actual street and see an icon floating above someone's head letting me know they have a blog. As I walk by them i could download their blog and read it. Or maybe browse their myspace/facebook/whatever. The bandwidth is almost there via various cell networks, wifi or what have you the only problem is actually seeing the tags. I think i saw a movie or read a book once with eyeglasses that projected an image in your eye and generated a heads up display. You still need to interact with it somehow though. my 2 cents.

Steve Mann has been doing this kind of thing... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941683)

Steve Mann has been doing this kind of thing since the '90s. Well, since 1981, but it didn't really get wearable until the '90s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Mann [wikipedia.org]

http://wearcam.org/steve.html [wearcam.org]

When I met him at Usenix he looked more like a guy wearing dark glasses and an unusually thick sweater for the season... his wearable computer was built into a vest and the display was hidden in the glasses frame. The new model Eyetap [eyetap.org] is no more obtrusive than the borg-style bluetooth headsets you see people wearing.

He's done stuff like having his reality completely mediated, with advertising around him bluescreened out by an image recogniser back in his office. The possibilities are endless.

One question... (1)

nutznboltz2003 (832752) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941543)

Will our Avatars be able to change genders on the fly? I mean, in my social group I would be myself, but on WoW where I play hot elf..er...manly ogre...

Not MMORPG (2, Insightful)

Bellum Aeternus (891584) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941547)

IBM has been investing a VR business trainer with the concept it'll be something like Star Trek's holodeck (except seen through a PC screen). Since they've been focusing on representing the real world, I doubt they've even considered porting your World of WarCraft character into their world. More than likely, they're looking for a standard to reduce their cost of R&D and to help spread the concept.

Re:Not MMORPG (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20942823)

Better question: can you have different avatars in the game world, one for you and one for people looking at you? In a MMORPG, it sure feels like lying or something to pick an avatar of a different sex, but I really don't want to stare at my hot-pants sporting avatar's ugly man-ass for the first 15 levels before I can finally upgrade to regular pants. or the remaining 45 levels where "pants" is really just fancy-colored tights.

I suppose it wouldn't be so bad if the default camera position didn't make said arse occupy like the center fifth of the screen.

Like Myspace... in 3-D (1, Insightful)

ivormi (1106139) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941643)

It hits the other virtual worlds -- World of Warcraft? Quake? Maybe it'll even stomp through Google Earth.
Is it just me that feels like this would generally be a bad idea visually? Ignoring the technological problems of trying to scale a universal 3d figure and textures to suit a particular rendering engine, it just seems like a bad choice artistically. The cute and cartoony Miis would be a poor fit in Second Life, and the 'realistic' figures in Second Life or the Sims would look pretty silly next to the thick macho characters in Gears of War.

A large part of 3-D worlds is the consistency of the artistic presentation, be that Wii sports, World of Warcraft, or Bioshock. To give that up also gives up a large part of what makes these worlds compelling to us.

Re:Like Myspace... in 3-D (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941857)

The cute and cartoony Miis would be a poor fit in Second Life,

Have you visited Raglan Shire recently?

Cool. Next, what - fingerprints? (2, Funny)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941649)

So we can identify each avatar individually to a specific user?

So we can engage in Avatar Capital Punishment?

It used to be fun until people took it seriously. Now it's just another buzz in the Drug Store of Culture.

RS

Tag this RainbowsEnd (1)

Nocterro (648910) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941653)

Vernor Vinge may be one of the best near-future fiction writers around atm. When you read the book, it's hard not to see at least some of the details starting to form already.

Re:Tag this RainbowsEnd (2, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#20941947)

But why does this all remind me of Snow Crash [wikipedia.org] ? Or even William Gibson's [wikipedia.org] writings? It seems all to real....

Re:Tag this RainbowsEnd (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 6 years ago | (#20942345)

"Halting State" by Charles Stross has something similar. Very good so far, although the entire book seems to be in second person present tense, which is a bit of a distraction.

Re:Tag this RainbowsEnd (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954725)

although the entire book seems to be in second person present tense, which is a bit of a distraction.
You're joking...

Re:Tag this RainbowsEnd (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 6 years ago | (#20954827)

That's a good example, and I wasn't joking :-).

True Names (2, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#20942211)

The first story that had a real "virtual world" feel - Vinge's True Names - has proven awfully visionary too. Including the newbies with the giant badly-rendered motorcycles. :)

Meta-Avatar (4, Interesting)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 6 years ago | (#20942079)

I think a better system would be to develop some sort of Avatar language. Some common protocol for describing physical features. Reminds me of some online app I found somewhere that could pull a Mii character's appearance from a Wiimote and convert it into a string of characters for online editting and sharing. With such a format you could plug in your appearance meta-data and have a game create your face in its own style. And really it should be limited to facial features. The face is the most identifiable part of a character, and a player's body depends too much on the game's mechanics and art style. There is no guarantee that the player will even be humanoid in a particular game. Same goes for character apparel. There is usually a very narrow range of playable body types in any given gameplay model, unless we're just talking about MMORPGs and social sims where game physics usually play a very weak part.

That's probably the sort of games they're talking about anyway, and in that case it's not terribly interesting anyway. I'm in the minority of people who don't much care for those games, I'm more about action/adventure. I think it would be cool to be able to craft my face (parametrically) in some high-end photorealistic sport-sim, then flip over to a game like Puzzle Fighter and see how my mug translates in the big-head, big-eyes anime world. You could even stack on game specific optimizations, making your universal avatar signature more of a base-template. Something to get you going. I kind of wish Nintendo's Miis were a little more complex and more along these lines actually, though there's nothing really from stopping some innovative game company from doing just what I have described here in their game. "So you have blue eyes and a brown mop-top? Well here's how you look in our world."

So ..... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#20942195)

Other than the fact that IBM is now down on this action, is this any different from the last time [slashdot.org] that they announced this?

Same company. Same thing. Three weeks later.

already done (1)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 6 years ago | (#20942509)

Perhaps someone ought to tell these people that Gravatar [gravatar.com] has already done this.

From the book Halted State (1)

pizzicar (473570) | more than 6 years ago | (#20943707)

In the book http://www.amazon.com/Halting-State-Charles-Stross/dp/0441014984/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2/103-5637353-9593416?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1192128514&sr=1-2 [amazon.com] Halted State by Charles Stross, a key plot centered around avatars from one game being able to move to another. While there are too many obstacles today to really make this feasible or desirable, In the not too distant future, I believe our kids will look back and wonder what took so long.

WOW! (1)

Iron Condor (964856) | more than 6 years ago | (#20943811)

Google is working on a 3-D social networking environment incorporating Google Earth and Google Maps

wow, this will be just like ... going outside and ... meeting real people....

I for one (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 6 years ago | (#20943863)

am sick and fucking tired about hearing ANYTHING involving Linden or Second Life.

That POS 'game' needs to die, and it's quite obvious the only reason it gets as much press as it does is -- oh em gee! -- a number of journalists like it, and it's far enough away from a hack 'n slash that they can get away with writing about it as some sort of LAWLSOME NEXTGEN WEB2.0 FUTURISTIC SPIFFINESS when it's really just a steaming pile of crap.

Avatar? (1)

loconet (415875) | more than 6 years ago | (#20944135)

Portable Avatars really? Isn't there more useful/interesting problems to solve? Like.. I don't know, getting the idea behind OpenID working first before worrying about "avatars"?

Thats a good idea (1)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 6 years ago | (#20944979)

Except it will become obsolete in few years
as software and hardware improve.
Older avatars would look primitive today.
Think of 8-bit sprites.

Not appearance... just identity (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945105)

I'm thinking that everyone is taking the avatar concept too literally... it's more like being able to translate your identity from one world to the next rather than bring in your visual representation wholesale.

Seems like you could bring over things like screen-name, currency, social network, contact info and more meta-attributes while taking on whatever physical attributes are typical in a world.... yes physical appearance is for some people a big part of their 'identity' but in a virtual community where such things can be relative to the laws of that world.... well a translation is probably the best you're going to get. In fact it would be pretty fun to see how that might occur, ie: an avatar in one world might be a 3D cartoon squirrel who is also female and then in another world the avatar would present as a tall skinny blonde chick wearing biker clothes.... and then in an all male world, maybe as a smallish nerdy guy with thick glasses or whatever... seems like part of the fun would be seeing how your character translated and then needing to do some modifications, just for that world... takes the role-playing aspect to another level as well.

Re:Not appearance... just identity (1)

Dagda (100056) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946593)

Exactly, that is the way I was reading it also. I'd love to be able to travel from World of Warcraft to Entropia Universe to Second Life to whatever and keep my avatar name, profile, and some other misc info I've added to all my accounts. It'd be pretty neat if I could also walk into some kind of teleporter or portal to transfer from one to the other and that would cause the software necessary to enter that world to fire up and shutdown the other worlds software or leave it open I guess.

Something like Second Life SLURL's which allow one to add a URL to a web page that will ultimately take you to a location in Second Life by firing up the the Second Life client and take you to the location.

It's not really a big hassle to fire up each client but it would be cool. As far as carrying my info from world to world that would be way cool along with my payment info. Granted that would be another whole kettle of fish.

The future does look bright and yes I do wear shades!

who needs porting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20946287)

Go ahead and just leave me as the lanky pale avatar that comes as default on all the systems already, its pretty much a spitting image of me [google.com] anyway...

Locked out (1)

soren100 (63191) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946527)

This all seems great 'in theory' as in "look -- shiny new avatar! over There! instant portability!"

But the reality seems more like "all your logins are belong to us".

No one here has raised the government angle, but once you get all the logins coordinated to a central system, then it starts getting easy to lock people out of the internet.

For example, right now "sex offenders" (everything from child rapists to people caught pissing outdoors) have to register themselves everywhere, and trial balloons are being floated to do the same thing to drug offenders, creating your typical "slippery slope" situation. (For another example, the government swore up and down when Social Security numbers were created that they would not be a universal ID number for US citizens. Riiiight)

People who owe child support are currently being denied passports, and the government has their famous "no-fly" list but they have also created a new "no-work" list so that the "illegal aliens" (and possibly political activists) can now be denied jobs via an anonymous government database. So once you have your "single sign-on" to all your internet communities/services (for avatar portability), then it will be easy to start locking out "sex offenders" (to protect the children, of course) from the communities, and tie it to a Social Security Number (to prevent the sex offenders from just creating a new login or userid). From there it is a simple step for repressive governments to block that login / avatar from public discussions.

Our country has admitted "disappearing" people and has admitted "enhanced interrogation" (torture to anyone else), so it does fit the description of a repressive government. And Yahoo and Google certainly seem to want to jump at the chance to do this kind of thing for China and other repressive governments so it's not too much of a stretch to think of it happening at home. No different than your telecommunications companies spying on you for the government.

Senator Ted Kennedy somehow found himself on the terrorist "no-fly" list 5 different times when he tried to fly in the US after 9/11. So it would not be too much of a stretch to find yourself with a "Denied" message when you... [No Carrier]

It's really a user authentication issue (1)

SurturZ (54334) | more than 6 years ago | (#20948845)

Apart from the fact I think the whole idea is stupid (how does it make sense for my City of Heroes avatar appear in World of Warcraft?), the real issue is "hand off" between virtual worlds. i.e. if I walk from one metaverse to another, the receiving metaverse needs to have some trust system in place that accepts my login based on trusting the sending metaverse - even though the receiving metaverse has never seen me before.

If I am already a user on the second metaverse, there isn't a problem since my avatar has already been defined. I suppose changes to my avatar need be propagated, but the real issue imho is hand-off, not coming up with some version of "JPG for avatars" which every system will implement differently anyway - and also, open the copyright can of worms.

Steve Jackson... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20949913)

...is gonna sue!

GURPS for avatars, eh?

Winged Phallus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20951661)

Well?
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