Saturday, October 21, 2006

on-line worlds

The world gets stranger and stranger.
I'm not sure the way to reach people who spend a lot of time in on-line worlds is through these on-line worlds... but if not, how?

is a tour operator that arranges for guided visits to virtual worlds like World of Warcraft and Second Life, providing "native guides" for people who want to get the lay of the land.

Synthravels is the first organization to offer a complete guide service to all the people who want to make a tour in virtual worlds without knowing these new realities, even if they have never put their feet in these strange, synthetic grounds.

The tours and the destinations are chosen by the staff of Synthravels, composed by programmers, architects, experienced video gamers.
Online world based on Shakespeare
Video game economist Ed Castronova has received a $240,000 MacArthur grant to fund the creation of a virtual world built on the works of Shakespeare:
"It's a historical Shakespeare play, so that means it's really easy for us to take all the sort of fantasy stuff like knights in shining armor and peasants and woodworkers...and we can just really fit right into 'Richard III' right away."

But "Arden" has a more serious goal than just letting gamers cavort around in an Elizabethan playground.

Castronova likens "Arden" to a "petri dish" where he and other researchers can conduct ongoing social-science experiments. He said the idea is similar to a biologist running multiple versions of an experiment, each with slight variations in conditions, to see how those conditions affect the outcome.

"Now we have this technology for making little pocket societies and we can do different governments, different economies, different social norms in the different environments," he said, "and see how it affects the things we care about, like equality and justice and growth and efficiency."...

He said one of the more unique elements of "Arden" is that the game will be seeded with Shakespearean texts, many of which will be the most valuable treasure players can find.

"If you collect the 'To be or not be' speech and then take it to a lore master or to a skilled bard, he can then apply the magic to your broad sword or you (could) utilize the magic in a battle situation to give you this massive (advantage)," Castronova explained. "So there (will be) this intensive competition to get the best speeches of Shakespeare in your play book.

"You've got to know your Shakespeare, but...if you do, collect these texts and you can just playfully kick butt the way wizards do."
via boing boing

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