Virtual City Whiteboard Transcriptions

These are notes transcribed from the Lowell House whiteboard in 93 into one of my design notebooks, plus annotations from the notebooks. I have included GIFs of sketches where applicable; the sketches are also available through the toplevel VirtualCity web tree.

Text notes, 7/8/93

GOAL-- Give people easy access to tools, spaces, and props without the current high startup cost. Ie., you shouldn't have to learn MOO programming to do stuff casually. The current setup has inherent class differences based on hacker ability and free time, knowledge and time to build.

General-- clean up parsing and reporting so it is not so jarring

Put trash cans around for recycling: objects either incinerate or go to Goodwill for pickover by other players. Objects past a certain age are recycled from Goodwill unless claimed. Let us help you help us garbage collect the database...


There should be location-dependent objects and verbs; where you are and/or where they are should have the option of gating special behavior.

Graffiti walls should be a property of buildings. Possibly graffiti database that cycles graffiti on walls a la community sections on newsstands, each building wall is an interface into the graffiti database.

Hook up infodroids to a WAIS engine of MOO documentation and similar stuff.

Transit terminal:

Housing, hotels, and office space: Do up a frontend which allows you to attach exits, set location, do descriptions, attach GIFs, offers menu-driven "standard decor", etc (a global room editor, a la noteedit in MOO). Tie in event code for phone & messenger service to new rooms, should come by default.

Shopping Malls/Areas:

Lambdamoo'ers Carrot & Wintermute did a microphone Amiga hack for VR presence/voices, could cycle text through a soundcard. Puff also very helpful and knowledgeable, something of automation expert.

Stepping disks menu system for navigation, map or abstract base (ie, list of hotels vs. follow choices of hotel district). Take menu cards, can load via "the net" or "mobile ip" or whatever. [NB: predates teleport wheels]

Conference space with access lists for conferences. Talks to a conference registration daemon, setup conferences and choose facilities w/interactive client. Need to think about authentication issues. No reason we can't incorporate meeting scheduling software here, or have reg daemon or client talk to popular schedulers such as MeetingMaker or SchedulePlus.

The Evils of Eventual Commercialization: Register services for commercial services eventually, ie a newspaper that only clarinet subscribers can read. Need to do outbound authentication for these services. Sell billboard space and rotate it. Trade mention of vendors on screens or in places for equipment loans to do initial seeding of VC nodes and districts.



Time travel areas: Educational and historical exhibits of rooms, forms, space stations, etc where you acquire a "wayback machine" to set with pre-programmed time ranges. Get schoolkids, SCAdians, and Drexlerites to do their own special areas. Should be able to set a Group wayback machine for teachers. Verbs and objects in areas can transmute according to time property set on wayback machine(s), ie print different description to you. If done right, you can have several people in the space at once in different times, talking to each other and describing what they see, and interacting. For a good description of weirdness of this flavor, see CSLewis Narnia book "The Last Battle", scene in a tardis-like stable that one group of folks sees outdoor countryside in and another thinks they are in a stable.

Should mall stores be in fact scattered throughout the city and have 2 or more doors, a "real" door and a "Door"/stepping disk door? Multiple doors promote neighborhood creation but still allow creation of speciality and custom malls and areas. Shopfronts in various parts of city would be teleport doors to the stores "real" locations.

Have a Cyberspace/VC Cultural Center which hooks into www, gopher, etc server with standard links to Moo docs, EFF, etc.

Restaurants should work same as malls, as do businesses and hotels. Transcend limitations of physical space while using it as an organizing property; few installations use virtuality as a tool properly.

City Layout, Circa 7/8/93

City Layout, Circa 7/8/93

City Location, Circa 7/8/93

City Location, 7/8/93

City Environs, Circa 6/14/93

City Environs, 6/14/93

7/31/93 Random idea bits:

Brainsitting services for those whose minds are wandering. Like Pet Rocks, a novelty item. "Mind wandering? Let us look after it for you.". Send postcards with brain in interesting places, music, incense, etc to simulate a Brain Vacation. Report cards, letters from your brain, etc.

Take time to consciously build an information index & retrieval tool, dedicate time to it as a percentage of time it will save me over the years and every N years dedicate Y hours/days/weeks to overhaul it, including building translators to new formats, etc. Can update ahead of schedule if technology merits it, but don't spend more time than it will save/generate with the system.

Transcription from Lowell House Whiteboard, 8/5/93

Check 1979 Creative Computing article on GROW, some MOO-like system from that era.


In VC, characters should be able to set personal preferences like "vegetarian" or "pagan" or whatever so that objects can have a "feel" for what the char might like or dislike. One of the most valuable things that makes a place a Place is "they know me there". Came out of tech/fantasy schism of early MUSH/MOO's while reading WIRED article on Cyberion City, then reading online history of CyberionCity. [NB: will evolve into library metaphor, so a "torch" becomes a "flashlight" becomes a "vapor lamp" etc based on inter-functional libraries and metaobjects. Platonic ideal forms library with descriptor interfaces. 1/20/95]


After porting a "load from file or stdin" function to various Moos, bring the Digital Circus to town for a week or two. Let other build on it, being careful of portability here, then pack up and go to the next Moo. This can be automated, and a "Circus Train" route set up between Moos. The same framework (VCMTA) is good for travelling art shows, exhibits, educational stuff, "bookmobile" services, etc.


6/30/93 Places/Things:

Copyright 1995 M. Strata Rose

Note: This is a truncated version of the transcript, I will upload the next few paragraphs soon!