racing in edinburgh

driving with hoss gifford (me in toronto, him in scotland, march 2004)

project gotham racing 2, xbox live

hoss on his bicycle

hoss drops his cell phone

hoss recovers cell phone

complete recreation of edinburgh

real-world store logos obtained with permission

the multiuser game experience

experience of driving around hoss's hometown together without having ever been there physically

experience of single player racing vs multiuser racing

goodnight or goodmorning

hoss staying at my place, just heading to bed, 3am (april 2004)

says goodmorning to wife & kids via webcam (different timezone)

sarah hugs monitor

computers before internet == applications before multiuser

at a turning point

all current single-user mainstream apps will one day be multiuser apps

e.g., very soon, a game without an online friends list will be inconceivable

you think multiuser is trivial? how does the experience of this lecture change if:

  • you were the only person in the audience?
  • i was not here: you were listening to the lecture pre-recorded over the sound system?
  • spectation versus interaction

    multiuser doesn't necessarily mean direct interaction

    in the real world, 3 people often take turns playing a video game...the fun is watching each other

    should be able to do the same thing online (spectator vs controller)

    imagine if you could watch james patterson working in flash

    business spectation:

  • remote creative directors watching designers in photoshop
  • potential multiuser application features

    populate Flash components panel with community components

    chat or live a/v help right in an application (revenue opportunity)

    allow experienced user to control a newer user's application (live help)

    receive input from one machine, send output to another (remote presentations)

    multiuser television (watch tv in groups remotely)

    example: multiuser web browsing

    multiuser browsing prototype: uBrowse

    spectate another user's browsing

    broadcast your own browsing to others

    maintains a shared history of sites visited

    usage scenarios:

  • web developers can demonstrate work to remote customers
  • staff at a company can review sites during a conference call
  • a presenter can give a lecture from a remote location via webcam, while controlling web-based slides remotely
  • friends can share a web browsing experience together remotely
  • in future, will likely be a native part of all browsers

    example: multiuser dictionary

    merriam-webster website shows words being looked up by connected users

    unity multiuser development kit

    create multiuser apps with Unity

    make multiuser flash apps easier to create (no java or server code)

    allows exploration of multiuser concepts ahead of the curve

    goal: help bring multiuser features to all applications

    free to artists and academics

    ambient user activity

    user representation

  • instant messenger buddy lists
  • other cars in a racing game
  • conceptually: gives sense of "being in a crowd"
  • user transformation

  • path across a field
  • moving location of links on page based on popularity
  • conceptually: gives sense of self over time
  • user contribution

  • adding your own room in a virtual world
  • graffiti
  • blog comment
  • conceptually: creativity (procreation)
  • user interation

  • chat
  • railgun
  • conceptually: love
  • jared tarbell's unity experiments



    swasticocks: human nature in simpledraw

    hm. maybe jared should add a cock stamp

    human nature in the "real world"

    laws and enforcement

    multiuser applications are distinct societies, with morals and deviant behaviour

    types of deviance moderation:

  • anarchy (simpledraw)
  • owner moderation (e.g., simpledraw with operator status)
  • democratic moderation (e.g., this lecture)
  • external moderation (e.g., language filters, administrator tools for banning, kicking)
  • external moderation example is a website for 7-12 year old girls

    activities are limited to preset behaviours (dancing, picture booth)

    chat text must be selected from a list


    uPresence: a study in exposing ambient user activity (see also uTulip and Ambient User Sound)

    most websites you look at have multiple users--you just don't see them

    uPresence reveals what's already there. it shows all users as they interact with a website

    mouse pointer evolves with number of visits

    rollovers from all connected users are shown to all connected users

    clicks of other users appear as dots: helps guide users to popular content

    size of click dots indicates age of user that clicked

    user rankings (reminiscent of "prominent list members" in weskamp's social circles)

    experience of "website" changes simply by revealing other users (which are hidden on most sites, but shouldn't be)

    future feature: show recorded interactions over time (good idea for simpledraw too)

    human nature in uPresence


    uAvatarChat: character-based chat app

    basic message bubble

    longer messages stay on screen longer




    typing notification (3 stages)

    group backgrounds (user transformation; environment adapting to users)


    uPixMSN is an instant messenger client in flash by francis bourre

    log in using your Windows messenger account

    uses Unity and msnm-lib (part of jmsn)

    good background info on the messenger protocol is available at

    multiuser realtime physics

    realtime bouncing ball demo by jon williams

    realtime car driving experiment

    physics all server-side, ala quake

    guarantees that all clients see the same thing

    uses Unity and ODE


    collab by thijs triemstra

    a/v message recording


    audio/video conferencing (flashcom)

    shared whiteboard



    trivia room

    geographic IP resolution

    teemic boarder

    teemic boarder by francis bourre and artepict

    customizable characters (teemics)

    shared 3d interactive environment (sit on chairs)

    natural tendency of users to group for conversations

    emoticons translate to teemic faces


    POD for email and instant messaging

    noise when your name is mentioned in chat

    if a user picks an occupied chair, the teemics will circle it four times before giving up

    client-side pathfinding (clients may see different versions of moving from A to B)

    future features: world extension and pets

    just the beginning

    exploration has just started

    imagine an open standard to share multiuser data between connected sites: e.g., drawing on a whiteboard in collab and having it appear on a painting hanging on the wall in atomic.

    unity is free to artists: get involved