Part 1: Production Schedule — Thesis

Production Summary

Project Asha

Avatars and Identity

Create an Avatar which is as interprobile as possible across different platforms / Cyberspace / Metaverse — this will be the Virtual Persona which will represent the music brand (Virtual DJ). This Avatar will be called Asha and this will also be the name of the project. (Name meaning here https://nameberry.com/babyname/Asha )

I am thinking of the digital Avatar as a digital sovereign Individual of cyberspace and will also include an associated crypto wallet, social media accounts, and a VR home space. The Avatar will be an extension of a character developed through drama workshops in real reality and then transferred to cyberspace via a games design production pipeline, a team, including myself will puppet / guide / bring to life this avatar.

This Avatar will also be a resident of a metaverse community (state) while also being represented as a 2D jpg (for twitter, facebook profile pictures), a 3D performable character (for mo-cap purposes), a playable video game character in Roblox / Fortnite / Minecraft and a Vtuber on youtube.

It will live ‘On platform’ and not be represented in RR (Real Reality)

An explanation of to why character direction choices have been made, and also while certain social media accounts, video game platforms and metaverse spaces have been chosen over others, will also be explained in the research report.

Once this avatar has been created, it will then be seeded / introduced to relevant communities, and the search for work will begin.

The avatar will be a DJ (Musical style to be determined) , and will be looking for gigs in the various virtual spaces to perform and thus make a living from doing — the how / why / outcomes will be reported via a netnography methodology, and critical study applied and findings reported.

Ownership — IP — NFT technology

An important part of this project, and one that will anchor itself in Cyberspace / Metaverse / Web3 over real reality will be proof of creation, IP and ownership online — the internet is a giant photocopier, where data, images, music and films, can be copied and pasted and transferred for free, meaning that for example a single image can be duplicated a billion times for free, and with ease, to the detriment of the original creator — in music this is called music piracy, and has been around since recorded music began.

The avatar that I will create, will also be registered as an NFT on the blockchain — this will be a kind of birth certificate and proof of ownership of this digital creation.

I will also experiment with a series of NFT drops, which will enable the avatar to have an income and therefore participate in the emerging crypto metaverse economy — as a music brand / DJ these drops will be music industry related merchandise, and I will create the NFT equivalent for the avatar to drop throughout the project.

By Creating a series of NFT drops which explores the potential of this medium (Value exchange — how to make a living in the metaverse) I will be able to explore the notion of being a digital sovereign individual tied to the emerging music ecnomid of cyberspace / metaverse.

Its important to stress that the character will be played by myself, but Mark Ashmore and what makes that person in RR, ‘real’, will not be represented in anyform online — therefore all interactions will be with the avatar and its social media accounts and also financial transactions will be done via a crypto wallet and connected via crypto currency.

In essence this will turn the anonymous player into a digital sovereign individual with a stake in a cyberspace / metaverse community making a living through music.

Chapter Written: Deadline 5th Dec 2021

Brief History of the Metaverse (In my Opinion)

From the Well to Meta….

(Reflection notes) 3/12/21 To Author / Supervisor team — having reviewed the work done over the past month, which is to curate a timeline for the reader to bring them via a literacy / overview of the virtual community space, a few insights have become apparent — which require further study and perhaps don’t jump out at first from the work already done.. points to research are

  1. The first Satellite broadcast in 1968 which i explore in the 60s timeline, has another important musical milestone in 1985 with Live aid — with the Beatles performance in 68 TO x 100 Million ,and the Live aid performance in 85 to X 100 Million, both where mass broadcast partcipatory events, but NOT interactive — but these are a milestone in connectivity, because the evolution of gigs in Fortnite, Roblox, Sandbox are a direct evolution from Satellite broadcasts, people understand the media language of what the parciptory event is, because there is a collective experience to reference , but before 68/85 we did’nt have this pop culture milestone in music to build on— so i need to mention this as part of the evolution — Satalite also gave us MTV, MTV gace us Twitch, gave us Youtube / gave us democratic media.
  2. I have used Wiki entries has holding text for ideas in the timeline, while I go find the literature — its actually helpful, as like a painter or a director, you block out an artwork or scene, and then go in and work the detail, so i am using that for my writing.. block out.. then examine what i need to make this my own, and what my angle / argument / opinion is
  3. Use of a blog to write enables me to add multimedia elements in to the work, such as the documentary videos and digital examples of experiences, which i reference — obviously the final thesis will be in paper book form, but a digital version will also be created.. and this will be my primary tool — it will be a digital first project.
  4. BBS is so important! and the MUD that it helped birth virtual spaces even more so — it enabled compelling research on early digital community's, the equivalent to early stone people — the BBS documentary, requires more unpacking, and i need to find the scholarship which would have been done on this scene in the 70s/80s/90s and have yet to do so.
  5. One thing that did come out of BBS was finding out about the work of Richard Bartle — who I have been in touch with, and i was sent his book about ‘building virtual worlds — his FOUR PERSONALITY TYPES / BARTLE TEST.. is important! RESEACH! — In 1988, Bartle received a PhD in artificial intelligence from the University of Essex, where as an undergraduate, he created MUD1 with Roy Trubshaw in 1978.[4]He lectured at Essex until 1987, when he left to work full-time on MUD (known as MUD2 in its present version). Recently he has returned to the university as a part-time professor and principal teaching fellow in the Department of Computing and Electronic Systems, supervising courses on computer game design as part of the department’s degree course on computer game development.[5]He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.In 2003, he wrote Designing Virtual Worlds, a book about the history, ethics, structure, and technology of massively multiplayer games.Bartle is also a contributing editor to Terra Nova, a collaborative blog that deals with virtual world issues.Bartle did research on player personality types in virtual worlds. In Bartle’s analysis, players of virtual worlds can be divided into four types: achievers, explorers, socializers and killers.[6] This idea has been adapted into an online test generally referred to as the Bartle Test,[7] which is quite popular, with scores often exchanged on massively multiplayer online games forums and networking sites.[8]

CHAPTER 2: THE ROAD, THAT LEADS TO THE SUPERHIGHWAY AND ON TO THE METAVERSE.

In this chapter I will examine the relationship between Computer Technology (Hardware and Software) and the networks which connect them together. I will look at the early forms of networked computers and examine the technology used, its key area’s of usage and who was using it and why.

I will also examine the social and economic conditions which have given rise to this technology.

Human advancement in the evolution of technology is never just a singular event, advancement is the cause of a symbiotic effect of many different causes, situations and advancements, which then make up the ‘moment’, the advancement in technology, which then becomes accessible, and in some cases, becomes mainstream within society to nudge humanity on a new evolutionary path.

Economics, as we shall see, also has a major role to play, the markets, the movement of capital, buying and selling goods and services, the foundations of western capitalist society also have a key role to play.

Due to the sheer scope of the computing age, I have chosen to focus on specific key area’s of computer science which relate directly to my research topic

These are bullet pointed below and make up sub headings within this chapter.

1960s — Birth of a new age of computing and the counter culture.

1970s — Early microcomputers in the home and the arrival of the Bulletin Board System (BBS)

1980s -BBS lays the foundations of early internet culture, The Well, Habitat and Virtual Communities.

1990s — Cyberspace, Virtual Reality and the return of the Counter Culture, Birth of the digital natives (Gen Z)

2000s — The Internet goes Mainstream

2010s — The mobile Internet, social media, Virtual Reality 2.0

2020s — Metaverse 1.0 0r Web 3.0

1960s — Birth of a new age of computing and the counter culture.

In the 1960s Daniel Bell argued that the dynamism of American society marked a major historical transition from an ‘Industrial’ to a ‘Post Industrial’ society (Kline 2003).

In the post-industrial economy the production, processing, and communication of information services and cultural commodities replaced the production and distribution of natural resources and industrial goods as the key sector of the economy (Kline 2003)

The 1960s began with the creation of an entire new entertainment medium, that would in the next 60 years, move from the laboratory to mass main stream adoption, in 1962 ‘Space War’ was created which would be known to be one of the first ever video games, which had multiple installations, across different PDP-1 computers, the code was also public domain and so has been much copied across systems and games. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacewar! )

Space War, combined art, science and emerging computer technology to create a simple, but much copied, space shooter — 1962’s ‘Space War’

This simple, but effective game, demonstrated bla blah blah.

The 1960s began just 15 years after the end of World War 2, meaning that if you were born in 1945 as World War 2 ended, in 1960, you would be 15 years old, at the start of your teenage years, and that transitional time from childhood to adult hood — the so called formative years.

Postwar America

Films like American Graffiti and television shows like “Happy Days” portrayed Teenagers as being the new radicals and central to the changes in society, these films portrayed the late 50s, early 60s as a carefree era — a decade of tail-finned Cadillacs, collegians stuffing themselves in phone booths, and innocent tranquillity and static charm ( https://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/era.cfm?eraID=16&smtid=1 ). and it is worth remembering, that these teenagers are now referred to in 2020 as the baby boomer generation.

But the post-World War II period was an era of intense anxiety and dynamic, creative change.

During the 1950s, African Americans quickened the pace of the struggle for equality by challenging segregation in court. A new youth culture emerged with its own form of music — rock ’n’ roll, Elvis, the King of Rock n Roll became a pop culture icon.

Maverick sociologists, social critics, poets, and writers — conservatives as well as liberals — authored influential critiques of American society (https://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/era.cfm?eraID=16&smtid=1) the precursor to the hippie of the 1960s, was the Beatnik was introduced to society, immortalised in Jack Kerouac's ‘On the Road’, published in 1957.

Its during this post war transitional period that the computer age took a giant leap forward, its here that I would like to look at two defining events which would push humanity forward, edging us closer towards the metaverse.

One is technological, a showcase of the future of modern computing, and the second is a cultural event, enabled by technology, which would only be possible, because of the advancements in technology and the accessibility of television as a mainstream device (Television being a relatively new invention, the first television broadcast was 1927 — some 33 years before the start of the 1960s)

The first of these events is called ‘The Mother of all Demo’s’ the second of which is the broadcast of the first international satellite program broadcast in 1967 to over 400 million people world-wide, featuring, The Beatles.

Boom — Doug Engelbart

Doug Engelbart was the first to actually build a computer that might seem familiar to us today. He came to Silicon Valley after a stint in the Navy as a radar technician during World War 2. The Computer then, and in post war America there was only one computer, was used to Calculate artillery tables (Fisher 2018) so that the American military could bomb the enemy more effectively.

Engelbarts idea was that computers of the future should be optimised for human needs — communication and collaboration. Computers he reasoned, should have keyboards and screens, instead of punch cards and printouts. They should augment rather than replace human intellect (Fisher 2018).

Engelbarts idea was to create a tool that could be used by the future knowledge worker, to perform faster and better, this was a controversial idea (Fisher 2018) — and its this ‘Controversial’ idea label, which we shall see reapeatldy placed on so many 1960s developments, from the civil rights movement, to Vietnam, to Warhols pop art movement and many more.

Engelbart was exploring via invention, the litratreally notion suggested by Daniel Bell with his arguments on dynamism of American society moving from from an ‘Industrial’ to a ‘Post Industrial’ society (Kline 2003).

Engelbart had written a proposal after completing his PhD, which found its way to NASA and landed him some funding, his proposal was called ‘Augmenting the human intellect’.

From 1963 to the ‘Mother of all Demo’s’ in 1968 — Engelbart set to work, and invented the modern mouse and the bitmap display, and began to experiment with software development — which was a radical idea at the time, remember this was an age of mainframe computers the size of a room and programming via printed punchcards. The very notion of interactive computing was ridiculed, yes ridiculed at computer conferences of the mid 60's.

Interactive computing was said to be ‘Too Expensive, computer time is worth more than human time, therefore not cost effective, its a pipe dream’ the majority of the general public where ignorant to the idea’s of interactive computing, and the computing establishment where opposed to Engelbarts idea’s, ‘90% of the people thought Engelbart was a crackpot’ quotes Bill Paxton, a member of Engelbarts team, ‘Doug was a voice crying into the wilderness (Fisher 2018).

But Doug Engelbart and his team had an opportunity to demonstrate the technology they had hand built between 1963 and 1968, and showcase the software and technology they had created to showcase the future of human interfaced interactive computing — which would in 2020 make Apple a company valued at a trillion dollars.

The Conference they would showcase the technological computing demo would be at the American Federation of Information Processing Conference in San Francisco in December 1968, and preparations would begin in March of that year.

The demo would be paid for by ARPA.

ARPA was created by the department of defence at the instigation of President Eisenhower to support high risk research without the red tape, so that, hopefully the USA would not be surprised by Cold War advancements by the Soviet Union — the Lunch of Sputnik (Fisher 2018). Sputnik came as a massive surprise to American intelligence services, ARPA would change this.

With a budget of $175,000 of 1968 money (2022 value $1 million) the team set about to demonstrate a new age of interactive modern computing.

The Mother of all Demo’s

Picture the scene, a 1960s style auditorium, with a mainly white male mad men looking crowd, around 1000 of them, with a sprinkling of San Francisco hippie counter culture.

The location, The National Computer Conference at Brooks Hall in San Francisco's Civic Centre in December 1968.

Englelbart is sat onstage with a giant video screen projected behind him, and a mouse at his finger tips, then in what has become known as ‘the mother of all demo’s’ Engelbart show’s off what his computer can do (Fisher 2018)

The oN-Line System or NLS Terminal had a screen and a keyboard, windows, and a mouse.

During the demo, he showed off a way to edit text, a version of e-mail, and even a primitive version of Skype / Zoom (Fisher 2018) — to the modern 2020's audience this would just look like the computers that are common place, and doing things that our iphones can do so easily — but to the 1000 attendees on that December day in 1968, who’s computers were giant mainframes, interacted with as machinery in a room, not sat at a desk, as its equal, as a tool to communicate, These mainframes where programmable via punch cards, pieces of paper, with thousands of holes punched out of them and fed into the computer by hand, noisey, hot, loud machines, yet here interactions where typed, commands written on the screen, via a keyboard and widows opened and closed, and things selected by a mouse.

The computer who’s purpose was one of a number cruncher in a room, was in this moment, shown to be an interactive computer device which could be used as a creative tool for the advancement of the human experience, it became humanised, and a new tool set for culture was born — we had moved from the computer stone age and into a new undefined era of possibility.

But its worth noting here, that behind the scenes, what we take for granted in terms of networked computing, Wifi, broadband, 5G and free global internet, and the cheapness and abundance of digital projctors, just did not exist in 1968, and was cobbled together in order to make the demo a success.

The demo would link the Brook Hall venue with Stanford Research Institute, for the Skype / Zoom element of the demo — in 2022, you would log on to Brook Halls wifi, sip your latte and click on the video call app, and for free, video call your friend over at SRI.. not so in 1968.

Although just 30 miles apart, two video circuits where leased from the phone company, and a microwave link consisting of two transmitters where set up to receive and send communications between Brook Hall and SRI, which where housed inside large trucks, 1000s of feet of cables and homemade modems (one of a kind) to link up the computers, at a cost $175,000 ($1 million 2022 dollars)

This array of video link, audio link and computer link, transfused together and operated by Engelbart on stage at Brook Hall and the behind the scenes team at the venue, and over at SRI would be the technical wizard team, who made this demo happen — now you just click the app and away you go — e-mail, zoom, Microsoft word and WhatsApp just there, no friction, just part of our everyday lives.

and its this demo, that showed what could be done.

It took another 39 years to shrink all this technology down, so that it would fit inside your pocket, and become a swiss army knife of digital tools, with the birth of the iPhone in 2007, with so many technological milestones along the way, many of which we will explore here.

As Steve Jobs say’s ‘ We humans are tool builders. We can Fashion tools that amplify these inherent abilities that we have to spectacular magnitudes. And so for me, a computer has always been a bicycle of the mind. (Jobs ????)

A New Dawn

Engelbart’s demo, was able to showcase how technology of the day, could be put together in such a way, that it would revolutionise the way we see computing and computers — in one demo, we move from computers as perceived lumbering beasts, grazing in a giant room, noisey, hot and behind a locked door, tended by a chosen few, whom feed it instructions on punch card computer slips to solve complex mathematical problems, which only a select few technical employees will have access to and understand, we went from this, to… human interaction with a terminal, the face of the computer, the screen, reflects back at us, what we type as commands, giving the ability to almost read the computers thoughts as we type, which are infact our own thoughts — this poetic duality of connection through the act of commuincation, by typing commands on the screen, although could be percived in the modern 2020 era as a primitive interaction method, a crude way of speaking to the computer, it would not be unitil Amazons Alexa and Apples Siri voice activated computer interfaces become common place, that our interaction methods with the computer would be type based.

Its at Engelbarts demo, that we see the graphical interface of point and click with the mouse, inside a window area of the screen, to tell the computer what we want it to do — so easy that a child could do it, and this opening up a technological window to the computing world, a space that Microsoft would go on to dominate with its ‘Windows’ computers operating systems, making its founder Bill Gates, one of the richest humans on planet earth, and go on to enable the casual computer user to navigate the computer system via a graphical interface, and then in 1995 leave the confines of their home computer system and connect to the world wide web or the internet via Windows internet Explorer, but we will come to that later.

but first, we need to go back to 1967, one year before Engelbarts demo, and a time that will give us some more context as to why Engelbarts demo was so radical and opened up so many minds — as the seeds had been sown, one year previously upon the public consciousness.

1967 was a pivotal year, of the 1960s, those baby boomers born post World War 2, after 1945, the eldest cohort would now be in there early 20s, a few years into adulthood, either in work, University education, or drifting through life.

The Beatles had been with us for a few years, Sgt Pepper had just been released, England had won the World Cup, Female contraception, the pill now meant that sex could become a form of human pleasure and not just a means of reproduction, giving birth to the swinging 60s, and with that an explosion in mens and womens fashion (mini skirts), clothing no longer just had to be functionable, clothing for a specific job, and clothing for ‘sunday best’ , fashion, haircuts and your look dawned the new age of individualism, and with this, the birth of cosurism and the counter, the opposite to the establishment, the counter culture.

Conservatism attitude of the time suggested that hair on a man should be short back and sides, functionable hair, for the work place, to conform and be like everyone else, born out of the GI Haircuts of American World War 2, but now men grew their hair long, the ‘long hairs’ the hippies,

Hair became the outward focus of the youth movement because “it‟s so obvious, easy and cheap to manipulate and color . . . it has always been a frontline symbol of teenage rebellion” (Stark 177). Longer hair came to represent a multitude of possibilities, and high school and college students alike began to challenge hair and dress codes. As the rigid gender-bound modes of appearance and behavior weakened, a new style consisting of beads, necklaces, and brightly embroidered fabrics emerged to complement longer hair in the revolt against the restraints of society. Simply put, the Beatles provided a generation of cultural rebels with a banner of their rebellion, beginning with a protestation of the “indisputable principle that short hair equals men, long hair equals women” (Gould 345). (https://joss.tcnj.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/176//2012/04/2010-Corry.pdf )

there clothing bright and flowing, femine in style, counter to the masculine view of clothing at the time (Collar and tie), counter to the established 3 piece suite and bowler hat wearing middle class brigade.

The growth in television (now broadcast in Colour, formally in black white, although the majority of homes still had a black and white TV set) meant that new channels of communication, where opened up ,and people saw the world for the first time, be it, through a small box in the corner of there living rooms (now we consume media on even smaller boxes in the palm of our hands, that lives in our pockets via smart phones)

The television brought with it, for the first time, a war in almost real time, updated nightly in full colour into peoples homes, The Vietnam war, although too big a subject and full of complexity's to talk about in detail here — what I will say is that, as a global media event, that dominated the mid to late 60s — through television and the mass media, this war, which was fought by young conscripted (The Draft) soldiers, who only became soldiers because the American government said they would become them, with an average age of just 19, these young men, in their first year of adulthood, would dramatically leave there teenage years and be thrust into a war, with a media spotlight on top of it, the war would be beamed nightly and would show the face of American youth, to the world, in armed combat, which over time, would fuel the anti-war movement and the counter to the establishment response of the counter culture — which would see teenagers wanting to ‘drop out’ of the system and ‘tune in’ to something else — because, there had to be something else…

Its here we will look at the role of communication technology and its ability to bring together collective creative ideas and present them to a mass audience, at one specific moment in time, to a mass of milions of television watchers or followers — although liner and not yet interactive, and certainly not yet populated by digital avatars, the birth of satellite television paves the way for the metaverse in numerous ways, without Satellite broadcast, we would not take the steps necessary for understanding how an information super highway might work, or the need for Youtube, one of the worlds biggest video sharing sites and social networks, or fully interactive television, these concepts I will explore here.

With the advent of Satellite broadcasting, the world would become a smaller place, information exchanges would become global — we could see humanity in luve real time thousands of miles apart.

Our World — Global Satellite Broadcast — 1967

Our World was the first live, international, satellite television production, which was broadcast on 25 June 1967. Creative artists, including the Beatles, opera singer Maria Callas, and painter Pablo Picasso — representing nineteen nations — were invited to perform or appear in separate segments featuring their respective countries. The two-and-a-half-hour event had the largest television audience ever up to that date: an estimated 400 to 700 million people around the globe watched the broadcast. Today, it is most famous for the segment from the United Kingdom starring the Beatles. They performed their song “All You Need Is Love” for the first time to close the broadcast.

“All you need is love, love, love is all you need” (Lennon-McCartney). Broadcast live on the international television special, “Our World,” the Beatles performed “All You Need is Love”. As confetti and balloons rained down from the studio ceiling, the Beatles, dressed in psychedelic attire and surrounded by the eccentric members of Britain‟s pop aristocracy, visually and musically embodied the communal message of the 1967 Summer of Love. By doing so, the Beatles asserted their role not only among the most famous people of the world but also as the acknowledged leaders of the counterculture. Indeed, the Fab Four attained power over millions singular in history among artists, in part a credit to the postwar baby boom, the resulting generational conflict and other cultural events which led to the creation of a subculture rooted in rock „n‟ roll.

From their Liverpudlian roots to the first screams of Beatlemania and eventually to the release of the Sgt. Pepper album, the Beatles developed a collective mentality and appreciation of alternative forms of consciousness which came to mark them as both agents and models of change in the counterculture. (https://joss.tcnj.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/176//2012/04/2010-Corry.pdf )

The project was conceived by BBC producer Aubrey Singer, who would later in his career go on to be controller of BBC 2 in 1974–78 (at a time when the UK had just 3 channels, BBC, BBC 2 and ITV).

The master control room for the broadcast was still at the BBC in London. The satellites used were Intelsat I (known as “Early Bird”), Intelsat 2–2 (“Lani Bird”), Intelsat 2–3 (“Canary Bird”), and NASA’s ATS-1.[2]

It took ten months to bring everything together. The Eastern Bloc countries, headed by the Soviet Union, pulled out four days before the broadcast in protest of the Western nations’ response to the Six-Day War.[1]

The ground rules included that no politicians or heads of state could participate in the broadcast. In addition, everything had to be “live”, so no use of videotape or film was permitted. Ten thousand technicians, producers and interpreters took part in the broadcast. Each country had its own announcers, due to language issues, and interpreters voiced over the original sound when not in a country’s native language. Fourteen countries participated in the production, which was transmitted to 24 countries, with an estimated audience of between 400 and 700 million people.[1][3]

Summary

What I wanted to demonstrate by showing these two contrasting examples are the following summersied key points.

  1. Attitude — Society's view’s on maintaining the status quo, meant that the examples I have given, clearly demonstrate a counter intuative thinking to be taking place, which is against the established thinking of the time — what is common place now, would be incredibly radical and controversial in the late 1960s — with Doug Engelbart’s demo, just 1000 people in one room, in one location, bare witness to the birth of modern computing, seeing first hand, the demonstration of e-mail, word documents and Skype / Zoom like technologies, all done in real time — at the behest of the established computer peer group, who said that interactive computers could not be done, and therefore a waste of time and resources.

This coupled with a televised broadcast via satellite a year previous of various creative ideas' from across the world to over 400 million people, who like the 1000 people present for Engelbarts demo, bore witness on mass, to a brand new technological revolution which would transfer pop culture for ever, and be a precursor to channels of entertainment such as MTV, it would make Live Aid possible and it would sow the seeds of demand for cable television and dedicated satellite TV media moguls, such as Rupert Murdoch and BSKYB.

if we take these two events of 1967 and 1968, and look at them as a foundational platform, we see the birth of the modern age of human communication, and a new radical way of telling stories and communicating with other members of our human species, at both a local network level (connected by a phone line) or connected by the television set — it would of course take time to become fully adopted into the mainstream and popular culture, as I shall outline in this chapter — but a revolution was televised and a generation did indeed tune in — and the audience for this was looking for change, it was looking for ‘My Generation’, the teenagers and the 20 something boomers of the 1960s did not share the values and outlooks of there parents, who had endured World War 2, this post War Generation was opimised on finding its own way in the world and to tune in to something else — which is why the 1970s saw video games and early BBS systems as a form of escapism.

Need to also mention — 1960 PLATO — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PLATO_%28computer_system%29

1963 Bell 103 Modem https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modem

1968 — Whole Earth Catalog

1970s — Early microcomputers in the home and the arrival of the Bulletin Board System (BBS)

Two years after the worlds first Satellite broadcast was beamed into people’s homes via Analogue set connected aerials, in 1970 the 2nd network revolution arrived in the form of cable television.

In 1970, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the regulation of the fledgling cable television industry. (Cable TV remained primarily a broadcast technology for delivering entertainment to residential homes until the mid-1990s when technologies began to be developed to enable it to carry broadband Internet access services to residential subscribers.)

Despite all the technological advances, however, telecommunications services in the 1970s remained unintegrated, with voice, data, and entertainment carried on different media. Voice was carried by telephone, which was still analog at the customer premises; entertainment was broadcast using radio and television technologies; and data was usually carried over RS-232 or Binary Synchronous Communication (BSC) serial connections between dumb terminals and mainframes (or, for remote terminals, long-haul modem connections over analog telephone lines). (https://networkencyclopedia.com/networking-history-1970/ )

This was of course, still the pre internet revolution age, but a 256 node internet precursor was being created, welcome to ARPANET.

The 1970s were also notable for the birth of ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet, which was first deployed in 1969 and grew throughout the decade as additional hosts were added at various universities and government institutions.
By 1971, the network had 19 nodes, mostly consisting of a mix of PDP-8, PDP-11, IBM S/360, DEC-10, Honeywell, and other mainframe and minicomputer systems linked together.
The initial design of ARPANET called for a maximum of 265 nodes, which seemed like a distant target in the early 1970s. The initial protocol used on this network was NCP, but it was replaced in 1982 by the more powerful TCP/IP protocol suite. In 1975, the administration of ARPANET came under the authority of the Defense Communications Agency. ( https://networkencyclopedia.com/networking-history-1970/ )

In miscellaneous developments in the 1970s, IBM researchers invented the relational database in 1970, a set of conceptual technologies that have become the foundation of today’s distributed application environments. In 1971, IBM demonstrated the first speech recognition technologies, which have since led to automated call handling systems in customer service centers. IBM developed the concept of the virtual machine in 1972 and created the first sealed disk drive (the Winchester) in 1973. IBM introduced SNA for networking in its mainframe computing environment in 1974.

In 1971, Intel released its first microprocessor, a 4-bit processor called the 4004 that ran at a clock speed of 108 kHz.

The online service CompuServe was launched in 1979.

IBM was the most dominant force in computing, supplying industry, governments and military with computing hardware and software, the IBM Mainframe was common place, but the 1970s would give us the first glimpses of personal computing and the early video game industry, as the first Micro computers where released, and Atari was born.

The first personal computer, the Altair, went on the market as a kit in 1975. Yes you had to build it yourself!

The Altair was based on the Intel 8080, an 8-bit processor, and came with 256 bytes of memory (256k), toggle switches, and LED lights — no keyboard and no mouse.

While the Altair was basically for hobbyists, it was not until the Apple II from Apple Computer, which was introduced in 1977, that something resembling mainstream computing began to take hold, which would help introduce a revolution in home and work place computing.

A typical Apple II system, which was based on the Motorola 6502 8-bit processor, had 4 KB of RAM, a keyboard, a motherboard with expansion slots, built-in BASIC in ROM, and colour graphics.

The Apple II quickly became the standard desktop system in schools and other educational institutions. However, it wasn’t until the introduction of the IBM Personal Computer (PC) in 1981 that the full potential of personal computers began to be realized, especially in businesses, and setting up the personal computer battle between Apple and IBM, which would give us the now famous 1984 Macintosh advert.

So we have early cable tv, which is not yet integrated as one consumer network connection, we have a 256 node APARNET which allowed chosen institutions (University, Government and Military) to communicate via a hardwire network across the USA, and which was closed and only accessible on terminals within these buildings. and in 1975 we had computers that you could build yourself, which in just 3 years time, would be made redundant by the Apple 2 computer, which had all the hallmarks of what we expect a computer to look like today, and who’s dominance, and 4 year head start in the consumer market would be challenged at the end of the 1970s, in 1981 by the IBM home computer.

But it will be the counter culture which shakes up the age of computing and show’s popular culture that computers can be fun, a form of entertainment, and not just for business or school work, enter Nolan Bushnell and Atari.

In 1971, Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney founded a small engineering company, Syzygy Engineering,[17] that designed Computer Space, the world’s first commercially available arcade video game, for Nutting Associates. On June 27, 1972, the two incorporated Atari, Inc. and soon hired Al Alcorn as their first design engineer. Bushnell asked Alcorn to produce an arcade version of the Magnavox Odyssey’s Tennis game,[18] which would be named Pong. While Bushnell incorporated Atari in June 1972, Syzygy Company was never formally incorporated. Before Atari’s incorporation, Bushnell considered various terms from the game Go, eventually choosing atari, referencing a position in the game when a group of stones is imminently in danger of being taken by one’s opponent. Atari was incorporated in the state of California on June 27, 1972.[19]

The third version of the Atari 2600, which was sold from 1979 to 1986

In 1973, Atari secretly spawned a competitor called Kee Games, headed by Nolan’s next door neighbor Joe Keenan, to circumvent pinball distributors’ insistence on exclusive distribution deals; both Atari and Kee could market virtually the same game to different distributors, each getting an “exclusive” deal. Joe Keenan’s management of the subsidiary led to him being promoted president of Atari that same year.[20]

Atari 5200

Atari 7800

In 1975, Atari’s Grass Valley, CA subsidiary Cyan Engineering, started the development of a flexible console that was capable of playing the four existing Atari games. The result was the Atari Video Computer System, or VCS (later renamed 2600 when the 5200 was released). The introductory price of $199 (equivalent to $905 in 2020) included a console, two joysticks, a pair of paddles, and the Combat game cartridge.[21] Bushnell knew he had another potential hit on his hands but bringing the machine to market would be extremely expensive. Looking for outside investors, Bushnell sold Atari to Warner Communications in 1976 for an estimated $28–32 million, using part of the money to buy the Folgers Mansion. Nolan continued to have disagreements with Warner Management over the direction of the company, the discontinuation of the pinball division, and most importantly, the notion of discontinuing the 2600. In 1978, Kee Games was disbanded.[22] In December of that year, Nolan Bushnell was fired following an argument with Manny Gerard. “[W]e started fighting like cats and dogs. And then the wheels came off that fall. Warner claimed they fired me,” recalled Bushnell. “I say I quit. It was a mutual separation.”[23]

The development of a successor to the 2600 started as soon as it shipped. The original team estimated the 2600 had a lifespan of about three years; it then set forth to build the most powerful machine possible within that time frame. Mid-way into their effort the home computer revolution took off, leading to the addition of a keyboard and features to produce the Atari 800 and its smaller sibling, the 400. The new machines had some success when they finally became available in quantity in 1980. From this platform Atari released their next-generation game console in 1982, the Atari 5200. It was unsuccessful due to incompatibility with the 2600 game library.

Under Warner and Atari’s chairman and CEO, Raymond Kassar, the company achieved its greatest success, selling millions of 2600s and computers. At its peak, Atari accounted for a third of Warner’s annual income and was the fastest-growing company in US history at the time.

This rise ended with the video game crash of 1983, with losses that totalled more than $500 million. Warner’s stock price slid from $60 to $20, and the company began searching for a buyer for its troubled division. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari )

An Industry is born

The 1970’s was the decade that home-computing took hold, and with companies like Apple and Atari focusing on branding their products to sit on tables in peoples homes, connected to an existing television set, it was these two companies that ushered in the mass adoption if interactive computing into the home, and once it was here, the consumer would be highly unlikely not to be a consumer of computer hardware and computation, whether that be gaming or for school or business.

In this period, 3 companies would start to dominate the home computer industry that did not exist until they arrived, in 1977 Atari released the Atari 2600 games consoles, which had 4 games available for it on launch, in 1977 Apple would release the Apple 2 computer, and not mentioned until now, Bill Gates and Paul Allen licensed their BASIC programming language to MITS, the manufacturer of the Altair (which we have discussed earlier, was the hobbyist computer you have to build yourself! )

BASIC by Gates and Allen was the first computer language program specifically written for a personal computer. Gates and Allen coined the name “Micro-soft” for their business partnership, and they officially registered it as a trademark the following year. Microsoft went on to license BASIC to other personal computing platforms such as the Commodore PET and the TRS-80.

From 1977 to 1980, Apple Computers during the first five years of operations, revenues doubled about every four months. Between September 1977 and September 1980, annual sales grew from $775,000 to $118 million per year, During this period the sole products of the company were the Apple II and its peripherals, accessories, and software.

For Atari of the arcade division, led to the development of the VCS, which would late become known as the Atari 2600 there first home console which would be released in 1977.

Founder Nolan Bushnell, knew he needed more capital and a consumer focused distribution network to sell the upcoming VCS/2600 and so sold Atari to Warner Communications in 1976, for an estimated 28 million dollars.

Over its lifetime, 30 million Atari VCS / 2600 units have been sold, but the big money was to be made in the interchangeable video game cartridge that held each game.

According to https://www.vgchartz.com/article/250871/the-best-selling-atari-2600-games-of-all-time/

Pac man was the biggest selling Atari video game cartridge with 7.81 Million carts sold, with Pitfall 4.5 Million, Asteroids 4.31 Million Sold respectively in the top 3 games for Atari, the money was in the games, and the money was in games converted from Arcade classics. Overall 130 Million Atari video game cartridges were sold over the course of the Atari 2600 lifetime.

The 1970s comes to a close with Atari, Apple and IBM leading the computer hardware revolution, with both Atari and Apple firmly cementing themselves as household names in the field of interactive computing via the home television, taking that technology that first enjoyed its first television broadcast in 1927, and 50 years later in 1977 bolting on a billion dollar industry.

Now that the computer is in the home, and games are being played, what did the post 1960s counter culture do with this new technology.

Rise of BBS, MUD, Dungeons and Dragons, dial ups, and video game piracy on floppy disks and on BBS.

Piracy, Gossip, and escapist adventure : welcome to BBS

1973–1974 — The community Memory project

Community Memory (CM) was the first public computerized bulletin board system. Established in 1973 in Berkeley, California, it used an SDS 940 timesharing system in San Francisco connected via a 110 baud link to a teleprinter at a record store in Berkeley to let users enter and retrieve messages. Individuals could place messages in the computer and then look through the memory for a specific notice.

While initially conceived as an information and resource sharing network linking a variety of counter-cultural economic, educational, and social organizations with each other and the public, Community Memory was soon generalized to be an information flea market,[1] by providing unmediated, two-way access to message databases through public computer terminals.[2] Once the system became available, the users demonstrated that it was a general communications medium that could be used for art, literature, journalism, commerce, and social chatter.

1973–4 terminal BBS https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_Memory

Dungeons and Dragons to the first digital Role playing games.

Dungeons & Dragons (commonly abbreviated as D&D or DnD)[2] is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game (RPG) originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.[3][4][5] It was first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc. (TSR).[5] It has been published by Wizards of the Coast (now a subsidiary of Hasbro) since 1997. The game was derived from miniature wargames, with a variation of the 1971 game Chainmail serving as the initial rule system.[4][6] D&D’s publication is commonly recognized as the beginning of modern role-playing games and the role-playing game industry.[5][7]

D&D departs from traditional wargaming by allowing each player to create their own character to play instead of a military formation. These characters embark upon imaginary adventures within a fantasy setting. A Dungeon Master (DM) serves as the game’s referee and storyteller, while maintaining the setting in which the adventures occur, and playing the role of the inhabitants of the game world. The characters form a party and they interact with the setting’s inhabitants and each other. Together they solve dilemmas, engage in battles, explore, and gather treasure and knowledge. In the process, the characters earn experience points (XP) in order to rise in levels, and become increasingly powerful over a series of separate gaming sessions.[3][7][8]

The early success of D&D led to a proliferation of similar game systems. Despite the competition, D&D has remained the market leader in the role-playing game industry.[9][10]

From Dungeons and Dragons to Multi user Dungeons — pop culture influences computer development.

Dungeons and Dragons leads us to the development of the first Multi-user Dungeon, or Multi user Domain (MUD) for a computer, influenced by D&D.

Whats is a MUD

A MUD (/mʌd/; originally multi-user dungeon, with later variants multi-user dimension and multi-user domain)[1][2] is a multiplayer real-time virtual world, usually text-based. MUDs combine elements of role-playing games, hack and slash, player versus player, interactive fiction, and online chat. Players can read or view descriptions of rooms, objects, other players, non-player characters, and actions performed in the virtual world. Players typically interact with each other and the world by typing commands that resemble a natural language.

Traditional MUDs implement a role-playing video game set in a fantasy world populated by fictional races and monsters, with players choosing classes in order to gain specific skills or powers. The objective of this sort of game is to slay monsters, explore a fantasy world, complete quests, go on adventures, create a story by roleplaying, and advance the created character. Many MUDs were fashioned around the dice-rolling rules of the Dungeons & Dragons series of games.

The history of modern massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) like EverQuest and Ultima Online, and related virtual world genres such as the social virtual worlds exemplified by Second Life, can be traced directly back to the MUD genre.[9][11]

The First MUD

Colossal Cave Adventure (also known as ADVENT, Colossal Cave, or Adventure)[1] is a text adventure game, developed between 1975 and 1977 by Will Crowther for the PDP-10 mainframe. The game was expanded upon in 1977 with help from Don Woods, and other programmers created variations on the game and ports to other systems in the following years.

In the game, the player controls a character through simple text commands to explore a cave rumored to be filled with wealth. Players earn predetermined points for acquiring treasure and escaping the cave alive, with the goal to earn the maximum number of points offered. The concept bore out from Crowther’s background as a caving enthusiast, with the game’s cave structured loosely around the Mammoth Cave system in Kentucky.[2]

Colossal Cave Adventure is the first known work of interactive fiction and, as the first text adventure game, is considered the precursor for the adventure game genre. Colossal Cave Adventure also contributed towards the role-playing and roguelike genres.

Will Crowther was a programmer at Bolt, Beranek & Newman (BBN), and helped to develop the ARPANET (a forerunner of the Internet).[4] Crowther and his wife Patricia were experienced cavers, having previously helped to create vector map surveys of the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky in the early 1970s for the Cave Research Foundation.[5] In addition, Crowther enjoyed playing the tabletop role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons with a regular group which included Eric S. Roberts and Dave Lebling, one of the future founders of Infocom.[4] Following his divorce from Pat in 1975, Crowther wanted to connect better with his daughters and decided a computerized simulation of his cave explorations with elements of his role-playing games would help.[5] He created a means by which the game could be controlled through natural language input so that it would be “a thing that gave you the illusion anyway that you’d typed in English commands and it did what you said”.[6] Crowther later commented that this approach allowed the game to appeal to both non-programmers and programmers alike, as in the latter case, it gave programmers a challenge of how to make “an obstinate system” perform in a manner they wanted it to.[6]

Will Crowther’s original Adventure (1976) running on a PDP-10

Developed over 1975 and 1976, Crowther’s original game consisted of about 700 lines of FORTRAN code,[7] with about another 700 lines of data, written for BBN’s PDP-10 timesharing computer. The data included text for 78 map locations (66 actual rooms and 12 navigation messages) as well as 193 vocabulary words, travel tables, and miscellaneous messages. On the PDP-10, the program loads and executes with all its game data in memory. It required about 60k words (nearly 300kB) of core memory, which was a significant amount for PDP-10/KA systems running with only 128k words. Crowther’s original version did not include any scorekeeping.[8] Once the game was complete, Crowther showed it off to his co-workers at BBN for feedback, and then considered his work on the game complete, leaving the compiled game in a directory before taking a month off for vacation. During that time, others had found the game and it was distributed widely across the network, which had surprised Crowther on his return.[4] Though titled in-game as Colossal Cave Adventure, its executable file was simply named ADVENT, which led to this becoming an alternate name for the game.[4]

One of those who had discovered the game was Don Woods, a graduate student at Stanford University in 1976. Woods wanted to expand upon the game and contacted Crowther to gain access to the source code. Woods built upon Crowther’s code in FORTRAN, including more high fantasy-related elements based on his love of the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. He also introduced a scoring system within the game and added ten more treasures to collect in addition to the five in Crowther’s original version.[9] His work expanded Crowther’s game to approximately 3000 lines of code and 1800 lines of data. The data consisted of 140 map locations, 293 vocabulary words, 53 objects (15 treasure objects), travel tables, and miscellaneous messages. Like Crowther’s original game, Woods’ game also executed with all its data in memory but required somewhat less core memory (42k words) than Crowther’s game.[10][11] Don Woods continued releasing updated editions through to at least the mid-1990s.[9]

Crowther did not distribute the source code to his version, while Woods, once finished with his improvements, widely distributed the code alongside the compiled executable. Woods’ 1977 version became the more recognizable and “canon” version of Colossal Cave Adventure in part due to wider code availability, on which nearly all revisions described in the following section were based.[8] Crowther’s original code was thought to have been lost until 2007 when an unmodified version of it was found on Woods’ student account archive.[4]

Arrival of Bulletin Board Systems or BBS

What is a BBS

Who Runs a BBS

Who uses a BBS and what information does it contain

A brief exploration of the industry

What did BBS become, key influences.

1978 first BBS https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulletin_board_system FIRST ONE — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CBBS (within 2 years, 200 bulletin boards, first phase computer hobbyists, Altar 880 — ) ran by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sysop (mostly high school students) — 12 yearolds getting modem for christmas, BBS boards jammed 26th Dec with 12 year olds mouthing off ‘Van Halen rules’.. (VR CHAT!) Apple2, Commodore 64, Atari, IBM, (Hardware)

Dial up BBS — local numbers cheaper, after 8pm cross town calls, 150,000 in north america bbs at peak

BBS started to share computer club newsletters.

Sysops where God’s of this early internet — influencers / community leaders (DISCORD)

huge social systems on tiny computers with floppy disks — out of bedrooms

BYTE MAGAZINE — https://archive.org/details/byte-magazine?query=BBS&sin=TXT

1970’s Summary

If the 1960s where to be catagorised as a decade when the early tranisitor and semi conductor evolved into the mirochip, and memory of a computer and therefore the capcity to move from printed punch cards, to software stored on a harddrive, chip or tape, whilst experiments took place in a lab, by a limited amount of PhD enginners, academics and certifiled proffesionals — the 1970s saw this technology slowly move outside of academic and enginnering and into the hands of curious home and business users.

Both Atari and Apple in my opinion were the leaders in this field, but not for the historically documented reasons that are normally suggested.

Atari via the arcades allowed anyone with a quarter or 25 cents experience the computer revolution, and they did so via the arcade, normally located inside a shopping mall, or surrounded by fast food or bar spaces — arcades became a community meeting point for video game and therefore computer enthusiasts —out of the conference centre, invite only, into the shopping centre for one and all…

The colourful art work, the soundtrack, the size of these machines, the smells and the atmosphere, would have made the Arcades of the 1970s an intoxicating immersive enviroment for any group of teenagers, and a space that came about in part because of 20/early 30 something engineers seeing the opportunity to commercialise video games.

The explosion in Atari and the arcades that this product would be found in, heavily influenced Apple, not only did co-founder Steve Jobs work at Atari , but Apple would create its own version (TELL APPLE FOUNDER STORY)

With the Apple 2 and the Arcade revolution being the foundation of consumer computer electronics, it would only be a matter of time before curious minds would begin to program these machines.

With the arrival of basic, which was a licensed programming language by Micro-soft in 1975 — ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_BASIC ) which was first Licensed to the Altair computer, later in 1981 would be licensed to Atari, as Atari Basic, and then further licensed to IBM, and a host of other computer systems.

Now that the consumer, at home / work place or at school / college had access to a programming language — then these machines became in the hands of the programmer, they became cavasses for artistic creations, and story telling, moving away, much in the same way as Doug Englelburt demonstrated in the ‘Mother of all demo’s’ that computers need not just be scientific or mathematical instruments, they could be tools for creation, to create what ever the mind could conceive. Computers and therefore computing could actually be fun!

The influence of the counter culture is still evident in the late 1970s with Dungeons and Dragons being a key influence for the first Multi User Dungeon games, in my opinion, it was foundational, without Dungeons and Dragons, there are no MUDs, and without MUDS, we don’t get to explore a virtual world via a text based interface, which in a way, would set up the rules or role play for the BBS movement. All of which began with the text based ‘Colossal Cave Adventure’.

Now users had the ability to explore a virtual world for the first time, be it an interactive novel, instead of graphics, users read text, which described the space, place and situation, and via typing simple text commands, users could explore these spaces and go on a text based interactive adventure in a virtual world, with the players imagination, being the graphics card, and conjouring up images of dragons, fireballs and caves — it was in this space, that I programmed my first text based adventures on the ZX Spectrum and the Dragon 32 in the mid to late 1980s atthe age of 6–11, using simple PRINT and GO TO commands, and writing the ideas out on rolls and rolls of disguarded printouts from my grandads workplace (The Milk Marketing Board), or sometimes I would sit for a few hours and type in a computer program into the Dragon 32 from a book, in the hope of creating a game.

I have added my own personal anecdotal evidence here, as this is how easy these machines where to use, with a keyboard interface and BASIC coding, technological creation was now child’s play — but, put this same technology into the hands of the counter culture and then we start to see an alternative reality start to shape up.

and this is why BBS is a really important milestone into the development of virtual worlds, and in my opinion a precursor to the metaverse space of2020.

BBS allowed for computers to be networked at a local and also a national level using a computer, modem and a phone line, and gave rise to world or board creators, influencers and creators within certain board communities.

So many things we take for granted in modern social media, began as experiments in communication on the BBS boards, it was the wild west of social media, with servers being ran out of bedrooms and garages — Redit and Discord are basically modern versions of BBS, and Facebook is only a few steps up from a BBS, because of its ability to show and share video, audio and images — but the underlying way that facebook, reddit and discord operate, in terms of the community input and interaction would be familur to a BBS user of the late 70s.

Your handle or name on the board would be your avatar, your identity and what you typed, would be what you said, and the more you typed, and the more you communicated, the more people would get to know you — this is how community bonds are built and this will lead to community action —

BBS groups where not just a computer based activity, as they operated on a local and a national level, real life meetups could happen and did, with the early digital communities meeting up and exchanging ideas, thoughts and ways to move BBS forward.

Towards the end of the 1970s BBS was growing, with the number of nodes expanding, and a nascent service industry growing alongside the boards, selling servers, computers and newsletters, commercialisation of BBS was just around the corner.

With the early microcomputers of the 1970s with the Apple 2, and the arcades demonstrating the future of interactive video game entertainment, which would see the release of the VCS/Atari 2600 in 1977, and the counter culture games of Dungeon and Dragon and interactive virtual games of the MUDs, and pop culture movies such as Star Wars fulling the imagination — The counter culture, personified by the computer Geeks of 1970 had just started to locally and nationally connect with each other via a new programable toolset, which would develop and evolve in the 1980s — which is the era that I discovered computers and video games.

Commercialisation and competion would soon enter this market place, and the evolution towards the metaverse would continue.

1980s -BBS lays the foundations of early internet culture, The Well, Habitat and Virtual Communities.

Key Milestone — We move from a text page virtual community to and early graphics based virtual community.

Key Milestones

BBS

Bulletin Board Systems began to grow in the 1980s, because of a number of factors. The avalilbty of Micro computers such as the Commordore 64, Apple 2, finding there way into homes and schools, coupled with the availibilty of modems and the decreasing cost of local and national phone call charges.

Computer equipment was becoming cheaper, which meant that more BBS started to spring up.

The boards themselves started to become more sophistaced, with the boards creator, becoming something of a cult hero / influencer or community leader, known to the BBS community as Sysop or system operator, Sysop would mainly be high school students who would run BBS in their local community, and connect to other BBS in the local community, think of it as a text only version of Facebook, Reddit, even ebay — as goods and service where traded on the BBS.

Sysop would gain cult status within the community, and for the most part, in the early days, the BBS the syops ran, where free to use and where designed in a way, that reflected the syops personality — think of them as having a punk zine like quality.

On these BBS boards you could chat, download software (early piracy), read the community notices for meet ups, clubs and societies, learn about other BBS boards which reflected a niche or interest, for example music, comic books and maybe the love of star wars.

The BBS boards where also an important part of the counter culture, partcularly with the LGBT+ community, who’s acceptance in society, although accepted, was still subjected to bigotary and discremitary practice in sociaety and culture — and so the BBS space gave a platform for expression, and the abilty to meet people, so dating was a fundemental part of the scene also, as was friendships and community building.

Christmas time, was also a time that would see a lot 12 yearolds getting a modem for christmas, with BBS boards becoming jammed on the 26th December with 12 year olds mouthing off ‘Van Halen rules’.. (VR CHAT!) Apple2, Commodore 64, Atari, IBM, (Hardware)

As BBS boards matured, new concepts and ideas began to flourish, meaning there would be even more for people to do on them, and more reasons to return

In France — the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minitel

The Minitel was a videotex online service accessible through telephone lines, and was the world’s most successful online service prior to the World Wide Web. It was invented in Cesson-Sévigné, near Rennes in Brittany, France.

The service was rolled out experimentally on 15 July 1980[1] in Saint-Malo, France, and from autumn 1980 in other areas, and introduced commercially throughout France in 1982 by the PTT (Postes, Télégraphes et Téléphones; divided since 1991 between France Télécom and La Poste).[2] From its early days, users could make online purchases, make train reservations, check stock prices, search the telephone directory, have a mail box, and chat in a similar way to what is now made possible by the World Wide Web.

In February 2009, France Télécom indicated the Minitel network still had 10 million monthly connections. France Télécom retired the service on 30 June 2012.[2][3][4]

1986 TRADE WARS GAME — BBS — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_Wars (First real MMO)

Though specifics vary between versions, in general the player is a trader in a galaxy with a fixed set of other players (either human or computer). The players seek to gain control of resources: usually fuel ore, food, and equipment, and travel through sectors of the galaxy trading them for money or undervalued resources. Players use their wealth to upgrade their spaceship with better weapons and defenses, and fight for control of planets and star bases.

Since the basics of the game structure are numerical, these games are not reliant on high resolution graphics or rapid processing, which makes them ideally suited to low-resource computing platforms.

The growth of BBS would in time see it move from a hobby for high schoolers to big business, with the rise of TBBS.

TBBS Big business — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bread_Board_System

TBBS is important because it allowed for BBS to be customised by the Syops, and so early customised virtual text based spaces began to flousih on the phone networks, personlisation, and becuase of this, a new industry was born, as no two BBS needed to look the same, a creation tool set was created and creativeity was unlocked.

The Bread Board System (TBBS) is a multiline MS-DOS based commercial bulletin board system software package written in 1983 by Philip L. Becker. He originally created the software as the result of a poker game with friends that were praising the BBS software created by Ward Christensen. Mr. Becker said he could do better and founded eSoft, Inc. in 1984 based on the strength of TBBS sales.

TBBS is an abbreviation for The Bread Board System, although this explanation was buried in the documentation. This was different because “BBS” was most commonly used to stand for Bulletin Board System. The name was chosen because it drew parallels between an electronics “breadboard” (where the basis for any circuit can be built).

TBBS started out in 1983 as a single line Bulletin Board System (BBS) originally written for RadioShack TRS-80 machines, and was later ported to IBM-PC computers. Its advantage was that it could be fully customized by the system operator, so that no two TBBS systems looked the same. Other BBS packages at the time had their menu structures hard coded.

As time progressed, Phil completely re-wrote the TBBS program in assembler to operate on IBM PCs running under DOS. In 1988, he added a custom multitasking kernel that allowed multiple callers to access the TBBS system at the same time. Other BBS software packages could only achieve simultaneous user access by either running their software on LAN systems, dedicating one complete machine per modem, or under multitasking software such as Quarterdeck’s DESQview. TBBS achieved multiple lines all on the one machine. For those wishing to run two lines, no additional hardware was needed — you only needed to use COM1 and COM2. For those wishing to run more lines, multiport serial boards from a company called Digiboard were used to allow up to 96 modems to be hooked into the one machine. At its height in 1996, TBBS could support more simultaneous users at full speed on less hardware than any competing BBS product.

Many software companies, like Microsoft, and most computer hardware companies all around the world relied on TBBS for their online technical support and file download services until Internet web and FTP sites replaced the need for a direct dial BBS presence in the mid 1990s. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bread_Board_System )

The TBBS scene, grew so large that in 1987 Boardwatch Magazine, informally known as Boardwatch, was initially published and edited by Jack Rickard.[1]

Founded in 1987, it began as a publication for the online Bulletin Board Systems of the 1980s and 1990s and ultimately evolved into a trade magazine for the Internet service provider (ISP) industry in the late 1990s. The magazine was based in Lakewood, Colorado, and was published monthly.[2]

The magazine included advertisements for BBSes, BBS software and hardware, and editorials about the BBS scene.

BBS Magazine — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boardwatch (the rolling stone magazine of BBS)

http://textfiles.com/bbs/ MASSIVE BULLITAN BOARD LIST!

Bulletin Board rules — http://textfiles.com/bbs/12budord.txt

The BBS and TBBS growth, also allowed for other networks to evolve and be created.

Imagine the earth as just a blue ocean, covering its globe surface, BBS would be the first landmass and populated by a few people to leave the sea, the success of the creativity on BBS would lead to a new land TBBS being reclaimed from the sea by these pioneering TBBS creators, which in turn would lead to a 3rd wave of createivity which would start to grow thousands of small islands across the watery globe — with the arrival of fidonet, which would see a slow growth in the late 1980s as an evolution of TBBS and see rapid growth in the 1990s, to be choked, by the arrival of the internet in the mid 1990s, as we shall see later.

FidoNet is a worldwide computer network that is used for communication between bulletin board systems (BBSes). It uses a store-and-forward system to exchange private (email) and public (forum) messages between the BBSes in the network, as well as other files and protocols in some cases.

The FidoNet system was based on several small interacting programs, only one of which needed to be ported to support other BBS software. FidoNet was one of the few networks that was supported by almost all BBS software, as well as a number of non-BBS online services. This modular construction also allowed FidoNet to easily upgrade to new data compression systems, which was important in an era using modem-based communications over telephone links with high long-distance calling charges.

The rapid improvement in modem speeds during the early 1990s, combined with the rapid decrease in price of computer systems and storage, made BBSes increasingly popular. By the mid-1990s there were almost 40,000 FidoNet systems in operation, and it was possible to communicate with millions of users around the world. Only UUCPNET came close in terms of breadth or numbers; FidoNet’s user base far surpassed other networks like BITNET.[1]

The broad availability of low-cost Internet connections starting in the mid-1990s lessened the need for FidoNet’s store-and-forward system, as any system in the world could be reached for equal cost. Direct dialing into local BBS systems rapidly declined. Although FidoNet has shrunk considerably since the late 1990s, it has remained in use even today[2] despite internet connectivity becoming more widespread.

FidoNet started in 1984 and listed 100 nodes by the end of that year. Steady growth continued through the 1980s, but a combination of factors led to rapid growth after 1988. These included faster and less expensive modems and rapidly declining costs of hard drives and computer systems in general. By April 1993, the FidoNet nodelist contained over 20,000 systems. At that time it was estimated that each node had, on average, about 200 active users. Of these 4 million users in total, 2 million users commonly used echomail, the shared public forums, while about 200,000 used the private netmail system.[9] At its peak, FidoNet listed approximately 39,000 systems.[4][N 3]

(1984 nodes 132–

1985 400–

1986 938–

1987 1935–

1988 3395–

1989 5019–

1990 7503–

1991 12580–

1992 18512–

1993 24184–

1994 31809–

1995 35787 —

The Well

Habitat

1985 — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habitat_(video_game)

Console Wars — Sega v Nintendo

Nintendo come out of the ashes of the 1983 video game crash — a trading card company — Sega moved from the arcade to the home — 8 bit to 16 bit revolution. Dreamcast early console to web (1990s)

Tim Berners Lee — World Wide Web

1989 — Tim berners Lee invents the internet https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Berners-Lee

Digital — Digital Music — CD — Early piracy.

1990s

Can we play video games yet over the internet? SIMS? MEDIAMoo? LAN GAMING

Hardware of choice

Software of note

The Network

Accessibility — who is using this

State of the graphics

What was the major milestone in this era that pushed humanity and its journey to the metaverse forward

Role of music / culture in this period

1990 — https://cellar.org/faq.php?faq=what_it_is&fbclid=IwAR3zzzF11BABR0ttDznF_Re_Oz5nuQeMvo8_tfeZAROSoAP3lgKo4LzJ-6M#faq_cellar_historyKAOS

1990 — First VR BOOK? https://www.lucsala.nl/vr/vrdeel1.html?fbclid=IwAR0QkFqL4zohRKLKyTx8IQjvzxY8YxsRWJMBsYWK-7XK2RrWN8OAaMxdZa8 (translate into english via google translate)

1993 MediaMoo - What is MediaMOO?

MediaMOO is a text-based, networked virtual reality environment or “MUD” (3–5) running on the Internet. Its basic structure is a representation of the MIT Media Lab. Users connect in the LEGO Closet, and then step out into the E&L (Epistemology and Learning research group) Garden: https://www.cc.gatech.edu/~asb/papers/journal/convergence.html?fbclid=IwAR2L9b44xcI3LPnsA1Q-GXoNopFR0uagM-b9MVDAedpa9SSMo3h0Eqg-cmU

The first MUD or “Multi-User Dungeon” was developed in 1979 as a multi-player Dungeons and Dragons game. In 1989, a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University named James Aspnes decided to see what would happen if the monsters and magic swords were removed, and instead each user was allowed to help extend the virtual world. Aspnes’ project, which he called “TinyMUD,” became less like a game and more like a community. There was no longer a score or goal, but instead a gathering of people who enjoyed one another’s virtual company and worked together to extend the virtual world.

1995 — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worlds_Chat

1995/1996 BBS CALLS START TO DECLINE — BECAUSE OF THE INTERNET!

ARRIVAL OF https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FidoNet (projecting your presence via messaging public boards not private… cave paintings hand prints, showing human presence?)

100,000 users world wide — easiest way to send private messages (E-mail for free global)

2000s

Can we play video games yet over the internet — YES aka SECOND LIFE (2003)/ world of warcraft (2004)

Hardware of choice

Software of note

The Network

Accessibility — who is using this

State of the graphics

What was the major milestone in this era that pushed humanity and its journey to the metaverse forward

Role of music / culture in this period

2003 — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Life

2004 — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_of_Warcraft

2005 — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YouTube

2010's

Can we play video games yet over the internet? YES AND ON MOBILE

Hardware of choice

Software of note

The Network

Accessibility — who is using this

State of the graphics

What was the major milestone in this era that pushed humanity and its journey to the metaverse forward

Role of music / culture in this period

2020 and beyond

Can we play video games yet over the internet? YES AND CHINA LIMITS IT TO 2HOURS A WEEK/DAY?

Hardware of choice

Software of note

The Network

Accessibility — who is using this

State of the graphics

What was the major milestone in this era that pushed humanity and its journey to the metaverse forward

Role of music / culture in this period

Bulletin boards never dies — facebook is one (newsfeed) and 4chan 8chan are cesspits of humanity

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Mark Ashmore

Mark Ashmore

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Mark Ashmore is a Ph.D Researcher at LJMU and founder of Future Artists - He writes about Computer Science, the Arts and Entertainment - He is also Dyslexic