Topics of Discussion


All things Local, Social, Mobile. Innovation in VAST Media: Virtual, Augmented, Simulations, Technology Media. Mobile Augmented Reality, Virtual Worlds, Geospatial, Wireless, Social Media and Networking, Cybersociology, MMORPGs, AI, ALife, and a host of other things.

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Empire Avenue


I’m sitting by Gate 15 at JFK (Jet Blue), by myself in a corner charging up the laptop. I’m struck by how surreal things feel right now. There are maybe two other people (that I can see) here, aside from six airport staff (four of which are struggling with a malfunctioning door alarm. I don’t actually hear the alarm, as I’m wearing a badass pair of Skullcandy Titan earbuds. I made the mistake of taking them out a few minutes ago, and OMG that alarm is piercing. That means the noise cancelling on these $39.99 headphones is pretty damn awesome. I recommend!

Anyway, back to surreal in JFK. I’m listening to some decent tunes…already gone through some Cloud Cult, Jordin Sparks, Cake, Teddybears, Daft Punk, Bomb the Bass, Robyn, La Roux, Hybrid, Gipsy Kings, and Utah Saints (hey, I like variety). I feel a little disjointed, kind of like I’m not really here, or I am only partially here. Time is passing pretty slowly, but also pretty fast. This isn’t the first time I’ve effectively stayed at an airport all night, but it is nowhere as bad as it could be (or has been in the past).

I’m feeling pretty contemplative…thinking back over the panel I was on at Comic Con NYC with Alex Macris and Greg Costikyan titled “I’m From the Future and I

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Mirascape™ is coming soon...

What is the Mirascape™? When is it going to be released? What does it do? How do you get involved?

Many of you have been wondering what exactly we have been working on at Neogence Enterprises and when we are going to launch something. We are planning on a full global launch in October, but we are going to release an open beta around June or July. Even more fun, we are going to release a very early alpha version in a few months. We have an aggressive plan for regular updates and iterations from alpha to full launch, and we want to involve the community. Grow with us.

Head on over to twitter and follow @mirascape if you want to be on the list for early access and some early adopter specials. We aren’t planning on advertising this early alpha access beyond my blog here and a little bit of twitter. I’ll be interested in seeing how many people follow @mirascape (I am fascinated by social networks and the organics of viral word of mouth). We will start doing some announcements and updates on that twitter account once things are ready to open up access. Don’t expect frequent updates though, we are neck deep in development right now, and that has priority.

So, what is the Mirascape™?

Mira: Look! (Spanish), Wonderful or Astonishing (Latin), World (Russian), and Prosperous (Hindi).

The Mirascape™ is the world’s first global augmented reality network, platform, and community. Mirascape™ is about connecting people, places, and things in a way never done before. It is about the convergence of social, local, mobile, and virtual. It is about empowering you, the user, to create and interact with media and the world around you in new ways. It is about engagement and experience.

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2010, Year One: Decade of Ubiquity


I’ve blogged in the past about Future Vision and the coming Decade of Ubiquity and my predictions for what might occur between now and 2012, which is a bit beyond the current crop of 2010 predictions by some really smart people as aggregated by Games Alfresco. I’ve always had a knack for thinking ahead, and more often than not, I’ve been too early. I started a company in 1995 to build the first real-time 3D MMORPG (during the days of VGA and 2D sprite “3D” graphics) with a strong emphasis on social gameplay, and in 1999 I was evangelizing the digital nation as a virtual world community platform, and in 2000 I shifted to 3D interfaces to the Internet along with virtual goods and microtransactions, and I made a scathing indictment of online worlds and MMORPGs back in 2006 about the decline of that industry’s craft and lore which many people are finally beginning to see and agree with. Of course, back then many people attacked my point of view (notice the low rating of the book and comments on Amazon.com).

2005-2006 was around the time I was designing Immortal Destiny, which was meant to be a true next-generation virtual world and MMORPG. The whole world was designed to be AI-driven and a fully adaptive and evolving ecology that would change based on what players did (or did not) do. We even found some really interesting genetic computation algorithms that we were going to leverage as sort of an artificial life intelligence to control many of the game systems and mechanics. The full scope of the world was to give players the chance to finally be important, and the drivers of the story, on both micro and macro levels, instead of just churning through static canned content. There are a lot of other problems with MMORPGs and Virtual Worlds right now (which I addressed in my book, and are still relevant). Sure, some games like World of Warcraft are successful financially, but they could be so much MORE successful, the market could be bigger, and games could be more engaging and interesting.

Anyway, I tried finding funding for Immortal Destiny, but at the time, I just couldn’t do it. Much of the interest in the industry had moved on to casual and social games and worlds, large MMO projects were getting shut down left and right (remember Sigil and Perpetual Studios?), and it seemed that the only way to find funding was if you were a baseball star or a former employee of blizzard (regardless of what you actually did there). So, I made the call and suspended development. Sometimes, if you aren’t getting any traction, it is best to stop and move on. I still plan on creating Immortal Destiny and shaking up the game industry, but unless one of my blog readers has $20M to drop (and no, you do not need a $500M budget to blow the industry out of the water), I’ll be self funding this in the future.

So, back to the topic. In mid 2006, probably around August when I was at the beachhouse on our annual trip to Topsail Island, and was making the decision to close the doors on the MMO, I started thinking about technology. What the obvious trends were, what trends were developing in the underlying currents of various industries, what was happening on the internet, in virtual worlds, in games, in social media, in mobile, in hardware, software, telecom, etc. etc. This is about the time where I discovered QR codes, Datamatrix, and found a handful of videos about augmented reality on youtube.

I admit that this was a huge surprise to me. The beginning of my career in interactive media was in the very early 90s at the first virtual reality arcade game company in the US (Alternate Worlds Technology), so I was quite familiar with all things virtual reality, which is not a huge leap from augmented reality. I didn’t think that the state of things was as far advanced as it seemed to be, and certainly not accessible. After a bit more research, I discovered ARTag, ARToolkit, DART, and a few other things. I immediately saw the potential here, and a lot of old ideas came flooding back.

To me, the full potential of augmented reality can only be realized when

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AR Fiction: Forensics Simulations and Crime Scene Analysis

In a recent post, I mentioned that I was a contributing author to Working Through Synthetic Worlds. Unfortunately, I have not received my own copy of the book from the publisher (sent to an old address) and Amazon.com is now temporarily sold out (which is great, except I’m not getting any royalties).

Anyway, the format of the book is unique. As the description says:

The editors use a distinctive format for the book, consisting of a set of chapters composed of three parts: a story or vignette that describes work conducted within a synthetic world based loosely on the question, ‘what will work be like in the year 2025?’, founded on the expert authors’ expectations of plausible future technologies; a scholarly review of the technologies described by the stories and the current theories related to those technologies; and, a prescription for future research required to bridge the current state-of-the-art with the notional worlds described in the stories.

What I wanted to do here was share part of my chapter with you, at least the fiction part. This is the unedited version (the final is much cleaner), so please ignore any glaring writing errors. I hope you enjoy the short story…I might continue it at a later date depending on reader response (I had a limited amount of space to work with in the chapter).


The call had arrived at a little past two-thirty in the morning and Kendra had drawn the short straw to venture out in the freezing rain that had been cascading from an inky black sky for the last several hours. She waited at the stoplight, listening to the soft hum of her electric car and the turn signal’s metronome clicking away little segments of time. She was tempted to let her mind wander while staring at the glistening raindrops snaking their way down her windows and brightly lit by the stoplight. Kendra had always felt something mysterious about inclement weather in the middle of the night, especially when there were only few people on the roads heading to some unknown destination.  The only thing that could make the atmosphere a little more surreal would be snow materializing out of eternity and blanketing the city in silence, with only the reflections of street lights free to echo through the night.

The light finally changed to green and Kendra turned her mind back to the task at hand and drove the rest of the way to the crime scene, preparing herself for her work.

Kendra arrived at the scene and shouldered her way through the overly eager press reporters that had already gathered like hungry vultures desperate for a meal. She ignored their barrage of questions and ducked under the police cordon, showing her badge to the officers attempting to control the growing crowd. This was the fourth murder in as many days and the public was beginning to demand answers. She made her way across the driveway and up the brick stairs leading to the front door of the house, dodging the growing pools of rainwater that would soak her feet if she wasn’t careful.

She entered the house and

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Raleigh Augmented Reality Meetup

January 30th. Location to be announced. Click here for more information.