In part 2 of our series, the avatar of the future has deftly teleported to a party to meet his friends.
They were easy to find, as their titles were highlighted. Sometimes it’s best to turn on Social Proximity mode: titles are colored according to your social affinity to them. Close friends are bright red, acquaintances are yellow, those you haven’t met have gray titles and every shade inbetween. The last time you used it was at a Halloween party, where everyone was in unfamiliar avatars and outfits. But that was cheating; it was too easy to identify your friends.
As it was in the past, so it continues in 2015: dancing is a favorite activity for most avatars. But now there’s a difference, a choice in fact. You’re wearing your motion-detecting top, and it allows you to directly control your avatar’s arms. That's become essential these days, as it is just so convenient to operate the HUDs. But you chose not to snap on the legs, so you cannot control the avatar’s legs. That's a good thing, since you are a terrible dancer in RL. You start up a reliable and fun dance animation and join in.
It's just as well, because your lower-body capture unit is not very good. The best ones go all the way to the toes and can detect ankle twists and toe wiggles. But yours is a very inexpensive unit that just gives the basic limb movements. No ankles. No toes. Even if you could dance, it would look terrible.
Your friend is also a terrible dancer, but tonight she seems to have been taking lessons because she’s doing extremely well. Too well, in fact. You suspect she’s using a new dance animation, but you can’t recognize it. You decided to call her on it and ask in voice.
For a moment you reach for the headphones on the side of your desk. But then you remember and stop. Impromptu voice is tremendously easy now because no headphones are required! Software automatically detects voice or sound echoes and digitally eliminates them, freeing ears from the tyranny of hot headphones or ear-numbing buds forever. Volume fiddling has also long since disappeared.
“Where did you get that dance?” you ask, in a South African accent, which you unfortunately left active last night.
She laughs. “It’s not an animation, silly!”
“But you are dancing so well. Did you take dancing lessons? From that Phil guy?”
Miffed, she answers, “Oh, stop it about Phil! There were no lessons, I’m still a bad dancer. I just got a new Dance Assist!”
Now you recall what she’s talking about. It’s not exactly a dancing animation, but works like one. You wear it, and it monitors your movements through your motion-detecting equipment. It takes your awkward (and all-too-frequent drunken) movements and re-interprets them into smooth dance maneuvers. Some of the better ones map the slightest arm or leg movements into basic dance moves, so that the wearer can “compose” a new dance on the fly just like playing an instrument.
"I love my DA!" She wails.
No wonder she’s dancing rings around you. It won’t be long before standard dance animations are a thing only newbs would use. You decide you’d better go shopping straight away. Or sooner, as you realize that she probably received the Dance Assist from that Phil guy!