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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Few More Alternatives to Second Life

With all the bad news in the virtual worlds space this week (read Not a Good Week for the Virtual World Space), I wanted to point out that many healthy 3D virtual immersive environments still exist and more are coming on line daily.

Here are three more virtual worlds to explore

Blue Mars

Hanging out in the visually rich Blue Mars Virtual Immersive Environment.

Blue Mars features CryENGINE™2 powered graphics for highly realistic avatars and environments. The engine is enhanced with custom hair, skin, and cloth shaders along with multi-threaded performance optimizations and MMO server integration. The Blue Mars platform supports thousands of simultaneous users per region. Blue Mars’s content management system gives IP holders the control they need to protect their users and their brands from inappropriate associations and copyright infringement. The platform supports industry standard digital content creation tools like 3DSMax and Maya along with Flash based HUD and UI elements.


Hanging out in a coffee shop in Venuegen.

The Venue Network, Inc. (TVN) is the creator of Venuegen. Venguegen is an on-demand enterprise web 3D conferencing solution that can be integrated into web-based offerings. The company deploys as a SaaS based web service to consumers and business customers. Founded in 2007, the Company offers a practical application of web 3D technology that can be integrated into customers’ web offerings integrating their 2D content and delivered as an on-demand service. Venuegen is optimized to equip virtual presenters with communication capabilities that lower event costs and extend market reach. The mission of the company is to empower its customers to virtually and naturally share knowledge, interests and passions together unhindered by distance, time and impractical costs.


Demo screen shot of WebFlock environment 
created by The Electric Sheep Company.

The Electric Sheep Company, who has built extensive islands in Second Life, has created its own 3D virtual platform. The WebFlock platform rendering engine is based on Adobe Flash, which is installed on 98% of computers. That means no downloads, no installs, and no browser restarts. The 3D rendering engine approximates 3D in Flash via the rendering of limited 3D elements and 3D-like avatars combined with the perspective effects of images rendered in the distance. This means bigger, richer avatars and spaces than traditional isometric worlds, which also means a better entertainment experience and improved sales of virtual goods. Because WebFlock uses Flash and Html/Javascript, it can be easily embedded on any webpage, and integrated to other components on the page (or other Web-based systems like ecommerce shopping carts, advertising controls, or media players).

Click here to see more alternatives to Second Life.


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