Ubiquity of Communication
Read this essay by Randy Farmer, a pioneer of virtual online worlds, explaining something called Disney’s ToonTown.
Designers of online worlds for children wanted to severely restrict the communication that users could have with each other, lest somebody say something that’s inappropriate for children to hear.
Randy discusses various approaches to this problem that were tried over the years. The ToonTown solution was to restrict users to something called “Speedchat,” a menu of pre-constructed sentences, all innocuous. They also gave users the ability to conduct unrestricted conversations with each other, provided they both knew a secret code string. The designers presumed the code strings would be passed only to people a user knew in real life, perhaps on a school playground or among neighbors.
Users found ways to pass code strings to strangers anyway. This page describes several protocols, using gestures, canned sentences, or movement of objects in the game.
After you read the ways above to make secret friends, look here. Another way to make secret friends with toons you don’t know is to form letters/numbers with the picture frames in your house. Around you may see toons who have alot of picture frames at their toon estates, they are usually looking for secret friends. This is how to do it! So, lets say you wanted to make secret friends with a toon named Lily. Your “pretend” secret friend code is 4yt 56s.
- You: *Move frames around in house to form a 4.* “Okay.”
- Her: “Okay.” She has now written the first letter down on a piece of paper.
- You: *Move Frames around to form a y.* “Okay.”
- Her: “Okay.” She has now written the second number down on paper.
- You: *Move Frames around in house to form a t* “Okay.”
- Her: “Okay.” She has now written the third letter down on paper. “Okay.”
- You: *Do nothing* “Okay” This shows that you have made a space.
- Repeat process
Randy writes: “By hook, or by crook, customers will always find a way to connect with each other.”