Sunday, January 24, 2016

Moderation, Even In False Reality

"This is a virtual room, I suppose?"
"Oh no. It's real. The books all exist. If your senses are keen enough, you can detect the scent of fine leather binding and acetic acid smell of book paper decomposing."
"That's exactly the sort of detail that makes me want to think none of this exists."
"Oh. I suppose it doesn't matter."
- Aristide and Vindex, from Implied Spaces by Walter Jon Williams

Too much detail is as much a problem as too little, when constructing something fake. I've built my share of digital constructs, and some have grown too large, simply because I want them perfect.

There's no sense in trying to build every detail. People's own minds will fill in for them. For example, the digital walkthrough of my home has almost all of my toys, all of my furniture, but no cables, no wiring, and no mess. If I tell you this is a TV, you can imagine for yourself where the cables are and what are necessary. You can clearly see two video game systems sitting below the TV; you intuitively know that they both need cables to power them and connect to the TV input ports. I don't need to draw in that birds nest.

Or I tell you I'm a slob (not untrue). By looking at the uncluttered floorplan of the digital drawing, you can discover for yourself where the piles are most likely to congregate, where I've left paths to pass through.
Neither do I trouble myself with the hair balls, nor the dust motes.

Computing power, of which I have terribly little, is best spent suggesting spaces where things can go, than what things actually fill them. Such is also true in writing, art, and virtual reality.