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.
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.