Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Standards For Interconnecting Virtual Worlds

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the can-i-hearth-back-to-everquest-yet dept.

142

Tao Takashi writes "Linden Lab, developers of the popular 3D platform "Second Life" started to think about an open standard for interconnecting virtual worlds. The motivation behind this is to make Second Life more scalable but also to allow connection of other grids not hosted by Linden Lab. The process of defining components and protocols is supposed to be handled completely in the open with community participation. When finished the protocol documentation is supposed to be submitted to standard committees such as IETC, W3C etc. The discussion has already started on the Second Life wiki and you can also find a first architecture proposal by Linden Lab."

cancel ×

142 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Whoo hooo! (3, Interesting)

suso (153703) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666265)

Cool, I'm glad there are some smart people there at Linden Labs. I've been thinking about this for a while now, that there needs to be some group for developing such a protocol. Basically, this standard would encourage people to run their own servers and that's where it would really take off. Give people ownership, and they will run with it. Now all we need are 80 core processors and gigabit wan connections to the house.

I only hope that if they are altruistic enough to see the value in doing this, that they are good enough to make it as open as it should be.

Or else it could end up like this [suso.org]

Re:Whoo hooo! (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666331)

Thank I haven't been Rick Rolled in a while. Hey.. Its better than G**tse...

ShieldW0lf is gay and so is Second Life... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20666509)

...WHO CARES about virtual world pseudonews?!

Re:Whoo hooo! (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666353)

Before LL can even connect other virtual worlds together, they need to fix issues with keeping their sims up in SL. Seriously, had they bothered to invest in some real hardware, and give each sim it's own dedicated server, I wouldn't be getting slammed from one sim to the next five to six times daily as a sim crashes.

Re:Whoo hooo! (2, Informative)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#20669271)

They have "PPremium servers". In normal conditions 4 sims run on a 4 core machine. With premium servers they run only one sim on such machine. There are also slow, discount servers which run 8-16 sims on a 4 core machine. This crashing is just from bugs which are just everywhere in SL.

Re:Whoo hooo! (3, Interesting)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666373)

I agree. I like SL a lot and see so much potential for it as a platform, and while it's far from perfect 99% of the problems I have with it are policy and business decisions on the part of Linden Labs. Ever since I started SL I've been looking forward to a day when I could fire up my own server and run that sort of thing myself. It has the potential to be an open platform for any sort of MMO you like, a modern resurrection of the BBS era with added polygons, or any of the other things they were hyping "Virtual Reality" to be 15 years ago.

hmmm (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20667519)

"I like SL a lot "

You say that without a trace of embarrassment. Do you like furry animals?

Re:Whoo hooo! (1)

krgallagher (743575) | more than 6 years ago | (#20667407)

"I've been thinking about this for a while now, that there needs to be some group for developing such a protocol."

I'm right there with you. It would be cool to be able to play whatever client I want, and seamlessly move from world to world. Let's hope this takes off and other MMOLRPG's adopt the standard as well as allowing the general public to create their own worlds.

If they don't do it, IBM or Sun will... (1)

gmezero (4448) | more than 6 years ago | (#20668187)

They're both already building initiatives. IBM internally and Sun with Project Darkstar.

So this means... (3, Funny)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666289)

That horde could invade EVE?

That would be something to see.

Bad idea! (2, Funny)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666417)

After all, look what happened in the Chronicles of Narnia. You get one witch in from one world and let her into another, and all hell breaks loose.

Re:So this means... (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666655)

Can Orcs and Trolls breathe vacuum?

Re:So this means... (1)

Alcyoneus (1107533) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666717)

Since BoB and MC have effectively won EVE, they would crush the SL newcomers. But I admit that it would be interesting to attend a Second Life dance party in Jita. I wonder how Caldari dance?

Re:So this means... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20669403)

"Since BoB and MC have effectively won EVE's forums, they would posture on the forums to the SL newcomers. But I admit that it would be interesting to attend a Second Life dance party in Jita. I wonder how Caldari dance?" Fixed.

Re:So this means... (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666857)

That horde could invade EVE?

That would be something to see.


Bah, my Red Mage would cut down you puny orcs like wheat before the scythe. I might even invite in a Dark Knight so we could have an actual scythe.

Chris Mattern

Re:So this means... (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 6 years ago | (#20668511)

I dunno; there are already enough frozen corpses floating around the place...

Open Standards, hmm? (2, Interesting)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666357)

I see huge potential. Imagine the day when the internet itself is just referred to as Second Life, replacing the ubiquous web browser with an SL client, or that SL-only machines are sold...

Or even a way to directly interface with the human mind....

Gibson, you were right.

Re:Open Standards, hmm? (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666383)

You may see it, but I'm coding it, and have been for the last year. Well, less dramatic perhaps, but still, its something I'm working on all on my ownsome.

Oh for VC funding so I could get more people involved....

Never mind, by 2009 I should have a decent product.

Re:Open Standards, hmm? (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666433)

Never mind, by 2009 I should have a decent product.

And if it takes you three years to get it to market what with patents, copyrights, advertising, then you'll be rolling by 2012.

oh crap, nevermind.

Re:Open Standards, hmm? (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666511)

forget patents and such, the script compiler has got me foxed for now. Yup I've gone the daft route and designed a language specific to my engine.

Re:Open Standards, hmm? (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666435)

The big question is, when the virus hacks the mind/machine interface and reprograms a bunch of people, do they vote conservative or liberal?

Re:Open Standards, hmm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20666611)

That's for the machine to decide ;)

Re:Open Standards, hmm? (1)

dstiggy (1145347) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666613)

Or the metaverse a la Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Re:Open Standards, hmm? (2, Funny)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#20668045)

I see huge potential. Imagine the day when the internet itself is just referred to as Second Life, replacing the ubiquous web browser with an SL client, or that SL-only machines are sold...

Oh boy. VRML.

Re:Open Standards, hmm? (1)

darkshadow (102598) | more than 6 years ago | (#20668109)

Gopher VR

Re:Open Standards, hmm? (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 6 years ago | (#20669807)

I prefer Veronica VR. ROWR!

Re:Open Standards, hmm? (3, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20668567)

replacing the ubiquous web browser with an SL client

I still don't understand why people think this is going to happen, or even why you'd want it to happen. Which is easier and more efficient, to read from a web page, or to read from a web page rendered as some kind of sign in a 3D virtual world?

I'm certainly not claiming that there's no room for improvement or innovation in the web browser, but there are reasons why that model won out and continues to be used today. Reading and writing is often more effective and efficient than speaking and listening, and the document model is efficient for reading and writing. Rendering the document into a 3D world is a waste of time and resources.

Re:Open Standards, hmm? (1)

readin (838620) | more than 6 years ago | (#20669857)

still don't understand why people think this is going to happen, or even why you'd want it to happen. Which is easier and more efficient, to read from a web page, or to read from a web page rendered as some kind of sign in a 3D virtual world? I'm certainly not claiming that there's no room for improvement or innovation in the web browser, but there are reasons why that model won out and continues to be used today. Reading and writing is often more effective and efficient than speaking and listening, and the document model is efficient for reading and writing. Rendering the document into a 3D world is a waste of time and resources.

It depends on what you're reading and why, and also on where you're physically located while reading.

Reading slashdot on office break is best done with text. Most of the job-related research I do is best done in text. But I'm sure a lot of chat sights, social bulletin board sights, facebook, myspace, and other sites would see the ability to visit in 3D as a huge selling point.

Teleconferences might also be improved by being rendered in 3D with avatars, and those could easily be set up on second life style servers with second life clients if they become the norm.

Advertisers might like to provide 3D spaces for users' avatars to enter and visit. It would seem to me that the more you can immerse your target inside your advertisement, the better.

of course the fact that your new browser can now function as an SL client doesn't have to mean it can no longer render text the way it always has when you want it too.

Re:Open Standards, hmm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20669173)

What an appalling thought.

Arrrrrr! Fantastic! (4, Funny)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666371)

Aye Matey - soon we'll be a sailin our pirate ships o'er the internet! Me crew shall pillage vast new oceans and search for precious booty!

Re:Arrrrrr! Fantastic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20666407)

Prepare to fight the BDSM armies for booty.

Re:Arrrrrr! Fantastic! (1)

AdmiralDouglas (1158047) | more than 6 years ago | (#20669257)

Yay! Someone is celebrating Interntional Talk like a Pirate day! I mean... Arrr! Me matey's be speakin' as true swashbucklers!

Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20666379)

They have promised to open up the server code for years, the only reason they are doing this now is so they don't get left behind.

http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Main_Page [opensimulator.org]

VRML? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20666389)

At school we've been taught that VRML [wikipedia.org] is the standard language to define the virtual reality. So I guess Second Life standard would be something similar to it, maybe just an extension to VRML?

Re:VRML? (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666843)

VRML was one of those languages that popped up when people though they needed to describe everything in XML. Apart from a few spinning world demos I don't think it ever really took off.

Need I say this.... (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666415)

Second Life = notagame

Re:Need I say this.... (1)

kenjishikida (324233) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666547)

why not a open standard for social networks?

Economies and Currencies (2, Interesting)

jobbleberry (608883) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666425)

I wonder if each grid will have it's own currency and economy. Linden would compete to be the most vibrant economy but there would be nothing stopping others from competeing. There could even be free grids like the sandboxes that exist now. Just a thought.

Re:Economies and Currencies (1)

Tao Takashi (1145687) | more than 6 years ago | (#20667303)

The currency problem is not solved yet I think but my idea would be that it's puggable and you can support multiple ways of paying for stuff. It might be with L$, by credit card, PayPal, whatever. And yes, there will probably be free grids then. And others will probably compete. But this will happen nevertheless. I think Linden Lab's goal is to be part of this instead of letting other people implement it.

Re:Economies and Currencies (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#20669651)

That's basically what I think. They've got an economic model that mostly works... it could be better, and they've screwed some people over by changing the rules on them in the middle, but SL is where the money is. Of course that doesn't mean it's going to stay that way, but it's not like people are going to be happy starting from scratch as Ruth.

This would take 2Life scams to a new level (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666453)

The motivation behind this is to make Second Life more scalable but also to allow connection of other grids not hosted by Linden Lab.


Awesome. This would take Second Life scams to a whole new level.

All your Linden Dollars are belong to us.

XMPP + X3D ? (2, Insightful)

atamyrat (980611) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666505)

I'm not a standards guy neither a game developer, but I'd propose something based on other standards, like XMPP [xmpp.org] for messaging, connectivity, chat and X3D [wikipedia.org] for virtual world 3D models.

Re:XMPP + X3D ? (2, Insightful)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666581)

XML is kind of big, when you have to throw it over internet connections. Not just once, but once for every recipient. Imagine you are in a zone with 100 people, and you send a message to an 'out of character' channel that hits everyone. Now that message has to get sent out 100 times, plus the XML overhead. There are ways to do it with much less overhead (binary). Might not be as self-describing but with good documentation, not that difficult.

Re:XMPP + X3D ? (0)

atamyrat (980611) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666629)

Then they should come up with some standard way of compressing XML first.
Others will benefit from this as well, for example ODF uses Zip, AFAIK.

Re:XMPP + X3D ? (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666821)

Arr. but now you be burning CPU to compress and decompress thar XML. Remember, MMO's be happening in real time, requiring synchronization amongst hundreds of scurvy dogs, wheras if you wait an extra moment for your ODF file your bottle 'o' rum isn't gonna be that much warmar.

Arrrgh!

The way I'd be doing it (I have a little tiny mmo toolkit I work on when I have the spare time) is serialization, but customized serialization to not send the bits I don't need. In c++/C3 (the languages I've tinkered with) you can tweak what gets serialized and how you pack it, and it all gets sent in binary and decoded in binary, really no performance hit.

Re:XMPP + X3D ? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666983)

Does serialization in C++ work cross-platform?

Re:XMPP + X3D ? (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#20667389)

Sure. All you are doing is ordering bits. Say you have a struct (and this will be mangled and ugly)

strut pirate
{
char name[10];
int num_peg_legs; bool has_bird; };

Each one of those variables takes up a certain amount of space, and can be packed in a pre-determined way when you serialize. So then lets say you send the serialized package to a c# program. As long as the c# class is packed the same way, your deserializer can deserialize the package.

It might not work out of the box, using (for example) C++ boost libraries with C# .NET serialization, but writing a custom serializer will work (and be quicker to boot, because there is probably server-side data in the struct that doesn't need communicating to the end user...).

Re:XMPP + X3D ? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20667959)

So no trouble with little-endian/big-endian int's and such?

Re:XMPP + X3D ? (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#20668325)

Not if it is built into your serialization function, no. If you are controlling both ends of the code, you should know what the server and client is running, convert from server (if necessary) to network order (big endian), and then at the client from network order to your clients order (again, if necessary).

Again, this is only if you are writing your own (1) homebrew (2) cross-language serialization. If you stick to one language it is infinitely easier :) But it isn't that hard for example with berkely sockets you have htonx() and ntohx() functions that convert from host to network and network to host, respectively.

Re:XMPP + X3D ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20668781)

Actually it's faster if client/server (or client/client) negotiate whether or not to flip data they receive from each other. Then if neither of you uses network ordering there's still no hit. We did this in SNAP-IX V5.

Re:XMPP + X3D ? (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#20667057)

XML is probably ok for sending a character from one server to another but not for in game interactions. It just comes with such an unnecessarily large overhead.

Re:XMPP + X3D ? (1)

routerl (976394) | more than 6 years ago | (#20669985)

This all reminds me of VRML [wikipedia.org] , which was popular about 10 years ago. I distinctly remember trolling around CyberTown [cybertown.com] , which was very similar to Second Life (with comparable graphics, at least as far as I can remember being that it was so long ago). In theory, anyone could have hosted a VRML space, linking to it from the many walkways and doors in CyberTown, though I don't recall whether this was common. The whole thing was kind of neat for the time, but I really couldn't see anything like it becoming more than just a chat room (maybe a step forward for sims [wikipedia.org] ?)

Re:XMPP + X3D ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20667939)

I'm not a doctor or a medical equipment manufacturer, but I propose that we should use chewing gum to attach electrodes from now on.

cross-mmo accounts? (2, Interesting)

aapold (753705) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666541)

So it goes like this... you pay some premium fee and in effect it signs you up for every MMO out there and pays those fees (from your massive fee), creates a character with that name and as close to appearance as possible on each one of those worlds (reserving names would be problematic), and from the outside framework have portals to each that you enter and play each in windowed mode. And if really ambitious, have some way of coding objects to resemble gear from each one for when you step out of them. Something like that, yes? and then, to top it off, create an exchange rate between wow gold, uo gold, eq gold, linden lucre, tabula rasa credits, dereth pyreal etc etc etc...

Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20668193)

Or get out into the real world.

It's really kind of exciting all the stuff you can do... surfing, scuba, go to a play, see a movie, visit a museum, ride a horse, visit a cafe, enjoy some new food that you've never tried before, feel the sun in your face, ski, sit and listen to a waterfall.

The imitation world pales in comparison to the real thing. The real thing always has surprises. Staring at a computer screen to imitate life? I... umm.... I think you'd be better off just getting out to the park and reading a book.

Real World Interface? Good Idea! (2, Funny)

aapold (753705) | more than 6 years ago | (#20668907)

We need to get a client-plug in for that.

What I envision is something like this: We have several offices at various places in the world with low-cost labor and good wifi coverage. When you (in Second Life) enter a portal for "Real World(tm)", you pick one of these offices. At this point a hired "avatar" dons a pair of wifi goggles that lets you see what he sees, and gets commands from you to move about in this "Real World", and does so (they will require some minimal training). The offices should be positioned with a number of real world activities nearby such as playgrounds, beaches, bars, etc. You can either type commands that your hired avatar will attempt to say, or use voice chat to have you speak directly to other "Real World" people.

Should your avatar become incapactitated, it will be necessary to get some friends to do a "corpse run" to get the goggles back so you can venture forth again...

awesome!!

Re:cross-mmo accounts? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20668647)

I don't know-- at the point where you're joining that many MMOG where you need this whole convoluted system to keep track of it all, are you actually going to have time to play any of them?

It seems to me that the real benefit is if multiple companies could all run their own SL or WOW servers with their own content and rules, but that there was some method for exchanging characters/items between other servers running the same basic game.

Anyone up for a game of Croquet? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20666593)

I'm glad to see Linden Labs is moving in this direction. Unfortunately, unless they are bringing on help, they don't have the resources to handle all the issues in their main grid (which is what generates their revenue) so I do not see them being able to remotely support this initiative the way most people would expect.

Enter Croquet: http://www.opencroquet.org/index.php/Main_Page [opencroquet.org]

Croquet allows for the creation of multiple, connected worlds through a system of portals and is already finding use in educational scenarios. Oh, and the fact that it is open source doesn't hurt either.

-PS

Someone Else, Please (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666683)

Given the perennial problems that LL's backend suffers (servers going down under the load of a few dozen avatars, servers going down because someone sneezed, data corruption, awkward-at-best internal scalability...) I'd really prefer to see another group build something from the ground up with this kind of extensibility in mind. Open source is a good step, but the impression that I received when I heard about this months ago, and still get now, is that LL is basically trolling for free geek work.

MOD Parent up (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 6 years ago | (#20668233)

I agree with you. I think it is more likely that LL want to be in charge of the system which is bad. So I guess they would offer some kind of payment system that requires you to pay them to host a server, followed up by having currency mandated by them.

The thing is SL is for the most part pointless. There is nothing in it that can't be done better in other systems (web, IM, video/voice chat). The system seems to thrive on Furries and prostitution. Previously gambling as well but they banned that.

First step to the Matrix? (1)

atamyrat (980611) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666689)

Global virtual world somehow reminds me "The Matrix"...

Web 3.0 (or 3D) ? (4, Interesting)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666739)

Here's what I want to see:

I want to be able to rent property in Second Life (or some other virtual world) and have it "link" to my own server, so that when your avatar enters my house, you (transparently) continue playing on my server, using my bandwidth, CPU and my rules.

That way, the main Second Life grid can handle much more people, while I can decide how much I want to handle. If I'm IBM, I will put up a server farm to handle my advertisement/community events. If I'm a private person, I'll plan for 10 concurrent visitors with enough spare capacity to handle spikes of 20-30.

One way or the other, my virtual home is no longer dependent on Linden Lab's server farm. If Second Life gets overloaded, the visitors in my virtual corner of the virtual world won't suffer. They might even come to me because my place always runs smoothly. Suddenly, there is an interest in upgrading the infrastructure beyond "it must work, mostly".

My place can be small (one house) or large (an entire island). Just like property in SL is already. Sure, the transition will be a bit tricky (at what point exactly are people transfered to a different server, and how do they "see" the content inside/outside?), but that's a technical challenge that is, in principle, not that hard.
In fact, I'd be perfectly happy to have it work the Oblivion way (e.g. you click on the door, you are teleported inside. Windows both ways are faked with textures if at all.)

What is cool about this is that it removes the scarcity of land. I can rent a small house in SL and have an entire world inside. Hey, why not? It's not as if physical laws matter. Sure, Linden will have to adapt their business model, but since the server load isn't theirs anymore, they should not have to worry too much.

Re:Web 3.0 (or 3D) ? (2, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666837)

Second Life currently works by storing all the avatar's data (and graphics) server-side and streaming them to the client on request.

When the client goes to the new server, does that server then have to request and store all the graphics associated with that avatar? Or do other users have to request the data from the originating server? At what point do you say 'this character belongs to this server'? If someone creates a character on my private server, then goes elsewhere -forever-, am I forced to host their files on my server forever? What if the originating server goes offline... Is my avatar defunct?

I think this is a neat project, but I think that the fundamental way Second Life works (everything is server-side) won't support it. Everything will have to be client-side, which means SL could no longer charge people to upload graphics, sounds, and animations.

On the other hand, maybe they don't mean for this to be for the common man. Maybe they are only interested in creating a 'standard' that can only be used by companies willing to give them money and provide dedicated hosting for their own characters.

Re:Web 3.0 (or 3D) ? (1)

BabaYama (899483) | more than 6 years ago | (#20667021)

The whole reason of the standards and architecture discussion is to get away from some of the problems that Second Life now has being highly centralized. Rather than standardizing what they have now, they want to design a new more open and scalable system and then standardize that.

Re:Web 3.0 (or 3D) ? (1)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#20667233)

At what point do you say 'this character belongs to this server'?
That's a good question. Here are two solutions off the top of my head:

a) Make avatars client-side, so the client supplies them. The servers could act as caches, so other clients don't access the client directly (which would probably slow everything down if he's on a slow uplink).

b) Have the avatars streamed from "avatar servers". That way my server only stores avatar ID, location and URL of avatar server to ask for everything else. Or it could act as cache, as above.

Re:Web 3.0 (or 3D) ? (1)

BabaYama (899483) | more than 6 years ago | (#20667285)

That is one of the ideas being explored.

Re:Web 3.0 (or 3D) ? (1)

cruachan (113813) | more than 6 years ago | (#20668939)

Yes, I once asked a techie Lindon about the L10 charge to upload, he said it wasn't a way for the Lindons to make money, but simply to act as a throttle on people uploading thousands of files (as the would if it were free). Besides as pointed out, the few cents it costs are not unreasonable data storage pricing.

Re:Web 3.0 (or 3D) ? (1)

Tao Takashi (1145687) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666869)

So the proposed architecture from Linden Lab actually allows for regions hosted at home. So in fact you can have avatars visiting your land which is hosted on your server. There is a concept called "Region Domains" of which there can be many and one might think about Region Domains as sort of continents.

The goal should be though to also allow arbitrary region sizes and forms in the protocol while of course first the existing concept will be implemented. But the protocol should be extensible.

Moreover those Region Domains are more or less black boxes. This means that you can implement it as you will, with a cluster or on a laptop. There should also be support for complete disconnected use where agent and region domain both run on your laptop.

Look at the Proposed Architecture page on the wiki for more information: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Proposed_Architecture [secondlife.com]

Re:Web 3.0 (or 3D) ? (1)

Mushdot (943219) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666937)

Alternatively, you could host your own little dungeon for those naughty World of Warcrafters [theregister.co.uk] , perhaps even creating little honeypot worlds to capture certain 'elements' of virtual society?

Re:Web 3.0 (or 3D) ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20667037)

Sounds like you want the metaverse in Stephenson's Snow Crash.

Re:Web 3.0 (or 3D) ? (1)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#20668645)

Unless my memory is blurry, it is never made explicit how the Metaverse works. So in principle, yes, but the devil is in the technology details. And that makes all the difference. Running my own world on a Linden Labs server is nice, but it still limits what I can do to whatever the server software provides. Running my own software, even if the APIs are standardized, gives me much more freedom.

Re:Web 3.0 (or 3D) ? (1)

greebowarrior (961561) | more than 6 years ago | (#20667615)

a house with an entire world inside? sounds like Timelord science

Re:Web 3.0 (or 3D) ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20667711)

I want to be able to rent property in Second Life (or some other virtual world) and have it "link" to my own server, so that when your avatar enters my house, you (transparently) continue playing on my server, using my bandwidth, CPU and my rules.

I think I *see* what you mean...

Chief Wiggum: Once a man is in your home, anything you do to him is nice *blink* and legal.
Homer: Is that so... Oh Flanders, won't you join me in my kitchen? Heh, heh heh...
Chief Wiggum: Doesn't work if you invite him...
Ned Flanders: *Comes in* - Hidily hey!
Homer: Go home!
Ned Flanders: Didilly doo!

Re:Web 3.0 (or 3D) ? (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 6 years ago | (#20668123)

Not going to happen. Not through Second Life anyways. They can't control the content on your server. You would destroy the value of the the Linden dollar. You are basically saying, "I want second life to change just for me and who cares if it is a viable business model exists for them."

Re:Web 3.0 (or 3D) ? (1)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#20668621)

That's been a solved problem for at least a decade. Sure it's more coding, but you can have all Linden dollars minted at Linden Labs, and the math and code to verify them, prevent double-spending and forgeries, etc. have all been around for a very, very long time.

Re:Web 3.0 (or 3D) ? (1)

PietjeJantje (917584) | more than 6 years ago | (#20669191)

I'm trying to make something like that with DutchPIPE (dutchpipe.org), with the difference it is aimed at the web (it turns websites in virtual environments by making each page a location and assigning avatars). In short, it's open software that anyone can download and patch, and if you'd have, say, 1000 websites running it, I want them to be able to connect their sites to a bigger whole so it, sort of, becomes one big world. Now this is just a small project you may never hear of again, but the point is that I think virtual environments will only really catch on, if it's free game and interconnected just like the web. These companies making privately or corporate owned worlds, hosted on their servers, this is not how it should be, except as a part of a bigger whole. Imagine that most web sites would be hosted by a few companies using non-free technologies. An open and standard protocol to communicate between them is not enough.

Re:Web 3.0 (or 3D) ? (1)

DerCed (155038) | more than 6 years ago | (#20669563)

You mean, like the world wide web?

Dream Me Up (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666899)

I'd like to be able to go to sleep in one world, and dream I'm in another, only to wake back home when I die in the dream.

And I want to visit worlds where girls who wouldn't date me at home are instead suddenly nyphomaniacs.

Re:Dream Me Up (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#20667209)

And I want to visit worlds where girls who wouldn't date me at home are instead suddenly nyphomaniacs

That still doesn't mean they'll date you.

Re:Dream Me Up (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20667531)

In your dreams!

We tried to get Worlds.com to do this 10 years ago (2, Informative)

mgoheen (244365) | more than 6 years ago | (#20667295)

I worked for http://worlds.com/ [worlds.com] back in the mid 1990s (remember the billboards in S.F. and other major cities? What a freekin' JOKE), and we had the basic technology to do this back then. The system included a world builder as part of the product, although it needed at least another year of work to become a real product. The backend also allowed for this, you could link to other servers on different machines. Users of Worlds have been hacking on it to create their own worlds for years (the server really only tracks your location -- the textures and such are served up from HTTP servers, so once you get the server to a location that YOU have created, you can just distribute your world to your friends and serve up the textures). The problem was that the management at the time blew their entire wad on marketing (see above) and other follies, rather in focusing on anything that might be of USE! It was truely frustrating.

I am impressed by the tenacity of the current president -- Worlds.com has gone broke twice and is STILL hanging on and appears to be planning something for this fall (what it is, I have no idea -- I haven't worked there for over six years).

Let's get some other things together. (1)

raydubicki (1129053) | more than 6 years ago | (#20667317)

If this is possible in Second Life, how about across other platform games and systems. Wouldn't it be nice to run some of your characters through other maps and worlds?

Why stop there? I'd like to transport my profile, postings and comments between all of the social networking sites. It would also be nice to check all of them from a single page and be able to post/lurk without remembering where I stored the "this thread is useless without pics" icon.

Of course, whomever did this would have some great job opportunities in the Middle East afterwards.

VRML (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 6 years ago | (#20667395)

I thought there already was a "3D world" standard.

Skip Second Life... (1)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 6 years ago | (#20667481)

While this is obviously a necessary step in creating the next internet revolution since the world-wide web, I have serious doubts that it will be based upon the Second Life software.

Most likely, the honor for create the virtual internet "world" will come from either an industrial thinktank (AT&T, IBM, etc...), the game industry (EA with an evolved form of The Sims merged with Spore and SimCity) or the porn industry (as a quality product with tons of cash behind it, complete creative freedom and a self-sustaining internal economy).

This rush to start an open protocol for interconnecting these "worlds" is most likely a last-ditch effort to keep Second Life running a couple years longer before it gets completely replaced by a far-superior product. After which, it'll erupt into an all-out patent war between Linden Labs and whoever wins the race for the first globally accepted virtual world system.

In the meanwhile, there are some other pressing issues involved, such as making the tools necessary for creating and managing these virtual worlds (and their respective data/database content) intuitive enough for anyone to use. The open-source community alone probably won't be enough to accomplish this. (Interface design consultants, anyone?)

Metaplace (1)

athloi (1075845) | more than 6 years ago | (#20667635)

Moving beyond the proprietary system unique to a single game, there's new initiatives like metaplace.

http://www.metaplace.org/ [metaplace.org]

I think this is more likely than expansion of one world from its custom, proprietary software.

Re:Metaplace (1)

Tao Takashi (1145687) | more than 6 years ago | (#20667859)

Well, I am not sure what Metaplace is all about yet as not much information is given and one needs to see how it's implemented, how the protocol looks like.

I see some difference to Linden Lab's approach though:

  • Linden Lab is seeking participation already in the conceptional phase of the project and does not simply publish a complete specification
  • Linden Lab has already a working virtual world which has proven to exist. OTOH of course Raph Koster has a lot of experience in this field, too.
  • Linden Lab is committed to Open Source. On Metaplace there is no real statement that it's going to be open source. I am also not sure what you need to run a server or if it's just a webserver. Still a bit unclear to me.
  • Regarding the term "proprietary", isn't Metaplace not as proprietary as Second Life right now?

I think one important thing is also that Linden Lab is also seeking for people developing parts of the architecture to make sure each of this component works with the rest.

Moreover the proposed new SL architecture might allow for more, like not only doorways between worlds but eventually also contigous landmasses like it's happening right now. Of course neighbouring regions would need to support both the same region design. Well, it's all more into the blue now regarding Metaplace as nothing can be really seen yet. In the end it might be nice if all this could be bundled together in one standard instead of ending up with several of them.

Uh, thanks but no (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 6 years ago | (#20667771)

Last time I read an interview with LL, they said something about 11,000 servers running 2nd life.

Huh?

That would explain the atrocious lag, at least.

Sorry, I'd rather have someone else designing something a bit more...streamlined... if we're going to talking about a web-wide standard.

Re:Uh, thanks but no (1)

Tao Takashi (1145687) | more than 6 years ago | (#20669313)

The thing is that you all are invited to participate in this effort. It is not about just making the architecture right now a standard, it is about thinking about ways to enhance this architecture in order to make it more stable, have less lag and esp. allow interconnectivity.

And again, community participation is needed!

And to answer the question: They have about 4000 servers with nearly 10,000 regions but there are many reasons for lag and of course Linden Lab also tries to cut these down.

The Subtle Knife (1)

Manhigh (148034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20668101)

Can anyone code up a knife that allows me to cut a portal in space-time between two worlds?

Re:The Subtle Knife (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#20669533)

Yeh, but you have to click on it first.

Nothing new there ... (2, Insightful)

OzPixel (559736) | more than 6 years ago | (#20668225)

Once again, the MMO world grabs ideas from the world of Muds.
UnterMuds did the same thing 15 or so years ago - you could log in to your home Mud, then travel through portals to other Unter-compatible Muds.
(there was a downside - I took one character through a few portals that way, but then got stuck because the Mud I was on went down. Attempting to log in to my "home" Mud didn't work because it tried to forward me on to the next one.)

Great, Now I Can... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#20668539)

to allow connection of other grids not hosted by Linden Lab.

Great! Now I can open my casino in a more tolerant place.

Knock.. knock... (1)

ianalis (833346) | more than 6 years ago | (#20669013)

Does that mean orcs may visit my house now?

Remarkably like Electric Communities in 1996 (3, Interesting)

jamiefaye (44093) | more than 6 years ago | (#20669273)

Chip Morningstar, Randy Farmer, and Doug Crockford put together a company to build a "Cyberspace protocol suite" for this purpose in the mid 1990s. (These gentlemen were the behind the original Lucasfilm Habitat project, inventing the term "Avatar", among many other things). At their heyday, E/C employed just about everyone with experience in this area, and wound-up burning through several million in VC money, building a virtual world platform on top of a customized Java virtual machine. The diagram on the Linden Labs Wiki looks surprisingly familiar (although the names of things are different, reflecting "memetic drift").

It was a cat herding party of monumental proportions. The first year was the design phase - it was amazing. We found out a need to fix Java so it had distributed garbage collection, closures, and the like. We made our own VM with these add-ons, and invented a world specification language called Pluribus for knitting together object aspects which represented the multi-party nature of distributed awareness.

Like many first attempts at "ontological revolution", the performance was less than spectacular. It didn't take long to build stuff that was beyond our understanding, either. Later, when aspect-oriented programming was invented, and the rest of the world starting thinking about distributed cyberspace, it has become possible to do what we were trying to do then. Even Java has caught up, co-opting most of the add-on features we had to come up with.

My advice to those approaching the problem today:

  • Don't reach too far beyond what the average C++/Java programmer can understand.
  • Don't invent anything that you can't make-do with that is already out there.
  • Plan on getting stuff wrong at the beginning. (E/C released their first product without a version number in the protocol!).
  • The start of the art of standards specification is not good enough to deal with this problem. Your only hope lies in producing a "Literate Reference Implementation". Doing that probably requires doing a rough-pass first, then recoding it.
  • If you attempt to assemble a "dream team" to put something like this together - be careful about the human-relations stuff. (In our first year, one of our engineers found out he was getting less money then two others and went out on a "passive-aggressive vendetta". This dampened morale during a critical time.)
There is a lot more to say about E/C and its fate. Lets hope it isn't repeated...

Inventing the term Avatar? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#20669793)

I thought the term Avatar in the context of multiplayer online games was invented in one of the dungeon style games on the Plato network (Oubliette?) in the late '70s.

Already Done (1)

Numbah One (821914) | more than 6 years ago | (#20669329)

It was a TV show called ReBoot http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReBoot/ [wikipedia.org]

Re:Already Done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20669887)

Neal Stephenson would be so proud. Ripping off the infrastructure as well as the idea from Snow Crash.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>