As some people might have noticed, my virtual world exploration trips have been very rare these last months. Have I missed anything… not really. Let’s say nothing really new that gets me excited and inventive enough to talk it out loud.
The main reason is probably because I’m having lots of fun with paper, pens, cameras, pianos and other real life things that enjoys my life. The other quite obvious reason is that virtual worlds, once again, are going through a certain “slow dev sensation” period. A lot of projects are more or less abandoned, while others are redesigning certain fundamentals for a hopefully better “restart”. There are also two main fields of virtual worlds. The open-source side and the proprietary platforms. Both sides have the same goal : finding a reason for people to use their solution – “We have the solution, now lets find the problem”.
Big corporate IT companies believed, and most of them still do, that virtual worlds, or immersive spaces, can be great for collaboration needs, education, simulation or 3d real-time representation. While Oracle takes all the shine out of Sun, and stops dev on Wonderland (but being open should keep on growing) IBM, Intel and others continue to finance Opensim research but without any real “Let’s do it!” politics. Even if the project is totally open-source, Company funds are essential for such big projects, and building a community is just as important : Look at poor2poor Solipsis, since Orange let it go, it just stopped !
While Linden labs are still wondering what they could do make people want to stay, and not finish looking like an expensive 3d myspace, Opensim, realXtend, Sirikata & VastPark are inter-winding, offering great future possibilities to artists, researchers, dev’s & companies.
Croquet, with edusim seems to be still the best way for school teachers to set up fun 3D interactive visualisation for class usage, and with the great resources for 3d models like google warehouse, using 3d for educational purpose is still a great idea.
I’m also astonished more people haven’t been using unity for projects other than games. I’m sure it will be coming in the next few months, but virtual shops, concerts, information centers could have a lot to gain using immersive spaces to extend their services. I’d love to see a framework in unity for avatar id and inventory, that would let users create and host their own spaces and interconnect them in a simple way. or maybe just hope that the problems in making a opensim client with unity clear up some day