The latest type of Berylium object is pretty far out there-- I've skipped over audio and video objects for now and into the vast and thorny world of virtual space: the room.
Here's a preview.
Rooms are containers, they hold players and props that are arranged in scenes. Each scene puts the players and props in their respective places and gives the players their dialog. It's three-dimensional now (although browsers will only render it birds-eye, so really 2D plus layers) but one can imagine the day when time enters into it and everything moves around in scene. It's possible, but I don't have the energy to go there yet. This is fancy enough.
This is the fanciest thing I've ever done, by the way. It's really freakin' cool.
So here's the drill: you create a room. You give it a description, and a big picture to use as the backdrop. Rooms are actually stages, see. It helps to think of all of this in terms of cell animation, like Looney Tunes. Only with speech balloons and static action, like a comic book. Very strange medium.
Anyway, you create a Room, then you add a couple of Players to it. Players are created elsewhere. They can have any number of different states, or Poses. You add a Player to the Room, choose its Pose, give it some dialog or not. But here's the coolest thing: the Player appears in the room, and you drag it to where you want it to be, relative to the background.
Drag and drop! The holy grail of web programming!
Anyway, you build a little scene using a couple Players, maybe some Props. And then you build another one. And then another. And before you know it, you have a whole online drama taking place in the room.
Other folks come along and build scenes. You mix theirs in with yours. You build new rooms, and make connections between them. Zip zop, online world.
But so far, it's just a world full of saved scenes. It's a documentary, but there's no live component, except that every now and then someone adds or changes a scene. But the whole works can be hooked up to a special kind of server called a multi-user environment, which handles realtime interaction between people and objects. The browser window splits, and you have a graphical representation in the top half, and a chat connection in the lower half, and the two are synchrozined every 30 seconds or so.
Now this doesn't come close to the functionality of, say, "The Sims Online," but it doesn't require that amound of dedicated software, either. Anyone with a webserver can at least consider setting one of these worlds up. And ultimately, you have the freedom to make it look however you want-- I'm shooting for photorealism from the get-go. In fact, it's already a standard feature that the Players in a scene can use images as dialog. Just wait till they can use video, wheeeee!
Anyway, rooms, players, props, scenes and links (exits to other "places") are all going to be developed as part of the standard Berylium package so that I can use them on all of my sites. Hip Hop Clown will be the flagship, which means that some talented folks will be helping to beta-test the scene-building tools.
Stand back- we're building virtual reality.
By Psydeshow on December 22, 2002 at 7:45pm