That 3D thing…

Audience wearing special glasses watch a 3D "stereoscopic film" at the Telekinema on the South Bank in London during the Festival of Britain

So Facebook is now Meta and the new idea is a 3D universe. That idea is not particularly new, but I also think the idea of a 3D universe is a bad one. There has been multiple pushes for some form of 3D in media since the 50s, each time, the idea recessed in the background because it was basically a gimmick.

There are technical reasons why producing good 3D media is hard, but I think there is a more fundamental issue, most of our media could use a sense of depth, but could not tolerate a change of perspective.
If I could look at things from a different perspective in a movie, the producer would loose one of their main narrative tools, the frame.

When emulating some social interaction, say a video conference, the frame stays relevant, I’m not supposed to zoom into a participant’s nostril, or look at them from heavens like a god. Even in computer gaming, while the production tools are increasingly in 3D, many games still have a constrained frame, this is not due to a technical constraint, but again an issue of framing.

Remove the frame, and you have multiple narrations. Any role-player will tell you this is possible, but interactive media is another idea that keeps coming and failing.

Usually, when there is a new media, colour printing, VHS tapes, internet, there is one industry which is always in the front of innovation: porn. Did all the pornographic production switch to 3D? Another industry that did not try to go 3D is computer science. Code is complex, you would think that having 3D dimension visualisations of code, or numbers in general would be a killer application – it is not.

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