Introducing Idoru.js

idoru.js is an experiment I’m working on with artificial characters in virtual worlds. The idea is that to provide good “user experience” (UX) in a virtual world, a character must have good “stage presence” to stimulate engagement.

The idea is to create a framework for an artificial character that is charming and attentive to the user. This character can then be “dressed up” with any imaginable avatar. It can be given any “job” that anyone cares to script.

A screenshot of the very first prototype of idoru.js - with a rudimentary avatar and chatbot.
First idoru.js experiment.

A good suit and deep knowledge are not enough to make a person engaging in the real world. A person needs body language. A person needs to be attentive to the person they are engaging. They need to make eye contact. They need to interact with a person’s personal space in a thoughtful, polite way.

Continue reading “Introducing Idoru.js”

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Responsive VR – Virtual Reality that responds to any device.

Whether websites work in laptops but not phones – or whether VR works with goggles but not without – the solution then and the solution now, is to make web content that responds to whatever the heck hardware is being used to experience it.

Boris Smus is a man who understands the motivation behind “reponsive” web content, and responsive VR. From smus.com:

VR on the web threatens to cleave the web platform in twain, like mobile did before it. The solution then and the solution now is Responsive Web Design, which websites to scale well for all form factors. Similarly, for VR to succeed on the web, we need to figure out how to make VR experiences that work both in any VR headset, and also without a VR headset at all.Continue reading “Responsive VR – Virtual Reality that responds to any device.”

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Beloola – Social VR

Beloola is social virtual reality on the open web.

Screencap of my first visit to Beloola, a social virtual reality website.
(I’m the girl in the leather jacket)

I kid you not. I saw it. I tried it. WebVR, no plugins. It works. Today, March 7, 2016.

They’ve got everything you’d need to have a social experience in a virtual world. Avatars with moving parts. Pick your clothes and appearance. A bunch of gestures you can control. Many different worlds. Freedom of mobility. And a chat window. Continue reading “Beloola – Social VR”

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Augmented Reality, Pop-up Books and Gardening

I saw an item in the news today about Google contemplating using augmented reality (AR) to turn old-school paper books into dynamic pop-up books.

http://techxplore.com/news/2016-03-google-envisions-delivery-ar-elements.html

An illustration of Google's idea for using augmented reality to create virtual pop-up booksThis is a fascinating idea. Physical media are part of the real world. If you can augment reality, you can also augment physical media. This would give you augmented physical media. Continue reading “Augmented Reality, Pop-up Books and Gardening”

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Open Standards, Goggle Snobbery, and the Browser Wars

I remember the moment the so-called Browser Wars redefined everything we were doing on the web. It was the Twentieth Century. The web, and browsers, were the most amazing things ever. We didn’t give a darn about “open standards”, and we were creating these awesome Java Applets that could connect to a server, and provide multi-user interaction on the web. Then one day, one of my co-workers came into my office, looking like he’d just been hit by a bus.

“Microsoft has just released its new Java.” he told me.

“Cool.” I said, chewing my bubblegum and turning my attention back to the emacs window on my computer.

“No, it’s not cool.” he retorted. “It’s their OWN version of Java. Real Java won’t work in IE any more.” Continue reading “Open Standards, Goggle Snobbery, and the Browser Wars”

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Direct-to-retina imaging – VR in the real world?

Could glasses, that exist today and project images of actual reality directly onto the retina, eventually evolve into a vehicle for allowing VR to be experienced without shutting out the outside world?

New glasses project images directly onto retina with a mini-laser

I for one have wondered what will be the future of VR goggles. It seems clear (pardon the pun) that until we can free our heads from the giant headsets that have to block out the real world, so that we can see the virtual world, we won’t be able to blur the lines between real reality, and virtual reality, to any great degree. Continue reading “Direct-to-retina imaging – VR in the real world?”

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VRmageddon

VRmageddon – Pronounced “Vee Armageddon“.

A photo of a VR headset, and speculation about the coming VRmageddon
A photo of a VR headset, and speculation about the coming VRmageddon

The term popped into my head as I was reading about VR headsets and the 3D content paradox:

It’s hard, […] to convince people to buy a VR headset if there’s nothing to watch or play on it. And it’s hard to convince developers and producers to make content for a device that nobody owns yet.

“It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem as far as content goes.Continue reading “VRmageddon”

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X3DOM vs. Three.js

Here’s a quick look at X3DOM vs. three.js. Two very different tools, that both do something I’m very interested in – allow you to publish 3D content and virtual worlds on the open web, without a plugin.

I found two good ways to get 3D content (from an ancient VRML file) out of Blender, and out on the open web where anyone with a browser can see them without a plugin. So I’d like to compare X3DOM vs. Three.js.

I loaded a COLLADA file into Three.js:

And I loaded an X3D file with X3DOM:

You can drag your mouse on either of those to move them around. Each button gives you a different motion when you drag. Each example uses each button in a different way. Continue reading “X3DOM vs. Three.js”

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