I’ve been reading through the alpha forum for a while now, but this is my first time posting. First of all, I must say that it is an honor to help build the foundations of this virtual universe with you all. The purpose of this post is to open a discussion in regards to how we travel between different locations or servers in High Fidelity, and it’s effect on immersion. Currently, the method in place to get from one place to another mirrors Second Life, where there are no restrictions and instantaneous teleports. This method made Second Life feel more like a thousand disjointed chatrooms than a connected virtual reality, and I fear that HiFi might fall into this same trap. Our goal should be to make the world seem interconnected, like an actual universe that you can fluidly and seamlessly move through, rather than just a serverlist. Teleporting without explanation breaks immersion, and reminds you that you are playing a game. This also goes for people popping in and out of reality around you. I have a few ideas on how to alleviate this issue, and I’d love your input on any of the ideas. I’d also love to hear your own ideas, or any input on the topic of travel between worlds and immersion in general.
1. The Gate Method: Using a similar method to a direct teleport, but using an intermediary step after inputting an address by opening a portal to the destination that the player would walk through. This would have the advantage of not breaking immersion for either you or anyone watching you. It would also act as a link between the two worlds that people could follow you through, depending on the personal security preferences of the user and his gates. For instance, a person could allow only people on his friends lists to follow him through gates he creates, or they could set how long the gates last after he’s gone through. This would also give people on the destination world a plausible explanation to why someone who was not there before to be there now, after seeing a gate open, and a person walk through, thus not breaking immersion. This gate could either look like a white rectangle (Ex. Gman from Half Life) or even a portal that you can see the destination through, like in the game Portal. This is probably my favorite idea from a practical standpoint.
2. The TARDIS Method: If you’re unaware, the TARDIS is a fictional spaceship that has the insides and outsides in different dimensions. The exterior of the ship looks like a four foot wide, four foot wide, eight foot tall blue box. Upon entering the box, you find yourself in an extremely spacious interior. This ship can dematerialize from one location, and dematerialize in another. This could be a method of giving players home servers that they can take anywhere they go. Imagine a person chooses a doorway for the entrance to their “TARDIS” and once you walk through that door, you appear in a log cabin, or a spaceship, or a crypt. Whatever the player has built. This would act as a players home base, and no one would have to pay for land because the server would be run from their own computer. They could use this hub as a method of traveling anywhere in the universe.
3. The Teleport Hub Method: This method simply states that a player would have to locate a teleport hub to transport themselves between worlds, and they would only be able to access hubs that they have permission to teleport to. Imagine a telephone booth. You walk in, punch an address into the keypad, and you’d be teleported to another hub. Players could charge to teleport to certain hubs on their servers, like a nightclub for instance. There are major shortcomings to this method, and it might become more of a restriction than it’s worth, as each world would have to be equipped with these booths. Though, each booth would function the same way no matter how it is made to look, and a server owner could design their own booth to match the theme of the server. (Ex. If it’s a wizard themed world, the person would appear in a puff of smoke on top of a rune drawn on the ground).
4. The Gadget Method: This is the simplest method to implement. The main purpose would be just to give an explanation as to how the player is teleporting to try to maintain immersion. This could be achieved by simply giving each player a Pip Boy like wrist computer that you would input the address into, and you’d disappear in a puff of electric smoke. If you’ve seen Doctor Who, it would be like the Vortex Manipulator. This could also be achieved in many other ways, like a wizard could cast a spell to make them teleport, for example.