Mar. 26, 2007 SDF Virtual Worlds Timeline

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On Monday March 26, 2007 at Pillsbury Winthrop’s Silicon Valley Office the SDForum Virtual SIG invited Bruce Damer to talk about the origins and evolution of virtual worlds.

Bruce Damer presented his Virtual Worlds Timeline project at It is a Wiki-based graphical timeline representing the origins and evolution of virtual worlds, and archive related documents. He started with games like SpaceWar in the 1960s to the first multi player games of the early 1970’s, then the progenitor worlds (MUD’s and Habitat) of the 1980s to the explosion of the first generation Internet worlds in the mid 1990s.

Damer has been a major contributor to virtual reality and pointed out that a study of past projects can show what has and has not worked. Potential investors should do their research before reinventing a virtual wheel.

The virtual experience can be more than avatars in a computer simulation. Reading a book and visualizing scenes is a virtual experience. A simple telephone conversation is a sensory experience that does not occur in nature. Over the years, Damer is sees the virtual experience extended to mobile devices. The expansion of services in cell phones and PDAs allow people to locate themselves and friends. An iPod adds a soundtrack to people’s lives as they move through the day.

Damer then demonstrated an Elizabethan outfit that easily carries all of his elecronic gadgets. By the time he finished, the need for the iPod pocket was superseded by the new iPod shuffle clipped to his lapel. Technology will drive fashion as the virtual and real you merge walking down the street.

In the end Damer said he was honored to be a part of the history he documents but felt it important to get up from the computer and move around. He now lives and works on a pig farm near Santa Cruz. The chores force him to leave virtual reality for the old fashioned kind.


Copyright 2007 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

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