Monday, September 05, 2011

More virtual

I've been looking back at writing on virtual reality and virtual worlds to help me in shaping my editorial contribution to the forthcoming publication 'Virtual Literacies'. First of all I tracked down a copy of an interview with Jaron Lanier (Journal of Communication 42:4), a rather wide-ranging piece from 1992, which will be useful background. It seems widely held that Jaron coined the phrase 'virtual reality', and this seems about right. Morningstar and Farmer's (1991) piece on Lucasfilm's Habitat uses cyberspace and virtual world throughout. The latter is a chapter from 'Cyberspace: First Steps', a collection edited by Benedikt - and this is a fascinating piece. I reckon that it would interest a broad readership because of the fascinating insights it gives into virtual citizenship, governance and of course design. These guys designed a commercially viable system which could support a population of thousands. I think that's a first, but need to check my facts. All of Second Life is prefigured here: 'users can communicate, play games, go onadventures, fall in love, get married, get divorced, start business, foundreligions, wage wars, protest against them, and experiment with self-government.' But if that's not your bag, it's still worth a read because they tell the story of creating and then populating a world so well. In the beginning it was an idea and then people started logging on, and that changed everything!

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