3D Web Silliness

i know i've been pointing at raph koster the last few posts, but, dammit. his head appears to be floating in the same space as mine — mmog + web.

that being said, i have some pretty strong opinions (no way! me? strong opinions?) on this whole 3d web nonsense.

3d in a game works because it's about an avatar. becoming someone else. unfortunately, that doesn't scale to a worldwide production level. that's why a 3d web is a pointless endeavor.

i know 'it's neat' tho. and i know that people from different geographical regions are buying and selling real world goods in a virtual environment. that's all well and fine, but it won't ever, ever be the primary information transaction interface for the public at large — ever.

sure, it'll turn into the virtual equivalent of 'getting business dones on the golf course' and other 'social' groupings with commerce tendencies. the initial interpersonal contact will happen (at the common end of the scale) before anyone hooks up virtually. the bulk of the user-initiated research, reading, etc. will stay out of the virtual world.

here's why:

attention/informational exchange that happens between 2 entities (let's use store and potential buyer for illustration purposes) is the primary transactional activity for the web. that's the whole 'surfing' thing you've heard about. there's a reason it's called web 'surfing' and not web 'trudging from storefront to street to storefront.'

information can be conveyed at ridiculous speeds in a text/photo skimming situation. just ask professional logo designers. as a web destination, all you get it 2-4 seconds. that's it. hell, it takes 2-4 seconds for you to line up your avatar before you can even start to look at something you may be interested in a 3d world. by the time you figure out what wares (or other information) some virtual shopkeeper is hawking, your 2d counterpart has skimmed 30 shops on something like shopping.com.

they can search, sort and organize information they are looking for in seconds. you? you have to wander over to a different (whether it's a virtual library, movie theater or a museum) building and hope they have what you're looking for.

the absolute fastest way to convey information (aside from when they can just zap it into our brains) is skimming photos and text. 3d revolving photos? sure. whatever. the premise is the same. it's not standing in a street looking around at buildings nearby.

why would you bring the worst, most inefficient parts of the offline world into a space where you are not geographically limited in any way? that just seems stupid to me.

especially since, as the 'world gets smaller' by different nation-states embracing the free exchange of information, the information getting shuffled about? yeah, it multiplies. as existing entities get used to publishing more information? yeah. it multiplies. you can deal with that mulitplying effect in machine-searched, aggregated and sorted human skimmable text — quickly and easily. how on earth would you do that in a virtual world with any semblance of the same efficiency of text?

yeah. exactly. with a 2d in-game interface. then, what's the point.

'hold on, honey! i have to fire up Virtual Web 4!' you say as you walk over to the real world desk, fire up a 3d application. wait… okay. now, have your avatar walk over to your virtual world desk to pull up the screen to use for quick and efficient 2d display of your travel itinerary so you can print it out on your way to the airport for your flight which you will be late for because you had to spend an extra 10 minutes logging in to your virtual world computer.

i mean. it's like podcasting or those 3d desktop environments they've been trying to launch for eons now. it's neat to talk about at a party, but, if there's a faster way for people to get the same job done? yeah. they'll do it. as it is, folks don't have enough time. maybe a 3d web is some twisted attempt at merging leisure time with work time?

like it's fun to wander around looking for the gap store?

no. information exchange requirements are vastly different than 'hanging out' requirements. information exchange is primarily why people use the web. hang outs are destinations. not all of the grease and wheels that leads up to that.

the best thing that can come of trying to merge 3d space with web space would be a 3d version of essentially web-based chat. hook up and hang out with other people looking at the same site you are.

finding that site? that's all about the 2d world.



8 comments so far

  1. […] Sounds pretty crazy doesn’t it. Well, there are some problems. And although there’s some really cool stuff being done right now, The Metaverse isn’t going to take over quite yet, if at all. For a few good write-ups about just why not, go ahead and read Raph and M3mnoch’s thoughts. […]

  2. Duncan Gough on

    I totally agree, of course. And when you say “the best thing that can come of trying to merge 3d space with web space would be a 3d version of essentially web-based chat” it makes me think of this:


    That kind of avatar-led, pseudo 3D chat around a social/transactional website really, really sticks. Plus it makes me smile. It’s all about fun, just like trudging around in a 3D world would be a chore.

  3. Some Ass on

    Wow, I was just doing a search to see if ANYONE could prove that “Addicting” is a real word (with no luck) and I find a site that is NAMED after this made up internet spelling trash. How sad.

  4. m3mnoch on

    consider it proven, bitch.

    i’ll take the american heritage dictionary’s word over yours at any time. and the fact that you’ve got nothing better to do than play grammarian? how sad — sad and lonely….


  5. Me on

    You can take the American heritage dictionary’s word over the previous poster’s, but just remember American English is different from ENGLISH, since any words made up by illiterate presidents or tv personalities used enough eventually become “real” words. (i.e. “normalcy”, or “addicting”). Look it up in a British dictionary, you won’t find it.

  6. m3mnoch on

    ooooooh. right….

    so, one day back in 600 AD or so, all these anglo-saxons got together and decided on the entire vocabulary set that today we call british english? whew! it’s a good thing they had the foresight to make the word “ring” into a verb meaning to “call someone” as well as a verb meaning “striking a bell to make a sound.”

    wait a minute! they can’t do that! you can’t just make words up! ZOMG!!! you’ve just disproven the entire english language! genius!

    you’re either blissfully ignorant or just plain stupid about where languages come from.

    and, good lord. yes. addicting is a word. it’s called a transative verb. it’s not an adjective like, say, “addictive.” so, since i’m a game developer, for example, it’s my job to addict players to my games.

    let me illustrate for you:

    “Steel Anvil Studios is addicting players to web-based entertainment.”

    hence, we are addictingentertainment.com. note that is a call to action, not an adjective describing the entertainment.

    so, before you start blabbering on about how the british dictionary was penned in 600 AD and hasn’t had any words added to it — ever — please do us all a favor and: just. don’t. we don’t want you to hurt yourself.


  7. Me on

    First of all, I wasn’t making a comment about your company name in my initial post, so please don’t take anything personally. I was just saying that “addicting” is a creation of “American English”, and is often used incorrectly as an adjective. If my tone was somewhat disrespectful, I apologize. Having said that, I’m not really buying the “call to action” argument. If the objects targeted by the transitive (not transAtive) verb are the “players”, then why isn’t the site called addictingplayers.com? By your own reasoning, the site’s domain implies you’re “addicting” entertainment TO something, what might that be? Next, the British dictionary HAS been updated many times since 600 A.D (a date which I never even mentioned in my initial post) but interestingly enough, none of those updates included the word “addicting”. Finally, I must say that I’m disappointed to see that a post by someone who chose to identify themselves as “Some Ass” which was obviously meant to provoke you, has been so successful.

  8. m3mnoch on

    sorry i jumped on you. i just have some very big, red buttons that are easy to push. the whole ‘addicting’ one is just one of them. that damn “some ass” just mashed it.

    and, it’s not addictingplayers.com because that 1) sounds silly-ish and 2) doesn’t really make as much sense as a standalone sentence. “addicting entertainment to players” (where the ‘to players’ can be dropped) is sort of where i was headed in the abbreviation.

    i suppose in retrospect, addictiveentertainment.com would have been more easily digested, but it feels flat and deadend-like to me. i wanted something more action-oriented.

    heh. and, as i’m american, i could really care less if it’s in the british english dictionary or not. which, as i mentioned, started forming-ish around 600 AD.

    but, my question back to you is: how is it not hypocritical for you to think that it’s dumb for american english to add words and not think it’s dumb that british english adds words?

    i mean, it still irritates me that “ain’t” became a word, but that’s the way words come into being. originally mistakes or not.


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