Just recently there was mention of a browser based virtual space on the Google plus Opensim Virtual community which piqued my interest because such things have been promised again and again over the past ten years but nothing ever really came of it. However, a topic was posted by Nara Malone of the Opensim Greyville Writer's Colony at Nara's Nook grid where she said a member of her community, Neo Cortex has been developing a Unity based client with the goal of merging Opensim and Unity to make a hybrid system designed with a focus on storytelling. I found it really interesting but there was a comment by Magnuz Binder who let us know he too was working on a virtual web world using ThreeJS and NodeJS as his preferred coding languages. This prompted me to take a closer look and, believe it or not, from what I learnt I had my own web based world online and working in just three days from scratch. I was pretty excited!
|Talla's Virtual Space on a Web Page named after her grid, Farworldz|
Use mouse to pan the screen and arrow keys to move avatar
Not just satisfied with my own effort I wanted to know more about other recent developments and from Selby Evans I learned that a new platform based on that same code has been developed by Evie Marie (SingingGirl) who works with Bill Bright out of the Opensim Life grid. The platform is WebWorlds3D and Selby has his own web world based on this code called CyberLounge.
I pressed Bill a little more and he replied, "Well again, the Art and Education aspect is all SG, she is the one with the Masters. I'm a code monkey who swings a big hammer. My grid is focused on people, not commerce, it is a passion project, something to keep me busy. So Art, Education , Entertainment, all things that bring people together is what I/we focus on here."
I liked what they have done but they still have a way to go. I visited the web world as a guest and looked around. I had no problems, the page loaded quickly and I could touch things and interact in a limited way but a whole lot more than I had managed with my version. The avatars are not that great though - a bit stiff and woody but easy enough to control and walk about. I understand there is a company behind all this which is the A2Z Smart Group LLC who are offering to set up a platform for people with embedded code to place it on a web page.
|National Geographic offers an example of NodeJS for Mars, The Red Planet|
I was interested to note from Robert Adams research that one of his aims was to build an architecture around creating a web viewer where a High Fidelity avatar can stand next to an Opensim avatar in the same space. And, from recent comments by Philip Rosedale he too spoke of the same design goals.
|SpotOn3D steaming to a web page|
|Cloud Party on the web|
I recall also that the US Army under the MOSES group were working on a web viewer for Halcyon (the InWorldz fork of Opensim) so I asked Balpian Hammerer, a developer at Discovery Grid that had worked on Halcyon while at InWorldz and he gave a less than enthusiastic reply "They were in the design phase, and the idea was the leveraging of WEB objects to render a scene instead of using a viewer app. I am not enthusiastic that this approach will lead to anything better let alone more efficient. There is much to be said to writing performance critical code as close to the OS native graphics layers especially in limited performance devices like tablets and phones. Too many layers burn cycles which drives up the system requirements. Generic code tends to run much worse when in resource constrained environments like, for example, the 5+ year old computers typical of OpenSim users."
That said recent work by Robert Adams, Evie Marie and others like Neo Cortex and Magnuz Binder and Dahlia Trimble raise the prospect once again that a useful web viewer might be on the way where the Opensim user community can benefit and see their cherished platform's life improved and extended well into the future.
Imaging it, teleporting from an Opensim world to High Fidelity or SineSpace and all done on a web page. Now that would be my idea of what defines a true Metaverse and I think it would do justice to Neal Stephenson's definition in his 1992 Sci-fi novel "Snow Crash" where, to quote Wikipedia, humans, as avatars, interact with other avatars and software agents in a three-dimentional space that uses the metaphor of the real world to describe a virtual-reality successor to the Internet.
|Web Game: HERACLOS and the quest he never asked for|
|Play Fillory, a fully interactive fantasy game on a web page|
Watch the video on YouTube