Wherein I pine for continuous virtual worlds

I always liked the concept of virtual worlds as connected space: e.g. The Street in Snow Crash, The River in Otherland, even required travel time in many games and novels about games. AtollContinent

Second Life used to feel much more connected than it does today:  real estate near telehubs were valuable, and people needed to use the roads.  Sure there is plenty of mainland, but the roads, rails, and waterways are activities and window dressing, not really a meaningful part of the experience and rendering the world functionally just a huge pile of disconnected regions.

Au reports in New World Notes on the general lack of vehicle communities in SL… of course, there are certainly large groups centered around vehicles (SL Sailing is huge, and motorcycles are the center of smaller but perhaps more numerous groups), but again – they are generally all about the skills of driving, and they seem to mirror the social aspects of their RL analogues.

So, a thought experiment: what would it take to make vehicles in SL (for instance) not only valuable but crucial? … and what would the side effects be?  To get things started:

  1. lets imagine that Linden were to announce tomorrow (!) that user controlled teleports were no longer allowed in any situation.
  2. Oops – what about all those private regions? Well, how about navigable voids?
  3. Flying disallowed by default and never on mainland.
  4. The only way to go fast is to use a vehicle – faster engines cost more to run.
  5. It is possible to set up teleport portals, but they (a) cost money to set up, (b) the owner may charge a fee to use, (c) you need to manually place the endpoints, sailing to your island or building steps (minecraft-like) into your skybox.
  6. the world owner would probably want to set up some public transportation: maybe inter-telehub portals, or stargates, or Snowcrash-like high-speed rails.
  7. How long would SL take to recover? Ever? Quickly?
  8. There are plenty of MMOs that work like this – what would an SL or OpenSim with these rules look like?
  9. Would such a system kill SL commerce entirely?  Would people only shop on Marketplace?  Maybe Marketplace delivery charges go up to encourage people to go to stores.

No no, I’m not really suggesting that SL change, though I’d love to see an opensim try.  Maybe SL2 should work like this?  HiFi?