Ezra, a commenter on the 3d in browsers post pointed this out — looks like 3d is coming on quick in Silverlight too.
Been awhile since I posted about how progress is going on this front. Everyone is very excited about HTML5, of course, but particularly with the latest H.264 news, Flash is still going to be pretty widely used. WebGL is going to be in Firefox 4, (basically, the OpenGL ES 2.0 API will be available).
The shakeout continues in virtual worlds, as more worthy projects fail to gain enough business traction to keep going.
As one who has spent years making Vivaty a reality and then trying to make it a success, it pains me to announce that as of Friday the 16th of April, Vivaty.com will completely shut down. I apologize to our loyal users that this must be so. Vivaty.com is a rather expensive site to run, much more than a regular web site, and Vivaty the company has been running out of money for some time. Our business model was to earn money through Vivabux sales, but that has never come close to covering our costs. We tried for months to find a bigger partner that would support the site, but that didn’t work out.
Vivaty is X3D-based tech, and the folks there have a very long history with the VRML community, going back to when they were called Media Machines and had a product called the Flux Player. Most recently, they caught my eye for having done an implementation of X3d in Flash.
WebGL has made it to the nightly builds of Firefox now, which means users willing to put up with unstable versions of FF can download it, flip a preferences flag, and start messing with it. It’s also now in WebKit:
Along with the Firefox implementation, a WebGL implementation landed in WebKit fairly recently. All of these implementations are going to have some interoperability issues for the next little while, as the spec is still in flux and we’re tracking it at different rates, but will hopefully start to stabilize over the next few months.
WebKit is used in Safari, iPhone, Palm Pre’s browser, Chrome, and more.
The battle for 3d web continues…
I know, everyone and their cousin has a panel up in the SXSW Panel Picker. Well, we at Metaplace do too, and here it is… go vote for it!
- Until now, virtual worlds have been walled gardens restricted to their platform. This panel will explore how virtual worlds are now bridging to the “real,” web world. Twitter interfaces, embeddable virtual worlds and other bridges are opening opportunities for users to communicate and promote to the outside web.
- What has the evolution of virtual worlds been in regards to access to the outside web?
- How far have virtual worlds come in opening to the outside web?
- What are the biggest benefits to this bridging?
- Are there downfalls?
- What are some of the case studies of this happening in virtual worlds now?
- How will updates and innovations in browser-based technology further this initiative?
- What does the future look like for virtual worlds in relation to the web?
- Can this opening of virtual worlds to the web be monetized?
- What are the biggest changes in gaming and virtual worlds to come from this?
- How will this affect the non virtual world user?
WebWars has gone public, finally. It is another entrant into the “web overlay” space, sort of a cross between the game stuff in The Nethernet (formerly known as PMOG) and the “layered web” tech used with Weblins or RocketOn. It has a very soft anime look to it, and the fiction is cute: little faeries keep the Internet humming along – gotta catch ‘em all.
You can sign up for beta testing here.
The moment the first human connected to online space, a spark flickered in the vast emptiness and the first Webling was born. Though we have always been oblivious to their existence, all of the uncountable communications that make up our Internet experience are only possible thanks to the Weblings. They are the guardians and shepherds of online information. Fueled by everything from fashion gossip to current affairs, the Weblings change and grow, influenced by the information they carry.
As the Internet has grown, what was once a wilderness has become a war zone. Bugs, viruses, and other malevolent creatures have free rein on the Internet, where they attempt to distort and destroy information online. Even worse, they have created a way to imprison the Weblings forever – trapping them within mirror gates, then shattering and spreading the mirror shards throughout the Internet. The Weblings need our help to find the scattered shards, reassemble the mirror gates, and help them become strong enough to defeat their foes forever.
GigaOM has an article titled Will O3D Get Google Back Into Virtual Worlds?. Apparently, at the MetaverseU conference (which I usually attend but couldn’t this time), the tech lead for O3D said that his team’s next goal is to fully integrate it into Chrome. By the end of the year.
After his presentation, a group of developers surrounded Kokkevis, peppering him with tech-heavy questions. He told me there weren’t any companies creating MMOs in O3D yet, but he raised the possibility that Google might port Sketchup and Google Earth into O3D, “once we become part of the browser.” (Both have been implemented for MMO-related projects.)
I wrote about O3D back in April; its integration into Chrome is certainly interesting, but Chrome itself has quite a lot of adoption barriers yet. But it’s still highly intriguing tech to keep an eye on. If Sketchup and Google Earth migrate to it, that’s a pair of apps to drive adoption, for sure.
Meanwhile, the same article says Unity has reached 10m installs…
This was cool — State Representative Nancy Landry of Louisiana just held a town hall meeting in Metaplace. A big part of the event was Q&A sessions with a middle school class run by teacher Margret Atkinson of Northwestern Middle School, and in attendance were the state’s Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek, and the school’s principal, Debby Brian. I believe a few blog posts elsewhere and a video of the event are forthcoming. Eidt: and here’s one.
I was asked to give brief remarks on digital citizenship, and here they are:
So I was asked to make a few comments about digital citizenship, and I think the thing that most strikes me about an event like this is the fact that citizenship is the same whether it exists in the real world or a digital framework. Here we all are at this wonderful event, and the things that we are talking about in this cartoony, digital world are big important, real world issues, like funding for science education, and the legislative process.
Online communities are a VENUE, not an end in themselves. They are just a new way for us to engage in very old practices. And I think that if we managed to transplant some folks from ancient Athens and given them an intensive course in language and computer literacy, they would be perfectly at home with the substance of the discussions today!
At the same time, I think that it also highlights how important that digital literacy IS; after all, without those lessons, they would be less able to participate. And as our society’s tech capabilities grow, I think it’s wonderful to see that our society — and legislators — and principals and school superintendents, and teachers — are willing to invest in that literacy so that future voters, citizens, will be able to participate to the best of their ability using this new technology.
So I want to just say thank you to all of you for taking the plunge!
Add one more competitor to the race to create the standard for web-delivered 3d. This time, it’s Google, with a new API called O3D.
It’s not compatible with Mozilla’s Khronos effort, but Google says they intend it to converge over the course of a few years. And yes, it is fully cross-platform. There’s a shader language (again, non-standard, doesn’t match HLSL or Cg), and of course it supports loading SketchUp as well as from Max and Maya. It also can run inside an OpenSocial gadget, or run offline in Gears.
It’s a developer release only, found here. But it’s very worth keeping an eye on. Google has to get it adopted, of course, and that will take using powerful distribution leverage, the way that Flash uses YouTube and Microsoft uses NetFlix and Windows Update to push Silverlight.
Here’s a video.