wjamesau writes: Developed at Stanford by a team led by a veteran of Linden Lab, KataSpace is a new web-based MMO architecture with a BSD open source license that runs on WebGL, the 3D graphics protocol that'll come pre-installed with the latest builds of Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. Basically, it'll let anyone develop an MMO or virtual world space that runs on the web without a plug-in. Demo space with avatars at the link!
wjamesau writes: "Suzette" is a chatbot program which just won 2010's famed Loebner Prize, inspired by AI's classic Turing test. Talk with her on the web or as a hot brunette bot in the 3D social world Blue Mars, where she has a backstory as "a Replicant... originally intended for use as a terraform engineer" but is dealing with a poor memory upload. (Which partly explains why she sometimes says bizarre things.)
wjamesau writes: Is the web the future of 3D virtual worlds and MMOs? Stanford researcher Henrik Bennetsen just launched a new startup that creates virtual worlds in WebGL, the Mozilla 3D graphics standard that's coming pre-installed in the next versions of Safari, Firefox, and Chrome. (Video demo at link.) Formerly a researcher at Linden Lab, Bennetsen now thinks virtual worlds won't be delivered in a standalone client: "Metaphorically [Linden] thought 3D would eat the web... I'm pretty sure these days at least initially the web will eat 3D."
wjamesau writes: Using the open source code to Second Life's viewer software, a team of programmers made realistic breast physics for female avatars a customizable viewing option. "It's basically just modifying the breast buoyancy slider in realtime, fully client-side," the team lead explains. Which means female breast physics are only viewable to someone who's running Second Life with the GPL-compliant viewer, called Emerald. (If a virtual bosom heaves in a Second Life forest, but only you see it on your monitor, does it actually jiggle?)
wjamesau writes: NewTeeVee reports
that multiple sources say RIM is planning to announce a full-episode television service for BlackBerry users as early as next week. "By downloading content in the background over Wi-Fi, RIM would avoid clogging 3G networks. Downloaded programs would be ready to play when users want to watch them on the go."
wjamesau writes: "The Parallel Selves Message Bridge, a new addition to the code forge of OpenSimulator, the "Apache for virtual worlds", makes it possible for users within one OpenSim world to send IMs to users currently logged into another Second Life-compatible world. Check out the screen cap of my avatar in SL chatting with someone in OpenSim. In the future, technology like this could make it possible to keep in contact with friends in other virtual worlds and MMOs without having to log out. Imagine orcs and space commandos and furries in alternate realities but still in contact!"
wjamesau writes: "A popular cyberpunk-themed mini-MMORPG in Second Life, Midian is a game that's basically played by people telling stories — creating elaborate backstories for themselves, relating them in chat which reads like narrative, then improvising based on their interactions with others — basically, a sci-fi novel written by 3000 people."
wjamesau writes: "Om Malik highlights server infrastructure, the nuts and bolts behind Google's speedy searches: 'The magic is in delivering the search results from this index at lightning speed, and that requires an infrastructure — oodles of bandwidth and specialized hardware — that is finely tuned, much like a Formula One Car.'"
wjamesau writes: "NewTeeVee's Liz Gannes takes an advance look at Hulu, a joint web video site developed by NBC and Newscorp. Advantages? "[F]ull episodes (including archives) from programs such as Battlestar Galactica, Hill Street Blues, Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents." Drawbacks? Many, including ads, little user-created content or control of the user experience."
wjamesau writes: "After a year of stealth development, Raph "Ultima Online" Koster just unveiled Metaplace, an online world network that runs on what he calls 'MMO markup language': Thanks to the underlying HTML-style code by which Metaplace defines each individual world served by its network, you can literally copy and paste attributes like graphic appearance and user interface from one Metaplace world to another. In the demo, Raph showed me a Habbo Hotel-style living room (Metaplace will launch with this 2D isometric graphics view as standard), but Raph and his team expect the variety of worlds to grow with their tools, eventually accommodating hardcore MMOs like World of Warcraft — or even a new Second Life."
wjamesau writes: "Everyone knows China's Great Firewall sucks because it's censorship, but I don't think much attention has been given about how it sucks because it hurts the tech industry — theirs and ours. Case in point : while in Beijing recently, I wrote about a Chinese Internet start-up for GigaOM, only to find out GigaOM (like Scobleizer) is blocked by the firewall. I had to sneak the story out of the country through an e-mail attachment like it was top secret documents, when it was a mostly positive report on a Chinese company. It would be great publicity for them — but since no in China can access it directly, few there will read it."