||OPENING TITLES: ANIMATED GLOBES WITH GRAPHICS
||INSET OF SHOTS FROM ITEMS
In THE NET tonight, Wavey Davey puts on his anorak and looks into the
future. Has the Internet's utopia moment already passed? Interactive images
from Japanese artist, Toshio Iwai. In our weekly Hotlist American author,
Kevin Kelly shows us to his favourite sites on the World Wide Web and choosing
an alternative identity in cyberspace
||S/I For live information access Ceefax page 777
||Benjamin Woolley checks out the weird and wonderful world of
Multi User Dungeons.
||NET GRAPHIC WIPE
||COMPILATIONS OF SCREEN SHOTS, PROJECTORS
||The information infrastructure
... multi channel television
... all of human life is here ....
.... are reading these messages ...
... wherever your ..
.... it means nothing to anybody ...
||W/A DARK ROOM
||It must be one of the most sociable, lively, challenging
activities you can do on your own
||BEN AT COMPUTER
||in a darkened room. It's a sort of dial-up computer game, a
digital equivalent of the telephone chatline. You log on with your computer,
usually over the Internet, and find
||yourself in a fantasy world, a world where you can meet people,
chat, fight, make love, live
||W/A WOODS, S/I
Standing around you are only trees, though you sense a presence
lurking in the gloom beyond.
| and die. They call it a multi-user dungeon or MUD. For those
who play it this is much more than a game, it's a whole new way of life.
||So there it is, it's on the screen, there are no
||S/I BENJAMIN WOOLLEY
||pictures, no sounds, you don't need a virtual reality headset or a
holographic display. All you need is a 3-D true-colour, high-resolution
imagination because this virtual world only exists as text like a novel. But
in a MUD you can decide who you are and where you want to go.
TYPES Go north
||GV WOODS, S/I
The undergrowth becomes thicker, the sense of foreboding becomes
|A MUD world is also like a novel full of characters but they
aren't fictional. What they say or do is determined by real people who, like
me, sit at a computer experiencing the same world but from their own point of
view. They can also invent a new identity for
||S/I Sweetpea enters, wearing her magic boots.
||themselves, a sort of virtual mask. In real life they may be a
student from Sunderland or a banker from Bangkok but here they are whoever or
whatever they want to be. I, for example, decided to be the Listener.
||S/I SWEETPEA: Howdi, Listener! r u lost?
Howdy Listener, are you lost?
||S/I You say "I just got here, What's to see?'
||S/I SWEETPEA: The Italian gardens r over there. I'm going there,
do u wanna come
||The Italian Gardens over there, I'm going
there, do you want to come?
||S/I You say I'm gonna
explore a bit, Thanks
||S/I Sweetpea says OK then:-)
Because the characters are real, MUD life has all the complexities
and some of the dangers of real life, there are the same battles of the
sexes, the same conflicts of interests, the same struggles to make friends.
||W/A NIGHT S/I
||Monroe is here, wearing
a dress so tight all the
||This world has the perils as well as the pleasure that you
experience in real life or IRL as MUD players call it.
||S/I You say "Hello, Monroe ..."
|| MONROE: Hi, Listener. Where r u from irl?
Hello Listener, where are you from IRL?
||You say 'er .. Guatemala:-)
||LEGS: Hello, gorgeous!
||MONROE: lo Legs
||LEGS: Lovely, blonde hair.
||Lovely blonde hair
||MONROE: Oh, it's even better in my armpits.
Oh, it's even better in my armpits
||LEGS: THAT'S DISGUSTING!
Oh, that's disgusting
||MONROE: I was only joking stoopid
I was only joking stupid
||Legs reaches for Monroe, trying to caress her body.
Monroe pushes Legs away
||MONROE: How dare you
How dare you!
||LEGS: What's up?
||MONROE: I didn't ask to be
I didn't ask to be groped.
||LEGS: I'm bored with this. I'm off.
I'm bored with this, I'm off.
||MONROE: Thanks very much:-(
Thanks very much!
Yeah well if you'd been a bit nicer, I might have hung around.
S/I Go North East
You don't make up a Multi User Dungeon world as you go along.
||GV'S FANTASY INTERIOR
S/I You enter a giant trifle, squeezing through the
creamy topping into a room made of rasberry and lime flavoured jelly.
||The descriptions of the locations are stored
on a central computer called the server and
they continue to exist there even when you
log off. But it's the users who bring the world
alive, it's their interests and quirks - their
creative and sometimes destructive instincts
||S/I Sprout the Chinese Warrior and The Reverend Pudding are here.
||that give the MUD its character.
||Sprout snarls menacingly and flaps his fish about in
a threatening manner, fna, fnaaa!
||Pudding strikes out with his trusty weapon, "Excalibream".
||Sprout wallops Pudding very very hard indeed.
||Pudding wins an Oscar for his terrific death scene.
||Death in this sort of world is not just a case of
having to go back and start again. Reverend Pudding really is no
more, and when the person who adopted the good Reverend's
||Sprout teleports to another dimension
||persona to play another day he or she will be reborn as someone
else, a stranger, a newcomer who must once again go through the process of
getting to know people, making friends, acquiring powers.
S/I You enter the Italian
Gardens. There are many
stone statues here.
They contain the souls of
explorers who have been
bewitched by the gorgeous.
||TRACK INTO GROUP
S/I Medusa, Big Ted,
Grubby and Beardy, the
Chest Wig are playing
|Despite their playfulness Multi User Dungeons have a serious
purpose, they're models for a whole new type of institution, a virtual space
in which students can be taught, companies can do business, worshippers can
||CLOSER SHOTS GROUP
||are even trying to use them to create experimental communities,
literally to build new worlds from scratch in which they can try out different
codes of behaviour, systems of government and new environments.
||W/A BEN IN DARK ROOM
||S/I The Palace of Masks, A large, hexagonal ballroom of Palladian
splendour, Richly coloured oil paintings hang on the walls, and delicate
marble statues stand in the corners.
There are doors leading off in all directions, through which small,
intimate rooms can be glimpsed.
||Z/O TO VERY W/A DARK ROOM WITH SHAFTS OF LIGHT|
|This isn't just self indulgent escapism. MUDS are not a playpen for
adolescent nerds too disfigured by acne to show their faces IRL, in real life.
The aim is to create a space that will draw people in, enable them to discover
new things about themselves and others. Don't come here to get a life, you
come here to find out more about life. This in part is what
||S/I To the East of the Palace of Masks there is a small red room.
||interested MUD pioneers like Richard Bartle.
||Richard Bartle, the creator of MUD1, is here
PAN L TO MS RICHARD
||S/I You say 'What have MUDs got to do with life?'
MUDS are places where you can live, they're places of habitation,
they're not games, they're not things that you just crank up on your computer,
they are places where you live, there are places you can go there to visit
friends, you can go there to visit enemies. Oh yes, you can die there.
||S/I Richard Bartle vanishes with a "POP"
||MCU SIMON MARSH
||Simon Marsh the creator of Foothills appears by magic.
||You say 'Tell us the extent of MUDs.'
MUDS mirror real life, they reflect every aspect of people's lives,
the way they live, the way they talk with each other and the way they
||W/A DOORS TO ROOMS
S/I Lizzy Parrot and Madame Foo Foo gossip about their favourite
episode of Twin Peaks.
|socialise. People go there to talk and interact with each other
so things that are important to people in real life get talked about and are
important to people on MUDS.
||2-S WALKING TO CAM
||As with any society there are good people and there are bad
people. People go in there to have a good time, to enjoy themselves, to meet
other people and there are people who
||S/I Madame Foo Foo scuttles off down to the dungeons.
||will go in there to try and mess it up for other people.
It's like a shared dream, you're all together in
||one place. Can be from hundreds, tens or
||GV INT GLASS HOUSE
S/I Feather Lily flits about the glass house, sipping sweet nectar
from her love-roses.
|thousands of rooms with thousands of people on them. MUDS have a
life of their own. Without the users there would be no MUDS so the users
define how the MUD works, how it interacts and how it progresses.
||MS SIMON, PUTS UP
MASK, PAN R TO ROOM
FULL OF PEOPLE
||TRACK UP EXT STEPS TO HOUSE
The result of all this can be a world which is, to say the least,
bewildering. It can also be a bit
||INT MASKED BALL
||frightening, especially for so-called newbies,
||POV ENTERING ROOM
||newcomers, who are suddenly immersed in an alien world populated
by strange creatures speaking in unfamiliar tongues.
||S/I Listener the Newbie enters the Palace of Masks
||But then that could be a description of what it's like IRL.