Re: VRML MUD's & Interaction

Chris Holt (
Sat, 22 Oct 1994 19:57:09 +0100 (BST)

Linas Vepstas writes:

> (1) The room couldn't contain 10000 virtual people because you couldn't
> see anything because of the overcrowding. Unless they were the
> size of fleas. (Ha, can you imagine 10000 fleas yelling at you if
> you accidnetally walked in full-sized? "Hey you, siddown")
> (2) Soo -- two possibliities:
> (a) Create 1000 "parallel universes", each with no more than 10
> participants. Somehow, you want to have these copies not all
> run on the same machine. For this to happen automatically, you need
> a mudserver-to-mudserver protocol where one mudserver says to the other:
> "here is my empty-room (master) URL. Please copy it. I will tell
> client Gzwyzzyx to go to you (by sending him the URL of your copy)."
> (b) Allow 10000 flea-sized people in one room. Since they are flea-sized,
> you can't see them, so position updates and shape changes do not need
> to be broadcast. If you give the room sound-proofing, (i.e. don't
> allow them to add sound-URL's to the room), then you don't have to
> broadcast that either. So what the heck are 10000 people doing in
> one room, if they can't be seen, and can't talk? Watching/listening
> to a rock concert. And that can be handled by MBone VRML transmissions.
> All that without overloading the server. (other than the question,
> "Can MBone handle 10,000 listeners?")

(c) Remember that most people are lurkers, and so will be invisible;
they only have "read-permission". Someone who has a perceivable
presence has "write-permission". When two people with presence
come into contact, they can (i) go through one another, as mutual
ghosts; (ii) have different priorities, so the big guy on the
block wins; or (iii) have a cyber-fight, involving the (in)judicious
use of flames or whatever. [Or, of course, if they're rigged up
for cyber-sex...]

What to do if a room is pretty full of presences and some big shot
walks in? The milquetoast with the lowest priority turns into a
ghost, perhaps. What to do with townhall situations when someone
wants to speak? They are temporarily granted presence, and can
then say their piece; they've been given a presence token.

So neither parallel universes nor fleas are needed (though I'm
sure some people will want these solutions as well). And, of
course, if you're running a secret meeting, you don't want any
invisible lurkers; but security is still being deferred.

> Hmmm. Naively, I assume that this "collection of users" (rat-pack)
> would all leave one mud at more-or-less the same time, but individually,
> and go to some other destination more-or-less the same time, individually.
> Now maybe there is some stunt where all of them could jump into one
> conatainer, and that container would move, but that's kind of weird to
> contemplate (at this stage of the game).

I can see bands of cyber-nomads, going on raids (as they do now with
newsgroups); people deciding to organize a party, and so going as
a group from one person's home to another; and tour guides, taking
groups of people, and needing to make sure they don't wander off
and get lost. So the grouping or piggy-back mechanism to let
people move together is going to be important.

It's a damned long, dark, boggy, dirty, dangerous web.