Following up from Perceived nondeterminism (2021-05-19)...
Today's edition of 50 Years of Text Games, 1990: LambdaMOO, picked up on some of the ideas from yesterday's post—mainly, the media equation, that tendency for people to treat computers as... well... other people. I don't know if that's an exact equivalence, since LambdaMOO actually had other people in the game, but I don't think it's that far off. I've never played the game—it predates my time on the internet—but from the descriptions of it in the article, the creation and maintenance of the world and its components, and interactions with that world, were done with the kind of care that one would reserve for other people.
And the key to that immersion was collaboration: not only between the people who were playing but between them and the simulation itself. Good players could of course emote in ways that referenced the room they occupied and the objects within it
I suppose that's the end of the comparison with yesterday. I'm still curious how computer interactions can be designed for this kind of human-human instead of human-computer feeling. This paper (link further down)—"Effects of Team-Based Computer Interaction: The Media Equation and Game Design Considerations"—might have something. Haven't read it yet.
I can't believe that in 1990—which seems a full millennium ago not just last millennium—there was already the ability to create a world in which there was the power for the occupants of the world to continue creating that world. That seems like it would be advanced for today. But I'm out of touch. The most obvious example today, after a quick search, is Minecraft. I avoid keeping games on my phone, but I bought this one just to... see what the hell it is. To see how out can be such a draw—what causes that feeling and how to steal the basic ideas behind it. (And then delete it so I don't get sucked in all the way.)
Some other links collected along the way:
- Schiano, Diane J. "Lessons from LambdaMOO: A social, text-based virtual environment." Presence: Teleoperators & Virtual Environments 8.2 (1999): 127-139. (pdf)
- Claire Evans. "A Mansion Filled With Hidden Worlds: When the Internet Was Young". Undark (2018-07-20).
- Johnson, Daniel, and John Gardner. "Effects of team-based computer interaction: The media equation and game design considerations." International Conference on Entertainment Computing. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2005. (pdf)