To paraphrase Daniel C. Dennett, if you make your world big enough, everything is internal to the world. As Constance wrote about recently, EverQuest 2 gives users some tools for expanding their world. Gaming Open Market, which leverages many aspects of Second Life's scripting system, extends the world of Second Life economically. I just posted on Prompt Criticality about a new site, SL Exchange, that brings searchable listings for SL items to the web. In particular, check out the quality of some of the recent additions. Sure, SL Exchange pales compared to eBay or PlayerAuctions, but there is something very exciting about a website in the real world, written by players that uses open standards to communicate, transact and change a digital world.
Given the recent discussions here about open source, standards and compatibility, SL Exchange had me thinking about the idea of creating just enough interoperability of allow the kind of metaverse growth that many of us are hoping for.
Is moving data around via standards, XML-RPC for example, enough since residents will build the rest? What kind of data access is needed to reduce concerns like those that Peter Ludlow raised at SoP2 about being banned? After all, with a web page, if your hosting company boots you out, you can take your pages to another hosting company. What kinds of data generated in generalized worlds like SL would you want? All your data exported to VRML, BVH, OGG and others? Some yet-to-be-created standard Metaverse interchange format? Should digital worlds try to speak as many of the web standards as possible, since so much content, tools, and interfaces can be built via the web and so many people are comfortable creating with text?
And, of course, does this conversation only apply to generalized worlds or should more of these features apply to more conventional MMORPGs?