Geeks Rule the World

I read this interview at TenTonHammer with Monty Sharma, a representative of Vivox, the company who will be providing voice chat to EQ2 and other SOE games. And it made me realize that, once again, geeks rule the world.

Monty says, in talking about the “voice fonts” that he was demoing,

“We’re actually creating the physiological modeling where we’re mimicking the resonance of a larger chest cavity to create the deeper voice,” Monty said. “We’re tipping the pitch to turn men into women or little children. I can make my 10 year old son sound like his 16 year old cousin. There are couple companies that are ready to start using this technology, specifically Wizards of the Coast with their newest edition of Dungeons and Dragons. The dungeon master can speak in different fonts for different characters, and all the players can adopt voices that are more applicable for their characters. I got my start with Dungeons and Dragons, so this is fairly important to me.

He goes on to say

“It’s that sort of feeling that you got when you first started playing D&D,” Monty continued. “Instead of sounding like a bunch of weak-voiced thirteen year olds, now we can make gamers really sound like their character counterparts.”

John Rogers made a great point at an old post of his about the San Diego Comics Convention:

I noticed multiple news camera crews, and each time it was the same. 124,000 people at the Con, give or take. But if you turn on your news coverage you won’t see the giggling, happy five year-olds with their parents, having the “together family time” we’re always whinging on about. You won’t see the young woman who wrote and drew a comic about her time as a soldier in Israel. You won’t see the scrum of young Marines I spotted as they compared Magic the Gathering cards. You won’t meet the junior high teachers who are using my comic in their predominantly Hispanic classrooms to spark discussion about racial representation in the media. You won’t see the indie film-makers, the kid who shot this 25 minutes in a week and left every industry pro who stumbled across him slack-jawed.

A thousand stories, tens of thousands of familes … yet the newshacks couldn’t wait to hustle up the dozen or so real freaks in costumes, the literally .001% that gave them what they wanted. Not even the kids in the Harry Potter outfits, or the Japanese anime kids, or even the clever unfolding Transformer rigs — no, they found every empty-eyed overweight forty-five year old Flash or flab-rolled part-time stripper Catwoman and latched on tight for the creepy interview.

John also points out that four million people play World of Warcraft online. A smaller number play EQ2, maybe a million? SOE doesn’t tell us. There’s some overlap. That’s more people playing these games than work on farms or ranches, which number the USDA places at 2 million.

I’m not knocking them, I knew them growing up. But the notion that they are normative, and the 3 million of us working in Computer and Mathematical fields are not is a bit suspect. We’re both “normative”.

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