copies of vr; 1 for public to trample, 1 for your files, ...

Chris Holt (
Sat, 29 Oct 1994 13:55:36 +0000 (GMT)

James Martin writes:

> When you have a vr scene that you have stuff in that you may want later,
> cannot you release a copy for the public (or subset thereof) to play with,
> and retain a pristine copy for your own reference? If you are intending
> to communicate with someone or a group, you would expect everyone to be
> continually messing up your pretty arrangement (moving the chairs, scaring
> off the elephants, whatever), but you might have a scene that others can
> use but which you might like to return to the way you like it ( the cats
> put outside, the books primly arranged according to your preference, ...).
> In that case, you should be able to return the scene to the way you like it.

Well, of course you can; it's the equivalent of the janitor coming and
cleaning up the building after hours, setting things back to rights.
Occupiers of a space will have different levels of permanence. The
owner makes changes that last forever (unless s/he stored a backup
copy somewhere); high priority guests make changes that last for
several months, and which become permanent if they are voted to
be improvements (the voting mechanism will be complicated :-);
low priority guests make changes that last only for the current
copy; and crashers can't even move a paperweight from one place
to another on a desk. However...

> I should think there could be a way to have this cake and eat it too,
> although I could be wrong.

Interesting and different problems will arise. Suppose you have a
party room that you give free external copy permission. Some
people come along, have a look in, decide they don't like the
party going on, and copy the room, creating a new, empty version
that they go into. Now along comes another party group; they
want to be able to look in at both the existing parties before
deciding whether to create a new copy themselves. Since the
party is global, there may well be non-ending parties (though
presumably when a party ends by everyone leaving, it gets
garbage collected). Now suppose someone in a party wants to
look at the other parties, because s/he's bored, and finds
an interesting one. S/he wants to create a gateway between
the two copies, so people can move between them: "Oh, Amanda,
I just saw someone in Copy 32 that I *know* you'd love to
meet." Should there be a generic mechanism for linking together
these "parallel universes"? It should, of course, be left up
to the room designer, but there should be standard defaults.
Problems of scale arise; if there is a hypergate leading to the
path between all the copies, then if the number of copies gets
past a thousand or so it gets very hard to keep track of where
you are, and where you want to go; Grand Central Station is

This is really analogous to communication among arrays of
processes, where the communication paths are determined dynamically;
one person moving from one room to another is a message (or actor,
if you prefer) between those processes. It's just that we're
not really used to thinking of messages as mutable, evolving
objects when they pass from one process to another; but a message
is a process is an object is a virtual presence is often a structure
containing components that are all of these as well. IMHO.

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