Virtual world locations often mimic those we see in real life; but, the similarity ends with appearance. Coffee shops are an example of this. Many VW coffee shops have clever animations and comfy decor without offering anything like caffeine, something on which to get juiced. After all, isn’t that the purpose of a coffee shop in meatspace?
What if a virtual coffeehouse served Internet media?
Instead of beverages, what if we found links to websites and blogs; in place of caffeine, information? One user picks up a link, another drops one off. We could still wear animated mugs, let’s just splash some virtual books and magazines on those virtual coffee tables.
Just as I might pick up a magazine at a local coffeehouse, I might also browse a list of websites, blogs, or videos gently placed before my avatar. So, how do you make a fountain for information…an Internet spigot…a coffee pot for content?
Media Cafe is a personal project to experiment with social sharing of Internet content within VWs. The challenge is to marry interactive objects, URL handlers, with the control of media in world (Parcel media? Shared media?). Most work is happening in OSgrid, an OpenSimulator host run entirely by volunteers. Some testing will probably take place in SecondLife™.
As a user, I would want:
- accessibility – a tool at my fingertips
- ease of use – nothing complicated, just click and browse
- relevance – give me content that is current
The object should be recognizable—or curiously suspect—to attract attention and promote usage. This is a challenge: make something that looks new but still fits in with common coffeehouse decor.
As a landowner, I would want…
- an option to customize the object’s design
- the ability to manage content
- a small footprint, both in bandwidth and prim count
Managing content is top priority, here. I do not want someone spamming my users. I might also want an external feed…a premium blend for the urn, so to speak.
What makes a user return to a VW coffeeshop? If the space brewed up info-tainment, would that prompt conversation, maybe promote community?
Suggestions are welcome.