About …

 Rocambole is the creation of Pierre Alexis Ponson du Terrail, a 19th-century French writer. Rocambole is a fictional adventurer. His importance to the genres of adventure novels and crime fiction cannot be overestimated, as he represents the transition from the old-fashioned Gothic novel to modern heroic fiction. The word rocambolesque has become common in French and other languages to label any kind of fantastic adventure. (Wikipedia)

I took the name Rocambole as a nick on July 23rd 1997 when I immigrated into the virtual world Patagonia which was part of the then leading system for virtual reality worlds on the Net, Active Worlds. During the following years I was very active in Active Worlds and in addition to building a city in Patagonia I also created my own virtual world named Mandalay.  

Contrary to most other virtual worlds that were inspired by science fiction, Mandalay was a rural world with farmland, rivers, waterfalls and forests and a  handfull of  idyllic villages.  I also built an art gallery in Mandalay with paintings by Edward Hopper on the walls.

Every object you could see in Mandalay was created by me. I wrote thousands of lines of code instead of using 3-D software. Those days people had to use modems to connect to the Net so it was important to create objects with as few kilobytes as possible. 3-D software made heavy objects with lots of unecessary code. Thanks to of my handmade lightweigth objects visitors to Mandalay didn’t have to wait for ages for the surroundings to download like they often had to in other virtual worlds. 

In January 1999 I received two international prizes for  «creative vision» and «environment design»  for my work with Mandalay. The prizes were two virtual, Oscar-like statues. I put them on my desk in my office in my virtual house in Mandalay.

Apart from building worlds I contributed to the virtual community by staging several concerts and publishing a couple of newspapers. After a few years people lost interest in Active Worlds and were attracted to its competitors, like Second Life and World of Warcraft. Now Facebook probably is the biggest thing – at least for a while.

After  closing down Mandalay around 2003 and returning to real life I started with other activities, like computer animation and 360 degrees panoramic photography. The last few years I have been busy exploring digital painting, i.e. paintings made by a computer and based on a photo or a computer graphic.

Rocambole

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