Art Project Switches From Second Life To Croquet

The Arts Metaverse project has recently shifted it’s development focus from Buchanan Island in Second Life to the Croquet platform. The primary motivations were to have a completely open source environment and the ability to import high quality 3D models created with popular professional 3D tools. More reasons are given on Tim Wang’s e-Learning blog. Comparing the images in the above links might make some folk want to cancel their Second Life accounts, but be advised – look before you leap! As one of the Croquet architects makes clear today’s Croquet is a software developer’s toolkit rather than an open, 24/7 live virtual world like Second Life. For university projects like Arts Metaverse and many corporate applications, Croquet is ideal and we’ll likely see many more such applications surfacing this year. While Second Life’s viewer is now open source, the server software isn’t yet, so if you are a developer or have experienced developers and network resources and you really need much better graphics and deep customization, Croquet is for you. OTOH, if you need a robust built-in economy, easy installation, easy content creation for novices and a preexisting population, Second Life may be a better choice today if you can afford it. This isn’t IMO an either/or situation – the two will coexist and interoperability tools such as what I’m working on will blur the lines. Moreover, at least one or two of the other platforms in existence(not to mention others we don’t even know about yet) will make a big push given the flow of investment dollars.

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1 Comment »

  1. Jamal Ali said

    Your post, premise and RAP idea speak volumes, and the mantra I hear is *interoperability*. We can take lessons from the early CAD wars of the 80’s & 90’s, when each vendor wanted their files to be proprietary & nontransferable to other apps. This was soon an obstacle, as the new players made this a cornerstone of their offerings.

    The same will be true with virtual world platforms. Just as Windows gravitated to a GUI, PRO-E, long considered a front runner in CAD, is migrating towards the GUI format of SolidWorks, perhaps the best value in the field. AutoDesk has scrambled recently to augment their dinosaur AutoCAD with Mechanical Desktop & Inventor, but few think they can compete long term.

    For this reason, the graphics engine/3D modeling app Croquet chooses to make their primary import vehicle could be quite significant in the long run. AutoDesk has appeal because they straddle the market — their 3D studio is a significant player with Maya and other rendering apps, and their aforementioned CAD products still hold sway with a significant market share in some quarters. However, SolidWorks, and even Unigraphics present parametric modeling capabilities exceeding most but PRO-E, and their web presence features demonstrate a vision of interoperability not evident in the approach of AutoDesk. As a design engineering professional for more than 30 years, like most in my field, we have long considered AutoDesk to be the MicroSoft of CAD for their business approach and offerings. That should speak for itself.

    All hail interoperability!

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