The Verse, a wired 3D future

So I was blown away by a new game which revision3's Coop (ex 1upshow) previewed, according to the site, the description is this.

Eskil Steenberg is the sole developer of the game Love. He dropped by the week of GDC to give an extended demo of this 200-player, persistent, and uniquely beautiful game world in which players have complete control–even over the very landscape. Created with tools of his own making, including a 3D modeler and renderer, Love is an incredible example of just how far a solo project can go.

Its all highly impressive stuff, and so I hit the web to find out more about the game and the tools Eskil built to create the game. What I found was something very different from just a game. Eskil has a complete technical demo online which you can download and play with. The editor (Loq Airou) is also downloadable but the whole project seems to be a front for Verse. Verse being a real time network protocol that lets 3D apps talk to each other. Like a 3D aware XMPP? Blender3D already has Verse support and so does GIMP via a plugin. 3D studio max has a plug which has been built too, but thats about it for now. So back to Love, Love is a side project of Verse and so the Love engine is just a client using Verse? Its quite a bit to get your head around but currently the whole thing is freely available. Eskil has said he might make it either donation-ware or open source in the future, which is great news. I think I'm going to have a play tomorrow to see if I can get it working.

Verse sounds utterly amazing, and its good to read some of the thinking behind verse. Wired did cover this a while back but I missed it.

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Record Store day?

My flatmate happen to have on Channel4 news today and I saw a segment about Record Store day. The general concept is that the independent record stores are losing out to the big stores, supermarkets and ultimately the internet. They have a lot of support from the record labels including Warner Music and others.

Anyway I can't work out if this is,

  1. simply a idea thought up by the record industry
  2. A idea brought together by independent record shops and now jumped upon by record labels

I'm a fan of independent stores generally, Bristol doesn't even have a independent record shop anymore. How tragic is that, specially with its background in dance music. and there is a real threat which is shutting down the independent store. But its not that simple, I think there missing something.

  • The mass record chains are closing down or at least feeling the pitch from dropping sales
  • The supermarkets are eating the lunch of the record chains and they don't give a crap about independent music.
  • The internet is a threat but it depends how you look at it.
  • The internet isn't just about itunes, napster, amazon, hmv, etc.
  • There are tons of niche/independent online music stores such as Juno and my current number one Audiojelly.
  • Music discovery is still mainly a social thing. Last.FM, Pandora, Blip.FM,etc.

The above smells to me like a opportunity to claw back the music lovers. Supermarkets do the plain mass and independents can cater for the rest of the market. Its not a huge market but you don't need to make a killing. I'm never going to be able to buy the excellent tune Roundabout by Sam Sharp at HMV, but I can find it at AudioJelly.

One of the advantages independent shops tout is the music discovery, and they do have a slight point but in actual fact I remember queing for ages to listen to the stack of vinyl which I had picked out, when I use to be a vinyl dj. But on the other hand yes there is a nice selection of different music in one place plus you can speak to people for recommendations. Trance like a lot of dance music has embraced the digital world quicker that other types of music. A lot of the djs, make there own music, play there own music and own there own record labels, so they have become like a brand.

The perfect example is Armin Van Buuren (voted number one dj in 2008). He owns 2 or maybe 3 record labels including Armind, plays sets all over the world, creates many remixes and creates his own works. Not only all that but he also has a instanly popular radio show which is syndicated all over the planet and a weekly podcast. Yep he must be the original flying dutchman. Point is that he's filling in the gap of music discovery. Gareth Emery is a regular trance podcast I found by clicking podcasts in The link doesn't end there however. Every week after the podcast, creates a playlist for the mix. So I can identify tunes just by there running order and better still buy it right there.

If independant Record stores are to stick around, there going to have to stop thinking about themsleves as in the game selling pieces of vinyl. I can't quite put my finger on what exactly. But maybe a start is providing the ability to get digital downloads at high speeds in the store. Not because customers need high speed internet access (don't get me started on net cafes) but because they want advice, maybe?

Imagine a store so progressive that it has card readers, ipod docks and a bluetooth network. A place where the music matters and the format isn't important.

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