Mary Rose Cook's notebook

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Thoughts on Dynamicland

Layers of abstraction

In Dynamicland, there seem to be three layers of abstraction.

They use the phrase “operating system” to refer to the software that runs the cameras, projectors, dynamic pages and so on. Despite being a low level, this layer seems manipulable. It is still within the system.

Above that layer is the set of programs that run on pages. These seem to be written in Lua.

Above that layer are the dynamic objects that can be manipulated using “real-world” tools: arms, hands, pens, glue and so on.

It seems likely that the higher layers will be changed more often than the lower layers.

It seems likely that, as you go up the layers, the tools become increasingly accessible to non-programmers.

The name

Is the name, Dynamicland, an oblique reference to DisneyLand?

Pretend worlds vs the real world

Ordinary creative programs like Photoshop generate a pretend world inside the computer. The user interacts with the world using only a few of their faculties: sight, hearing and limited movements.

VR also creates a pretend world inside the computer. But the user can interact with the world using a wider range of movements.

AR puts some of the real world into a pretend world.

Dynamicland is the real world. But it projects virtual worlds into the real world.

It feels like the approach of Dynamicland is to start by picking a different set of assumptions. Instead of assuming that the power of a cohesive simulation is too great to let go of, Dynamicland seems to assume that the power of our bodies in the real world is too great to let go of. Starting from that assumption, it seems to try to bring back as many simulated elements as possible.