Eccescopy, part 1

Some years ago I was visiting Will Wright at Maxis, while they were still working on “The SIMS 2”. He showed me a box, exactly the size of a computer game CD box, with nice artwork, text, system requirements, everything you’d expect. Except that it was labeled “The SIMS 4”, and the release date was sometime around 2012. I looked more closely at the system requirements, and they were far beyond anything available at the time.

Will explained to me that this was always the way he and his colleagues plan new game releases. Right up front they design the box, the artwork, that characters, the nice little blurb that goes on the back of the box. Then they set about making it possible for you to open the box (which might take a few years). In Will’s own words: “The game is in there. You just can’t open the box yet.”

And so I’ve decided to expand on yesterday’s post with a series of descriptions of the emerging field of “eccescopy”. My techno-geek side likes to think that “ecce” stands for “eye centered computed environment”. An eccescope is simply a device to let everyone see an alternate world created within the computer cloud, thereby allowing that world to appear before our eyes, right alongside our own physical world. It’s the ultimate extension of what is currently called “augmented reality”.

I chose that word because neither “eccescope” nor “eccescopy” appear even once in a Google search (although after today’s post, that will presumably change). I also chose “ecce” in order to rescue that perfectly respectable Latin word, which means “to see”, from its ignominious association with a certain unfortunate fable involving an ancient Roman prefect of Judaea. :-)

When you put “ecce” together with the Latin word “scopus”, which means “to look”, you get the idea — in order to see, all you need to do is look. Well, that’s that’s the basic idea anyway. In follow-on posts I will describe what an eccescopic future might be like, and how we might get there from here.

7 Responses to “Eccescopy, part 1”

  1. Mari says:

    I like it; just curious, how do you pronounce the double c? [s] or [ks]?

  2. admin says:

    Depends. Ecclesiastic pronunciation uses the soft “c”, so ecce sounds like “ech-ay”. Classical pronunciation uses the hard “c”, so ecce sounds like “eck-ay”.

    Since I’m invoking classical Latin for my use of the word, I would say it should sound like “Eck-ay-scopy”.

  3. Mari says:

    OK, as in Italian “Ecco!” :)

    I asked because if translated in Japanese they would need to know it phonetically and those two spellings would be written differently:

    エシェスコピー (echay)
    エッケスコピー (eckay)

    Not that it matters too much in this country :)

  4. admin says:

    はい :-)

  5. […] Perlin did a lot of study into the technological implementation of such devices, his series of blogged prophecies seeming not too far off of Google’s conceptualised reality. I was more interested […]

  6. Stavros Macrakis says:

    The word-construction is not great. “Ecce” does not mean “see” — it means something like “here is…” or “take a look at…”/”behold” and as far as I know doesn’t form compounds (though French ici ‘here’ comes from the Latin phrase ecce hic ‘take a look at this!’).

    Maybe a better-constructed word would be “periscope” (look around), but that’s already taken…. “Technoscope” could be an artistic or artificial view…. “Alloscope” would let you see other things. “Nepheloscope” would be a cloud viewer.

  7. admin says:

    Thanks Stavros. Yes, I know that ecce means something more like “behold!”, but I kind of like that — it has a bold forward-looking quality to it. Too bad it doesn’t form compounds. That’s very cool about the etymology of ici!!

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