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[#] Wed Mar 02 2022 00:02:59 MST from ParanoidDelusions <>

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So... I've been checking out VRChat... to see what it is all about. 

I mean... it is a logical extension of where this all started, right? It is just a wrapper on the same kind of telecommunications that The Source and CompuServe were offering in the late 70s. Citadel is part of it. Lonely and bored? Use your computer to find a community of people to form a tribe with. So... I feel like a lot of people... probably a lot of people on this BBS... are kind of shitting on this technology without remembering that SOMETHING drove them to hook up a 300baud modem to an 8 bit computer, load a dialer, find a computer magazine with a BBS list at the back, and plug in a number and start talking to strangers 30-40 years ago. 

It is actually what Citadel wanted to be at Citadel's genesis... a bunch of *worlds* full of rooms that you can go into and meet strangers and have adventures in. Citadel is a failed, primitive attempt to create a metaverse. 

But.. there are problems with it. The first off, TALKING is far more intimate, direct and personal than *typing*. 

The second is the massive scale of instant accessibility - which PREVENTS gatekeeping. CompuServe and The Source were outrageously expensive and billed by the minute. Citadel and early BBSes had a high technical barrier to entry. 

VRChat is remarkably easy for ANYONE to get on - and so... the lowest common denominators and the slowest ships in the fleet outnumber the interesting people by a HUGE factor. 

And really - we probably all ended up on Citadel because we hated the idiot adolescents on the other 8 bit BBS systems. Adolescent boys with Atari, Commodore, and Apple computers trading warez and porn and being annoying and stupid. Most menu driven BBSes were full of that type of user. XBox Live has the same problem.. and VRChat seems not much different. 

This kind of technology attracts the losers who have no social intelligence. Brilliant people without a lot of social skill or grace, the insecure and unconfident, the outcasts and marginalized. People who are not good in social situations. 

So... I'm too tired to go into details tonight... but I ended up going pretty far down the rabbit hole tonight... and I'd like the share the story at some point. I think most of you will find it interesting framed in the context I've put it in above. In a nutshell, I saw a clique of Furries basically marginalizing a totally awkward furry outside their tribe... and ended up talking to him - in the commons area of a virtual mini-putt world - and eventually Chuckie from the RugRats joined us, and then we did a round of minigolf together. 

Which... is *weird*... I get it... but... as far as who this person was - other than that he was running around in the avatar of a Japanese Mecha Wolf - he isn't much different than the young guy on a BBS in the 80s, with a handle of a Tolkien character. It is really the same old shit - in a new, more immersive package. 

More about this tomorrow. 

[#] Wed Mar 02 2022 13:41:49 MST from ParanoidDelusions <>

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So, I've quoted you mostly so I can reference your original post and jog my memory to hit your points. I agree with you on many levels. You're not wrong about any of this. 

On the other hand - MiniPutt absolutely had the best aspects of what made Wii-Sports such a killer-app for the Nintendo Wii. It is an engaging, authentic feeling casual sport simulation. Wii Bowling was really the *killer* app that sold that console and the WiiMote - and there is a genuine evolution from the Wii, its avatars, and that sports collection to this VR world and the reason something as simple as Mini Putt golf is the potential killer VR app. It also goes all the way back to why the 2 Player COMBAT game was the perfect original pack-in game for the Atari 2600. It made two people sit down and compete. Atari got this with their 4 player games from the start. They wanted video games to be a family-night replacement for board games. It was something they maintained for long after it became clear that video gaming was developing as a solitary player activity overall. MiniPutt in VR Chat - if you're open to communicating with strangers - you can sit in the "commons", find a group of strangers, and then go play a round together - and that kind of play *does* build bonds. It is why multi-player door games on BBSes became such a phenomenon. It is kind of like doing a gram of coke all by yourself is NEVER as fun as splitting it with 4 friends. People mostly do drugs, at least initially - to make social bonds with other people. This aspect of computer gaming and virtual reality exists on many of the same levels. Again - this is how all of us ended up Citadelphians - we sought out social interaction through virtual realities. This *is* VRChat, after a fashion. Few of us know one another IRL, we're spread all over the world, and we keep coming back to this place just to *communicate* with one another. We even create rooms that are interactive games... and if IG added door support for games - lots of us would spend lots of time, maybe so many of spending so much time that it HURT the actual communication aspect, in those door games. 

I think these things appeal in part to demographics that want to compete socially. I also think the culture of competing socially has evolved around the idea of interacting in social digital communities. It is probably why LoanShark and I have had some pretty brutal conflicts when I first started hanging out here. It is his home turf, and I'm the new guy but also a veteran of online communication forums, and because we're clearly on different "teams" ideologically - there was a certain aspect of "this BBS isn't big enough for the both of us," when I first arrived. We're both veteran enough that I think we worked through that for the most part... but also, I think it is just something we've *learned* from probably decades of being in online forums. It isn't a lot different than when you're clearly a popular kid and you arrive at a new school and there is one guy in the popular clique on that campus who is going to challenge you. It is a human social innate behavior. Often times, in that adolescent setting, the guy who challenges you, you stand up to him, you work out your conflict however you work it out, and if you handle it right, he actually becomes your gatepass INTO that clique. You and the guy you HATED the first 4 weeks of school become BFFs.

Regarding avatars... I mean, it is so new, that I think people are figuring out how to express themselves - and an avatar is just a virtual, 3D representation of a handle/nick - in this regard. There is a REASON I went from Metallica, to The Walkin' Dude, to Paranoid Delusions... they're an attempt to quickly express the kind of person I am. An avatar is a visual representation of the same - and because this medium is so new, I think people are still figuring out what their handle is going to be. I know a dude who had the handle "Peaches" on the Citadels in the 80s. I forget the backstory of how he picked it, but he didn't really think it through obviously - and so - his account was one of the first "TRAP" Avatars - where he was always getting hit on by dudes who assumed he was a female. He stuck with that nick, and still uses it, because of the amusement factor - and because it became part of his online persona. He didn't do it *intentionally*.

I also, and I assume a lot of you, have multiple different handles - that you tend to use in different situations. I've got probably 4 that I use on a regular basis, in addition to my real name. I kind of use them to organize and compartmentalize my online experiences. In gaming worlds, for example, I use D3Fb00b. I adopted this because my original gaming handle was Clymidia. I was a world-ranked Quake III Arena player, in the top 500. When I migrated to console playing, I originally used this on Xbox Live - because other Quake Gamers recognized me by it. Xbox eventually passed a bunch of draconian handle/nick rules and decided that Clymidia was inappropriate. I got around it several times by altering the spelling... but they kept catching up to me... so I went with D3Fb00b... and that beat the algorithms, and I've stuck with it ever since. The ability to have different Avatars for different situations is kind of a variation of this. It is how you PRESENT yourself in this virtual reality. On Citadels, I use Paranoid Delusions because it is kind of witty, I know eventually some jackass is going to go, "you picked your handle right," as if they're the first unique person to have that thought and without thinking that the handle was picked EXACTLY for this reason... and it is part of what defines who I am in THIS community. I'm *not* D3fb00b here. I'm not hear to pWn noobz and score mad gibs and frags. I'm hear to have discussions on topics where those who disagree with me will eventually go, "you're full of paranoid delusions..." 

VRChat is an example of something with *incredible* potential that is so mass accessible that the dumbest MFers arrived almost immediately and started shitting all over the concept by adopting scantily clad anime character avatars and running around looking for people to talk shit to. You can't control the behavior of random strangers on the Internet - and when you do try - you become Facebook. Forcing people to paint within the lines with strict controls takes away the lure of a digital/online/virtual community. Who wants to spend all day in a Kindergarten class where self-appointed morality monitors tell you what is and isn't acceptable behavior based on THEIR subjective opinion? 

I think the key is eventually having the Call of Duty servers and the Minecraft Servers and the Dream Home Simulators all accessible within an immersive continuity of connectivity. Basically the Ready Player One model. Where you spend your time in VR much the same way you would in the real world... you go through a connected web to get from Target to your nail salon to the bowling alley to the karting track to the pub and back to your house, interacting with strangers in a bustling society the entire time... Why simulate all of that? I don't exactly know why - but why is The Sims such a popular franchise, when it is just a game about struggling with the time management and personal achievement goals and failures that you already deal with in real life? I guess because in virtual realities - be it The Sims or VRChat - you've got more creative license and control over your own individual experience? Your hitting the same dopamine registers you get when you DO raise that kid successfully, get the bigger house, buy your first BMW - but there is less risk, and a lot of times, the achievements are more accessible. The mind's receptors are fooled into believing the artificial achievement is as good as the real world one. Only, there is less sacrifice and risk and if you really fuck up, there is a reset button. 

I mean, I love to drive at the edge - but I get the same rewards from racing simulators - and I push way harder... I mean, I *wreck* all the time... and there are no fines, no innocent victims of my risk taking, and no lasting injuries to my reputation, economic situation, or personal health. Driving simulators are absolutely one of the things that is approaching *nearly* the real world experience and offers most of the rush of accomplishment with little of the risk. It also serves as a test simulation for the real world. I've never driven the local track, Wild Horse Pass - but I know the layout, I know the turns, I know which ones are tight - and I know, to a pretty high degree of accuracy - what MY specific cars' characteristics are capable of on that track. You're right - driving the REAL track in my real car would be more engaging - because there are TANGIBLE risks... but being able to simulate it accurately in VR gives me an absolute advantage the first time I really drive that track. The more simulation improves, the more this is amplified. Eventually you'll be able to learn guitar in VR, more interactively with benefits over real world instruction (like being able to possess the view of the instructor and see what it looks like to chord and play a song directly through their eyes) - and learning to play it in VR, you *will* be able to pick up a real guitar and be at an advantage at learning to play it in real life. There is also the fact that people with limitations, disabilities, will be able to experience things in VR that they are incapable of doing in real life. Swimming, playing baseball or soccer, climbing a mountain. Whatever... The potential applications *do* go far beyond gaming and into quality of life and life experience opportunities. You may not have the ability to ever go to Yosemite or the Grand Canyon or the Taj Mahal or wherever you want... but... so... check this out... it is a tangent... 

My VR racing simulator, has a plug-in that is a track manager. I can download a laser scanned track, that is accurate down to the bumps in the track - but I can also set it to real world weather conditions and time of day. So track temperature, moisture, fog, sun, moon - whatever - is a FAIRLY accurate representation of the actual track at that actual moment. There are two kinds of VR applications of this kind of thing... remotely controlling a view, mobile or static - of the actual place, in actual real time. Think "navigating a robot or drone through a VR first person perspective of Yosemite or Yellowstone - the ACTUAL physical location at that actual moment in time."

But, if you can digitally recreate that actual place at that actual moment in time, you don't even need a set of remote "eyes" - a remote physical presence, in the ACTUAL location. The simulation is a "cycle accurate" representation of the actual physical place. If a tree REALLY falls in Yosemite and the same tree virtually falls in VR at the same moment in time and you can't tell the difference - is one less REAL of an experience than the other? Only in the sense that if you're in the path of that falling tree in the simulation, it won't crush you - which to me, seems like a bonus - the ability to EXPERIENCE the real thing, really happening, without the risk of the physical, real world consequences of the experience. Apply this to anything... If a man goes to a virtual brother and engages with a remote virtual sex worker and the experience he perceives in VR is exactly what he would be experiencing in a whore-house... is it *different* than actually being there? Ask a married man's WIFE what she would say about this question. :) The major difference is you're not going to catch an STD or crabs from the VR hooker. Arguably if the technology is convincing enough - the virtual experience is *superior* to the real one. All the same experience and feeling, without the physical risk. 

That last example is where the rules become complex. Should it be illegal for a person to have a VIRTUAL sexual encounter for the exchange of monetary consideration with a PERSON who does this to make a living - and does it matter if the person on the other end is a man or woman or in any way resembles the virtual representation? Does the perception matter, or does the experience? VR is going to make society have to rethink a lot of things and there are going to be a LOT of conflicting opinions on a lot of the issues that come up. For example - I think Ig will say it absolutely should be illegal - because it isn't about the act or the participants directly - but the harm permitting this kind of sexually immoral behavior does to SOCIETY. My assumption is that his opinion on this is ironically kind of "collectivist" oriented. This is based on knowing people of similar ideology and similar moral background who hold core values similar to this on why society prohibits *certain* behaviors and activities. Prostitution destroys families, which are the cornerstone of a culture and society - and protecting those things, in that case, trumps the individual liberty to participate in paid sexual encounters with strangers. I'm not certain I disagree with this logic - but I also think that single lonely people should be willing to trade their money to single people who want to make money doing something that doesn't require a lot of talent or life skill and reconciling those two things in the scope of current REALITY is difficult - but VR will make it even more difficult. 

"He didn't actually have SEX with anyone, someone remotely controlled a robot that jerked him off. How can you arrest him for engaging in prostitution?" 

Which is the other important thing - society's RULES haven't caught up to VR. Like any emerging technology - we don't know what to legislate and regulate and criminalize in a lot of cases, until we go, "Wow, I can't believe someone thought to use THIS technology in THAT way. There ought to be a law..." 

Part 1/2 - just the answers to the questions you've asked. 



Wed Mar 02 2022 11:15:51 EST from zelgomer
Growing up in the 90s I was fascinated with these virtual worlds. I played Active Worlds and some graphical but mostly-social MUDs. Every time I would try a new one, before too long I would realize how shallow it was. Eventually I grew out of it, probably because I reached an age where I could do more in real life than I could in imaginary life, but I've since reflected back on it and concluded that there is just no good way to do it.

I think that these things only appeal to demographics that want to compete socially. If what you wanted was to play mini golf, there are better ways to do that. If what you wanted was to decorate a house, there are better ways to do that. I think that is part of the reason why you see the cliques and the social marginalization of others. In that world, that IS the game.

I also don't get the "your avatar can be whatver you want" aspect. Do people really want to play mini golf with a mechanized furry and a giant Chuckie from Rug Rats? When I'm in the mood to play Star Wars, I want to shoot at storm troopers and fly X-Wings, and I want my character to look like he belongs in the Mos Eisley cantina. When I'm in the mood to play Lord of the Rings, I want my opponents to look like orcs and my teammates to look and act like dwarves or fruity elves. When I load up World of Warcraft and the city is full of scantily-clad women doing the Macarena with usernames like SlutDestroyer6969, it destroys the fantasy and the escapism of it. So why wouldn't instead I just play a singleplayer game or watch the movie? Which brings me to a similar rant which is that at some point I also concluded that the whole idea of an MMO is also fundamentally flawed, but that's another discussion.

But I guess the whole thesis could be summarized like this. You can't control the behavior of random strangers on the internet, but at the same time that sort of ruins the game because it depends on their cooperation to maintain the immersion. You have to be able to harm others in some way for there to be an element of competition, but then you have to keep the Call of Duty crowd from bullying the people who just want to play Barbie's Dream House Simulator. It may be cliche, but the marketing is always "a world without boundaries," and I honestly believe that hte boundaries of the real world--working within or overcoming those boundaries--is exactly the thing that makes the real world engaging.

In my opinion, as far as multiplayer pretend universes go, the Minecraft model is as good as it's ever going to get. Friends create their own private servers, define their own rules, and invite their friends to join. Like-minded individuals participate toward a common goal, either to build, socialize, role-play, fight, etc. Like you mentioned, there is a gate keeping element which keeps it curated and sane.

But having said all of that, I haven't tried VRChat. Interested to hear more of your experiences and takes on it.


[#] Wed Mar 02 2022 14:22:08 EST from ParanoidDelusions

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Part 2/2 - on last night's experience. 

So, I watch this one guy interacting with this group of 3 other people - all of them wearing "Furries" avatars. And the one guy... is awkward and seems insecure, unconfident... but also... like... typical of the kind of misfit nerds that have ALWAYS existed in online communities. The guys who say inappropriate things, that try a little too hard, that try to be funny and don't quite get it. Just sitting there listening to their conversation for 10 minutes or so... I was picking this up. And people love to go, "You can't know all these things..." 

Having been involved with online communities and the kind of people attracted to these since 1986... yeah... I absolutely can. Today I was picking up a breakfast burrito from a local place and a guy walked in, wearing steel toe boots, rugged jeans, a vest over a T-shirt... shaved head, beared... and he could NOT stand still. Shifting constantly from one foot to the other as he waited for his order. Pacing a step back, a step forward, arms constantly in motion. He accidently kicked the counter with his boots, and looked down at the sound as if he were surprised - like the movement was absolutely involuntary (it was). The guy was a construction worker, and he was spun out of his head at 8:30 AM in the morning. Not a coke addict. Meth. Not LATE stage, but well into an addiction. He got his order, bugged out, I got my order, waited for my salsa, walked out, and he was just sitting in his car furiously rubbing/scratching at his scalp. I laughed. I feel sorry for the dude - but he needs a serious intervention he probably isn't going to get. He has maybe 6 months to a year more max before he is unemployable and in jail for stealing catalytic converters or copper wire or whatever scam they end up doing once they're rock bottom. I'm not assuming, I'm not stereotyping... I *know*. 

This guy on VRChat - same thing. The weird thing is... I just basically - 4 people, 3 in 1 group, 1 by himself, are kind of having this shit talking session in a public place, so I came up and just sat down and observed. They could see me. One of them looked over at me a couple of times. I didn't join in - I just made a "hands up" WTF gesture... "Just here to casually observe, pal..." and... it is a public place. I guess the guy COULD have done a "WTF are you looking at," response... and in the REAL world, he probably would have, I think... but in this case, he knew and I knew there were no consequences he could enforce if I just wanted to sit there and watch him treat another person like shit. The most he could do was bug out to another VR World... which eventually, those 3 did. 

The other guy though - was a Misfit Among Misfits - where - he was trying to fit in, trying to be part of the clique, trying to get affirmation from people he saw as in a tribe he WANTS to be part of. I know this for sure. I was always "in tribe" in whatever tribe I wanted to be part of... real life and virtual worlds. In some of them I was just barely able to make the scene (the metal scene) in others I was brought along but everyone knew I was a poser (preppies) in others, I was a solid, well known, and popular leader among those cliques (punk, online and later as wealthy trust fund college frat boy douche with criminal connections).... So, not only have I seen a lot of guys like this on the periphery of scenes I've been involved in, but I've kind of been in similar roles at points... trying to get my foot in the door into a scene/clique that I wanted to be "in-tribe" in. 

I've told the story here about being at Folsom Dam with my wife when some geek saw me and called me by my handle "MetallicA" while she stood by going, "WT absolute F?!?" 

She knew me as this affluent, playboy, popular kid who held insane house parties for all the popular college aged people every weekend... who was 22 and had two cell phones and a pager and a brand new convertible sports car despite working as a used computer salesman at some mom and pop place... whose parties always had kegs and endless bottles of top-shelf alcohol, and who had a reputation as being a player, a womanizer, and involved with very dangerous people. And then suddenly we're on Folsom Dam on a date and this scrawny, greasy haired, goth looking nerd is addressing me with the name of a Metal band. I had to explain my dark, secret, digital double life to her that day - and it happened a couple more times after that - and then... in my work place and just among strangers, she saw that I was instantly able to not just bond with these kind of people... but that they quickly came to idolize me when I was younger. She started calling me "King of the Geeks..." 

And she isn't wrong. I'm a rare doucheboy frat-bro popular kid asshole who absolutely understands the misfit nerd/geeks and empathizes with them - and I never realized that this makes them really *attach* to me quickly... I'm also really smart and into the shit they're into and part of the reason I've always been popular is that I'm *not* super secret about it - and among popular scenes, I've always made it part of my "I don't give a fuck what you think of me" indifference - which... popular people tend to respond to that, when done with confidence and conviction - by kind of being envious of it. Popular scenes are all about hiding the things about you that aren't cool... but I've always been able to frame it as, "it is cool because I'm simply ahead of you in recognizing it, and once you figure it out, you'll want to do this thing too - but I'll have already moved on to something newer and even MORE cool by that time." Lots of people in popular circles just do what everyone else does because they don't want to be different... but the people who tend to lead the trends in cool scenes are always looking for NEW experiences and don't give a fuck what the other sheep in their circle are all doing - or what they think. 

And don't get me wrong - I'm not saying I was ever the top dog in any popular scenes. Most of the time, the people who ARE like this... they *are* the richest, best looking, most athletic, wittiest, great-at-whatever-they-do, Captain of the Varsity Team Dating the Head Cheerleader kind of people. None of that is me. The only reason I ever got let in this club is because I'm not the WORST in any of those regards, but I still manage to have the "I do my own thing" confidence. Like my wife said, "King of the Geeks." Being a trust fund heir with a lot of flashy toys and a Party Rock attitude didn't hurt, either. You can't buy friends, but you can buy a social life that helps you forget you don't have many real friends. 

So - anyhow - all that is justification against the argument, "you couldn't know that about this guy from watching him have a conversation with 3 other people over 10 minutes on the Internet..." 

Well... I couldn't *know*... but I had a real strong suspicion. 

So, the conversation... there were just... one voice, younger - big pink anthro-Pony kinda avatar - was really tearing into this guy about things that are absolutely fixation for young adults about the loner furry's behavior. There was another voice, this guy was a hip anthro-tiger and he sounded older, and he was the one both the pink Pony and loner-BlackMecha Wolf were appealing to for affirmation... and he was being very chill and lax and dismissive about the whole thing, as he sat on some other anthroanimal who said nothing - but was clearly part of the trio. The furries do this. One will straddle the other as a seat as they hang out in public. This... is the kind of weird shit about the VR community and the generation who is there that... yeah - it isn't doing VR any good... but I think it is a place where Furries can be comfortably OUT about their cultural norms. They're possibly a majority in VR - so it IS their ideal fantasy world and someone like myself is just a "tourist". Having this conversation I understand how weird it all sounds - but that is the thing right... this isn't just a virtual reality - it is an ALTERNATE reality, an alternative TO reality... and so... a marginalized group (who yes, from my perspective, is full of deviants and weirdos) occupied it first and made it their safe space where THEY'RE the normal ones, and I'm the weirdo...

Meanwhile, Big Black MechaWolf loner is trying to talk shit - but it is all... painfully pitifully ineffective and just... damnit... nerdy. He seems like he is trying to be funny - but he doesn't quite get humor. He is trying to bond, but his attempts are actually alienating him from the people he is trying to impress and bond with. He keeps doing... what they call a "strange flex" on Reddit. Not sure if you guys are familiar with this term - it is absolutely "in-group" language. It generally means bragging about something in a cringe and obvious way. This guy's flex is that he is a formerly famous YouTuber and that he is kind of an expert on gaming culture and that although he is 28 (which is OLD AS FUCK according to Pink-Anthro-Pony)... he knows he is immature because he is proudly a "manboy". 

Sitting there watching it, just observing... was... I don't know... uncomfortable. My gut instinct was to tell this guy, "You gotta stop with this dude... it isn't working the way you want it to..." But I wanted to be an impartial observer and just let it evolve. 

At some point, Black Mecha Wolf kind of realizes that whatever might have been working before I arrived - the climate had turned, and starts apologizing and saying, "I did have you laughing earlier..." and even then, the other 3 weren't going to give him any quarter. Evidently Black Mecha Wolf had made Hipster Tiger laugh a couple of times, or thought he had... and Pink Pony says, "Not at all," and Tiger kind of apathetically and angstily goes, "I don't recall you making me laugh..." 

It was... I think Black Mecha Wolf talked to these guys, they were considering letting him in, Black Mecha Wolf said some nerdy, awkward, needy things, and the trio kind of turned on him... he didn't pass the test... and Black Mecha Wolf realized he had failed and was trying to salvage it - but the trio had already made up their minds. 

So around this time, Hipster Tiger goes, "We're bugging out to another VR World..." like... announces it, and the trio disappears. They could have just left - but it was kind of... "We're done here, we're leaving, we want you to know it, and you're not getting an invite..." 

So, typical young adult stuff, real world or otherwise. 

They disappear in a poof... and I'm sitting there, and MechaWolf looks over at me... and I was like... "WTF... if I'm going to figure this out, and understand what it is about, I'm going to have to talk to someone... might as well be this guy..." 

So, he greets me awkwardly... kind of... you could hear that he expected me not to respond verbally, to kind of dismiss him too... which is... frequent on VR Chat. People go there to interact and communicate - but it turns out that talking to strangers in VR is just as awkward and uncomfortable as in real life. There seems to be more at stake when using your ACTUAL voice than typing on an IRC or chat server or a BBS or forum or Facebook, Twitter or Reddit. It is more immediate, personal and vulnerable. 

But so... I figured, why not... and said hi back, and we started chatting. 

[#] Wed Mar 02 2022 14:54:35 EST from ParanoidDelusions

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Part 3/2 (heh). 

So, the chat was as weird as you can imagine. I'm not going to go bullet by bullet... but yeah, guy is a furry. He explained his anthro to me... I forgot exactly what it is... but it is a THING among his generation - evidently they've been hidden in scenes in MCU, like the Avengers End Game. I believe the guy is on the up-and-up on that claim... Marvel Comics is very pro LGBT+, and the Furries are kind of in the plus umbrella along with the Bronies. So I can see them inserting these icons of those cultures in their comics and films in a way that only those in the communities would notice. He has been in jail several times - for something bad enough that he can't BUY firearms, though he can be in possession of them. Some sort of felony. I didn't ask for more on that. He lives on his own, he is 28, he used to make an income from YouTube... but then they changed the monetizing rules and he didn't have enough of an audience to qualify. Now he lives on assistance - I suspect probably SSD. We discussed his interaction with the other group of Furries... I told him right out, "I was listening, you were socially awkward, your sense of humor seems forced... I'm guessing you're on spectrum..." and he goes, "Yeah, I'm autistic..." 

We discussed that for a while. He wasn't a *bad* guy... but he wasn't normal or average either. Kind of estranged from his family, Redneck Western Michigan rednecks, from what I gathered. His father is in his mid/late 60s and none of them see gaming or technology as worthwhile...  I mean, most of us probably get the idea of a family who goes, "all that video game crap is a waste of time, you're never going to make money with that there fantasy world shit..." while failing to realize that Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Suckenberg - all became billionaires wasting time on that shit.  But I think we all also have probably worked with that really strange guy who has personal hygiene, doesn't realize that it is inappropriate to talk about his Sailor Moon fixation during the weekly IT all-hands meeting," etc. etc... who will NEVER be successful in technology unless he learns to curb being that way around the people in the company who don't get it at all. 

Right? You guys know what/who I'm talking about? This guy is like, the less successful version of that. 

We talked about NTFs and my theories on how that is going to make intangible digital objects tangible and valuable. We talked about virtual realities and that they've existed for a long time separate of Virtual Reality hardware... about Red Dead Redemption... about how I'm a long term, 1st generation, birth-of-gaming gamer and that guys 10 years or so older than me kind of missed that revolution and don't get it (his dad). We talked about how digital media has no residual value and that owning the media gives the consumer EQUITY in the secondary market - and the dangers of buying digital books, music and movies erases that consumer wealth and keeps all the profits for IP with corporations. Lots of shit we talked about. The more we talked, the more comfortable he became, and he... he never got NORMAL... but he got less awkward. 

Then Chuckie suddenly appears. He was so short (the Avatars are scaled.) that I didn't see him. WolfDude did... and we invited him into our conversation... and we talked to that guy about how it was his first login to VR Chat and my experiences on how the hype didn't meet the reality and related things... at some point I asked him what made him come to PuttPutt World... (My reason... I didn't expect interaction, so I wanted to see what the gaming/leisure activities were like... to see if there was any value in that... and that I had done 18 holes already...) He said he didn't really know, and Wolf Guy goes, "We can play a round..." 

Which was... actually a good idea. So... I and two strangers... (Chuckie seemed like a normal, young kinda guy... you know... chill, normal, and just kind of open - but a little "this is still fucking weird..." about it all... like... he was *ethnic*, too... I could hear it in his voice... maybe Asian or Latino... seemed like the kind of guy, the way he talked... into clubbing and cars and hip hop and all that...)... 

They were both in Desktop, so WolfDude is teaching Chuckie who to drop a ball, line up his putter, apply force, aim... I'm playing in VR... We did 3 or 4 holes... WolfDude kinda keeps slipping back into "Strange Flex" about, "I used to be a famous YouTuber..." Who knows... maybe he WAS. There are a lot of actual Used To Be a Famous YouTubers. Hell, I used to be a famous Tech Republic writer... Sorta... I've had stranger-geeks in different States recognize me in public places because they had read my articles on Tech Republic. But I wasn't ever Jason Perlow of ZDNet... right... I know him, though. He defriended me because I'm a racist Nazi Trump supporter. I know Robert Scoble, famous Microsoft Evangelist - too. He defriended me also, same reason. All the tech journalists I know are disappointed that I won't bend the knee to the left and continue my career as a technology writer.  So maybe it was true. But... I don't start telling people these things when they're UNRELATED to the current conversation when I *just* met them. Hey, nice to meet you, I'm Paranoid Delusions, I used to write Android articles for an obscure CBS technology website! Just thought you should know that... 

On the third hole... I realize... I've been doing this for a WHILE now... and go, "Shit... is there a way to see the real time in this thing? I can't see a real clock?" because I don't want to just pull the headset off in the middle of a game... effectively making my avatar go comatose without any way to signal to the rest of the party what is going on. BlackWolf Dude goes, "It is midnight here in Michigan..." which, either 1 or 2 hour time difference... right.. it is later than i thought, my wife hasn't called, she is in LA... My phone has gone into quiet mode... 

I go, "Sorry guys, gotta go, enjoyed the game..." WolfDude goes, "Send us friend invites..." so... I did... log off... and.. yeah, it was 10:30 here, 9:30 in California... called my wife and she had just finished her business dinner which ran later than usual... I was afraid I had gotten so absorbed I missed her call. 

You know... sitting at home, on a Tuesday night, wife in California, daughter in Chicago, it was a way to interact with other real people that beat sitting mindlessly in front of the TV having shit pumped into my brain - and without the risks associated with really going out of the house and going to a bar or other public place to interact with strangers. But... I had to maintain a REAL open mind about it and be real receptive to the base freakiness of it... which was pretty high. 

It wasn't completely unlike showing up HERE and deciding to interact with all of you - but it was certainly something where I was probably in less than 2% of the demographics of currently online users - where I think I'm more typical of the profile of the users here... That is... LandShark and I have more common ground than either of the two people I did interact with. 

It really is more of an immediate, voice IRC with fantasy wrappers. Framing it like that - I think makes it easier to kind of gronk what it is going to be like. And... keep in mind, this is just one "WORLD" in VR, which is roughly equivalent to a room in Citadel. There are thousands of public Worlds and thousands of private Worlds in VRChat... And they're all theoretically encapsulated in that one app - you've just got to wander around and find them. The problem is... it is conversation... not text... I love that Citadel is a conversation biased Citadel... but it isn't very natural conversation. It is me writing some paragraphs of thoughts... waiting, coming back, some other people have responded with their paragraphs, I respond, wash-rinse-repeat. 

VRChat is immediate. You're talking... and that kind of changes up the game. But I think the motivations, experience, reward centers... they're all very similar. 


[#] Wed Mar 02 2022 18:36:53 MST from thanatos

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Interesting thoughts, thanks for sharing. 

 I just keep thinking that DMing is going to be so much harder. Right now I describe a scene, use some good descriptive language and the player's mind fills in the rest. Now I picture myself spending 45 minutes recoloring the ferns around the wizard's keep because they should be partially blackened and dying, sort of green at the tip and then slowly moving to a grey-black at the base. We're going to be playing at 7:00 and I want this to look just right.

[#] Wed Mar 02 2022 21:55:06 MST from ParanoidDelusions <>

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We've got to get away from the idea that VR FRPing needs to be a visual, first person, Skyrim kind of experience. 

I want to feel like I'm sitting in a den, or a basement, at a table, across from you and three other players, with some miniatures in the middle of the table, and a Heads Up Display floating my stats, the rules that are relevant, in front of my view of all of this, while I hear you narrating in the traditionally sense... 

I want... 

"You break open the heavy, rotten, oaken door, and as dust and debris falls down upon you, behind it your torch lights a room 40 feet N/S from the door, 40 feet E/W from the door, another door on the far south side. The yellow, faintly glowing eyes of 4 Orc guards glare at you as they unsheathe their blades. Roll for initiative" 

With the room being revealed on the minatures, with 4 minifigs and the party depicted as... literally painted lead figures. 

I want to hold dice in my virtual hand and roll them into a virtual box and see virtual 20s come up. I want the actual experience to be as much in my head virtually as if we were really sitting in that room playing a pen and paper based game - but the advanced parts... the minatures, the expensive parts - simulated and more accessible and easier to manipulate... like.... computer controlled. 

Wouldn't that be awesome? What you're doing in a text client - in a virtual one. 

The ability to have a classic pen and paper FRP in virtual space across global spaces - so we could ALL play... You, me, TheDave, Berhard, and anyone else, regardless of real world geographic distances. 

Time zones would be the ONLY problem. 

Wed Mar 02 2022 18:36:53 MST from thanatos

Interesting thoughts, thanks for sharing. 

 I just keep thinking that DMing is going to be so much harder. Right now I describe a scene, use some good descriptive language and the player's mind fills in the rest. Now I picture myself spending 45 minutes recoloring the ferns around the wizard's keep because they should be partially blackened and dying, sort of green at the tip and then slowly moving to a grey-black at the base. We're going to be playing at 7:00 and I want this to look just right.


[#] Wed Mar 02 2022 21:59:12 MST from ParanoidDelusions <>

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And we could do it right now, we could have done it before VR googles. I'd settle for a 2D client that shows the webcams of the 4 players and the DM like a ZOOM meeting, and the SCREEN play area is the map... and I've got my stats and everything as real paper in front of me... That would be fine. We could do it so awesome - but everybody misses the TREES for the FOREST. They see that technology and they go right to 3D virtual Skyrim worlds.. 

simplify it and make it a digital recreation of the pen and paper based experience that is ACCURATE to that experience - where the fanciest graphics are in your head. 
TheDave showed me he is using SOMETHING like this... but it isn't quite what I envision. It is a little more primitive... and... expensive. 


You've also got to make it so that it is... as free once you pay for all the rules and dice and create your own modules as regular pen and paper 1st Ed AD&D was. Initial investment... infinite return. Not server based... peer to peer, so that people once they buy the app, and make their own modules, can play independent of ever paying again. 


[#] Sat Mar 05 2022 10:16:47 MST from TheDave

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Wed Mar 02 2022 21:59:12 MST from ParanoidDelusions <>

And we could do it right now, we could have done it before VR googles. I'd settle for a 2D client that shows the webcams of the 4 players and the DM like a ZOOM meeting, and the SCREEN play area is the map... and I've got my stats and everything as real paper in front of me... That would be fine. We could do it so awesome - but everybody misses the TREES for the FOREST. They see that technology and they go right to 3D virtual Skyrim worlds.. 

simplify it and make it a digital recreation of the pen and paper based experience that is ACCURATE to that experience - where the fanciest graphics are in your head. 
TheDave showed me he is using SOMETHING like this... but it isn't quite what I envision. It is a little more primitive... and... expensive. 


You've also got to make it so that it is... as free once you pay for all the rules and dice and create your own modules as regular pen and paper 1st Ed AD&D was. Initial investment... infinite return. Not server based... peer to peer, so that people once they buy the app, and make their own modules, can play independent of ever paying again. 



They have this, it's

[#] Sun Mar 06 2022 00:00:51 MST from thanatos

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We use Roll20 most of the time. But it doesn't have the pay-once and free forever, it is server hosted so doesn't fully meet PD's requirements.

[#] Sun Mar 06 2022 09:45:28 MST from TheDave

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Sun Mar 06 2022 00:00:51 MST from thanatos

We use Roll20 most of the time. But it doesn't have the pay-once and free forever, it is server hosted so doesn't fully meet PD's requirements.

They have various levels.  There's free, $5 a month, and $10 a month.  You never have to pay them for anything even up front.  The game I'm playing in now, our GM has never given them a penny.  I used to pay but stopped about a year ago and all my stuff is intact.  

[#] Sun Mar 06 2022 11:14:39 MST from ParanoidDelusions <>

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Yeah, you showed me roll20 when I was at your apartment. It is pretty close - but not *quite* what I envision. 

I see something that more closely reflects say... sitting down in a virtual room to play Virtual Uno in VRChat. 

A table, 5 or 6 people seated around it, their avatars visible to one another, the game layout visible in front of them... 

Replicate the environment that AD&D is played in. The atmosphere of a face 2 face gaming session. 

Also, augmented reality could take real world games in the other direction. 5 people really sitting in a room, all wearing AR glasses, experiencing digital illusions in their pen and paper gaming scenario. Animated minifigs on the table, other effects, dice and rules accessible as floating panels in their field of view. BOTH environments could be the same, the VR and the AR one - as far as features and presentation.


[#] Wed Mar 30 2022 22:52:51 MST from ParanoidDelusions <>

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Watched the first 20 minutes or so of the original Blade Runner (well, the final cut version) on Netflix tonight... 

I was thinking of how much further behind we are than Ridley Scott envisioned us at this point - both in technology and of the decline of society due to global climate change. He saw a world both FAR more advanced - where battleships were on fire off the shores of distant galaxies - but where we had virtually destroyed Earth - by this time - and we're arguably nowhere close to *either* vision he saw. 

And... I had a clear vision of thinking "I'll be such an OLD man when this world arrives," when I first watched the movie in 1984. Like, I understood back then, that to me, Rick Deckard, Blade Runner - would be a YOUNG man. 

And the flying cars, all the screens... and all the 8 bit looking text overlays... like someone hooked up a Genlock to a C-64... 

Then I went out to go somewhere, and the magic supercomputer in my pocket connected to the wireless networking of my vehicle and displayed data on the several super-high resolution screens on the dash and I thought to myself... 

"Well - where we did get ahead, we got ahead in ways far more advanced than what Ridley Scott saw - short of intergalactic space colonization." 

They were still using CRTs in Blade Runner's 2021 and their teleconferencing technology was primitive AF. 


[#] Mon Apr 04 2022 18:21:48 MST from thanatos

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And the phone calls cost $1.25 for a local call, but then you can jump in your flying car and zip over to see someone.


[#] Wed Apr 06 2022 15:32:48 MST from ParanoidDelusions <>

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$1.24 for a *brief* local low-def video-call. :) 

And there were still public telephone booths all over the place even in 2049. 

When in reality, we can talk unlimited via video conference with the other side of the world for free, and we all carry a device in our pocket that can do that. 


[#] Thu May 05 2022 11:49:36 MST from Wangiss <>

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I still haven't seen Blade Runner, but I've started to see the virtual reality all around me.

Heraldry is an IRL augmented reality callout. Your recognition of a heraldic pattern (blue jeans, puka beads, literally anything you wear with a recognizable pattern) exists on a mental database that is mostly separate from survival utility. We created an almost purely symbolic AR layer over the animal layer. This is, as far as I can tell, uniquely human. Since we're the only species that wears clothes, we're the only ones who pattern them arbitrarily for the sole purpose of semiotics.

But we're not the only species that speaks. Crows have different dialects and can learn each other's dialects, so we know that speech goes beyond humans.

[#] Wed May 11 2022 09:15:25 MST from ParanoidDelusions <>

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I'll accept that animals communicate with unique sounds - but are the able to communicate advanced thoughts? The difference with human existence is that we can have casual conversations about the nature of reality, or being, or morality. We can communicate that things are a threat, not in the immediate sense, but in the sense of forewarning. Can a Dolphin describe a shark to a Dolphin who has never seen one and tell that other dolphin why it must be wary around the shark? Can they develop the idea that maybe Flipper has an unnatural affinity for humans and should be shunned because of his deviant desires? 

Crows can learn the faces of humans that mistreat them - but have we established that they can describe that human to OTHER crows so that those crows ALSO know to avoid those humans? 

Because that seems the foundation of a huge difference between human, sentient communication and animal communication? 

[#] Sun May 15 2022 23:40:41 MST from TheDave

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Wed May 11 2022 09:15:25 MST from ParanoidDelusions <>

Crows can learn the faces of humans that mistreat them - but have we established that they can describe that human to OTHER crows so that those crows ALSO know to avoid those humans? 

Yes, they can.  The group of crows attacking the bad person grows as the crows teach each other who the bad person is.

[#] Fri May 20 2022 07:56:50 MST from ParanoidDelusions <>

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I don't buy that this is indication that they understand the offense the victim/target has perpetrated against the original crow. It is simply a mob/tribe response. If you see YOUR tribe attacking an outsider, you *assume* they are a threat and join in, on your side. 

This is probably related to R/K type selection. Related to seeing a bunch of smaller birds harassing a raptor out of their area. 

Sun May 15 2022 23:40:41 MST from TheDave


Wed May 11 2022 09:15:25 MST from ParanoidDelusions <>

Crows can learn the faces of humans that mistreat them - but have we established that they can describe that human to OTHER crows so that those crows ALSO know to avoid those humans? 

Yes, they can.  The group of crows attacking the bad person grows as the crows teach each other who the bad person is.