Sep 302007

duck-at-ueno-gardens.jpg Pondering a Duck, Ueno Gardens, Tokyo

Say you have a duck, and the duck is daring,
A frantic quacking fowl that disturbs the water’s peace.
Would it pick a quarrel with placid turtles drowsing?
Would it raise a ruckus and disturb the carp asleep?

Of course it would. Some critters quack whole days away,
Heedless of the peace a summer garden brings.
They cannot help but lack the sense to meditate,
Their temper dragging them from windy cry to whim.

Compare, contrast, the carp beneath,
Always moving, never loud.
They gape their mouths to beg for food,
But do not bellow when they crowd.

Above them sit the lily pads, the waterstriding bugs,
The people at their temples, the tourists on their days.
The lake itself enduring, patient, with towers ‘round it rung.
The duck you see, just visits. The turtle comes to pray.

Sep 292007

SF REVIEWS.NET: Halting State / Charles Stross

The story opens in the very near future in Edinburgh, where police sergeant Sue Smith is called in to investigate a bank robbery. The catch is, the robbery has taken place, not in the real world, but in gamespace, in the online environment of Avalon Four, an enormously popular MMO. A band of marauding orcs plus one big dragon have virtually invaded a virtual bank and virtually made off with all manner of virtual loot. It seems absurd at first, until the possibility of very real corporate espionage is raised. In-game assets can make you real-world money. (I’m a casual gamer, but not an MMO guy, and I was personally stunned to hear some years ago that people were making some pretty damn good coin selling fully-developed high-level Everquest characters on eBay.) The bad news for Hayek Associates, the company whose job it is to oversee security issues for Avalon Four, is that once word gets out of the game’s vulnerability and the loss of so much digital loot, the game loses players by the millions and everyone’s stock prices take a nosedive.

Oh, I definitely have to read this. 🙂 Glasshouse is still in my backlog pile…

Game talkMore on Meet-Me

 Posted by (Visited 4294 times)  Game talk
Sep 292007 has an article on Meet-Me, which I believe I have mentioned before, but not in quite a while. The emphasis on the article is about how the Japanese don’t respond well to the relative anarchy that Second Life offers, and want a more controlled experience.

I am  not sure that this take is validated by the (largish) Japanese population in SL. On the other hand, it does seem like more constrained environments, like the ones offered by Makena, Kaneva, and so on, are gaining traction.

Game talkCEDEC 07: Coverage of my talk

 Posted by (Visited 10466 times)  Game talk
Sep 272007 has coverage of my talk for CEDEC, including a bunch of photos of the slides where you can see the cool thing they did where they projected the English slides and the translated ones side by side.

Naturally, it is all in Japanese, but luckily, I don’t have to rely on machine translation this time because there’s a translation over here. Thanks, Jaerik!

For those who have been following my talks closely (I know there must be someone who does), you won’t find much new here, I have to admit. But apparently it was new to a lot of folks there, so that’s fine. 🙂

Game talkGoogle finally makes its move?

 Posted by (Visited 6602 times)  Game talk
Sep 242007

The rumors have been around for ages now, but it looks like maybe this time there’s something a little bit more concrete:

Virtual Worlds News: Google Testing A Virtual World At Arizona State University?

The little picture linked in the article has a cartoon dude asking “do you do 3d modeling.”

There’s also SceneCast coming, of course, which like VastPark (and VRML) seems to be more about sharing 3d spaces, but not actually interacting in real-time with other users in them.

I have a feeling we’ll hear lots more about all of this stuff at Virtual Worlds Fall.

Sep 232007


We’re half the way to Whimsy. Our feet are getting sore.
Half the way to Whimsy, where we plan to open doors.

Butterflies the size of bats hover ’round our heads
And bicycles on bouncy roads have sparkles on their treads.

Half the way to Whimsy is only partly droll
But at least we’re finding it a pleasant little stroll.

Ahead a man is hawking; his bird gives us a glare.
When walking down to Whimsy it doesn’t do to stare.

And at the gates of Whimsy we stop and take a gander.
The gates are icon-clad and people crowd the landing.

Inside the gates of Whimsy you’re not allowed to eat.
If you spill the beans, you see, they may not let you leave.

And photographs? Heavens forfend! That isn’t why you came!
The denizens are not the sort to fit inside a frame.

If I described — the robots, lights, the watercolored gears,
The shelves of books, daguerrotypes, boxes full of tears,

The flock of sparrows, spider’s web, the flavor of ice cream —
Oh, never mind. Just pretend you’re visiting a dream.

And when you’re leaving Whimsy, remember: no one stays.
Mostfolks visit briefly, and rarely in their days.

Pack a wistful smile for lunch, and wear your smallest clothes.
You can ride the cat bus home, to rest your tired toes.

MiscIn Japan!

 Posted by (Visited 5129 times)  Misc
Sep 222007

I am here. Random notes:

Man, it takes a really long time to get from the plane to the hotel. Like, three hours. 45 minutes was probably the immigration line!

There was a magical bus to the hotel, so I didn’t have to learn the train system. Yet.

There was a girl on said bus who laughed the whole way. I don’t know why.

I ran into Tyler from Indiana University in the immigration line. So, no creepy stalker, but I did have a stranger recognize me. That felt odd.

Then I shared the bus with another CEDEC speaker. This is starting to feel like a very small world.

I saw many many DS Lites on the way.

So they warned me there was no ground on the plug. What do you do with laptop plugs that have a ground prong? hink the hotel has an adapter? Sigh. I have 6 hours of computing left.  (Update: the hotel is sending an adapter up, yay!)

MiscOff to Japan!

 Posted by (Visited 5671 times)  Misc
Sep 202007

I am heading off to Japan in the morning, to speak at CEDEC. The blog may get slightly quieter for a bit as a result.
It is my first time there. 🙂 If you’re in Japan, and want to show me around, and aren’t a creepy stalker… let me know.

Game talkClub Marian launches

 Posted by (Visited 10429 times)  Game talk
Sep 202007

Gene Endrody wrote to let me know that has launched Club Marian.

A massive multiplayer social hangout where users from around the world can chat, dance, drive and create music in a fun 3d environment. Club Marian features three islands to explore, a cool music maker, emotes, customizable avatars and a sports car to drive.

Like Sherwood Dungeon, it’s a full-screen 3d Shockwave experience.

Gene specifically says, “check out the dance floor by the Tiki Statues with disco lights on.” 🙂