A Poke-roundup

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Jul 192016

My piece on how “AR is an MMO” traveled far and wide this week. Among the appearances:

There’s probably more to come — I was asked about interviews by several outlets this week, and actually said yes to at least one, as I recall.

If you’re looking for more to read from a game-design specific angle, I recommend

Also, you may recall I mentioned that alternate client views is common in MMOs? Well, here’s your global map of where all the Pokemon are. If you can get in — it’s overloading with traffic.

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I really did mean “MMO”

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Jul 142016

A lot of people, as I expected, have focused on the semantics of whether or not “AR is an MMO.” Mostly, they say “well, you really mean ‘it’s like an MMO.'”

It isn’t really “like.” It actually “is.” I think people fall into the trap of thinking that the physical trumps the virtual, but that’s not the case. The virtual trumps the physical, or as Marc Andreessen puts it, software swallows everything.

Think of it this way: the phrase “geotagging” suggests that we are applying a small bit of virtual to the real. But that’s not what is happening at all. What’s actually happening is that we are building a truly massive digital world, and attaching a tiny piece of real to it, via a DB entry with a coordinate.

Currently, there are a zillion databases that hold this sort of data, siloed from one another, but the big project that Google and others have been engaged in for quite some time is to unify them. Amazon’s ASIN is a great example of one such scheme to unify “template IDs” for as many object types as they can. Put another way: the single largest database of “object types” in the world is Amazon’s, and to build it, they basically cloned the existing UPC and ISBN and other such similar databases, plus some, and unified them. They created a metaobject type that became the parent object type, only they own the address space.

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Jun 112014

Apple-looks-to-standardize-iBeacon-manufacturing-by-third-parties.jpgCreate a tiny computer using as small a chip you can get.

Stick a Bluetooth LE or equivalent transmitter on it. Even better if you can get GPS. Even more if you can get a low power cellphone chip.

Call this a node.

A node has a unique id. Nodes get stuck on objects in a non-removable way. So basically, you have a ThingID.

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The world, virtual

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Jan 072011

Lately it has been hard for me not to see recent trends ranging from gamification to the increasing prevalence of robots in the household as a sign of the way the real world is starting to imitate a virtual world.

  • We’re adding friends lists via well, everything
  • And bots via robots
  • and reputations via LinkedIn
  • and auction houses via eBay
  • and secure trade via Craigslist
  • and profiles via Facebook
  • and virtual currency with Facebook Credits
  • and quests via serious games
  • and points for meaningless grinding via gamification
  • and strategy guides via Quora
  • and guild chat via status updates
  • And stats to ourselves via ‘quantified self’ approaches
  • And classes and skills via the march of specialization in job roles

Now, you may say that all of these are things that existed before. Yes, and we then built adapted versions of them for the virtual world that accommodated the fact that they were being simulated in a virtual space. And now those adaptations are being ported back to meatspace. We could call these three stages of development:

  1. real world, inhabited by people
  2. virtual world, inhabited by users
  3. wold virtual inhabited by userplayers

Take a look at Leigh Alexander’s hilarious and spot-on critique of Foursquare:

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Jul 142009

At Semicon 2009, the keynote speaker from Intel apparently said that Intel is working towards the Internet becoming an “immersive connective experience,” or ICE web.

Intel’s laboratories have also investing in researching visual computing, using computers in conjunction with cameras and GPS in a smartphone. For example, users could take a picture of a sign on their smartphones and the handset would check GPS to see what country the users was in, get a translation of its meaning and give directions from a mapping application overlaid.

He said that applications like Second Life were merely the first generation of virtual worlds and the situation was going to get more immersive. Intel has been using software modelling techniques to render 3D more effectively, including making computer generated environments obey physical laws of movement and building in behavioural intelligence.

— Intel outlines the next generation ‘reality web’ – Technology – News – CRN Australia

None of this sounds particularly off the Metaverse Roadmap, honestly. The interesting thing is the dates.

He estimated that the techniques of using the camera to produce visual searches for data of photographed object would come online in 2010, with information overlay on camera views by 2012 and a 2D and 3D visual overlay available by 2014.

Naturally, why this matters to Intel is that all this will need more powerful chips… especially on more mobile devices.

Of all the parts of the Metaverse Roadmap, it’s the augmeted reality quadrant that is moving the fastest (once you train yourself not to look for goggles and instead look for phones).