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Re: Naming and identification in virtual worlds

From: Leo Sauermann <leo.sauermann@dfki.de>
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2007 11:12:54 +0200
Message-ID: <467A4116.9070501@dfki.de>
To: noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com
CC: www-tag@w3.org, Don Brutzman <brutzman@nps.navy.mil>, Jack Park <jack.park@sri.com>

Hi TAG, Jack
two notes below.

It was noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com who said at the right time 18.06.2007 
17:38 the following words:
> We have some time scheduled on our TAG telcon today to begin discussion 
> [1] of naming and identification of resources in 3D "Virtual Worlds".  The 
> purpose of this note is to suggest some issues the TAG might wish to 
> consider. 
> There is at least a significant chance that systems such as Second Life 
> [2] or Open Croquet [3] will continue to gain in popularity, and that 
> important information will be available within these systems.  Although I 
> do not claim deep expertise with any one of these systems, I have become 
> very interested in the question of how they might best integrate with the 
> World Wide Web.  I suggest that some interesting issues to consider might 
> include:
> * What sort of integration is desirable for the Web as we know it and 
> these new "virtual world" systems?  Of course, there are many such 
> systems, and the answers might differ, but I think the question applies 
> uniformly to all.  Stated differently:  what are the important use cases 
> that need to be considered? 
> * Which resources in a virtual world should be identified with URIs? Using 
> Which URI schemes?  What metadata, if any, should be encoded in the URIs 
> (note that systems like SLURLs [4], which are used to provide URIs for 
> Second Life, encode coordinates in virtual 3 space)?  (To a significant 
> degree, this is issue URNsAndRegistries-50 [5], applied to the integration 
> of virtual worlds with the World Wide Web.)
> * Is there value in having the same resource (I.e. identified by the same 
> URI) offer differing representations in the 3D and 2D worlds, much as we 
> suggest that the same resource might offer different representations for 
> small mobile devices vs. for more full-featured user agents?  Example:  if 
> appliance company "example.com" has washing machines for sale, should 
> their billboard read:
>           "For good deals on washing machines,
>           see http://example.com/cheapWashers
>           (Second Life users, go to
>           http://slurl.com/secondlife/Example/100,200,300)",
> -or- (my preference)
>         "For good deals on washing machines,
>           see http://example.com/cheapWashers
>           (works in Second Life too!)"
> If the latter form is to be encouraged, what sorts of content negotiation, 
> redidrections, etc. do we suggest be used so that the appropriate 
> representation of the washing machine sale will be provided on everything 
> from mobile phones to 3D clients?  (This is more or less issue 
> genericResources-53 [6] applied to virtual worlds.)

HTTP GET http://example.com/cheapWashers
accept: text/turtle (or whatever the mime of n3 is now)

namespace sl = http://slurl.com/2007/06/21/slontology#
http://example.com/cheapWashers sl:x "100";
sl:y "200";
sl:z "1".

etc etc for W3C-Geo (augmented reality) and other metadata.

Putting it in the URI itself is possible, but limiting. The URI would 
then carry metadata additional to already carrying retrievability 
(protocol, host, path) and identification.

Any client can, based on its capabilities, interpret the metadata 
returned by the HTTP GET / accept: RDF.
This approach is extensible and does not require client or server to 
parse URIs to extract data, but parse a standardized metadata format (RDF).
> I think it's useful, when considering the above questions, to remind 
> ourselves that the Web already coexists with at least one 3-dimensional 
> world (or 4-dimensional if you prefer the Einsteinian formulation).  I 
> think we can draw useful lessons from that experience.   For example, we 
> could have adopted a convention that everything with a physical presence 
> in our real world, an appliance store for example, would be named by a URI 
> along the lines of 
> http://web3space.w3.org/<latitude>/<longitude>/<altitude>.  Indeed, we see 
> some URIs very much in that spirit used in to good advantage by MapQuest, 
> Google Maps, and the like.  Usually, though, we find value in leveraging 
> the DNS system to provide a much richer framework for naming http-scheme 
> resources, for controlling who has authority over parts of the namespace, 
> and for allowing the same resource to be at different physical locations 
> at different times (if indeed it has a physical location at all).  So, 
> while there is probably a good role for URIs that are assigned according 
> to positions in virtual 3-space, my intuition is that these will only 
> sometimes be the right answer.

For a cyberspace (or global augmented reality) system, the two questions 
could be:
1) what objects are within my vicinity, If I am at X/Y/Z heading in 
direction A. - which server(s) do I contact?
2) I place or move object B at position X/Y/Z - which server(s) do I 

 From gaming, the best equivalent of this are probably MUDs (massive 
online roleplaying games) (ultima online, everquest, etc) or 
First-Person-Shooters (battlefield2), where the system has to track the 
positions of many users and objects , and transport the information 
about their position in realtime to all agents involved.
Another inspiration could be air-traffic controlling systems, that track 
airplanes on a global scale but hand over the position and 
responsibility. Similar is sea-navigation.

It seems that the architecture has to be an improvement or evolution 
from HTTP to something else
* global
* distributed
* UDP based to be quick with updates of moving objects or animations
* organized, addressable, managed, based on geo-position and not on IP 
space or DNS space (tricky, tricky)

I would guess there is a proper writeup of this somewhere.
Book "The Geospatial Semantic Web"? - does it help?

I would also guess that many people would be interested to join a W3C WG 
on this topic, and to make it attractive, we can trigger some memes:
* the "Matrix" protocol working group (=triggers neuromancer fans, 
scares away movie lookers thinking about brain-sucking machines)

definitly, the Lindenlabs people, and creators of other MUDs should be 
on the WG, to get a result thats accepted by industry. Getting flight 
control into it would add a side of seriousness and stability, but maybe 
too many requirements to be fulfilled by one architecture.

TAG - is this the moment to start a WG?


> I'm sure this isn't an entirely balanced or completely well researched 
> overview, but I hope it's good enough to spark useful discussion of what's 
> needed, and what if any the TAG's role should be.  My apologies if my lack 
> of detailed knowledge of common practice in some of these systems shows 
> through in the above summary, but I'm sure others on this list will help 
> with corrections.  Thank you.
> Noah
> [1] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/2007/06/18-agenda
> [2] http://secondlife.com/
> [3] http://www.opencroqet.org/
> [4] http://slurl.com/
> [5] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/issues.html?type=1#URNsAndRegistries-50
> [6] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/issues.html?type=1#genericResources-53
> --------------------------------------
> Noah Mendelsohn 
> IBM Corporation
> One Rogers Street
> Cambridge, MA 02142
> 1-617-693-4036
> --------------------------------------

DI Leo Sauermann       http://www.dfki.de/~sauermann 

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Received on Thursday, 21 June 2007 09:19:03 UTC

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