Beyond The Beyond

Wade Cherrington (
Sat, 7 Dec 1996 22:20:26 -0800 (PST)

Beyond The Beyond...

This is the deal. I've recently been getting into three-dimensional,
interactive virtual world building, and am currently teaching myself how to
combine VRML 2.0 and Java to that end. I was wondering if their are any
transhumanist/extropian thinkers/visionaries/artists out their who would
like to help design a transhumanist virtual space, similar to the BeyondMOO
at but in interactive, textured 3D (using VRML 2.0 with
behaviours, Java scripting,etc). I'm looking at this to be a fairly
long-term process, but one I believe should be start as early as possible.
Unfortunately, support for VRML, the scripting language used to develop
3-dimensional worlds, is not quite where it could be. Much of the problem
lies in the hardware - you pretty much need at least a 28.8 connection and
a pentium equivalent system to even get in the door.
However, I tryed Sony's new CP-browser on a T-1 line with a Pentium-90
and it works beautifully. Animated, textured landscapes, objects you can
manipulate, real-time music and sound, the primitive beginnings of AI
agents, multi-user interaction with avatars - its all there. Once ISDN/Cable
modems make the mainstream I think were going to see much of what
Stephenson, Sterling, Gibson and co. write about "cyberspace" become
reality. And one of the first of these cyber-worlds to make it on I want to
make sure is a transhumanist one - vast, expansive, diverse, and growing (in
other words, extropic). So to this end, it would be nice to get some input
from everyone and anyone interested in the idea. Experience with
Ray-tracing/3D modelling/Java
would be great, but so to would anyone with ideas about what to actually
put in this world - themes, ideas, concepts and how to present them in an
interesting and aethetically pleasing manner. Server space isn't a huge
concern; I'm getting 16 megs on a T-1 hub to begin with and can probably
arrange for quite more as I need it.
Here are some ideas for possible "areas" or "locales"-
- General background setting - cryogenic vaults, parkland walks, office
"buildings" of various companies - nano/AI/software startups, private space
launch, cryonics, nootropics, biotech, etc.
- Memetic Agora - Idea futures with interactive, 3D interface.
- General meeting places - seaside/starside cafes, pavillions, forest clearings
Transhumanist Art galleries - basically anywhere. Also have utility for
users to add there
own "rooms", or personal areas.
- Museum/Institute of Nanotechnology - animated nanobearings,
molecular mechanics and nanosystem simulations, etc
- Institute of complexity - Place to explore all sorts of Java applets
dealing with fractals, a-life, cellular automata, genetic algorithms,
evolutionary artwork, l-systems, neural networks, etc.
- Other Institutes - Physics Demonstrations, Mathematics, cosmology,
basically scientific visualization/multimedia. A lot of this stuff is
already out there, either offline or online - it just needs to be brewed up
with some Java and made pretty with VRML.
- University/Academic - Libraries (links to hypertext, related resources all
over the Web), lecture areas (real people "broadcasting" on a certain
channel in a certain locale as in IRC's, but eventually with intelligent
- Lyceums - Forums for scheduled debate, discussion - (Picture
realtime brain-tennis with customized avatars)
- "The Underground" - Places for people (like myself) that are
into cryptoanarchy, temporary autonomous zones, agorist counter-economics,
strong cryptography, untracable/untaxable digital e-cash, fall of states,
CyberNexus, etc...
- To liven things up, we could hold quests, where users would talk
to people and interact with the world, scoring points or finding
clues to some riddle.

Anyways, just a few ideas of varying practicality and worth - anyone of
these could take years to develop in full, technicolor detail. But if we
start off with the seeds of each, and just
have all sorts of people keep adding,adding, adding - it could all
come together into something quite formidable (That is if the
server doesn't crash long before - a good idea would be to eventually split
up initial world into subworlds that reside on different servers).
Yes, I realize a lot of this sounds ambitious, but basically the only areas
that are holding us back are faster physical connections to Internet,
fleshing out multi-user VRML, and development of autonomous agents. But with
the rapid rate of development (Moore's Law), I expect to see 3D worlds
become "cool places to be" as early as a year or two from now.

Which leaves a lot of time to develop our worlds offline.
(Basically it's a win/win - the longer it takes for
the 3D Web revolution to happen, the longer it gives
us to perfect our creations. If it happens earlier,
we can just add areas piecemeal.)
So if any of this grabs your fancy, just e-mail me. I'm hoping
to have a sample world up when I put up my web-page in a month or so.

- Wade Cherrington

"We understand synergy to mean the fortuitous working together of a set of
components which we have assembled in our attempt to achieve artificial
conciousness. Working together, the components produce
more than..."
- Frank Herbert, Destination Void