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Multiplayer UI sketchbook

A series of software sketches exploring multiplayer UI.

From time to time I make quick, lo-fi sketches of novel interactions and share them online.

I've been exploring multiplayer interactions for some time, influenced by ideas in architecture (specifically A Pattern Language) and small group dynamics. This is a playful way to bring those ideas to life.

See also: A map of my blog posts about 'multiplayer'

What if hyperlinks told you how busy it was at the other end? Just some playing with big yellow circles to do that

What if, when you hovered, the people at the far end saw you peeping 👀

What if you could spy down hyperlinks to see the folks at the far end?

What if you could yell down the pipe, and they could emote back?

A map view for your web browser

What if your browser could zoom out from a page to see the connections?

A map view with playful NPCs

Ok what if you could zoom out from a webpage to see the hyperlinks...

and each page hid an elf, and you could ask the elf about who it had seen on the page,

and the elf always answered in rhyming couplets.

NPCs as teammates

What if your AI helpers hung out alongside other users in the avatar bar? What if you summoned them by name, then they swooped out with a cursor to do their work?

This is a calculator. I wonder if it extends to LLM/agent-type functionality...

Social, spatial chatrooms with AI collaborators

What if you had one chatroom with an AI for wild ideas... and another next door for a dose of reality?

And you travel between AI NPC chatrooms like a spatial map?

Yeah and it’s all multiplayer so your friends can be there too?

Oh yes ALSO one of the rooms is haunted.

(There’s a lot of working code here. The AI chats are with gpt-3.5-turbo prompted in different ways. Multiplayer functionality makes use of PartyKit and Yjs, both low level, scalable technologies.)

Swipe to commute

Maybe the multiplayer apps on my phone should be badged with the people inside them? And look noisy if the app is busy?

But only my work apps...

And I should have to swipe-to-commute a reaaaallly long way to get to the screen.

A phone home screen which is a landscape

I kinda feel like my phone home screen should be 3D like a tabletop.

I could travel over it like a landscape. There would be trees and the icons would nestle in clearings.

Busy apps would have teeny people standing around. (Also this would look neat in VR.)

BONUS: Gestural UI and aural affordances

What if smart lights made sound when you were near, to tell you they were smart? And you could switch them on/off with a gesture?

What if that sound was the Monolith music from 2001?

(This functional prototype is built with Mediapipe gesture recognition in the browser and MacOS Shortcuts.)