Re: VRML MUD's & Interaction

Mark Waks (
Fri, 21 Oct 94 14:15:16 EDT

Linas posts a long examination of some of the issues involved in running
a "cyberspace" MUD. I'd like to make one easily-overlooked point: there's
nothing saying that the MUD and the pages have to be the same site.

I mean, I'm trying to figure out how to create cyberspace. This implies,
to me, being able to wander all over the Web with people, interacting
with them all over the place. And that, in turn, implies a mode of
operation wherein the MUD isn't quite so concerned with *where* you are,
as *who* you're interacting with.

So, an alternate concept to chew on. VRML pages are just like HTML pages,
spread all over the Net, defining a "space". MUDs are programs that you
plug into on some systems, which behave much like current MUDs, except
that they track which URL you're in, what your motion is, and so on.
Your browser is responsible for synthesizing this: taking the page that
you're in, and combining that with the information (probably also VRML)
being sent from the MUD which describes the other people and "things" that
are present in that room. The MUD doesn't *edit* the page at all, it just
adds to it. (And maybe makes some temporary transforms -- for instance,
if I grab a chair and sit down in it, I probably move the chair, and the
MUD tracks that, and reflects it for all the other people currently in
the same room with me. But a non-MUD-user (or someone in a different MUD)
would just see the chair in its normal position. The chair hasn't changed,
but the MUD has applied a transform visible only to the people using that
particular MUD.)

I'll point out, BTW, why this mode of operation is important. If we're
*really* about creating cyberspace, then we're talking about melding
the Web with MUD ways of looking at things. That implies that your MUD
doesn't have walls -- you should be able to explore *all* of this new
Web in a MUD-like way. (At least, this is a goal I'd like to shoot for.)

Problem is, some pages are *very* popular. What happens to, say, the
music-archive room when there are 10,000 people in it? If we have
firmly linked the room to the MUD 1-to-1, it's going to be unusable.
But if a MUD essentially just defines *who* you're talking with, you
could have dozens of separate MUDs. Each could get to the music archive
room, but you'd only encounter the people in *both* that MUD and that
room, rather than everyone using that room at once.

Essentially, by breaking things up this way, we allow the entire Web
to be used as one seamless "MUD", while not collapsing under the weight
of the millions of users on it, because each "MUD" is really a collection
of users wandering this world. It has its disadvantages, but I think that
they are significantly outweighed by the advantages.

(None of which invalidates most of linas' points. I just wanted to make
clear that we are *not* constrained to copy the exact model of current
MUDs for our purposes.)

-- Justin

Random Quote du Jour:

Re: Differences Between Groups
"If you want an apple, go find an apple and stop wishing the orange would
become one. Or else appreciate the unique qualities of the orange."
-- Catrin o'r Rhyd For