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Showing posts from August, 2008

For the Virtual Record: Second Life

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Second Life provides an online society within a 3D world, where users can explore, build, socialize and participate in their own economy. -Second Life website

Due to the amount of fan *cough* email I receive from "Second Lifers," I want to state for the virtual record, that I really have no problems with Second Life (SL) for what it is. I do visit it from time to time, have good friends that enjoy it, know those that make a living building content within it, and even know cool people working at Linden Labs.

Linden Labs, creators of Second Life, have done a lot to bring virtual worlds further into the public eye the past few years. Second Life is primarily composed of user created content. News of a virtual world millionaire, big brand interest, educational interest,congressional hearings, and a growing number of headlines show that people do see the utility of multi-user online 3D environments. I was in Second Life back when it had just a small following and not much to it…

Web3D Tool #2 - Vivaty (formerly Flux) Studio

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Vivaty recently announced the release of Vivaty Studio. Formerly Flux Studio 2 (MediaMachines), it is a web3D authoring tool for creating geometry, animation, and interactivity. It imports from a variety of formats, exports the open standard (X3D,X3dv,VRML) formats and Vivaty's own encrypted fx3d format. Here for a full feature list.

Although Vivaty Studio is a 3D modeling and animation application, the real value add of this application is the web3D authoring. I highly recommend Vivaty Studio for 3D artists and programmers.

For artists and those slightly familiar with standard 3D modeling software, it has a user-friendly UI to get one creating interactive content in no time. Simple wizards and drag/drop menu features can add basic functionality to 3D objects in a few clicks. Animations can be made in Vivaty Studio with a simple animation time-line or imported directly from other DCC tools (personally found COLLADA imports work best). Most of the 3D artists I work with love working…

Virtual Heritage - Adding culture to the Metaverse

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As a person who is intrigued by all the countries and cultures of the world, I love the progress that is being made for the Metaverse with virtual heritage.

Click on picture for example
Imagine a day in the near future, you just arrived on vacation at the Roma (Rome) train station and are heading down the road outside to the Colosseum. You see the ruin as you walk towards it, but then you decide to see what it looked like around 90 AD. Out comes your mobile computing device (cell phone camera, IPhone, PDA, or A.R. shades) and now you are looking at the Colosseum as it was back in the ancient days. You now access text, videos, and websites to learn more about it. You take a seat, and send a text to a friend online with an invitation to join you. Suddenly you see his avatar appear, armed up in traditional gear, and ready to fight. Looks like there's going to be a gladiator fight in the Colosseum again, this time across realities.

A scenario like this is closer than you think. Virtu…

ACM Siggraph 2008

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SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques) is the convention for all interactive device, 3D graphics, and related companies. Held this year in beautiful weather Los Angeles. SIGGRAPH is an interesting time, full of company announcements, product releases, workshops, tech discussions/classes, and more. For five days, people from all around the globe come together to geek out on a feast of graphics and tech. Tech panels, white papers, and workshops on all kinds of topics keep all the hallways busy as mainly entertainment focused booths dominate the expo floor. All the major Hollywood players are here, Disney, ILM, Dreamworks, and Pixar to name a few. Intel, ATI, and other hardware companies show off tech that could make any pc command center seem from 2050. Combine this with over a hundred other companies, universities, organizations, thousands of people, and what an event you get.

This year had to be the strongest presence of web3d so far at the show. The …

Virtual Worlds Galore

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"Scout", my house computer only used for virtual worlds, is becoming full of just plug-ins/clients and I am only in about 30 different VW's. It is becoming madness.




Now the trick is to get these worlds to build an opening in their walled gardens to the rest of the 3D web.

Web3D Tools #1: X3D-Edit

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Here is a great tool for all you programmers that work with or are interested in getting started with the web3d open standard X3D.

X3D-Edit is an Extensible 3D (X3D) graphics authoring tool for simple error-free editing, authoring, and validation of X3D scenes. X3D-Edit is written in XML and Java using the Netbeans platform and so is portable across major desktop and laptop operating systems (Windows MacOSX Linux Solaris).

X3D-Edit requires Java (version 5 or 6) and features include:
- Collada .dae model validation, code completion, and conversion to .x3d (XML) encoding
-direct editing of X3D scenes using the XML (.x3d) encoding,
-embedded visualization of scenes using the Xj3D viewer,
-XML validation against X3D DTDs and Schemas,
-drag-and-drop palette for X3D nodes,
-popup panels for node editing,
-extensive help resources.

A huge download, but way better than authoring in the standard text editor. There is a…