Re: Beyond The Beyond

James Rogers (
Mon, 09 Dec 1996 15:20:54 -0800

At 09:50 PM 12/9/96 +0100, you wrote:
>Well i can hardly believe my own eyes here. What is this talk? What
>happened to "self organisation in a chaotic systems?"
>We don't need a overall design for this thing. What we need is a Technical
>design guide for how to submit construcions, ideas, artwork etc. All we
>need is an URL and a ftp adress. Then everybody can do their own stuff. Let
>the good old competition decide who makes the best stuff. Lets have
>competition. (Well ok maybe we can't make competitions about what art is
>best. But in a subjective way we can. At least we can discuss it one the
>list. Somebody wants to do a 3D IRC chatchannel? Let'm roll their own.)

I must protest *strongly* against this line of thinking. Although the
content can be pretty much free-form, THE SOFTWARE MUST ADHERE TO STRICT,
ORGANIZED, TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS. Without a solid, capable software
substrate to orchestrate the environment and resources, the operation of the
world itself will be chaotic and unreliable. All inter-user communications
should be done using communications facilities and resources built into the

Your "3D IRC chatchannel" is a perfect example. If we let anyone roll their
own software, the server may be critically impacted by the operation,
design, and performance of that software. IRC is a very good example of
design and performance critical software. A poorly designed IRC channel can
bring even large servers to their knees. We *must* have system level
resource and communication control. Without this, the system will operate
poorly and operate at a small fraction of its theoretical throughput. If a
person wants an IRC channel, force them to use the communications API of the
World engine.
Not only will this force good design, but it will allow the software control
system to regulate resource usage as well. And fact is, if the underlying
software (essentially the Operating System of the world) is well designed,
the IRC will probably use fewer system resources and operate faster if it
uses the system APIs.

When the system is designed, I am envisioning an extensible and flexible
binary interface with built in facilities for communication and interaction.
You will still be able to extend the system to your liking, but the system
will perform and operate much better than if everyone "does there own thing".

Unlike human systems, which can effectively operate in a chaotic fashion,
software/protocol systems must be extremely precise and detailed. This will
require a very organized architecture and design. There is much more to
this than simply FTPing files to a server.

>Max More is completely right in saying that the biggest problem in a task
>like this is that we can get no pay, and that we work at different paces. I
>to have a LOT of experience in zero finance projects. The only way they can
>work is if there is some kind of personal gain. (Artistic or financial) If
>the financial gain is out of the loop, then it is almost impossible to get
>somebody to work for free on one's own pet project. We all wanna do our own

I am not motivated by either artistic or financial incentives. I am
motivated because it is an opportunity to do something groundbreaking and
interesting. There are many different aspects to this project. Sure, we
may all want to do our own thing, but if we have the same general goal then
we can still accomplish something. And as I have mentioned before, *IF* we
accomplish what we have been discussing, there is a significant possibility
that it could have significant financial rewards in the future.

>We need to build a completely open system that we all can modify at our own
>will. (well as much as possible.) The documentation should be there. Design
>guides, technical limitations etc. But no overall design. With sections and
>stuff. They will come automatically.

It will probably require a powerful TCP/IP server engine coupled with a some
type of small, fast database engine. A number of communications and
interaction APIs will have to be built into the system to allow users to
build their own (Java?) software modules so that they can add their own
functionality and designs to the world without inadvertently hindering or
damaging the system.

The entire world can then be built on top of this World engine. What you do
and put in the world is completely up to the user in any fashion the user
The software must be a carefully detailed architecture, but the world does
not have to be.

>Let the beyond live it's own life.
>I could do cool VRML stuff today, maybe i could later add music, sound
>effects and so on. (What about a 4Dimensional version of "LIFE" with a
>sound for when a cell dies and another when it is born. That could look
>cool and make interresting sounds. with 3D balls(or pyramids) shifting
>around in 3D space thru a 4th dimension. Whenever all the cells had died
>new ones could be generated randomly.) Well just an idea :-)

Do what you like. It's a whole new world out there... ;-)

>What we are designing is a social system. Let's use as many "off the shelf"
>tools as possible. Moore's law tells us that they'll soon be wery

All the technologies used will be off-the-shelf: Java, C/C++, TCP/IP, HTML,
VRML, etc.
However, we may be forced to use these technologies in new and novel ways.
As I mentioned above, this project will almost surely require a custom
server engine. If this project was so simple, someone would have done it

>All we need to do is to establish an absolute minimum of rules that will
>allow us to do it. Then we can do it and make our own dreams come thru.
>They will probably match each other nicely.

-James Rogers