Lucio: The title of
the presentation is Creating natural-looking virtual worlds... Lucio:
Ok ....my name is Lucio Pascarelli ...
Lucio: ..and I am responsible for Communication Services at FAO
in Rome, Italy Lucio: FAO stands for the "Food and Agriculture Organization"
of the United Nations…
Lucio: … one of the largest specialized agencies of the U.N. Lucio:
… and focused on the global issues relating to food production and nutrition.
Lucio: Needless to say, without food, any human being rapidly becomes
just a hungry animal…
Lucio: … and that's why FAO believes that the most basic of human
rights is the right to adequate food and nutrition
Lucio: … the "right to food"…
Lucio: … without which, the "right to freedom" becomes meaningless.
Lucio: Every minute of every day, a dozen children under five die
of hunger and malnutrition… Lucio: … and like the vast majority of the
800 million chronically undernourished people around the globe today,
Lucio: … most of them live and die in rural areas of the developing
world. Lucio: Having said this... lets get back onto the topic of the
Lucio: In FAO, I focus on providing telecommunications services
to the organization.
Lucio: This frequently leads me to the most underdeveloped regions
of the planet, Lucio: where most of FAO's "business" is conducted.
Lucio: Needless to say, almost all of these countries also have
very poor telecommunications infrastructures.
Lucio: Now, I'm sure that most of you have one time or another
believed that the Internet would somehow "unite" the planet
Lucio: into a "global village". Lucio: Unfortunately this is not
happening…. because more than a "global village" .... the global Internet
is starting to look more like a city …
Lucio: … with suburban "slums" … Lucio: … where the "bandwidth"
poor live. Lucio: Bandwidth is by now a true commodity, just like oil
and other heavily consumed goods.
Lucio: Can you see the pictures ?
Princess Tia: yes
Lucio: The real problem though, is how much bandwidth is really
Lucio: Let me pause for a second...
"Alex": hello everybody!!
Lucio: Think of the effect the pictures have on you...
Lucio: ... and lets get back to bandwidth ...
Lucio: The slides behind me will give an indication of bandwidth
requirements per communications method.
Lucio: E-mail is the lowest ... only 4.8 k is enough.
Lucio: Next comes Voice... (which is the same as internet since
modems work over phone lines)
Lucio: VR .. requires a bit more... when some sort of voice link
will be supported... Lucio: but on your right you can see the low-end
requirements of video-conferencing.
Lucio: Top end for standard video-conferencing is 384k… way above
the panel ;-)
Lucio: For your info, in the places where I work we consider ourselves
quite lucky if we can get more than 28.8.
Lucio: ... just like cars in the 70s … following the oil crisis
Lucio: I believe that Internet technology needs to progress towards
more bandwidth-lean tools…
Lucio: … where instead of mileage per gallon …
Lucio: … the unit of measure becomes "information content" … per
kilobyte of bandwidth.
AMD: I have 33.6 here, the 56K modem is useless
Lucio: In other words, the more information "satisfied" you get,
over a slow modem …
Lucio: ....the more bandwidth lean is the communication tool.
Lucio: I'm sure all of you enjoy spending time in Active Worlds
more than in other Internet environments.
Lucio: ...yet the capacity of your modem is the same... as when
you surf the net.
Lucio: The obvious conclusion is that VR is more "satisfying" than
other 2-d Internet tools.
Lucio: I don't think I have to explain why …. others have done
and do so better than me...
Lucio: But I do want to quote what is written in the AV98 stand
of Ron "Protagonist" ...
Lucio: ...(the main author of the AW software).
Lucio: The quote says: "People make virtual reality … reality"
Lucio: This is so true…
Lucio: … but it is even more true when the "people" are from different
cultures and languages.
Lucio: I think it would be interesting to do a nationality count
of the people present at this show. ...
Lucio: I am sure that it is much higher than any other Internet
Lucio: Just think of those strange characters that appear on the
chat window every now then ....
Lucio: I don't think this is common in other chat environments...
Lucio: The reason is that 3-d environments are "interesting" even
if you don't understand the language.
Lucio: The same is definitely not true for the World Wide Web or
for text-only chats.
Lucio: It is for this reason that I firmly believe in VR as a means
of recovering the low-bandwidth "slums" of the global village.
Lucio: recovering in the sense of ... helping them get out of the
Lucio: I believe that Virtual Reality is really the best compromise
for bandwidth/communications content.
Lucio: And in the case of the developing world… Immigration Officer:
All speakers telegram digigardener to let us know the status of your session
Lucio: VR is probably the only tool that will allow the bandwidth-poor
to be part of the new network economy being fueled by the Internet.
Lucio: This leads me to the second part of my talk. Lucio: Like
many AW "citizens" ... I read Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash" when it came
Lucio: …but it was not until I stumbled into Active Worlds that
I convinced myself that the Snow Crash fantasy was becoming reality.
Lucio: In line with what I said before…
Lucio: I set out to experiment with the AW technology.
Lucio: My objective was to convert some of the FAO statistics into
meaningful and "communicative" objects in a virtual world.
Lucio: At the moment they are either long "boring" documents...
Lucio: .. or sterile graphs...
Lucio: It rapidly became clear to me that "manual" building would
not get me far.
Lucio: I therefore set out to experiment with HamBot scripts, and
more specifically with the build commands.
Lucio: Being an IT person, I tried immediately to link both the
RWX and HamBot scripts with the everyday tools I use.
Lucio: This meant figuring ways of interfacing SQL databases and
spreadsheets with AW technology.
Lucio: After a two weeks of experimenting I figured out ways to
generate objects and scripts from the Visual Basic environments of Microsoft
Excel and Access.
Lucio: At that point another idea came up…
Lucio: I noticed that almost all of the Worlds in the AW universe
Lucio: Most of them were experiments into 3-d environments ...
impossible in real life.
Lucio: However, all of them, including the non-flat ones, fell
quite short of having a natural look.
Lucio: I therefore set out to develop a world "as natural" looking
Lucio: Those of you that have explored the world of Fractals know
that these non-linear mathematical formulas are the ones that best reproduce
Lucio: Armed with the world generation tools developed so far,
Lucio: I experimented with ways of feeding my programs with "fractal"
Lucio: The result of these experiments is now a world called Virtualy,
of which you see pictures behind me.
Lucio: Virtualy is made up of over 60,000 objects, all placed in
the world by non-linear processing programs.
paulix: a bot with a sweet heart
Lucio: Some of these programs are now available on the news groups....
Lucio: . I have also held some classes on the Virtualy technique
on AW University.
Lucio: In anycase, Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you are interested.
Lucio: When people tell me that Virtualy is beautiful....
Lucio: I can't help thinking that all they are looking at is a
hill with a bunch of trees …. LOL
Lucio: The lesson learned is that recreating nature ....
Lucio: ...manually ...
Lucio: is very difficult….
Lucio: … I guess that's what artists are for :)
Lucio: Anyway (and in conclusion) … now that the Virtualy experiment
Lucio: I am starting to work on my first objective….
Lucio: … which is figuring ways to create a meaningfull world with
the FAO data.
Lucio: The FAO world (set up rapidly for Avatars 98)... right now
contains some samples of the type of data that FAO maintains…
Lucio: … however, the data is far from being presented the way
I would like it to be...
Lucio: … for example… how can I convert the FAO hunger map into
a 3-d scene that is communicative ?
Lucio: I think 3-d objects can be much more communicative than
Lucio: if properly used...
Lucio: ... they are also mostly independent from language and culture.
Lucio: … I don't have the answers to that yet… but I am here to
Lucio: And I look forwards to continuing this experiment with the
friends I have met here..
Lucio: The only problme is that I can't invite them to have a spaghetti
dinner with me...
Lucio: ... in true Italian style :))))
Lucio: Thanks for coming … and visit Fao and Virtualy if you have
Emanuele: YES !!!!!!!!! There should be more talks about these
topics. Great Lucio , clap, clap clap, clap
Emanuele: ariclapette, ariclapetteariclapetteariclapetteariclapetteariclapetteariclapetteariclapetteariclapetteariclapetteariclapette
shard: We'll be posting the text of talks (with speaker's permission
only, of course) in the next few days.
Lucio: fine for me :)
shard: Thank you very very much! :-))
Emanuele: ola, IoI IoI IoI IoI IoI IoI IoI IoI IoI IoI
AMD: Excellent talk
Princess Tia: very good :))
paulix: ditto Virtualy0: clap,clap,clap!=)
"LoRez": nice ideas of yours
Lucio: Thanks :)
shard: Hi, Lucio, I'm Anita. Very pleased to have been able to
be here for your talk!
Lucio: My pleasure :)
paulix: so a virtual talk can be synchronised with slides!
paulix: in a thought-provoking way
Lucio: yes... although we had some problems ...
Lucio: just like IRL....
shard: The slides were put up in real time... by Bonnie deVarco,
during the talk
shard: yes, like in rl
shard: Lucio provided all the slides from a website
Lucio: but the advantage is that you don't have to carry around
your slide projector and portable :)
Princess Tia: :))
shard: and Bonnie put them up -- haha, Lucio, and no figerprints
on your slides, either
paulix: but you need your trusty bandwidth :-)
Lucio: I think this is a great application for a bot...
shard: I wonder if talks like this will have an audience that grows
because of the digital documentation...
Lucio: it reads your script ... and understands when to change
the slides :)
shard: and perhaps a Special Interest Groupon a topic like this
(aha! Lucio is a science fiction writer i see)
shard: oh oh... for a bot! yes indeed!!
Emanuele: it would be called virtuallink, the natural extention
of an hyperjump...
"LoRez": the problem wih this media ( as i see it, newbie me) is
not bandwidth, but the fact that it takes a smaller geniu to make it work
Lucio: shard ... I think the challenges is real-time versus reading
"LoRez": or a greaer audience simpleness is needed
shard: yes indeed... and this was a beginning test of the technology
shard: it should lead to some organized notes of recommendations
to the Circle of Fire crew about properties needed
shard: in AW
Lucio: Yes .... I agree :)
Lucio: but... the real change will come with audio ...
shard: Your "slides" timed with your ideas presented...
shard: ...and with the interactive possibilities...
shard: make for a dynamic learning experience, I think
shard: I fear tho that I'm saying nothing useful. Better that we
should talk about your talk, your ideas.
Lucio: No.... my talk was about this...
shard: It should be quite possible to stage a talk in Virtualy,
Lucio: the issue is how (soon) will this technology become commercially
better than meeting person to person...
"LoRez": how "real" is virtual reality going to be, from your perspective,
Lucio: For work purposes...
"LoRez": is there any limits?
Lucio: I am convinced it will be quite real...
Lucio: It can't replace human contact...
Lucio: but it will be fine ... and cheaper ... than traditional
Lucio: Telecommuting is much cheaper... also on the environment.
shard: Whenever "work" is the gathering and presenting of information,
the centralizing of our intelligence...
shard: ...the digital medium and its delivery possibilities is
Lucio: Yep... "infospace"...
shard: I very much like your notion of 3D capabilities of presenting
Lucio: In otherwords... I would love to telecommute ... and not
meet some co-workers...
Lucio: when it gives me more time to stay with friends...
shard: yes yes!
"LoRez": im a musician and from being totally into anologic instruments,
im only working digitally now, its a big step, but i cant believe the
way i used to work before!! much easier, better quality, and so on
"LoRez": acveything is beter now
"LoRez": im talking sedin sounds an samples ocer the net
"LoRez": in a way that was impossible before for me
shard: Yes. Under what circumstances could I ever have met and
discussed global hunger with Lucio? Except these?
Lucio: And I don;t even know where you are from...
Lucio: In any other circumnstance that would have been the first
Lucio: ... to ask :)
shard: It may permit people to more quickly grow information in
their mutual nurturing
Lucio: In this world it does not matter....
"LoRez": north sweden here (if u asked) :)
shard: so long as we have a common language...
Lucio: LoRez: the non-linear programming of virtualy... is similar
to the the richness of analog sounds...
Lucio: ... compared to the "first generation" digital sounds ...
remember the DX7
"LoRez": true, although much easier to learn, at least i think
Lucio: when creating Virtualy... I found myself going around and
taking Visual samples of the world...
"LoRez": what i really would like to try is an totally online session
Lucio: with a VideoCam....\
Princess Tia: :)
"LoRez": with musicians all ocver the world
Lucio: I used to do that with a taperecorder...
Lucio: The problem LoRez is Latency...
"LoRez": bandwith... :)
Lucio: No... not bandwidth... but latency...
Lucio: It takes about 400 milliseconds for any TCP/IP message to
reach you and back...
Lucio: That means that I cannot play in time with you...
Lucio: I cannot hear you beat and play along...
"LoRez": on the other hand, that could lead to a totally new concept
shard: ah... I was just thinking that oo, LoRez
"LoRez": it only sounds good here
"LoRez": and there
"LoRez": but not in the middle
Lucio: a different kind of music....
Lucio: definitely not possible IRL
shard: Just heard of Voce, at Mark Pesce's website, one of the
speakers today, and it may...
shard: ...have some audio aspects worth noticing...
"LoRez": ahhh i missed that shard: hey... the avvy awards are pretty
soon, in about 15 minutes. You European folks must be weary, eh? 1am?
"LoRez": my p02 actually...
Lucio: No... probs... ready to see the dawn :)
Lucio: lets go :)
"LoRez": yes shard: [I also missed mark's talk, but his speakerpage
will lead you to news of Voce.]
shard: yes, let's go to where it's paralyzingly populated
Pascarelli is currently the Coordinator of the Communications
Support Unit at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations, one of the largest UN specialized Agencies, which is
based in Rome, Italy. Lucio sees Virtual Worlds as a potentially
effective tool for cross-culture communication as well as a solution
to the bandwidth crunch in developing countries. In his approach
to Active Worlds technology, Lucio has focussed on automated world
construction as well as on giving virtual worlds an ergonomic
and natural look. An example of this is Virtualy, a world automatically
built using non-linear (fractal) landscaping techniques.
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