Thursday, August 21, 2008

Integrate or wrap up

Many will agree that Virtual Worlds are wonderful tools when it comes to visualising hard to explain stuff and offer a range of quite useful possibilities. Yet NVE's are still a niche market and have obviously failed as marketing tools. They don't hold the power to overturn the internet yet and become mainstream applications.

In my opinion the key lies in integration with mainstream and social networking tools. Virtual Worlds such as Second Life are still mainly social worlds, used for social interaction for certain special interest groups and in this regard they are a mere 3D Chat addition to social networks. In this day and age these social networks are in charger of the internet with Facebook, Myspace etc. holding vast communities. If Virtual Worlds are to stand more than a "snowballs' chance in hell" in this web 2.0 battle for numbers they have to bridge the gap.

I think I've mentioned Kaneva in the past as pioneering this with their user profiles with blogging, etworking features etc. to enhance the social power of their virtual world. I've mentioned integration a number of times in the articles here on MindBlizzard and in presentations I did in the past year and a half.

Just over a year ago I wrote:

"One of the great features of Kaneva is the personal homepage that you get as a resident - a good start to integrate Web 2.0 and Web 3D into one environment. Think of the power of integrating Second Life with Flickr, Blogger, YouTube, Twitter/pownce and Facebook all in one!"

We've seen a small Facebook widget appear last year in which you could linkup with your Second Life friends, an attempt to integrate Second Life with Joomla, but now the integration takes a step forward as Tribal One integrates Facebook and OpenSim in a first step towards a new approach to 3D/Web integration

As usual, UgoTrade, has a very extensive and thorough blog on this integration:

The picture above shows the in the left pane fetched pictures from Stefan’s Facebook photos. As Stefan explains a hybrid web app is talking to the region to change the picture accordingly and pull the photos into frames on the wall (for a more detailed technical explanation see here).

read more at: UgoTrade.

More to come

There's bound to be more to come on cross platform interfaces and 3D/Web integration. Check out Digado for example with it's accounts on the "Second Life Interface Debate", and here's a vid from Smashing Magazine on "Futuristic Interfaces"

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Scalability of SL

The major concerns the residents of Second Life had in 2007 were probably Scalability and Stability, and these were addressed in the Project Open Letter sometime mid 2007. In those days Second Life got laggy when there were more than 30K people online at the same time.

Yesterday Massively wrote on Jan. 15 stats for Second Life:
A peak concurrency of 61,560 (a new record!) at 1:45PM, and a minimum concurrency of 34,399 at 11:55PM. Median concurrency for the day was 46,627.

So where does this put Second Life in terms of maximum concurrency? In the same blogpost Massively provides some data for comparison:
For comparison purposes, Everquest's record concurrency is reported to have been approximately 90,000 which puts Linden Lab's virtual world more than two thirds of the way there in terms of usage.

People always boast about World of Warcraft, but those have different servers (serverclouds) for different continents, so you can't really test how much one grid can hold before falling down. A little while ago Aleister Kronos reported some concurrency stats for a number of worlds:

Scalability, max concurrency are all relative categories though, as each and every world uses its own technique (streaming, download client, java, flash and whatelse there is in variation). Second Life islands can hold 50 to 90 people at the same time, other NVE's can run 8,000 on a single server. It's architecture, infrastructure and all these little things. The bottomline is do we have a good experience when the world we're in is pushing its limits?

Some noticed a slight downfall in performance last weekend on Second Life, as they were pushing their max concurrency. Scripting, rezzing etc slowed down a bit. So perhaps it will be July 2008 before Second Life pushes beyond 80 K and year end may see 100K, but I know they're getting there. The new Windlight Client that's available is going to be the best tested client ever and the Linden QA team is trying to get rid of all that resource sucking stuff in there. I think 2008 shows promise for Second Life.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

2007 sees multibillion dollar investments in 3D environments

Triggered by the 3PointD article Conduit Social Gaming World Gets $5.5m Round on another capital venture investment in 3D initiatives I've made a quick survey of 2007 investment news on the aforementioned 3PointD blog and the Metaversed blog.

Just coming from these blog is 1.651 Million in investments in the year 2007 to date. Surely, they've missed out on many private investments, startups and corporate investments.

Reports on BBC, MTV and Disney investing in new startups and others virtual startups like Stagespace, Metaversum's Twinity, 3D City (ABKsoft), VastPark (Worlds Collide), Ogoglio, Sony's PS3 Home and Mattel's Barbieworld come without figures.

Awomo (a world of my own) is, said to be worth 1 billion euro according to Virgin Records mogul Sir Richard Branson.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Intergalactic News update

Time for another blogosphere-update of the metaverse. Some nice newsbits passed by last week. So here's another hails from the VERSE

KZero reports:

Secondlife Blogo gives a nice addition to the metaversemap with an overview on VW's 4 Kids:

They also report on the article from the New York Times saying that Club Pinguin has been sold for 350 Million USD, with another 350 Million to follow after certain requirements are met.

Nick Wilson over at Metaversed reports:

  • Multiverse v1.0 Released!
    The long wait is finally over. After years of planning, volumes of hype, and the input of thousands of beta developers, Multiverse has finally released v1.0 of its platform. The Multiverse Platform is "a comprehensive software solution that gives development teams the technology, tools and assets to create virtual worlds for almost any purpose, including games and business tools." Basically, you can make worlds with it...
  • The XTR 3D Human Machine Interface
    A company called Extreme Reality (XTR) announced last week the creation of XTR 3D Human Machine Interface, an advanced motion tracking software designed to work with a regular commercially available webcam. Head and arm movements would be tracked automatically, and no more complicated equipment is needed other than a relatively blank wall behind the user. It even detects when the user reaches forward, toward the camera...

3PointD reports:

Last but not least the Belgian Second Life Crew reports that where Linden Lab bought Windward Mark to boost graphics, they're outdone by MindArk, producers of the Entropia Universe who incorporated the CryEngine2.

Here's the Mindark press release:

"Entropia Universe, the safest virtual world utilizing a real cash economy, has signed a license agreement to use the stunning high-tech game engine CryENGINE 2®, from German developer Crytek, creators of “Far Cry®” and upcoming “Crysis®.” This will make Entropia Universe the closest-to-reality looking massively multiplayer online game ever seen. The transition to an Entropia Universe platform built around this new technology is expected to be finished by mid-2008, and will be available to all Entropia Universe partners. Creator MindArk PE AB’s CEO Jan Welter Timkrans explains, “The upgrade of Entropia Universe will be built around the spectacular features supplied by CryENGINE 2®, offering a complete and immersive experience to Entropia participants. It will create synergies between the proven and safe Real Cash Economy backbone, the Entropia storyline with colonists fighting to establish a new world, and the very life-like visuals supplied from CryENGINE 2®.” He continues, “When we saw what the engine was capable of, we immediately understood that it would be perfect for Entropia, as both MindArk and Crytek are pioneers in their respective fields.”

Avni Yerli, Crytek’s Managing Director says, “We are thrilled to have been chosen by such a well regarded and successful industry leader as MindArk to be their future engine provider for Entropia Universe. We think the combination of our CryENGINE 2® technology and their extremely popular virtual playground will result in a new kind of rich and immersive experience that has not been possible until now. It will also expose a wide new audience to the stunningly realistic graphics, environmental physics and believable animations which are made possible by the award winning CryENGINE 2® together with some of the most recent advances in PC hardware and operating systems.”"

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Metaverse Map v1.1

Here's the updated Metaverse Map with an overview of 2D and 3D virtual worlds.

The large image (1024 x 1024) can be found here.

Use the map freely, links will be appreciated though ;-)

In alphabetical order:

  1. Active Worlds
  2. Areae
  3. Croquet
  4. Cybertown
  5. Cyworld
  6. Deamville
  7. Disney Toontown
  8. Dubit
  9. Eccky
  10. Entropia
  11. Everyscape
  12. Forterra
  13. Frenzoo
  14. Gaia Online
  15. Google Earth
  16. Habbo Hotel
  17. Hipihi
  18. Immersive
  19. Kaneva
  20. Manor, the
  21. Microsoft Virtual Earth
  22. Mini Friday
  23. Moove Online
  24. Multiverse
  25. Muse
  26. Nasa World Wind
  27. NGI World
  28. Ogoglio
  29. Open Sim
  30. Outback Online
  31. Palace, the
  32. Planet VM
  33. Playdo
  34. Questville
  35. Second Life
  36. Shanda Entertainment
  37. Sims Online
  38. Sony Home
  39. Sparter
  40. Stagespace
  42. Towerchat
  43. Trion
  44. Uonenet
  45. Virtual Ibiza
  46. Virtual Magic Kingdom
  47. Virtual Worlds SIG
  48. VP Chat
  49. Vzones
  50. Webkinz
  51. Weblo
  52. Why Robbie Rocks
  53. Whyville
  55. Worldbridges
  56. Worlds Unlimited

I know I left out Club Pinguin and Three Rings (couldn't find any good logo's) and probably missed out on a few barbie-worlds....

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Metaverse Map

The metaverse rollercoster keeps on rolling. Next week I've got to do a presentation on Second Life and the metaverse. I've been looking around a bit and decided to throw in a few logo's of Web 3D / Metaverse initiatives.
Which ones did I miss?

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Kaneva Expedition

Who thought Second Life was just a hype at the start of 2007 has to rethink. Yes, perhaps Second Life is a little hyped with an absurd amount of media attention, but 2007 looks to be the year that Virtual Worlds are going mainstream in the Western World (emphasizing Western, since Cyworld already seems to be a bare necessity in Korea)

Among the many Metaverses there's Kaneva, which I visited today.

Registration was quite easy and since there are no family names, like in Second Life, I was able to register myself as VeeJayBurns.

After the registration it's time to download. The first download, the install wizard is just 2Mb, but then the full engine is downloaded, 250 Mb, after installation about 500Mb.
One of the great features of Kaneva is the personal homepage that you get as a resident - a good start to integrate Web 2.0 and Web 3D into one environment. Think of the power of integrating Second Life with Flickr, Blogger, YouTube, Twitter/pownce and Facebook all in one!
Character creation is very limited, compared to Second Life, same pretty much goes for content creation.
Uploading textures, or patters works from webpages, which is actually a better interface than the inworld upload that Second Life offers.
Another great thing about Kaneva is, besides you getting your own 'homepage', you also get your own 'home'. That does bring back memories of First Land in Second Life (which I missed out on :-( )
A thing that surprised - in a good way - was the speed of Kaneva. Movement was quite fast. On the downside, as in SpaceStage I did not meet any people or found an easy way to wander around the world.

Kaneva does have some benefits to offer, some addons that may help to create a Metaversal identity, but is lacking in other parts compared to Second Life. For instance, Second Life really has the upper hand when it comes to content creation and the openness of the world. Also the 'mandatory' orientation island exerecises may seem to be a bit overdone, but when entering a world for the first time - without any practise, does leave you at a loss sometimes.

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