28 Dec 2022

Metaquette #Metaverse #MetaverseNewYear #Predictions2023 #2023 Q29

 Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse with..........Pooky Amsterdam

Happy MetaVerse New Year to ALL! Many people have launched themselves into these great worlds where we all log in equally. It is known as The Metaverse. Which will stick and who will perish as platforms compete for end users and brands want to use them for sales and recognition? What will our understanding of "do anything / be anything" look like even one short year from now? How many hours will people give to their virtual lives? As I have mentioned before, what one does becomes imperative for time is the new currency. Where and how we spend it in The Metaverse determines commitment, and The Metaverse needs dedicated users to flourish. An end of the year musing........

Q: Can AI help humans become better people in The Metaverse?

The growth of AI along with these newish platforms gives way to potential collaboration. Not a big leap to imagine worlds populated by AI to give a feeling of there being "others" in the Metaverse, no one wants to hang out in a virtual wasteland no matter how pretty.  Instead of "salesbots" though, maybe we need redeeming robots whose companionship delivers more than a temporary cure for loneliness. Maybe AI could create fun challenges which deliver attitude hacks, encouraging us and rewarding us for good behavior.

We as a species might not be yet ready for an app which tells us when we are being obnoxious, rude or self-absorbed in the extreme, but how about a friendly Metaverse bot who would give guidance and solace when we box ourselves into emotional corners we can't get out of? Or help with anger management? Could an AI give us emotional support, in the way that a dog, cat or pig does in real life? And better yet, as AI can speak and communicate in ways that animals can't. (That interface is still being created for animal / human verbal exchange, for those brave enough to want to know what their dog really thinks of them.)

How could this work? Moving through the Metaverse, interacting with different situations, the AI could ask questions about how one is feeling, and why. Even asking at what point the human could be inclined to be more understanding, or even kind? Then rewards would be given, perhaps of extra time, with the  AI,  if the person wanted level up, and learn how to be more compassionate too. Could the AI train the human to not be offended so easily? To have empathy for those in less financially secure places? To give bonuses for the balm of humor, which connects people? Nobody is perfect, but we can program AI to be attentive to our mindsets, which also affect our sentiments, and how we see the world. For we see the world not as it is, but as we are. I asked ChatGPT How AI can help people become better humans, and this is the response I received....

"AI has the potential to help people improve their skills and capabilities in various ways, but it is important to recognize that AI is just a tool and cannot replace the value of human compassion, empathy and ethical decision-making."

If AI could assist us by helping us play the better human game, that might be a big step. Beyond absolute truth, or falsehood, there lies doing what is morally imperative. As we enter this potentially wonderful new year, what kind of people do we want to be, not what toys do we want to own. Can AI help us find what is of greater value in terms of quality, over quantity? We have enough of the Sam Bankman-Frieds of the world whose overwhelming value to society was determined by their net worth, and how much they could "make" us. Does collecting wisdom and actionable knowledge within a game as valuable to collecting gems or weapons? 

Seems to me there is a huge niche to be filled in the compassion, empathy and moral decision-making areas of our lives. Maybe there is an app for that, there certainly is a need.

If you have a question please email info@pookymedia.com and put Metaquette in the Subject, it will be answered!

15 Dec 2022

Metaquette #VIrtualTV #CommercialTelevision #Television #Entertainment #metaverse #MetaverseTV Q28

Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse with......................Pooky Amsterdam

A Post from the Past. As we wrap up 2022, it is interesting to look back into our archives for potential grail. This was written over 10 years ago by an incredible scholar CarrieLynn D. Reinhard with whom I have co-authored papers on Television in the Metaverse. 
Entertainment is one of this spaces big offerings, and how we utilize The Metaverse will change the landscape.

Q: How will Virtual World TV in the Metaverse change and challenge Commercial Television?

(Originally published April 19, 2013 by CarrieLynn D. Reinhard in Scholarly Musing.)

Tonight I attended a lecture by Sut Jhally, media and culture critic, on television that was sponsored by Concordia University and Dominican University. Dr. Jhally may be most known for his Media Education Foundation videos, such as Tough Guise and Dreamworlds, that work to critically analyze the media messages and industries that populate and permeate our pop culture and mass society. He spoke to the largely undergraduate student audience about the need to understand the profit-driven logic of a commercial media industry, like television in the United States, to understand the messages produced through such media and our relationship to the messages and the media.

Jhally made the argument that we are currently in a situation where the predominance of advertising, that which fuels commercial television, is akin to the virtual reality construct of The Matrix in the film trilogy of the same name. Like those humans being used as batteries by the robots, we television viewers are active laborers in our living rooms, producing for the commercial television industry through our attending to advertisements. It is through our laboring by watching ads that the television networks can sell airtime to advertisers and thus make a profit from producing television.

To Jhally, we are labor for the media industry, who capitalize on our labor by selling it to advertisers, and then we are paid for our labor by the television shows the media industry produces for us to enjoy. He argued that media systems are defined by what they take from us, which is our productivity.

But then does that mean we are defined by how we produce for the system? Do we not have the choice of whether to propagate or resist through our actions? Currently, for Jhally, our only role within the system is to be as products and not producers. While we may labor, our labor is what is produced; it is our product, and it is sold to the advertisers. Television sells to the advertisers our watching: we are not creating anything to sell except through our act of watching. We are, as Dallas Smythe put it, “audience-as-commodity”, or the newer version “audience-as-transmitter“. And as long as we continue to watch that which we enjoy without critiquing and challenging our relationship to television, then we will continue to be in The Matrix, receiving programming that cares little for our well-being and that may reflect a reality we do not want.

It’s why, after awhile, all of television starts to look the same…

Now, he and I both agree that new technologies make the media industry freak out and readjust their practices in order to maintain the logic of their system, i.e. their control over the means by which they generate profit. The television industry has had to adjust to remote controls, VCRs, DVRs, online streaming, and fan activities.

And now we get to why I am bringing up Jhally’s lecture on this blog. This blog is dedicated to the discussion of television production in the virtual world Second Life. Here we are dealing with a new technology — the social medium of virtual worlds — that in some ways the television industry has toyed with for marketing purposes only, bringing Heroes into Habbo or The Office into Second Life. The industry has had little consideration of this medium as a potential source for distribution and exhibition, let alone production, of television programming. Instead, individuals who could be considered amateurs or semi-professionals have taken up that aspect of the television industry, remediating aspects of the industry while forgoing the replication of other aspects.

So, then I ask you, could VWTV be the next challenge to the television industry? Another potential “freak out”?

Jhally argued that we need to take back television through what he called a revolution on the factory floor, or our living rooms in which we are laborers for the industry. Could VWTV be this revolution?

With VWTV we are seeing the turn from consumers of television to producers of television, changing the productivity in relation to television. The VWTV producers are no longer merely the products of the television industry, attentive eyeballs to sell to advertisers. They are now producers within a television industry, with their labor resulting in a product that is television programming. Television programming is no longer just their wage for being “good viewers” who stomach commercials and product placement; it is their product, to do with as they please. VWTV allows those who might have only been “audience-as-commodity” or “audience-as-transmitter” to truly become “audience-as-agent” by becoming prosumers.

So when Jhally asked how do we make the system more democratic and bring in more voices — well, I thought to myself, perhaps with VWTV. If you want more cultural participation, then what better place to start looking than a participatory culture built within the social medium that is a whole new world, a virtual world.

Or, if I might add.......in the Metaverse.

If you have a question, please email info@pookymedia.com with Metaquette in the subject line and it will be answered.

7 Dec 2022

Metaquette #Metaverse #VirtualDebate #AI #Humans #Competition #Debatable Q27


Tips & Tricks for negotiating the Metaverse with.................Pooky Amsterdam

The image for this blog comes from a book I authored long ago yet was recently able to fully illustrate with the help of Mr. Gerald Terveen, someone I know from that megalith of our times known as Facebook. His use of the image -generating AI known as Mid-Journey, with prompts inspired by my old drawings with Platos words, produced these adorable pictures for my 18-word book called Plato For Preschoolers, a chunky book attempt made years ago for young people fed up with train-plane-red-yellow-blue. Seeing my own daughter needing something else to wrap her young and formidable brain around brought me to this, but it lay waiting for 27 years, until Mid-Journey delivered what you will see if you click that link. For me, AI provided something great. It made me think, these images are from an entity which will never have children of its own, however these images are it's mind children!

And when I showed it to someone I highly respect, though I have never met her in real life either, her comment was thus: What will happen to artists? Will they be replaced in their jobs by this type of "fast food" in art? I found these questions so interesting and worthy of debate as we can't put the genie back in the bottle. Will AI inspire or discourage? And what better place to have a discussion on this than in the new virtual frontier? Because it's all about what you DO in The Metaverse, and this is interesting content.

Q: Is The Metaverse a good place to have a debate?

Yes for many reasons: It is easy to access; You can speak openly, good ideas are triggered by what others say; You can use media and/or URL's to support your opinions; the debate can take place in real time and it can also be streamed, recorded and broadcast. Right now there is no ongoing debate within the Metaverse, as people are too busy debating The Metaverse itself.

How could this be done?

The Metaverse would need to have communication, in either voice or chat, most of them do.

A place for the speakers to be able to talk without interruption, and for a limited amount of time.

Moderation tools would need to be in place,  to move the debate along yes, but also if someone was disruptive; they could be banned instantly for griefing or rudeness.

There would need to be a prize for the winning team, perhaps, though any kind of voting system could record support for the Pros & Cons. Or there could be a judge.

And opening up Zoom, recording the screen where the Metaverse is playing out would be one great way to have film of this. Or livestream with YouTube. It is an exciting possibility, and one I'd be happy to explore with you, if you are interested, because this topic does interest me greatly, and we should ask, is this good or bad? We are human and can and need to talk about issues that concern us.

What if what you are doing can in no way outshine what a machine can do? I am not talking about the power of a Dyson vacuum cleaner, or the washing machine in your basement, but on artistic merit. Are people going to be still interested in creating excellent works of art in these days of Goblin Mode? 

(Actually one of Oxford's new words of the year, the other being Metaverse, naturally!)

For everyone who fears that machines will become so talented that they replace the human desire to create, there are those who think AI is a font of inspiration and can help us achieve much more. Where and how can we have a real conversation about the pros and cons that face us in the now, and in the future? In the Metaverse we can express our fears and hopes on this topic in real time, with those who are probably vested in this more than the general population.

It isn't just imagery, but also writing as AI becomes so profoundly capable, humans remain profoundly predictable and increasingly there are more AI news article generators available, because sometimes one wants to do a blog but doesn't have the mental or time bandwidth. AI can come up with seamless articles, movies and even animation made strictly with text to image. Even comedy, witness Botnik's funny bones(?) written about in an article from 2017. How about both? This movie was 100% made with AI. Click here to see how it was done.

The new app which has everyone enthralled is Lensa - we are visual creatures us humans, and somehow take great pleasure in seeing our own faces, and nothing like augmenting those for more beauty. We do it through cosmetic surgery, filters, make-up and a variety of ways. Now we have a new way, an it takes just moments, but the rise of it is sparking issues of creator rights. StableDiffusion seems to have found a happier medium though.(Ah if only we were more concerned with the inside....but to date - there is no magical app for that!)

And check out what AI-Da said in November before The House of Lords...."AI poses a threat and an opportunity for creativity."

We know that AI can beat humans in chess, but we still play chess, we know that DeepMind can beat human Stratego players , we still play Stratego. But those are games, what about ART? And deep in my mind I believe that Van Gogh would still have painted even if he could have prompted a machine to illustrate "Sunflowers" or "A Starry Night" because the human need to create, that is what we see in our minds eye and share it with other humans is too strong, and too much a part of us.

(I just wish someone would ask all this AI how to save the world, but we don't want a machine to tell us that, do we? We would rather figure it out on our own........right? And even as I get ready to post this article, I have to ask myself if an AI could have written this?)

If you have a question, please email info@pookymedia.com with the subject of Metaquette and it will be answered.


1 Dec 2022

#Metaquette #VirtualSummit #WorldWeb3 #MetaConference #Metaverse Q26

Tips & Tricks for Negotiating The Metaverse with.................................Pooky Amsterdam

WorldWeb3Summit 2022

While The Metaverse has exploded, with seemingly daily zoomings about this verse or that verse, podcasts appearing in proliferation and truly important conferences to attend, the best place to have a summit about The Metaverse, might actually be within one. Proof of concept is made in the doing & seeing more often than not. On a riff of the old parable....You can tell someone about The Metaverse, but if you can show them how to use it they will be able to enter themselves....and grow.

Q: How effective is The Metaverse for large scale meeting with many speakers?

It can be extremely effective as the Cause for being in The Metaverse is met with the Effect of gaining information, connection and ground in your chosen area. And sometimes even more importantly, finding inspiration and that missing link you needed. We gain this by exposure to others in the interesting tangential organizations of this space, sometimes quite by chance. There is a great chemistry in The Metaverse, it's place for networking yet on an Epic scale, because materials are available which can enlighten and ignite some genius moments. The ultimate Virtual Water cooler, where proximity to all is all plus there are all kinds of different people, talking about all kinds of fascinating processes. Business be happening here. 

Last week, as this blog would have mentioned, there was a conference I spoke at. WorldWeb3Summit 2022 gave evidence that the virtual look and feel gives weight to hosting in The Metaverse.  Businesses had their speakers as well as a metaphysical presence whose outposts still remain in Spatial.  Speakers represented experienced next wave Metazens on the newer skill sets needed. Diego DuPont, the organizer provided great feedback as well. Content highlights also provided by the organizer included some interesting numbers. 

There were about 4,000 people between Spatial andAnchar's construction of Earth, for 26 speakers, 28 session, 47 Exhibitors and over 9,000 booth visits which averaged almost 200 per exhibitor. The Summit was well hooked up with Eventbrite, Voila Events and first class European design teams.  There were almost a thousand live avatar driven attendees. And although the numbers might not seem like a lot, and marketing / influencers are an important next step, but this has to begin on an approachable scale, so we can learn and build. For that, the Summit was a great success.

There is also a charitable alliance here, which gives another dimension ot how important these conferences can be. Not only in reducing carbon footprint and time / expense associated with travel, but in raising awareness and money for worthy causes, such as this education initiative in Gambia with the goal of helping millions of children get the computer skills they need.

Right now it takes nerves of steel to put together a 6 day long Metaverse Summit with 26 Speakers and 28 Sessions. This was a live event,  one cannot pull this off in The Metaverse without sufficient passion, knowledge and patience too. It was made of so many moving parts, it takes a lot and team Diego really pulled it off. With some log in difficulties the first day, it is really necessary to have lots of technical support, and they did. The audience wants ease of movement, the Speakers want connections to audience, Steamyard got very favorable reviews, 50% wanted the Summit twice a year, 43% wanted it annually. A successful conference means everyone wants to return and over 90% did. 

Meetings, Conferences, Summits, Retreats and more represent an organic growth movement for those of us who love The Metaverse both wanting, and needing to meet there. You need real experience to pull it off. 

16 Nov 2022

Mettaquette #Future #WorldWeb3Summit #virtualreality #Augmentedreality #web3education #blockchain #Metaverse Q25

 Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse with.....Pooky Amsterdam

When people from all over the world get together and share insights, it is a summit worthy of success, and it is honor for me to be there.  According to Diego Dupont, who has put this magnificent talk together >

Q25: What exciting speakers are coming to the Metaverse?

" The World Web3 Summit 2022 (an organization of Fairtual Technologies BV, Fairtual France SARL in cooperation with XPLRR and Voila) is fast approaching. Just 6 more days and we're off and running!

30 International speakers from all over the world, more than 50 exhibitors and interconnected metaverse environments, the launch of the METAMUSEUM penthouse (Built by Threedee World and Joynus Online and hosted in Spatial) The launch of the Joynus Online Penthouse (Built by our friends at Exclusible and also hosted in Spatial)

You can find out what all there is to experience, the whole speaker program and especially how this event works and is put together via this link below:

World Wide summit users guide

Register to attend RWorld Web3 Summit FREE

Registration link

My talk will be focused on Game Shows In The Metaverse which bring together people through  engaging relevant activities, that are memorable, promote stickiness and are tremendous fun!

Here is a full list of the speakers

And I will see you there, lots of film clips, screenshots and excitement from the headiness of Viewer Log In Entertainment! Be Live Be There Be...of The Metaverse!

If you have a question please send it to info@pookymedia.com with Metaquette in the subject line and it will be answered.

10 Nov 2022

Metaquette #VirtualFashion #AvatarFashion #FashionInTheMetaverse #Metaverse Q24

Tips & tricks for negotiating The Metaverse with.................Pooky Amsterdam

All dressed up and no place to go?

 Continuing with the trend of predictions from last week, let's look at websites which might be coming to a browser near you. There are going to be new ways of engaging the BIG 5 Killer Apps for business in The Metaverse which are:

Music, Data, Fashion, Fitness and Gaming. 

Let's take Fashion this week and look at a future site that is going to pop up around wearables.

Q24: What kind of new Fashion websites are going to materialize to serve The Metaverse?

As the Metaratti hops into the digital world, there will be events and places to go. What to wear is becoming bigger and bigger, more importantly, the crossover between virtual wear and physical wear is happening! The Looks, the Hair, The Shoes, all to die for. Yet when you are wearing an ultimate version of Outfit Nirvana, where are you going to post it, so more than just you and your screen shot selfie can enjoy it? Where are you going to go with it for maximum effect? Where can people find out how fashionable a digital persona you have?

Yes there are picture hosting platforms, but somewhere better, more targeted, where other well-dressed people  can see you are one of the fashionable elite. Where others can appreciate the care you took in creating this stunning virtual outfit. And one place where you could see theirs too, even ranking them.

There will be a need to solve the "all dressed up and nowhere to go" problem The Metaverse has. What if there are only a handful of people on the grid, and you need applause?  This new site will transcend that and make what you wearing a fashion moment worth sharing!

BestDressedAvatar.com will be The Place to post, of course! The website (under construction soon) will feature a gallery of pictures uploaded by anyone from any platform, and what is even better is that members of the site get to vote on the annual International Best Dressed Avatar list.  

The broadcast gala at the end of the year,  awards The Metaverses Best Dressed Avatar  and the winner will show off their outfit creations by modeling them out of their inventory just for the occasion. Judged in separate categories like evening wear, sci-fi, casual or sport and swimsuit, it becomes a fashion event for major brands, a kind of MET Gala of the Metaverse.With prizes, notoriety, bragging rights and more! Perhaps collaboration with a major fashion house, having physical garments that you help design or inspire and that collaboration results in IRL$$$.

It is coming, look your best!

If you have a question send an email to info@Pookymedia.com and it will be answered.

3 Nov 2022

Metaquette #Metaverse #FutureofTheMetaverse #Predictions #Metaverse2023 Q23

Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse with........Pooky Amsterdam 

The Metaverse is here today! As many battle it out, like the giant Horizon World, which has been  knocked for a loop in the first round while Roblox roared with big brands, Fortnite jumped in with Ralph Lauren! At Decentraland there's a party and virtual Cuervo. This week. 

The (Re-)Birth of The Metaverse is still young, so while many are finding their legs...there is a future which will evolve in its own way. How things look will be different in a year or so. As companies and those behind the various Metaverses debate how to get users to return and business to prosper, I shall look into the future for new ideas in these new lands.

Q: With the New Year upcoming, can you make any predictions as to what might be going on in the Metaverse of the future?

Many people think the Metaverse is the future and if billions of dollars are right, it will be. What kinds of services will we see? There are new needs to be met with a focus on how to maximize the User Experience and Profits.

A few predictions:

1) Digital Life Insurance -

You spend hours and real world money in the Metaverse, whether building an inventory, NFT collection or virtual real estate, all of those things would be insured in the physical world, why not for the Metaverse? While you can't insure against electricity coming to an end, you should be able to cover for loss of items due to hacking, theft or even the termination of the platform for whatever reason. Everyone has virtual assets in some persistent form or other with this looking to increase, providing insurance for our virtual goods either through backup servers, separate computer or USB stick is important. 

2) Metaverse Travel Agents -

There is so much going on in The Metaverse, where do you spend your quality time? There is a need for a director of digital spaces when you need a place to go, one stop shopping for a schedule. Do you want a concert, a movie, play, comedy night, or talk show? Going on a date with yourself to check out what's happening, or taking a friend with you, you need some calendar scheduling for dates, times and something else. You have to make sure you have all those Metaverses installed and are up to date with the UI which leads to...

3) Avatar Concierge Services

There are lots of places to go, say you just want to enter The Metaverse as a cool avatar in the hottest place on the platform, with a functional inventory and coin of the realm to spend. Would you pay for that? For all that to be set up, per your notes to the concierge who will be delivering a name and password? This is a niche business, but it has applications beyond just you if you dont have the time to go through the set-up. Let's say you need to bring in an investor, or someone you want to impress: making them an avatar which logs into the space is an easy way of getting them in your room. The Concierge can also zoom, and through shared screens shepard you/them into the new platform until you are comfortable.This service provides as smooth an entry possible minimizing awkwardness.

4) Fashion Breedables

Buy a skirt and shirt put them in your inventory, press activate et voila you have a Jacket! Introducing breedable clothing. Hate to fumble around with what kind of bottoms go with your top? Hoodie + Sneakers =  new pair of fantastic digital jeans on your app. When inventory can randomize new clothing based on a brand, look, trend or color, you will want to return to see what new outfit has been generated for you! Accessories too with an extra amount of coin. Here AI is going to really kick in for a lot of fun extras.

5) Metaverse Entertainment Channel

The Metaverse is not only a place to go, it begins to be the background of our stories upon entering. Within this population are people who will want to film and also produce content for filming. Something I was very impressed with was the Roblox Video Stars program.  Metaverses can attract users with a channel of quality video. In the bid to create legitimate reason to go to XYZ Metaverse, think of how a network that broadcasts news, events, interviews, puzzle solving, et al would be a showcase for different Metaverses. As CableTV has multiple channels, MEC would be open to programming produced in a Metaverse or Virtual World platform. This is User Created Content  curated to show the best.

6) Metaverse Game Show Network 

This is my dream, to have viewer log-in entertainment, and people playing along in game shows, with the chance to become a contestant from the privacy of their living room. No more mere data-point vote for a singer during a TV show, but a true participant through avatar presence. Daily shows offer a quick trip into the Metaverse like a Dinner Dash experience with prizes while more extended Role Play games can be saved and go on for weeks. All build community, offer branding, sponsorship and product placement opportunities, plus the shows can be streamed live allowing feedback and comments. All to be found in the regular weekly schedule, MGSN guide.

Cost associated with producing a show like this are low, if you're interested, let's talk.

If you have a question, send an email to info@pookymedia.com with Metaquette in the subject and it will be answered

20 Oct 2022

Metaquette #VirtualArt #Virtualcraft #MachineMade #AI #Midjourney #DALLE Q22

Tips & tricks for negotiating The Metaverse with...... Pooky Amsterdam

We are on the cusp of turning over greater and greater art creation to AI: from illustration to million dollar NFT images, the latter generated using different algorithms, instead of hand skills. It's everywhere. Humans have created works of art with their hands for hundreds of thousands of years, using craft to enrich and enliven our environs with materials we choose to work with to make beautiful things. While the electronic medium is not quite paint, thread or glass beads, it is profound enough to allow all who use it a chance to hone their skills in their chosen areas of computercraft.

Q: With so much being created in The Metaverse with AI, will people still make things with their hands?

Craft is an intimate working overtime in a medium which improves on the quality of what is being made. Computercraft uses hand skills, just not the ones we know of traditionally, but it is a craft.

Craft-making has emerged and surged in the past after mechanical movements such as the machine age at the turn of the last Century, saw Gustav Stickley and the emerging of American Arts & Crafts.

And more recently there's been a wave of crafted works which loom large in their totality of environment, such as Liza Lou's Kitchen  and her beaded works, Kate Jenkins knitted food  and new terms like Indie Folk which describe colab crafts of art. Work done by the human hand contains the lifeblood of whose fingers gave rise to it, intricate, repetitive, exacting and overtime, with memory of its own.

We have been developing tools to create, more and more with greater and greater ability but this turns pixels into masterpieces. Though they may not exist in the physical world, a great amount of attention and handwork goes into creating not only the computer programs, but the works of art they create with Mid-Journey, DALL-E or Imagen

Witnessing a watershed moment with the rise of AI and machine-learning we can generate multiple images which are visually impressive and emotionally convincing with increasingly fewer dollars as the machine does the work, it's just our prompts which need better crafting. We are still learning how to talk to the machine. This is such a big field for investment now that is raising billions, AI artists are a niche in VC funding.

We live in a maker economy, and creators are amongst the most important folks in The Metaverse right now, as they or we, are the ones who are bringing the virtual goods in to buy and sell. For example, with a GDP economy of $600M Second Life as a Metaverse understands how important items crafted for the end users are. And important not just as the commerce of a platform, but for reasons people want to go there and stay.

I recall doing some artwork in GIMP recently, having to erase a fairly intricate shadow, and loved the repetitive but careful way my hand needed to eliminate something on the screen. Computer work is handwork, it is just of a different nature, and perhaps the prompts it gives us also help with imagining alternatives for more traditional items in ever more fantastic ways. It can inspire us in ways we could not imagine before, just as painters and artisans have for thousands of years. 

The use of the mouse or an algorithm as a tool, or a knitting needle, takes hands to create. Our digits, or vocal prompts are utilized so that over time the work we do gets better. 

The computer is another tool, we humans are the ones who can choose how we spend a lifetime improving our skills in any of a variety of areas and disciplines. AI will not change that, our motivation still comes from within, and the Metaverse can inspire us by showing so many facets of this technology, from start-ups presenting in the Metaverse, to Beautiful NFT artwork being shown there, that we will be inspired by these new tools.

We are so creative and determined a species that we can even create "mind children" who can wholly function, create on their own and tell us about it, as this surprisingly intricate and articulate robot artist does named Ai-Da.

"One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary men, no machine can do the work of one extraordinary man." So said Elbert Hubbard, the renowned founder of  the Roycroft Artisan Community. What would he say about the extraordinary machines of today?

If you have a question, please email info@pookystudio.com with Metaquette in the subject and it will be answered!

12 Oct 2022

Metaquette #VirtualFiction #VirtualFact #VirtualScience #Avatars #Metaverse Q21

 Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse with........Pooky Amsterdam

Peter Diamandis is the Founder of the ANA Avatar X prize which looks to develop avatars which can transcend their natural borders of screen to traverse distant geographic locations where they might be needed more. The $10 million Xprize will be given to an avatar system which feels real. This prize is to spur on development of avatars, avatar sentience and presence.  20 teams have already been selected to compete. 

Q21: Will The Metaverse lead to new scientific discoveries?

Years ago there was a $10 Million Qualcomm XPrize for a "Star-Trek like" medical tricorder.Would this have occurred without Star Trek itself? While I do not have a crystal ball for this answer, I do know that science fiction's new inventions inspire reality. Science Fiction has storytelling at its core, we both utilize these stories and the gadgets within them for templates of the future.

Those of us in The Metaverse must take on an avatar form in order to enter them, but we never leave our human presence behind, or rather we are all too human behind our avatars, bringing our personalities with us. The development of an avatar with a physical presence, does not necessarily entail an avatar who is nice to other avatars, in this brief there are no prompts which give points for creating a calm, loving or healing avatar. This is to deploy a human like presence when human presence isn't available or desirable, as in there aren't resources to sustain the human, when an avatar can take up less space. It's mind-bendingly futuristic, but could this prize be offered without The Metaverse having come first?

Writers of Science Fiction, are Writers of the Future, Neal Stephenson is someone whose "Snowcrash" not only inspired Second Life, but who has now stepped forward to be apart of a new creation of his own Metaverse. Here is a link to the white paper he just dropped on his THEEE metaverse which is coming on the Lamina1 blockchain, an open framework for all. What a powerful moment of time this must be for him, to have written a book and be able to create what he wrote about 30 years later. Just as young Star Trek fans were greatly influenced by what they saw on the weekly TV show, here is a crossover effect for science, fiction and fact.

Pointedly, storytelling is more than entertainment, it is free imagining which leads to actualization, as it carries an audience along, allows that audience to dream with the writer, and even continue that writing onto other forms. Traditional media told us a story in Movie, or TV format where we used to watch passively. Video games allow us to play within the games story, within the first week of its release,  Star Wars: The Old Republic recorded  60 million in-game hours played (which is roughly equivalent to watching all 6 Star Wars movies over 4 million times). And 3 years ago this month SWTOR was closing in on a billion dollars of lifetime revenue, making it an incredible return on it's original $200 million dollar budget. This narrative structure is somewhat tightly drawn, and the players are forced to work within the game designers story, but the title inspires many who wish to keep the franchise alive at all times.

Surely these players use the available assets and create their own interpretations of the future they are playing a part in. The Imperial Agent in SWTOR will have to acquire new skills and equipment to help them combat the ever growing threat to the Empire, they have to think fast and deploy as fast as they can. This is no leisurely adventure: action and reflexes are the demands of this kind of game. The player is involved with the technology in new and highly immersive ways, but the scope of the story does not depend on the Players originality, but on their ability to work the buttons.

The question becomes: Do you play someone else's story? Or do you organize your own? The billions of dollars of investment in The Metaverse wait and see on that. The Metaverse member becomes their own story participant so the narrative they are living will be taken to another level through immersion. The authenticity of that story though becomes irrefutable and becomes entwined with who you are when it's something you are living, not playing, not waiting for the next game prompt, but originating yourself. So the question is: Is there more money in playing somebody's else life or one's own?

In The Metaverse, we can author our own new fiction, and our first person story becomes a multi-person story with whom we meet and with whom we form events of our virtual lives. There certainly is some Science Fiction roleplay in what we are doing in the Metaverse, not just with starbases and spaceships, but with customization of our avatars and authoring our events in far out formats. How enterprise will grow out of these storylines means new invention will occur within these virtual environments that help us stretch our imaginations and fantasy. And these ideas will be taken even further and form the seeds of a new reality, not only as it will be, but as it is now! While brands want a big place in that, the goal should be the experience we take with us and come back for. Monetization of user behaviors to enable selling of stuff, needs users to monitor and users need a fun and meaningful experience. 

While I am one person, and can think of a lot, I am only one person, with "you" there are twice as many ideas, and with a legion of folks enterprising and playing we can think of that much more. Stephenson does need creators, every Metaverse needs us as creators and should have a place for us. In the Hive Mind more can be produced. We are beyond merely suspending our belief, we are willingly putting ourselves into a new story of our virtual lives which will grow and evolve daily, and / or every time we log in. Second Life, which was inspired by SnowCrash, isn't just a game, the Metaverse is not just a game, even if you can play games within them. It is our life stories told against a virtual backdrop and yes, some of it is of our creation, just like on Earth itself. 

This living story we are telling one another is vital to the history of ourselves.  Being active participants in something we can experience beyond the "mere mortal-ness" of our daily and present lives. Powerful stuff. I do look to this Metaverse plane to create the new inventions, new discoveries because it is what we are doing in this new creator marketplace which will be setting the physical world in wonder within the next decade or so.

And The Metaverse is a kind of Thought Kitchen of the future as well. Not only is this a place for people to create their own stories, but also where actual scientists and educators are talking. This is the platform for the development of the future, as we can use full media within the environment, where we can invite scientists to sit across a virtual table, actual location unimportant. We can even use Wolfram Alpha on a prim to cross fertilize ideas in real time with no limits, follow up with 3D actualizations for all to investigate further and continue to build upon.

What we can invent, discover, uncover and realize in The Metaverse will make it the home of future thought leaders as we utilize not only real time interaction, video, film, etc for problem solving, but the even greater resources which are one another.

If you have a question, please email info@pookystudio.com with Metaquette in the subject line and it will be answered!

3 Oct 2022

Metaquette #VirtualCommunity #BuildingCommunity #Metaverse Q20

 Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse with...Pooky Amsterdam

It is chance that makes us family, but choice that makes us friends. When we find others who like the same stuff as we do it can create a kind of clanship. We find things in common with others and form bonds, friendships. Sometimes they can be casual, or deeper, but our group, our community gives us strength, support and fun. Can we find this where we mainly see an avatar expression of who we are?

Q: How can I build Community in my new virtual hangout in The Metaverse?

As I look to Autumn and tidying up the garden, I noticed there are burrs which attach themselves to clothing. These burrs have multiple fuzzy and sticky sides to them, which allow an attachment point from any angle, and they immediately made me think about stickiness, which led me to think about community, and how we grow community.

It can be from just one singular attachment point, let's say you find someone else who loves a streaming series as you do and you bond over talking about the various characters and plot points. If you like their opinion on the show, then you might be open also to a recommendation they make on another series or even a new beverage or product. The one attachment point of the show can lead to others till you find you have formed multiple bonds, or multiple attachment points. If there are enough of them, this new person might even become part of your broader friendship group or community over time. If not then the friendship is limited as is the interaction on shared topics.

The Metaverse would love for people to be part of their community, and there are some which have tremendous ones already. There is a powerful community of educators on Roblox and Minecraft, there are Furry communities on VRChat, there are communities of people who have grown together over the years through the American Cancer Society Relay For Life on Second Life. Just because our identities are incorporating an avatar doesn't mean our predilections, preferences and tastes stop at our cartoon fingers. They don't and we will bring our likes, dislikes etc to wherever those fingers take us with whatever handheld devices we are holding.

The question is how to build community. And community is built around something beyond just existing on an earthly platform or one where the makeup of your persona and property are stored on the same servers. We share the experiences of being human, but are we bonded to all other humans? It is the same in The Metaverse. What makes for that bond? Those multiple attachments which define the meaning of friendship with one and others? 

Sometimes it is instant, sometimes it takes a long time and sometimes it doesn't happen. What The Metaverse does great is bring people together around a variety of reasons and then lets Fate pollinate.  People enter the same space and find themselves in a virtual destination with a complete stranger / strangers, they get to talking, maybe a bond is formed and the seeds of relationships begin. Forming groups within The Metaverse encourages the users to build community within them. Allowing the creation of groups can be a "Premium" offering too, and forms contracts with the users. It is a mutual investment and that can build a strong base for the future.

Last week it was announced that Walmart had opened a place in Roblox where all who entered could become Walmartians. Not really but they are keen on building their branded experience to "Create a new community of shoppers."  There are 230 million active members, and 40 million games. Aimed at a young demographic that reaches this market here, which is a good application.  I understand that meeting someone in the appliance aisle of Walmart would probably be more fun, colorful and interesting in Roblox, but will this extend to the kind virtual lunchroom moments which lead to building a community with friends? Because friends will keep someone coming back to a place to find them again.

Companies hope we buy their stuff and find that immediate gratification in a virtual world, until we want a new toy, and buy some new stuff. Shopping in the metaverse might be considered the "new toy" on the block. Unfortunately unhappy people make better consumers, and there is no market force  which supports emotional happiness perse, only the happiness you receive after your purchase is completed. If there was Freedom from Want let's face it the trillion dollar advertising industry would collapse. And I personally do not think that whoever dies with the biggest virtual inventory wins.  

We don't want freedom from play or freedom from friends and being a part of the Metaverse means you can find new friends and community. How many communities have spawned around playing games can't even be counted really, there are so many. It all comes down to not how much money we spend, but how much time we spend, because you can't buy friends ( yet, though I'm sure AI is working on that right now). One can only build community, build friends with the investment of time and energy which comes from a desire to know more about the community and the people. 

I had a great afternoon in Spatial hosted by Daniel van der Waals who runs a really happening group called Metaverse Explorers. He recently hosted a Music In The Metaverse event. Building community is something that Musicians, and I would think creative people want to be connected around, musicians want their music to be heard, artists want their artwork to be seen, and what better than having a group of folks following and even looking forward to your next great piece? Plus being able to access it anywhere, anytime and meeting others who dig the same thing too.

Sometimes digging the same too can create community for one group of people and calamity for others. This recent Wall Street Journal podcast part 2 on the early days of Second Life is chock full of this and there are lessons to be learned here for those building it so we will come.

We want to belong to community built around shared experience, but just like that burr with its multiple attachment points, the more ways "we" connect means the more ways we will "stick" together in The Metaverse.  There have to be multiple reasons for going there, staying there and building community with others, a community we want to keep alive and thriving.

If you have a question please email info@pookymedia.com with the subject of Metaquette, and it will be answered.

23 Sept 2022

Metaquette #VirtualEntertainment #GameShow #GameShows Q19.5 #Metaverse #MetaverseEntertainment

Weekly Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse.........with Pooky Amsterdam 

                                                In The Metaverse: Game Shows For The Win!!

The Metaverse is many things to many people but it is an entertainment platform to me. After writing, producing and hosting over 250 real-time viewer log in game shows, attended by people from all over the world, I know what a powerful medium it is for global enjoyment. A lot of the recent focus in new Metaverses are around real estate, blockchain technology, NFTs and other bright shiny objects, yet the fact there are real people behind the avatars which inhabit these worlds means to me that fun is what will last over time. Fun user experience which is unique to the medium as well.

Q: Is the Metaverse a good place for Game Shows and other real-time, unscripted TV - Like programming?

I was part of a WonderWomanTech event where I gave a presentation on how valuable a product this kind of content can and should be as The Metaverse becomes bigger than it was. I invite you to check out my talk, if you are interested in how this very cool future application of this space is possible.

Delivering content is what I am all about, and being able to wrangle a great panel which will generate fun, upbeat and timely shows that are ready for player you, is the way to go. There are a multitude of ways a show can be tailored to a brand or a sponsor, game shows are a very familiar way of engaging people, and prototyping them in the Metaverse is both fun and very cost effective. 

There are more than a few moving parts to developing a successful enterprise of this sort, so please feel free to contact me, as the nearly 2 decades of experience I have in this genre will be very useful to you. Because the time is right for people to Enter the Metaverse for Entertainment that will keep them returning, that will be broadcast out, that will have recognizable sponsorship and that will grow a user fan base.

I have been writing about the incredible potential of Virtual World TV-Like experience and authoring it for a very long time - Here is a blog from January of 2010 to prove it. Worth a read because so many of these tenants still work today and should be explored now that our metaverse awareness, tools and options have exponentially grown.

Here are some highlights from "yesteryears blog"

I have developed these game shows for many reasons:

1- Real-time interaction is something that enriches, enthralls and offers value.

2- The Metaverse has unique tools for this including scripting for buzzers, game boards and the ability to build with low costs.

3- It gives a great and localized population intelligent, savvy and dynamic excitement.

4- Location, Location, Location - being able to play right along at our favorite place, the computer.

5- It is very cost effective to produce on this platform. Traditionally game shows are less expensive to put on than  dramas or comedies. A real life game show costs roughly $100,000 - in The Metaverse this is a fraction of that cost.

6- The opportunities to try new new elements in game show development are endless, and the ability to broadcast out using youtube, discord, and other forms of Social media provide additional tools for engagement.

7- Product placement/ brand sponsorship / real-time commercials that are built into the program are all ways to monetize this.

8- Avatar based entertainment will grow as these virtual platforms grow. The investment in The Metaverse is becoming so great that they will easily be able to host a viable show within them.

You bet Metaverse Game Shows for the WIN! Contact me to make it happen.

If you have a question please email info@pookymedia.com with Metaquette in the subject line and it will be answered.

12 Sept 2022

Mettaquette #GameShows #VirtualEntertainment #FTW #Q19

 Tips & Tricks for Negotiating The Metaverse with......Pooky Amsterdam

Early Metaquette this week as I would like to invite you to watch my presentation at the WonderWomanTech Event which is running for 3 days September 13th - 15th. Physically is happens in Long Beach,Virtually I am on with a killer PowerPoint and delivering a lot of information about the importance of Metaverse Entertainment and how specifically game shows can be a part of that amazing experience. See below, arrow marks the slot.

Q: How can The Metaverse be more fun, encourage stickiness and become a destination for entertainment?

Producing over 250 game shows in the Metaverse has imparted me incredibly unique knowledge of how to get an interactive multi-player game show mounted where the user base will watch, play, share and come again for the fun. 

If you want to upgrade what a member of your Metaverse has on offer, or if you are a brand wanting to reach further than digital clothing or an NFT, let me can show you how the prize can be the chance to be a part of your show.

In The Metaverse: Game Shows For The Win!

If you follow this link you will be able to find out first hand -> Immersive Tech & Hybrid Summit. WonderWomanTech is an awesome organization and their Speaker line-up is tremendously deep and diverse. As it is a summit, there are tickets - It is $25.00 for this series, worth it.

My talk is scheduled for 9:15 AM Pacific / 12:15 PM Eastern  / 5:15 PM UK and I hope you can attend!

Then, if you have a question, email info@pookymedia.com with Game Shows in the Subject, and you will get a response.

8 Sept 2022

Metaquette #VirtualEducation Q18

Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse......with Pooky Amsterdam

We enter the Metaverse for fun, fame and fortune! Well, most of us...some of us use it for Educational purposes which have proven highly successful. While recent lockdowns introduced new ways of going to classes, virtual worlds have played a great part and will play a greater part, I think moving forward over the next years. There are many ways to incorporate a kind of learning which reinforces lessons with additional context in a simulated environment. Deeper roads can be made here.

Q: Can The Metaverse make you smarter?

Although "Metaverse" is defined differently than Whyville, which launched in 1997 by a Caltech professor, Whyville users were rewarded  with inworld currency (clams) for educational game play which they then used to buy fun face parts. That was a cool Play2Learn model. Today educational investment in The Metaverse and hours spent by students has exploded.  From just this past June the figures for Roblox's 200 million unique users, show people between the ages of 15 - 25 create more messages there than on WhatsApp. 

Where kids go in The Metaverse, education follows, and that demographics engagement also makes Roblox Education a powerhouse in the field with 11.3 Billion hours of spent in that for the first six months of 2022, bringing all sorts of games for educators and students.

Minecraft is another big site for educators used in over 100 countries with a lot of support for the teaching community and over 500+ lesson plans available for download. The Metaverse is a natural place for kids to learn, as the familiarity of games is embraced under the learning is fun concept.

Decentraland University hasn't really taken off yet but TheSandboxEDU seems vital with an emphasis on lots of science and art skills designed for kids 6 - 12. Learning about states of matter, operational ecosystems and functional electronics can be much more fun in a bright and colorful world, than in the classroom. Why not go there? Will future Metaverses have more of an emphasis on educational games? That seems a good probability, as the need for smarter content grows.

Spatial thinking is highly prized, but there is no formal edu consortium on Spatial The Metaverse yet, but with cool graphics and a more laid back community VRChat has a language learning going on in VRlanguage Exchange. Learning a foreign language in the Metaverse is really great because the visuals are reinforcing the content in an immersive way, plus it is a livelier way to engage a community of students around the grammar and vocabulary they need to learn. 

Here is a guided tour of Nefertitti's tomb in Somnium Space while Brookings has a great post on the Metaverse showing how history including Ancient Greece can be made much more vibrant by bringing it alive and allowing the student to enter a timeline. Building an ancient city can be a very illuminating hands on learning experience, more vivid than reading a book in our screen enhanced world.

The US Army is building a synthetic universe for training, which will enable educational deployment as an avatar, but not perhaps specifically to train medical professionals. Doctors and health professionals are receiving training in virtual environments. Johnson & Johnson built the Innovation room in Mexico with sophisticated medical devices to allow doctors and other medical professionals to rehearse in a virtual environment. 

One of my all time favorite stories of immersive education comes from 2007, when Loyalist University on the US / Canadian border did a virtual training to see if that improved test scores. It did, critical skills tests improved 53% to 95% as people's avatars trained amongst virtual border tolls, cars et al in this recreation.  

In 2012 Metaverse universities had a heyday when Second Life recorded 159 university sims including Princeton, plus NASA, NOAH and the JPL on their grid. It got even better watching the landing of the Mars Rover there, while sitting in Virtual Martian landscape while a huge media board played the inside of the NASA control room, courtesy of someone who was attached to their SL project at the time. 

There are opportunities to learn so much in The Metaverse, from more traditional kinds of lessons for children, to professional and teacher training, to a vast range of higher educational topics and areas.

With the very many different metaverses now there should be an educational community that works across platforms. Such as is represented at the Educational content heavy VWBPE going into its 15th year which has a very vibrant community and presentations from many Metaverses already mentioned. Over the years I have taken part in a virtual fire in the triangle shirtwaist factory, learned about Heiroglyphics and helped solve the puzzles of ocean pollution over the years. In the coming years there will be more of them attached, I'm sure.

The VWEC (Virtual World Educational Consortium) has an event October 5th bringing educators together., if interested it is open ot the public.The Metaverse can help people grow through the community of avatars which band together around shared interests as well, while lifelong learning is a highlight of The Metaverse. And Caltech always a frontrunner in learning technology, has a presence again on SL, VIRTech where teachers can train.

Virtual spaces provide so many ways for us to understand through inhabiting the moment, and being part of it. It can even help us understand our development into other phases of life as with InMind2 utilising Lovheims cube of emotion. You can learn how to beat over-thinking within the Metaverse!

And I do believe the best is yet to come.

I am personally waiting for an Allosphere to be built, and be able in the very surrounding Metaverse and see the inside of our minds, cellular structures and systems to learn increasingly more about them. 

For some very good reasons 14 to be exact from a University in Spain, here is why the Metaverse is great for Education. yes, you can get smarter in the Metaverse. What do you want to learn?

If you have a question, send an email to info@pookymedia.com with Metaquette in the subject, and it will be answered.

1 Sept 2022

Metaquette Q17 #Metaverse #WorldOfWarcraft #WoW #HughHancock #OculusRift #QA

 Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse with.....Pooky Amsterdam

In May of 2014, I had the pleasure to interview Hugh Hancock who had a great influence in Metaverse Entertainment & Game Engine film.  Hugh originated the term Machinima, which means cinema done on machine. We have come a long way since then.

The MTV Movie Awards just had their first Metaverse category. While many Metaverses have not only their own film tutorials, but tremendous content, it is well worth a look back at this exciting field! (MacInnes Studio has open today the new Real-Time Movie challenge which uses a game engine for filmmaking.)

Recently I ran across this interview and for his work on the virtual plane I am reproducing it now, as his work on this earthly one is finished. In reading this again 8 years after, Hugh predicted Meta from Facebook and much more! A real futurist!

Using game engines for filmmaking has grown tremendously over the years, this is worth a read for both content and context.

Here's to you Mr. Hancock, wherever you are!!

Q & A with Hugh Hancock


From the mind of the Machinima Man himself: HUGH HANCOCK

What happens when a portmanteau you are credited with becomes the next step in indie animation? You become quite recognized for your contribution to the medium and much more. Leading the way for so many of us in his field is Hugh Hancock of Stange Company, someone who has never taken his eyes off the future or the present possibilities with this game engine medium. I was lucky enough to catch him after he finished Part 1 of his epic new achievement: Death Knight Love Story. Here are some wonderful and, of course, incredibly insightful answers to the questions that Machinima minds and virtual world production people want to know!

Q: You go way back in Machinima as an entertainment and art form. When you started in 1997, did you see some of what the future would hold? Or were you at the time simply very excited to have this original outlet for your deep creativity?

HH: It's been a fascinating journey since that time!

Honestly, false modesty aside, I'd say that a lot of how Machinima has developed has been true to the version of it that Gordon McDonald, I and other Machinima pioneers had way back when it started out. A lot of things, including intellectual property issues, have conspired to mean that Machinima's development has in some ways been slower than we expected, with pioneering projects hitting unexpected roadblocks. However, with every year that passes, Machinima and similar techniques are coming closer to fulfilling the core dream of film as a truly democratic art form, rather than one whose scope is primarily dictated by available budget.

Q: At what point did you see the crossover from playing games in real time to capturing game engine film in real time?

HH: I must confess I didn't understand the potential of virtual worlds as a film-making tool until it was demonstrated by the Quake Movies, however, once I saw them and once I started with them myself, it was immediately obvious just how much potential this new approach to filmmaking had.

In retrospect, it's pretty obvious - games are world and action creation tools, and evoking a world is one of the hardest and most expensive parts of filmmaking. A tool that creates virtual worlds is incredibly powerful - and more importantly, incredibly freeing - for any filmmaker.

Q: Your recent film Death Knight Love Story is clearly a breakthrough in many ways. How difficult or easy was it to get people like Joanna Lumley and Brian Blessed on board?

HH: I was actually surprised at how open and interested both our casting director, Gail Stevens, and our stars were to this weird computer game-based project! Joanna put it best I think: "As an actor, you have to stay in the boat."

With the entire world of show business changing so fast right now, it makes sense that the people at the top of the industry are more, not less interested than most in exploring new ideas!

Having said that, none of this would have happened if I hadn't decided to contact people who I thought would be far too busy to be interested in a strange little machinima film. That's something I'd like to see more of in the virtual world and machinima communities - reaching out to people who would be interested in collaborating, featuring, or investigating our projects.

Q: Why did you chose World of Warcraft as your game engine choice for DKLS?

HH: I've played WoW for years, and have a deep fondness for the background and story of the world of Azeroth. It's a wonderful backdrop for all sorts of stories, as other Machinima creators before me have shown. In addition the fact that Blizzard were one of the first companies to put out a public Machinima license meant that I was very interested in supporting them in that, and seeing what could be done in the world of WoW.

The fact that the license existed was also a major plus point for me, as the legal uncertainties of other Machinima projects in other games have become a bit wearing in the past! It was nice to know where we stood with regards to the intellectual property we were building upon (at least until some last-minute unexpected changes to Blizzard's license!)

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges in using Wow? And successes?

HH: The success of using WoW was definitely the sheer scope it afforded us. Over the years, Azeroth has grown to be such a massive "backlot" from a movie-maker's point of view that we hardly ever failed to find a location that was perfect for the scene, or a prop or character who would fit into the story.

The fact that most of the team working on DKLS were also familiar with WoW was a big help too - that intimate familiarity meant we could immediately identify parts of the world which would work for the story we wanted to tell, and it saved us a lot of time location scouting.

The main challenges of the project were definitely pushing WoW to do something that it doesn't normally do. Death Knight Love Story turned out to be a quite subtext-heavy, very understated story that demanded a wide range of emotion from our characters, and the Wow graphics are very bold and brash - they aren't exactly known for their subtle expressiveness.

As a result, we ended up commissioning quite a bit of custom art for our lead characters, and fitting that into the overall WoW world and art style was a challenge, and possibly one we didn't fully meet.

Q: What virtual worlds, if any, do you have a personal avatar presence in? Why/Why not...please comment. When you are not filmmaking, are there any other activities you enjoy?

HH: I've got a presence in Second Life, but not a very active one. By preference my usual virtual community hangouts are very old-school and textural - Hacker News and Reddit, primarily!

In terms of non-filmmaking interests, I've had a lifelong interest in martial arts and I'm currently just starting to study Krav Maga, the Israeli self-defense technique. Real-life martial arts have always felt surprisingly similar to virtual world gaming to me - the extreme twitch reactions and spatial awareness of games like Quake are very similar to offline sparring.

I'm also a keen cook- hence my cookery show, Kamikaze Cookery - as well as a coffee and food enthusiast. And I still play offline, pen & paper roleplaying games as well as conventional computer games. Currently I'm playing through The Witcher 2, which I'm finding a very enjoyable story experience!

Q: Do you think virtual worlds and/or synthetic environments are a legitimate place for the co-opting of more traditional forms of entertainment? Such as a talk or a game show?

HH: I think that This Spartan Life has already well and truly proved that a virtual world talk show can work very well indeed! And of course, the huge rise in e-sports are as watchable and enjoyable as physical-equivalent sports. With the rise of virtual reality in particular, I think we will be seeing more and more physical world entertainment move to the virtual world.

Q: Many of the shows which are created in VWTV are often an offshoot of what we already participate in (with some stunning exceptions such as The Giant Snail races). Do you think people are limited by their actual experiences, or why do you think that folks with the ability to create "anything" often chose what is familiar?

HH: Innovation is often overrated, at least in terms of creating content which will attract an audience. people tend to like things that are similar to other things they've already enjoyed. We can see that on TV, with the endless police procedurals and medical dramas, and the same applies just as much to virtual entertainment.

Having said that, the shows that become massive hits are usually innovators in some way. I'm not surprised that most virtual world shows are similar to existing media, but I'd expect the breakout ones to be startlingly different.

Q: What are your thoughts on new interfaces like the Oculus Rift in virtual worlds?

HH: Well, the recent acquisition of the Oculus Rift by Facebook pretty much confirms that we're going to see a metaverse-like virtual world within virtual reality very soon. Mark Zuckerberg's making a big play here, and I don't think anyone who has thought about the situation really believes he just intends to put Facebook ads on an Oculus Rift - he's making a play for the next big frontier of technology, and it's very credible to believe that's going ot be VR. 


(The above links to Hugh doing a Riftjam Game Demo Video: Eye Of The Tower)

VR still isn't 100% proven. There are serious challenges facing people - including me- who are pioneering VR experiences, from "VR Sickness" to having to design an entirely new user interface. But the potential of VR is completely unmatched right now. if anything's going to bring virtual worlds into the mainstream, it's being able to step into them completely through a VR headset.

And it seems Mr. Zuckerberg thinks the same....

Q: Could you see doing a weekly show broadcast from a virtual world? And if so, what kind of show would you like to see or be part of?

HH: Absolutely-there's no reason to believe that's not entirely possible. i have long held backburner ideas for a political satire show made in virtual space, as it happens - a successor of sorts to the UK's infamous puppet satire show Spitting Image. I'm honestly surprised that no-one I'm aware of has tried political satire in virtual film yet!

Q: What are the biggest challenges you are finding with audiences who aren't familiar with WoW or Virtual environments in screening DKLS? Are you finding any resistance to the look and feel?

HH: Interestingly, most of the resistance we've faced from viewers of DKLS has come from people who *are* familiar with wow! Because we stepped away from the conventional aesthetic of WoW to create higher-resolution characters, that seem to be quite a jarring experience for people familiar with WoW.

In addition, we faced "Uncanny Valley" problems with DKLS's much higher visual fidelity than previous projects we've worked on. Figuring out a way round or over the infamous Uncanny Valley is pretty much my top priority right now.

Q: Anything more you would like to add? Free space!

HH: The next few years are going to be truly fascinating for people who are interested in virtual worlds. What has for along time been a niche interest appears to be going mainstream, fast!!


If you wish to read the interview on the Virtual Worlds Television blog, please click here, and feel free to explore past interviews.

If you have a question please email info@pookymedia.com with Metaquette in the Subject, and it will be answered.