The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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2:03pm on Saturday, 13th October, 2007:
When I was at the State of Play V conference, I spoke on a panel called "Building Virtual Worlds". I started off with a long anecdote about what I needed to know to write MUD1.
Little did I know, this would be transcribed and put on a web site. Here's the opening:
Right, well, what I knew to start with was that memory is made of cores. These little Taurus-shaped pieces of soft iron and they're hung up over this little crosswork of wires with a reed wire going trough it. I could also knew that I could build (an gates) and (or gates) out of electrical circuits by combining those in a knot gate, a bit more sophisticated. I could make flip flops. JK flip flops, SR flip flops. You could combine flip flops together to build units which would do half udders, which would do a half the arithmetic or a full udder, which was made up of a several half udders. You could shift registers from side to side. You could also build a register which told you which of the other registers you wanted to use.
Taurus=torus, reed=read, an=and, knot=not, udders=adders...
Only having seen the transcript do I now realise how arcane what I was saying must have sounded to the audience. It's like something out of Finnegans Wake. Words with Chinese-whisper meanings drift gloriously between structural ones that convey form but not content.
In virtual world terms, no-one needs to know it, but someone needs to have known it. It's a deeper magic from before the dawn of time, that informs all but has lost its meaning. Kinda like me, really.
So much knowledge, so little use...
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