Okay, forget the vaporware “metaverse” business. You can open a browser tab and use this right now (in beta). Create, build, remix, and code 3D rooms for any kind of fun you imagine. While the big tech platform internet is unraveling, we can all play with stuff like this instead. And it’s kid-friendly – and a way for kids to learn to code (human coding, not AI).
This comes our way from Bruno Oliveira:
You can view anything as source – editing code with Lua. Share what you’ve made with a simple public URL – and then they can remix it, too.
The beta launched yesterday, with this launch video:
Here’s what happens as you start to edit. And I don’t doubt for a second people will play with this, given the kinds of elaborate customizations that grew out of things like Super Mario Maker 2 on Nintendo Switch:
Plus if you’re not on isometric twee overload already, here’s a speedrun of rooms.xyz:
This question of what virtual shared collaborative space should look like online was something we explored at CTM Festival Berlin in our “pandemic edition” 2021 MusicMakers Hacklab. I wrote up our findings for CTM Magazine – thanks to the help of Olivia Jack, the superhuman co-host and legendary creator of live coding environment Hydra.
Living in the Future, Lost in the Snow: Finding Closeness in Remote Collaboration in a Pandemic Hacklab
So the funny thing about writing is, I tend to wind up using my own writing as notes / my external brain. If you scroll down, there’s a big list of the tools we used. It remains relevant – really, mostly it’s the same tools, but a few have improved in performance and usability since 2021.
This reminds me a bit of our brief exploration of WorkAdventure, which made a 16-bit RPG video game into a collaboration environment. By spatializing the experience, it worked a lot better than the Brady Bunch Zoom grid – participants were naturally able to walk around and form little groups to chat.
That tool is also up on GitHub.
Part of the reason I think tech goes in cycles is that it’s made by humans. A lot of us are still processing the all-remote experience of the pandemic – not to mention a lot of folks now dealing with chronic illness brought on by COVID-19 (including so-called long COVID and related ailments). Sometimes it takes banging away for years on tech to make it work or to have the pieces come together in your own head about what it’s for.
That is to say, I’m very interested to see where folks take tools like this next.