I met Andy & TK who introduced me to their company Nurien Software.
Seeing a demo of their product was pretty exciting for a variety of
reasons. For a start they were combining Korea's two great loves ?
social networking and massive multiplayer gaming. Furthermore they
recently won Nvidia's NVISION 08 award for Most Promising Emerging
company so I knew that the graphics were going to be pretty special ?
the best I had hoped for was a non-blocky second life. My videos don't
actually do justice to the phenomenal graphics. Clothes had texture,
for instance PVC trousers had that kind of matt sheen, and faces
looked amazing with amazing. In all honesty, some of the female
avatars were unnervingly attractive.
However it was the movement of the avatars that was really impressive.
The characters have 180 'bones' in their structure and their movements
were incredibly natural and lifelike. Characters could embrace, kiss
and even just had a natural sway and fidget when they were stationary.
Andy and TK took explained the concept of their platform. Combining
social networking with massive multiplayer gaming opened up a new
dimension of communication and social interaction. For example,
traditional text based chat has it's limits. Tone can't be conveyed
despite having a profound effect on meaning in most languages and the
absence of behavioural signals provided by body language meant that
online meetings were essentially raw, which anyone who's been involved
in a long distance relationship can attest to.
Their platform was inspiring ? for one, you could see the potential of
long distance 'calling' in a virtual world like this. Rather than
hanging on the end of a telephone or simply plugged into video chat
you could essentially hang out with your friends, family and loved
ones in a digital room. Sharing files became a different thing too?
those in your room would have access to whatever you'd given
permissions for so sharing could become an asynchronous experience.
For example, one could walk around and checkout pictures on their
friend's wall, whilst the other could chat in the background over
Unlike Second Life, Nurien's virtual world was built with widgets from
the real world in mind. Users could pull in their Youtube channels and
FlickR accounts into the 3D digital objects in their rooms. And there
was certainly room for inventiveness ? one might connect their twitter
feed to their virtual phone or pull cinema listings into a virtual pin
For me, a true geek at heart, the prospect of Live Role Playing Games
was inspiring. It struck me that whereas Second Life might be about
coding fantastic digital worlds and eco-systems, the virtuality of
Nurien's platform meant that this was the place to enact fantastical
storylines and action adventures. The natural movement and physical
vocabulary of characters brought alive the potential of 'live'
Non-Player Characters. Rather than relying on pattern orientated
'artificial intelligence', now you could have 'acting' digital
characters played by other people who could bring a level of reality
and realness to totally fantastical scenarios. It reminded me of the
Holodeck in Star Trek or the 'Ractive' games in Neal Stephenson's,
cyberpunk novel, The Diamond Age. The collapse of the gaming and
movies into one huge multiplayer experience seemed possible within a
Posted by jc1000000