Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Extrapolation



Via Destructoid and Faith, comes this item on The Binary Picture Show.

It's a gaming news lovechild of Max Headroom and Lara Croft. And while nothing terribly special outside of its novelty, it speaks to much bigger things. The BPS is not some effort by a major marketing campaign, just a few guys with some tech savvy and a willingness to produce product. Certainly it could be a major marketing campaign if the right nasties got their hands in the concept, and I suspect that is inevitable. But it's the homegrown aspect of the project and the concept itself that should be of greater interest.

Gamers are quite used to creating avatars, and such things make their way into the mainstream little bits at a time. The Wii and its Miis is looking to expand on this, alas in baby steps. And MySpace gives the less gifted among us an ability to carve out a little personal internet dorm room. Still if you look at the customization involved in games like Eve Online and City of Heroes, the possibilities (and results) are striking. To a lesser extent but far more widespread is World of Warcraft, where your initial choice among fantasy races also allows a little leeway with facial features, skin color, and hairstyles. That's all before you start clothing yourself.

Lady Mainframe, the buxom host of BPS, was the creation of its owners, serving certain needs while no doubt playing to its audience. She's a few polys short as of now, but it's a matter of resources. It will not be long before the host aspect is handed over to the user, maybe not by BPS itself, but of something similar. Given the speed at which higher and higher CG quality is increasingly available to anyone with an AV jack, and the inherent need of user-end customization locks onto the collective consciousness, you can start counting down to a time where you can have your news read to you by just about anyone. Tonight's top stories brought to you by Lacy Chabert? Rock on. Not out of the question, perhaps with a small license fee... But remember, it's anyone. Breaking news by George Clooney, Gregory Peck, Kermit the Frog, or Morbo. Special interest cuts to Jessica Simpson, Jessica Tandy, Jessica James, or Jessica Rabbit. Weather by Nic Cage. Sports by Father Guido Sarducci. And that's all just potential licensed content. Feel free to hit the scale sliders and cobble together your best Betty Page or Brad Pitt look-alike. Hell, have the stock ticker read off by your Nintendog!

Scraping the surface here with the idea of news and avatars. The virtual world is just a rumble from some deep ocean earthquake at the moment, but damn if that thing won't hit us like a mile high tsunami.

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