Strafe Jump To Cyberspace

Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts... A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding
The word “cyberspace” has become a rather prosaic metaphor for all things internet, but it was originally rather more fantastical, being the phrase first conjured by science fiction author William Gibson to describe the networked virtual reality in which the hackers of his Neuromancer/Burning Chrome fiction operated. In Gibson’s space the network architecture was given a Tron-like reality, and hackers and corporations fought for control of information in this electronic realm, or something. The reality of network apps and hacking is rather less interesting, all IP numbers and crappy-looking hacking apps. Or it has been until now. The Centre For Advanced Internet Architectures at Swinburne University, Australia has been using Quake III to visual network architecture. A first step towards actually being able to fight hackers (or our cowled corporate overlords) in Cyberspace?

Well, maybe. Swinburne’s networking researchers, with a bit of help from CISCO, have come up with the L3DGEWorld 2.2 engine, which uses the Open Source version of Quake III to represent the happenings within network architectures. The system allows admins to look at the network architecture as if it were a visible architecture, and pick up stats and behaviours from the interface. Actually using lightning guns to fry the connections of intruding miscreants is still a long way off, but it demonstrates that William Gibson’s fantasy is far from unobtainable.

This video shows an admin interacting with network nodes by shooting at them:

This video shows the state of Swinburne’s super-computer cluster, which has a serious application as it allows an admin to monitor the condition of the entire cluster immediate and effect changes.


  1. Synoptase says:

    Just imagine how Fatal1ty would be an awesome counter-hacker admin…

  2. WCAYPAHWAT says:

    Where the heck is Swinburne?

  3. Joel Esler says:

    It’s in Melbourne.

  4. Kast says:

    RE: Second video – Something very strange has happened to the House of Commons

  5. Karthik says:

    Reminds me of tdfsb, an OpenGL based 3D file system browser. (link to

    Videos and MP3s start playing “in game” when shot, and text files look like chimneys with letters streaming out.

  6. Karthik says:

    Oops, sorry for double-posting; this is the correct tdfsb link: link to


    I always imagined Gibson’s cyberspace to have a more gridlike appearence. Nothing to do with scary, rotating eyes.

  8. Meat Circus says:

    This is a Unix system. I know this.

  9. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Nothing to do with scary, rotating eyes.

    A scary rotating all-seeing eye at that. It appears the Illuminati have already infiltrated cyberspace before it has even got off the ground.

  10. Joinn says:

    Oh, I thought that was Sauron

  11. Zeno, Internetographer says:

    While the whole cyberspace-style interface might seem cool, I don’t think it’s really at all practical.

  12. KindredPhantom says:

    I prefer the cyberspace representation in Dystopia mod.
    But this is interesting.

  13. OldmanTick says:

    Here is doom being used to administer a unix server from 1999

    link to

    and you CAN shoot to kill threads.

  14. Leeks! says:

    When I was working at my University’s student paper as an editor, the tech guys had something similar to goof around with our network, only it was Doom, and all active processes were represented by monsters. They thought it was hilarious to find the monsters representing my qued print jobs and drop them with a shotgun.

  15. DigitalSignalX says:

    Hilarious, but not practical. Look for admin tools to evolve into Visio-looking, fully manipulative drill down displays like you saw in Minority Report.

  16. SenatorPalpatine says:

    KindredPhantom says:

    I prefer the cyberspace representation in Dystopia mod.
    But this is interesting.

  17. JP says:

    Come to think of it, CLI would be way more efficient for Quake3.

    ~$ killall -I n00b

  18. matt says:

    reminds me of 3dhtml:

  19. Sir Elderberry says:

    That OpenGL file browser looked interesting, is there a win32 version?

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