Online world pioneer and Metaplace founder Raph Koster came by New World Notes last week to add his comments on the comparison of Metaplace and Second Life to OASIS of Ready Player One and the Metaverse of Snow Crash, a post inspired by his on blog post on the subject. "I wasn't trying to create a comparison," Raph first notes. "That said, Metaplace had separate educational spaces too." (Other NWN readers had argued Second Life was more like OASIS because it has areas devoted to education.)
Raph went on to conrast the two virtual worlds in an interesting way:
"Really, there were two fundamental differences between Metaplace and Second Life. The first was the graphics. Metaplace in theory supported 3D or 2D, and many devices. In practice it ended up being 2D and web. SL of course is 3D and actually doesn't have very good 2D support. The other difference is that SL is a world with sims and Metaplace was a network of worlds. This is a pretty big difference that isn't all that visible at first. Of course now with OpenSim we do see some aspects of that in the larger SL universe..."
He expanded more on the "network of worlds" concept on his Twitter account (which you should follow here:
"Second Life still feels to me like a single product not a network of worlds. That is actually what was at the heart of Metaplace: a markup language for virtual places. Markup was both description of the world and the network protocol."
I remember well when he imparted that markup vision to me back in 2007. OpenSim does have a network of worlds of its own, which is an impressive achievement in itself, but the total user base remains extremely small. I think the idea is more likely to gain real traction in Minecraft, especially since it's a goal the lead creator has expressed wanting.
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