Digital Space Commons Presentations

Virtual Worlds on the Internet A bold new medium
for interaction, collaboration, play and learning

Bruce Damer,
DigitalSpace Corp.

Seminar on Human Centered Computing
NASA Ames Research Center, May 11, 1998
1:30-3:00 pm, Bldg. 262 Room 100

The PC has evolved into a capable real-time 3D platform and is now serving as a portal into large scale Internet hosted 3D virtual worlds inhabited by thousands users represented as 'avatars'. The rise of true virtual spaces in Cyberspace moves us beyond the document metaphor of the Web, and the point to point broadcast model of videoconferencing. In these spaces, visitors experience a sense of place, create shared memory, leave persistent objects, and experiment with new forms of identity. These first virtual worlds may be a glimpse at the ultimate shape of Cyberspace. Despite their early state of development, they suggest the coming of a powerful new medium for collaboration, play and learning in the 21st Century.

In this presentation, we will tour live into several on-line virtual worlds, meet and speak with their inhabitants while visiting several purpose built areas including: The U Virtual University Architecture Competition Arslab and Sherwood Forest Town The live voice Traveler landscapes of UT Austin's ACTLAB Utopia Generative worlds including Nerve Garden and VRML geometries.

We will consider the system and user interface architectural issues of constructing these spaces and the social craft of creating and sustaining the communities within them.

Who Should Attend: Interaction designers, 3D designers, new media specialists, writers on new media, virtual community developers and operators, social computing and multi-user interaction and game designers, distance learning and teleworking researchers, followers of the virtual theater, storytelling, and performance arts online.

For a preview of the material to be covered, please see: http://www.ccon.org/.

Bruce Damer is a founding director of the Contact Consortium, a Silicon Valley based nonprofit research membership organization dedicated to the development of the virtual worlds medium. The Consortium has engaged in extensive usability testing of virtual worlds provided by its member and supporting companies, which include Worlds Incorporated, Intel, Black Sun Interactive, SGI, Nippon Telephone and Telegraph, Philips, Microsoft, Onlive, Sun Microsystems, The Palace and others. The collaborative construction and staffing of a virtual town (Sherwood Forest), a virtual university (the U) and the hosting of several international conferences has given the Consortium and its members some indication of where this medium may take us.

Bruce has spent his life building both software and communities. His software includes commercial products for Xerox based on the Star interface and a new behavior engine for VRML 2.0 called Nerves. He has formed numerous creative communities such as a salon for artists in Prague in the Czech Republic. Bruce lectures extensively around the world and recently completed a tour for his new book "Avatars, Exploring and Building Virtual Worlds on the Internet".

Bruce also serves as President and CEO of DigitalSpace Corporation, a catalyst for applications of virtual worlds in business, entertainment and education. Bruce holds an MSEE from the University of Southern California. Bruce formerly served as chief technologist at Elixir Technologies and as a member of the faculty at Charles University Prague.

Find out all about Bruce's work at: http://www.digitalspace.com/.