Bumping this from the brink of deletion! I have made no progress in the past week… Such is the life of a hobbyist filmmaker
Hope you’ll put it online at some point - would love to see it.
This sounds like something I’d watch.
There’s an interesting parallel conversation occurring in the art world re: archiving digital platforms. Check out some of Ben Fino-Radin’s work. If you remind me, I can dig up some of Christiane Paul’s work on the matter as well. A lot of that centers on how to capture the temporality, and whether archiving something in a dead state is preserving the important aspect (eg maybe too much of the experience is lost and only the data and its representation remain).
do you know Ben??
I’m beginning to think I should cut out my outro narration altogether! A radical move, but… Issac the interviewee has his own little monologue that works pretty well as an ending:
That’s another reason why I keep coming back here. There’s always… You always find some new purpose or some new reason to keep this place alive, or at the very least documented. People need to know that this place exists and that these types of communities exist and did exist. And I think it’ll be really really important to document these conversations with these people and the areas they’ve created over the years, because I think we run the risk of forgetting where we came from, and how simple the ones and zeroes used to be.
Maybe that’s enough of an ending. Maybe my narration getting into the finer points of archival theory and practice is unnecessary. I want to make sure I’m not just trying to show off with my narration, damaging the film in the process. Hm…
I think that’s a pretty solid wrap-up. States a lot of my feelings pretty well anyway.
No, but I want to. If I were 10% better at networking, I would, I guess.
I’ve definitively decided to cut out the outro narration. I just rewrote the intro as well. Would love to hear folks’ thoughts.
In 1994, a virtual reality company called Worlds Incorporated released their crowning achievement: an internet-connected virtual space that aimed to make Neal Stephenson’s cyberpunk Metaverse a reality. This software, titled Worlds Chat, allowed players to explore a galaxy of 3D environments using personalized avatars, and converse with each other using a text-based chat client.
Worlds Chat launched with a robust set of default areas, including commissioned worlds from the likes of Brittany Spears, the New York Yankees, and even David Bowie. But these were only the beginning. Players were given a rudimentary 3D modeling tool called the Shaper that they could use to create their own environments from scratch and connect them to existing ones. Over time, the players molded the game into a vast, intricate network of dreamlike spaces linked together by secret corridors and obscured portals.
Today the Worlds servers still run, and the decades-old user-generated environments and avatars still exist, but the original players have mostly departed. Decades after the program’s launch, it has been rediscovered and repopulated by a new generation.
I spoke with one of these newcomers, an amateur archivist operating under the name GradualDIME.
Also just found out my subject has legit very good music he’s composed that he will let me use in the film if I want.
I keep on making little edits to my previous post. There’s nothing like posting your writing publicly to encourage frequent and fast revisions!
your edits addressed the only crits I would have had!
This looks good to me! It’s Britney spears though, I mean i know it’s a spelling thing but wanted to make sure you said “brit-ney” not “brit-uh-nee”
Hah, did not know that! Thanks. Def gonna pronounce it Brit-an-ee-a
I finally got off my ass and recorded the intro narration! I think my levels might have been too low though, because I really have to jack up my computer audio to get a good volume. We’ll see how it sounds after I’ve done noise removal + compression in Audacity. I may have to re-record with upped levels on my mic.
P.S. performing narration is hard as shit. When I did my narration for my feature, I just tried to read it the same way David Foster Wallace used to perform on his audiobooks, kind of a neutral but informal tone. I have no idea what the right kind of tone is for this narration.
Makes me really respect Morgan Freeman, I’ll tell you what.
When I recorded my narration I turned all my electronics off except I forgot my bigass speakers, which of course were pumping out hella white noise. Time to re-record!
Yesterday I got the day off thanks to a nasty blizzard. I used that time wisely and finally made some more progress on this film! The narration is now done and dusted, and I’m happy with how it came out.
While editing the intro to the film, I realized that it’d be nice to show footage of the branded worlds that I mentioned in the narration. I never got much footage of them back when I recorded the rest of the film, so I had to dig up my old laptop with Worlds and Camtasia on it and return for a new expedition into Britney Spears World, NY Yankees World, and David Bowie World.
I made a new account and booted up Worlds, only to find that the three locations I came to visit were inaccessible to me. I ended up pacing around the default lobby, asking a bunch of afk avatars how to get to Britney Spears world. I can only imagine what they thought my true intentions were.
Eventually, I got a private message from someone named Cassian, giving me detailed instructions on how to fix my issue. This was already pretty wild - not only was a random user in the lobby of an obscure 20 year old game giving me technical advice… I recognized their name too! At one point in my film, my interviewee shouted out to three users who he credited for keeping the Worlds community together. Cassian was one of them.
It turns out, whoever owns Worlds still updates the software! Cassian said, “this confuses all of us users too”. Every time a new OS comes out, Worlds gets an update to keep it compatible. There are occasional bug fixes too. Once I upgraded to the latest version (which involved installing the years-outdated Java 6 RTE), I was able to access the places I needed to go.
And it was very much worth the trouble, as you can see from these screenshots:
NY Yankees World
The least interesting of the three, but notable for the rotating blimp and the totally fucked up, glitchy 2-frame pixelated crowd animations.
David Bowie World
Now we’re talking. This place was half gorgeous German Expressionism and half crass commercialism.
Britney Spears World
I saved the most inexplicable for last. You start in a hyperactive, glitchy shrine with lousy gifs on every wall:
Then you turn around and go through this door:
…and it opens into this:
Also, while doing some extra research into the Worlds community, I found a video where someone appears to have photographed the avatar of our very own @thecatamites during their Worlds safari: https://youtu.be/Jo1u_tIHEJU?t=6m56s
believe it or not that is a different thecatamites! a youtube guy called Saint used to use the name on his travels
edit: i was on worlds once or twice but i played as some kind of djinn
Huh, funny coincidence!
I feel like I want to bask in the void nostalgia that is Britney Spears again. But maybe with more David Bowie (or is the back door just another hallway to Bowie?).