Re: VRML MUD's & Interaction

Brian Behlendorf (
Sat, 22 Oct 1994 17:27:08 -0700 (PDT)

On Fri, 21 Oct 1994, Mark Waks wrote:
> 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.

This is very close to what Ubique is working on, (again,
<>). They have written a specialized version of
Mosaic, which has two extra windows added. In one window, you can talk
(type) to anyone else who is concurrently "inhabiting" that page a la IRC or
a chat system. In the other window is an iconic representation of all the
users on that page - you can set your icon to be anything you want. This
extra information is being sent over a persistant connection to a specialized
Ubique server sitting on the same machine as whatever page you're visiting.
I have some questions as to scalability for this system, but other than that
it's the best model for real-time interaction on the Web I've seen (the other
attempts at MOO-Web integration haven't caught my fancy too strongly). And
folks, it's not a far jump to think that if people can co-inhabit HTML
space like this, they could co-inhabit VRML space (though yes, the
conversants in Ubique's model don't actually change or influence the page
they're on, well, not yet anyways ;)

> 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.

Yeah, this was my scalability question. Are the basic data structures web
pages with lists of users, or is it this-user-is-on-this-page?

But this is getting into issues of distributed systems which we don't
need to solve right now....