Originally Posted on July 15, 2007 23:56
I forgot to mention that at the conference I met up with Kevin Roebuck from Sun Micro-Systems. Kevin has been a big fan of Blackboard over the years and a key advocate of the Performance Engineering team. He has personally funded nearly 100k in hardware, software and services since I arrived at Blackboard. Sun has a large gaming initiative. They have been a big advocate of Linden Labs’s Second Life over the past few years. They have their own 3d virtual community that they are building and have made available as an open source community. Project Wonderland and Project Darkstar are the underlying projects of the 3d virtual initiatives. The big difference between this effort and Second Life is that the community is not public, but rather hosted by a private community. So the likeliness of an undesirable lurker or streaker into a Learning Environment is unlikely. If someone did invade a community space, the user could be identified and disciplined ASAP.
The 3d software is built on top of the Project Darkstar server infrastructure. Project Darkstar, a platform designed for massively multi-player games, provides a scalable and secure multi-user infrastructure well-suited for enterprise-grade applications.
For the client, we will use the Project Wonderland 3D engine for creating the world as well as the avatars and animations within with world. This open source project provides the ability to create a virtual world with live, shared applications as well as audio. As you explore the environment, you will hear people, music, or videos in much the same way as you would walking around the physical world. The initial prototype supports the sharing of Java and X applications, but the vision is to eventually be able to use, edit, and share all desktop applications within the virtual world.
I’m going to have someone from the team take a look at Sun’s projects and get an instance up and running.