Mixed Reality

22 05 2006

More and more mixed reality events are taking place in Second Life. Usually the pattern is that a RL event will be transmitted to Second Life via a video stream and on the RL side there will be some terminal or video projection from inside Second Life. Common to most of these events is that there is only limited interactions between the two worlds is going on and I am wondering if this could be enhanced in some way.

Let’s look at other fields like TV. In this area there has been discussion and visions of great interactivity going on for quite some time but so far we haven’t seen that much really happening (maybe also due to the missing technical infrastructure). Here and there you might find a movie which has X alternative endings. But honestly this form seems to me the most boring one to me. You would like to watch all of them maybe anyway. More interesting would be a complete user controlled story. But this is not the space of TV anymore but the one of games. And here projects are indeed around which do just that. But still most games do have a straight story line (as it might also be impossible to create an infinite number of stories).

If we now look at Second Life we have already infinite possibilities if you see your interactions in the world. You never know who you will meet, which cool thing you will discover and so on. And this is maybe the reason why the whole thing is so appealing. We also do not have the restrictions e.g. TV has as interactions is what Second Life is all about from it’s ground up (which TV never was intended to be).

But coming back to mixed reality events, how could this experience be transferred to these? If we look at such an event we mostly see recreations of lecture halls or similar things, which is not really what Second Life actually is about. Of course the great thing here is that you can attend these events and be able to discuss things heard or seen with your residents nearby. OTOH interaction between the residents in SL and the attendees in the RL events is not usually taking place, they are separated. And this needs to be changed. There need to be ways to bring these two worlds closer together. Here obviously is a great field of experimentation open and I am looking very much forward to see progress being made on this.

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