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July 1995 News

Fifteen New Members Inaugurate the Consortium Membership Structure

As part of the Consortium brainstorming weekend of June 30-July 2, fifteen new founding members were 'sworn in'. These members are listed under our Membership section.

July Meeting Lays Groundwork for Visual SolSys White Paper

The July brainstorming weekend produced our first 'White Paper' devoted to the social and technical aspects of world design and operation. Based on the experience of 6 years of operating the SolSys MUD, Consortium Member and Special Advisor Dr. Reed Riner provided the starting point for the session. Over two days, members from varying backgrounds, including electronic communities, visual world design, anthropology, fine arts and computer science, laid down the elements of the White Paper.

This document is intended to be useful to any group contemplating building an inhabitable digital space. Dr. Funaro, Anthropologist and Founding Senior Fellow of the Consortium summed it up when he said at the conclusion of the session: "we want to teach ourselves and others how to build viable human communities inside digital worlds".

Please see the Minutes of this meeting.

Contact Consortium Visits DragonSpires graphical MUD Developers
in Austin, Texas

Consortium Director Bruce Damer and Founding Member Marcela Nouzovska paid a visit to David Shapiro (aka Dr. Cat) and Jeff and Amanda Dee, creators of the Dragonspires graphical MUD. They received us warmly and gave us a full demo. Dragonspires is a castle world with an overhead view metaphor. Cursor keys drive characters around the castle grounds and rooms. With the overhead view, characters can engage in cooperative ventures, including kicking a ball between them. Objects can also be picked up.

This environment was built from scratch by these folks in their spare time. Unlike full 3D worlds, this world runs on a modest 486 server. They informed us that they built a custom server and could not use existing MUD or MOO engines for performance reasons. You can download and try Dragonspires from their web site.

Dr. Cat joined us at NASFiC presented his experienced views on some of our panels there (see below).

The Consortium at NASFiC in Atlanta

Consortium Executive Director and Founding Director Terrel Hoffman, Founding Senior Fellow Jim Funaro and Consortium Founding Director Bruce Damer presented five panels at the NASFiC National Science Fiction Convention in Atlanta July 12-15. A premier venue for 17,000 fans, writers and publishers, NASFiC provided valuable input from a community which regularly 'creates worlds'.

Our panels included such topics as Inhabitable Fiction and The Future of Community in a Wired World. Acclaimed authors Ben Bova and Clifford Stoll participated with us on some of the panels. This marked our first Consortium conference programs. Other successes from NASFiC included interest from the World Futures Society, NASA, the Disney Corporation, Turner Cable, and America Online. We will keep you updated as these new relationships evolve.

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