« Battle.net case | Main | Virtual World Phishing »

Sep 07, 2005



Ren>Unlike the flat, text-based web world, virtual worlds reintroduce space and place on-line. I can occupy a plot of land, build a house there, and invite guests over to break bread or man the barricades.

What does "text-based" have to do with it?



Richard wrote:
>>Ren>Unlike the flat, text-based web world, virtual worlds reintroduce space
>>and place on-line. I can occupy a plot of land, build a house there, and
>>invite guests over to break bread or man the barricades.
>What does "text-based" have to do with it?

Did not have a chance to format correctly, this is all NYLS stuff that I just happened to post.

Having said that, quickly scanning the rules, I can’t see that they exclude text worlds, and I can’t wait to see how they would judge a text based public space that you might design and how they would compare it with a graphical one – go on enter one :)


Following up on Richard's question, what about a public space in a non-multiplayer environment that could host social engagement, such as an Inform or TADS text adventure? Or a world with asynchronous properties? It says "entries from all massively multi-player games and worlds will be accepted" but I wonder why only synchronous, multiplayer virtual worlds are suggested to be proper fodder for public space?

I could just email the indicated address and ask, but that's much less confrontational :)


Ian Bogost > I could just email the indicated address and ask, but that's much less confrontational :)

I’m just starting to wonder if the meta-game of rule hacking is gonna be more interesting than the actual competition, as we are geting into some interesting definitional boundaries.


Representative screenshots (GIF or JPEG) and/or short film giving a tour of the Space (MPG, MPEG, MOV or AVI)

I'm really curious about how you provide these if you want to submit a text-based thing.

It's pretty clear that they want a "visual" space.


Abalieno -- I agree that it seems clear they want a visual space. Morever, they seem to want a 3D space and one within an existing (and publicly available) virtual world, thus a multiplayer space. Moreover, it futher appears to be "physical" -- the judges are architects. These observations seems to suggest a whole mess of assumptions about what might qualify as public space. At the same time, I'd happily take a screenshot of the description text of a textual space :) Or how about a short film of the user moving around in it?

Granted, the title is "MMOPG Public Space Design Competition," so the rules follow the title. But as someone who has arguably done more work than anyone in trying to make videogames "foster civic engagement" (as the judging criteria states), I remain unconvinced and in fact deeply skeptical that MMOG's are the best place to do that.

One of the reasons for this is that MMOG's seem to focus on the construction of space and community *in the virtual world* rather than focusing attention and critique on social engagement *in the material world*. This does not mean that MMOG's necessarily cannot or do not engage social issues across worlds, but certainly it is folly to claim that MMOG's are the only form of games that could do so. Does the fact that State of Play's lineup ONLY covers virtual worlds and not other types of videogames or game worlds suggest that it hopes to advance the claim just mentioned?


Hi Ren,

First, I think this is a great idea, and it will be very interesting to see what people are submitting as this unfolds.

Second, Makena Technologies has just sweetened the deal for the community members of There.com. The following was posted today:
"...we are excited to announce that we will match the cash prize if you win with a submission of something you created in There."
Link to Full Article

This brings the cash prize opportunity up to $1000 for anyone interested.



Well, I'm glad they didn't list 3D as a requirement. Some of our places have had huge amounts of thought (and a lot of experience) put into developing map layouts, paths and roads, plavement of seating, signs, etc. in order to maximize various kinds of social interaction. I'm going to try and make sure we have at least one entry from our world in the contest. If nothing else, it'll hopefully remind everyone that 2D worlds have a lot to offer too. And while they lack some of the advantages 3D worlds have... 3D worlds also lack some of the advantages 2D worlds can have as well. Both have their merits.


Abalieno wrote:
> Representative screenshots (GIF or JPEG) and/or short film giving a tour of the
>Space (MPG, MPEG, MOV or AVI)
>>I'm really curious about how you provide these if you want to submit a text-based

It’s this magic button called PrtScrn, combined with MS Paint’s SaveAs .JPEG function. As for movie – exactly the same way that you would provide any other movie from a PC. I don’t see any difficulty at all.


Ian > Granted, the title is "MMOPG Public Space Design Competition," so the rules follow the title.

Well if we follow the title then entries from Second Life and There should be excluded as neither are games:

http://www.there.com/index.html (see “What is There”, top right)

Entrants would first have to great an MMORG inside one of these worlds, then create the architecture, but without a ludic context then the rules would seem to bar them.

As to Ian’s wider points. I’m half way with him, in that I think that there are a lot of implicit assumptions going on about public spaces. But I guess that as the focus of SoP is primarily virtual worlds as opposed to the public nature of cyberspace, then I agree that some bounding is OK. What I do object to is the implicit assumption that 2D or text worlds do not count.

Again, I wanted to note - I just posted this. I had nothing to do with writing the rules.


Ren -- yup, I know you're just the messenger. My questions are directed toward the community in general and not meant as jibes at you for posting it. Maybe it's time to get one of the organizers to answer these questions.


From the Rules:

Submission of an entry does not assign or transfer any ownership of or rights in and to the content of the submission. Those rights remain with the original holder (the creator or the virtual world owner, as applicable). As a condition of entry, the entrant grants a license to the organizers of the State of Play conference to reproduce, display and perform the submission at the State of Play conference and to distribute the submission in print and on the web.
Is it too pedantic to point out that a license to display and perform a submission is a right in and to the content of the submission?

It's ironic to find such a provision considering both (1) Berkman, NY Law School, and Yale Law School's participation, and (2) the starring role in which IP seems to be reluctantly cast.

I realize the probability of any suit is all but zero, and the provision is more publicity than protection, but c'mon ...

Jeff Cole


Jeff > Is it too pedantic to point out,,,

Too pedantic – heck no. The irony of the competition in the context of SoP seems wonderful.

In fact I was thinking further, the entry has to be both described and has to exist in a given virtual world. As I’ve noted above this seems to be scope limited to a game world. Just about all of which have EULAs that state that the stuff in the world is the property of the publisher.

So, I own the rights to my design. But to enter you also have to have something in a virtual world and grant rights to this to some other party.

So, if the virtual world is a SOE, NCSoft, etc one, then the individual will have to get a special licence for them and the organisers, what’s more if the build it self if part of the entry, then the prize must go jointly to the designer (for their non instantiated designs) and to the world owner (as they own the build) unless there is some kind of special contract in place between the creator and the publisher.

If not, is the entrant not passing of a derivative works as their own, are the not defrauding NY Law school in some way if they accepted the prize.

And if its OK to draw something, then use MMO tools to build it, then get money from NY Law School for it – then how is it not OK to eBay it?

So in fact, are NY Law School not encouraging people to breach contract and ignore IPR if the above situation pertains.

Moreover if legal council form one or more of these companies is present and do nothing about it – is eBaying then OK, if not, how are Sony et al going to argue that the competition is OK but not eBaying?


Ian > Ren -- yup, I know you're just the messenger.

OK. It was not the possibility of jibes that I was worrying about. Jibe all you want at me here (if you ever wish to), just simply the point, for clarity, that while I am organising one of the SoP III workshops, I just don’t happen to have anything to do with this bit of the conference, other than being a potnential entrant of some text world thingy or other, or potential challenger to the validity of the winner if an entry from a non-game world, or game world with prohibitive IP regime wins - that is unless NYLS change or publically interpret the rules between now and then.


Reading this thread with great pleasure and amusement and looking forward to your submissions! Hope to see everyone in October: http://www.nyls.edu/stateofplay. Best, Beth


I would be happy to see some of the works... This is a good chance for talented designers to get recognized, and this is a great opportunity to make our everyday life more beautiful.

The comments to this entry are closed.