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VWN Book Quotes Database - Virtual Light, Page: 266
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Source: Virtual Light, Page: 266

And then these figures were there, bigger than skyscrapers, bigger than anything, their chests about even with the edges of the plain, so that Rydell got to feel like a bug, or a little toy.

Our Thoughts on this Quote

This is a concept which is perfectly possible even in early 2000s VR environments, but which all too few take advantage of.

In a world where you can control the body of another person to a high degree, you can set it so that their avatar is very, very much smaller than yours. This adds a psychological dimension impossible in physical meetings, and extremely under-utilised in virtual ones, where the status of one individual or a group is reinforced visually to be far less than that of another individual or group.

In the quote, we clearly have several (actually three) giants, sitting or standing around a table plateau, upon which the beseechers come - clients requesting their services. The clients' avatars are dramatically scaled down. Whilst they retain all appearance, and look the same to their wearer - due to the viewpoints also being scaled down - , the wearer of the Lilliputian-sized AV, is already in a psychological state of unease and defensiveness before negotiations begin.

Currently only lab and research simulations do anything like this. The closest commercial, persistent VR to this is ActiveWorlds. However, this platform will not allow current bodyshape and features of the AV to be retained, and the feature is greatly underused due to ActiveWorlds' notoriously shoddy documentation of its features.

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About the Book 'Virtual Light'
By William Gibson
Produced By Penguin Books Ltd

"Those VL glasses. Virtual light.
She'd heard of it, but she wasn't sure what it was. "They expensive, Sammy Sal?"
"Shit, yes. Bout as much as a Japanese car. Not all that much more though. Got these little EMP drivers around the lenses, work your optic nerves direct. Friend of mine, he'd bring a pair home from the office where he worked. Landscape architects. Put 'em on, you go out walking, everything looks normal, but every plant you see, every tree, there?s this little label hanging there, what its name is. Latin under that.""

Page 113 Click here for full review of Virtual Light

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