It’s pretty much been taken for granted that this year’s Big Thing is going to be 3D interfaces. The major contender is, of course, Oculus Rift, but there are plenty of other players in the field and it seems pretty much a fait accompli that sl will be flying the 3D flag in a major way, particularly since Godvik has personally given his backing for Oculus integration.
However, i have a gut feeling that 3DSL will go the same way as pathfinding and Linden Realms… there will be some parts of the sl community completely sold on the idea, whilst the great majority will either remain oblivious or completely unaffected and disinterested in this all-new, shiny interface with sl.
With all such things – sl being what it is – there tend to be three distinct camps into which the latter group will fall: the ‘Oblivious’; the ‘Scornful’ and the ‘Disabled’. The Oblivious are those who remain blissfully ignorant of any new innovation, whether it be materials, fitted mesh or Project Interesting and – to be absolutely honest – probably aren’t that bothered about most of it anyway, as long as they can still buy shoes and listen to music.
The Scornful are generally characterised by those who think the Lab introduce changes with the sole intent of breaking sl beyond repair and bringing the virtual community to its knees. To them, every improvement and innovation is a fresh chance to deride LL and complain that tier is too high, even though many of them purport to have left sl years ago and are now living it up in SimWurldz or some other sl lookalike.
Finally, we have the Disabled, many of whom would love to see all the new and shiny things the Lab have given to sl, but can’t because they’re running sl on an old PC they found in a skip, or on a Crapbook Pro. Either that, or they’ve refused to upgrade to a V3 viewer because they don’t like the menus, and anyway, developers should make every feature backward-compatible to the 18th century!
Needless to say, although i have my doubts about 3DSL, i prefer not to conform, so i don’t fit into any of those groups. If pushed to label myself as anything, i’d plump for ‘realist’ – although that seems a rather bizarre role to champion when we’re talking about a virtual world. The plain fact of the matter is that when i imagine myself, (or what i’d hazard a guess at the typical sl user to be), settling down for an inworld session, there are actually very few circumstances that really seem to be workable from the 3D perspective.
Speaking personally, i’m pretty clumsy at the best of times – if you’re going to fool my brain into thinking i really am flying through the air of an sl sim, then at the very least you need to secure me to my seat with some sort of safety harness, or – at a pinch – a good few lengths of duct tape, (i’ve seen the videos… safety precautions will be essential). Fail to do that and disaster will occur… let’s not even think about the damage that flailing arms and reflex leg jerks might cause. As for perching a laptop on – heaven forbid – your lap, i think we guarantee that to be a surefire way to trash an expensive piece of kit. Just imagine the rl carnage that would result from falling off a building, crashing your roadster or flying full-tilt into a brick wall, inworld; worse still, imagine walking around a corner to be attacked by zombies or have a pair of enormous 3D Lolas thrust in your face!
Throw in the odd bottle of vino and plateful of pork pie and cheesy nibbles that typically accompany a nice relaxing inworld diversion and you’ll be spending a fortune on cleaning bills too, let alone trying to explain to the nice doctor in casualty how exactly you managed fall in such a way as to firmly lodge a pork pie into a most unusual place!
Quite apart from the very real physical risks that a 3D interface would bring, you’d need a fair bit of sheer stamina just to get through what, at present, is a fairly sedate and even lethargic experience – at the moment we think nothing of spending a couple of hours dancing the night away, we even do it to relax: 3D style, that relaxing boogie turns into a sweat-soaked marathon. i foresee heart attacks!
If that wasn’t enough, a great many of us enjoy the art of conversation, and not your new-fangled, tacky voice nonsense either – no, we prefer the old-fashioned typo-laden, keyboard style of communication and, somehow, i just can’t see that working out in 3D, (especially when combined with the flailing arms, jerking legs, cardiac arrests and interesting conversations in casualty).
No, much as i love new technology and some of the flashy new innovations coming to the virtual environment, i have a feeling that 3D simply doesn’t fit in with our virtual world. It’s bonkers enough as it is!
I know you’ve deceived me, now here’s a surprise
I know that you have ’cause there’s magic in my eyes
I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles
The Who – I Can See For Miles