Tuesday, June 26, 2007

All England SLawn Tennisclub

I've been wondering a lot about why there are so few UK companies in Second Life. Big brands from the US, Germany, Netherlands and Spain seem to be flocking this virtual world, but - to my knowledge - no English corps have immersed yet. A few pointed out that the English were perhaps to conservative, too carefull to thread unchartered waters.

Tonight's Things to Do event was a guided tour around Wimbledon which proves that statement wrong. If there's anything traditional in England, in my opinion, it is Wimbledon. It's history is fabulous.

Although I was an absolute fan of Stephan Edberg, I very much recall the first time Andre Agassi entered the All England Lawn Tennisclub. His long hair and wild clothing was considered provicative at the time and people wondered how he would appear at Wimbledon.... well his appearance was a statement. Wearing the same attire as usual, with stretch pants underneath his shorts and hairbands and all... but totally white to honor the tradition of Wimbledon.

Okay, no pic of Edberg, Agassi or Sabatini here, but of Epredator, IBM's metaverse guru, who's actually at Wimbledon - and still found time to give us the guided tour.

IBM has capturing lots of match data in the past years as ofifical IT partner. That data and the rest of the site is used to extend the experience to people who cant be here. For IBM it is a natural step to use a metaverse for this extended experience.

First of all there are the goodies, the avatar, the clothing and the rackets. You can also buy real life tickets at the Wimbledon shop, but of course the main event is the centercourt.

"its one that we take the pointracker data from the real meta event and inject that into the ball that moves around -- ok the ball is pushed around having made http requests for the data the main scoreboard is then updated. We also then let people take the players eye view. Technically we have a lot more data, the strokes played etc but we are balancing how much code we have to pack in to get aronud http limits in script etc. and on the scoreboard if dynamic flash worked we would just use the normal pub sub scoreboard on wimbledon.org so we are looking see how we can represent the event but as I blogged on eightbar its hard to get data for bits that are not tennis points e.g. e do not capture on court wich chair a player sits on but we can imply things.
we produce DVD's for players in RL of matches which implies things from crowd noise to index the dvd large crowd noise, exciting points etc."


In the demo you could see the balls trajectory quite well. A lot of scripting is going on at this side, though for non-IBM (i.e. visitors) scripting is disabled, as IBM feels they and Wimbledon would be a prime target for griefers / hackers.



Aside from the usual visitors, IBM itself brings in a lot of people at C-Level (ceo/cto/cfo etc) to show their partners what they are doing in Second Life.
"Last year they just laughed alot and said how quaint, but this year they have all heard of SL and want to see what we're doing here."
What a difference a year makes!
And surely we are looking forward to the Australian Open as IBM has already build a complete Rod Lever Arena.

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