oct 09 2008

Interview of X

Published by Mixed at 18:04 under X-ROBOTICA / X-3DME

- When did you start to make 3D worlds?

As Colin James McKinlay, I began by experimenting with computer-enhanced textures 10 years ago. Then, I encountered blaxxun, Cortona, Internet Space Builder, VRMLpad, and a Quake2VRML converter. So, I built a GigerQuake gallery re: Cortona. Then, I encountered the blaxxun free chat zone and became X.

- How many worlds do you have?

Probably 50.

- How and when did you start the project of X-Robotica/X-3DME with Peter?

When? during a blaxxun black-out in January of 2006 . Peter’s N3DME chat text was super-imposed upon the background — just what I needed to show my visual-intensive worlds.

I was already a fan of Peter’s gothic lighthouse world and its fantastic ocean, and he liked my work too. So, he agreed immediately and told me he could invent consoles and menus. For one year, we worked in secret, because many things were never ready. Then we told our friends isa and Alain.

We have developed X-Robotica and X-3DME together now for 2 1/2 years. That seems like a long time, but Peter’s job made him absent for long times. Even so, Peter always bounces back, so the project continues!

- Why did you decide to make this community ?

Is it a community? What is a community?

X-Robotica is more like a free robot theme park where people can explore, chat, leave messages, or show a world they built or found themselves. We have agreed that it should never become a pale imitation of a real life, but be instead an alternative experience to popular culture. No plutocracies. No power-tripping hierarchies. No marketplaces. No commercialism. No sex shops. Just wholesome non-violent science fiction fun. Just amplified 3D escapism.

Why make X-Robotica? I had a few uninhabited nice worlds lying around that I had started populating with mocap-driven robots. I recognized N3DME’s potential and a kindred spirit in Peter and voila: X-Robotica /X-3DME.

- Are they all your worlds in X-Robotica?

“My worlds” — most of my models are from a time when 3Dcafe was still open as a free depository per non-commercial usage. I am more of a artistic developer than a modeler or world maker. Using a source editor, I love reverse-engineering the stuff I find gathering dust around the Net.

One can learn a lot about VRML that way, create new experiences, and call it progress–

No, not all my worlds: our entry world, Robotica, is an “X” version of Peter’s “Roaring 50s / Lost at Sea Memorial” lighthouse, which he graciously allowed me to reproportion and embellish with color saturations and some entertainments.

The remaining 11 worlds are all custom-versions of my old stuff.

We have also opened Circuits Beyond for users to import their own or favourite inactive worlds, at their own discretion, to experience them in X-3DME or just party.

- Do you consider X-Robotica / X-3DME as an art gallery which shows all your worlds or are all just one art work?

One of them. Cafebotica, is an analog gallery of my artwork (textured women). .

I follow 3 schools of thought:

a. theories of abstract art handed down 2 generations from Wassily Kandinsky . Studying those, I received an Art Scholarship at SFU as first curator of its Student Gallery.

b. In it, I hosted Iain Baxter, founder of the NE Thing Company. He asserted that anything can be Art, ergo “Found Art”. He later promoted “eye candy”– kind of Warholian. But, eclectic.

Hence, I combine the two schools, borrowing stuff and using it colourfully in a different context, a freedom of usage based upon…

c. Copyright Law: parts of artworks can be reused in a context which, reasonably, does not resemble the original. The result: eye candy. Remaining non-commercial also helps.

Beyond that, you can call X-Robotica / X-3DME one collaborative art work — inasmuch as Peter :); I discuss and agree upon every little aspect, I feel that it is.

- Will you still build some worlds for X-Robotica / X-3DME?

Possibly. There can be more creatures in this Science Fantasy place than just humans, robots, and aliens.

- Did you work on the technical part of X-3DME or did you build “just” the worlds and the avatars?

Peter Sommers is the technician / artist and I am the artist — the shape and feel of the interface: the Transponder with its active world and avatar-loading lists etc. (and a tool to help us organize those) and the chat console and its buttons and hidden tool box, darkness controls, camera functions, private messaging, beaming. etc., in other words, all the technical interface work, is Peter.

I tried to encourage a retro-robot look, and Peter came up with this nice hybrid appearance which I fought to inject with many hues of cyan (ha ha) here and there and helped test through almost every surprising innovation he brought to the table– I guess you could say I was Dr. Frankenstein’s cyan hunchback assistant Igor.

Re: the avatars– most combine Av Studio and H-Anim parts (heavily transformed and textured with photos of car parts found on the net). Strange but true!

- Do you have new projects on 3d?

No. At my age, X-Robotica / X-3DME should be enough. I am 62

- What do you think about the fact there are a lot of new communities, blogs and forums about web3D? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

The former teacher in me has to say, if human endeavors are not put to destructive purposes, they are usually a good thing. We’re not building atomic bombs in here, so how can it be a bad thing?

We enjoy doing what we do and I have fun inviting the public to come take a look– our lives do not depend upon creating a community. To tell you the truth, at 62, I don’t really care much what anyone else does.

- And, do you have a few words for ending this interview?

“Are we just robots?” and “Do robots dream?”– of course, I am joking!

Last month, in San Sebastian, Spain, I encountered a city where almost everyone did nothing but enjoy the sun by walking up and down its huge beaches.

Maybe it is good to be as carefree as a robot in a robot dream. Ha ha! — to accept and enjoy the art of doing absolutely nothing (and, for free!)– I think you humans call it a “vacation”. Yes, X-Robotica is a free 3D virtual reality vacationland.

Thank you MixED for the show and for this opportunity for me to say some things about X-Robotica / X-3DME.

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