The Technium


Ingenic: Content created in the same media that it is consumed in. As an example, if one uses VR tools within VR to create a VR world, that content is ingenic. That is, the world has been generated within the framework of its consumption. If one created a VR world using standard PCs and 2D tools outside of VR, then that content is non-ingenic, or exgenic. Most of the VR content made today is constructed using tools on screens that are not 3D. It’s made with pens on a flat plane, or images display on flat screens. The 3D nature of the constructed world has to be guessed at, approximated by moving and swirling the world.

Most of the VR content in the future will be constructed by makers inside of VR. The working interface to their tools will have volume, thickness, and spatial arrangements. The app Tiltbrush is a good example of an ingenic tool. To create with Tiltbrush, you enter VR and “paint” in three dimensions. You basically paint a sculpture, or sculpt a painting.

The old classical 2D interface of menus and windows aren’t adequate in VR. The new UIs will be volumetric and spatial. As one example, the two industry standard tools for creating 3D worlds and models, the game engines Unity and Unreal, are most commonly used in desktop mode — that is 2D. Their menus and palettes are definitely exgenic to the VR worlds it can make. Recently Unity and Unreal began offering an ingenic version of the editors, whereby developers can employ the engine within VR itself to create VR content. The user must don headgear, enter VR, and inside this spatial world, create. However these versions of an ingenic 3D editor carries over the old 2D metaphor of menus and palettes, so it is not an ideal ingenic tool. Future versions of VR tools will have interfaces optimized for ingenic creation by inventing new organizing metaphors beyond windows and menus.

In a loose sense you could say that web-based tools (like say Google Docs) are ingenic for web-based content. Whereas the classic Microsoft Word in desktop mode is exgenic. And for whatever new worlds that come after the spatial world of 3D, the first tools for them will likely be exgenic 3D tools, and only later fully ingenic.

Ingenic means “the genesis happens within.”  Thank you to my son Tywen Kelly, who came up with this term.