Philip Rosedale Issues Metaverse Challenge: What Virtual World Besides Second Life Has Collaborative, Dynamic, Complex Content Creation?
Here’s a great Twitter thread: Second Life/High Fidelity founder Philip Rosedale challenging people to name a virtual world besides Second Life that enables collaborative dynamic creation of “interesting things” while users inhabit the same space as avatars. Based on his follow-ups, “interesting things” means it must enable complex scripting/interaction and 3D objects. So not just simple building blocks but, for example, a fully interactive 3D recreation of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, as in in this classic machinima above.
On that view, Minecraft wouldn’t count by Philip’s lights: “Love Minecraft, but: Can’t build together without elaborate specific permission from admins. Can’t build many important things (jointed objects, curved surface).”
Second Life is the only virtual world that allows people to build interesting things while also being together in one place. Despite being 17 years old, no other game or world has yet fully achieved that goal. Agree? Have at me.— Philip Rosedale (@philiprosedale) January 17, 2021
Also, by one “place”, he means a single shard world that many thousands of users can inhabit at the same time, and not instanced mini-worlds or rooms: “Try making a pocket world like Anyland or Horizons or VRChat seamless,” as he explains. “Very difficult issues with asset transfer, serialization, load balancing (for example).”
Do any come close to meeting this criterion? A few standout candidates:
Possibly Rec Room:
“All Rec Room creation happens in game / in one place with artists, designers, and programmers (circuits system), sound designers, and musicians all working together to create their room or game,” one of Rec Room’s lead developers, Sean Whiting, says. “Most groups are voice chatting and hanging out the entire time they build.” And content can be moved from one scene to another: “Yeah you can definitely move your creations around or distribute them to the community for free or sell them. Entire rooms or games can be cloned, creations or rooms can be put into an ‘invention’ that you can list on the market.”
However, Rec Room’s blocky graphics may limit the “interesting” requirement, as would its lack of a single shard.
I suggested Dual Universe as a possible candidate, as it allows in-world prim-based (i.e. voxel) building and scripting that’s collaborative. I guess one could make the argument that it’s not as “interesting” as it could be, in the sense that anything built in Dual Universe must fit within its fictional sci-fi reality. (Something I discussed with the lead developer here.)
My own take is more meta: The keen irony is while dynamic collaborative 3D content creation remains unique to Second Life, it’s little used by the current user base nor promoted by the company. I seriously think most newer SL users have never even seen a prim, let alone know how to rez one.
I really mean that: Searching YouTube just now, I cannot find any recent user-made video depicting collaborative, dynamic, complex content creation in SL. Literally none that’s recent. (“Watch the World” is great, but it’s from 2008, and only features a single creator.)
And that might be the most frustrating if not most tragic thing: The aspect that still makes Second Life most unique is not that well known, even by its own users.