For this, the second post on my new 3dspace.com site, I’d like to look at a 3D technology that doesn’t really have anything to do with the web – Minecraft.
My kids play Minecraft. In fact, they love Minecraft. They not only play Minecraft, they enjoy derivative media based on Minecraft. They watch game-play videos featuring popular Minecrafters like Stampy and DanTDM. They even engage in something called Minecraft Story Mode.
As someone who was enthusiastic about the 3D web back in the ’90s, I can assure you that I’m tickled to see the next generation diving into 3D experiences at an early age. They can build things, invent things, and they can “go along for a ride” with other people who record their 3D adventures for others to passively enjoy later.
While Minecraft is a 3D technology, it is not the 3D web. To enjoy Minecraft itself, you need to install and run a specific program. To enjoy Minecraft worlds with other people, you need the specific application, and you need to log into a specific server with that specific application. Compare this to the web – on the web, anyone can put any content on any server, and anyone with a computer that is remotely modern can experience or interact with that content. Also, the web is “open” as to what kind of content it can convey – text, photos, videos, etc. When you’re in a Minecraft world, the only stuff there is – well, Minecraft stuff.
One point I’ve managed to take away from this is that the next generation of web users will be born and raised on 3D content. When I first started experimenting with VRML, I had a typical Gen-X background with regards to content. I’d read text. I’d viewed photographs and other graphics. I’d listened to audio. And I’d watched video. At the dawn of the 3rd Millenium, the web was a vast playground of all these things.
In some ways, Minecraft is an early merger between video games and content. Rather than viewing a flat page, like you would with the flat web, you move around inside a virtual environment. And rather than interacting with just the stuff the game developers (or modifiers) put in the virtual environment, as you would with a video game, the creation and sharing of content is one of the key raisons-d’etre of Minecraft.
All that being said, however, Minecraft is not part of the web. Videos are part of the web. Facebook is part of the web. Minecraft – that’s its own little universe.