Social Web ("Web 2.0") and the 3D Web (Virtual Worlds and Second Life®)

‘The 3D Web is born! It won't be the proprietary Second Life owned by Linden Lab in 2015, but the 3D Internet (Open Source/standards) will be there for sure! (Second Life will then become one out of many commercial, value-added providers - cf. history of AOL and CompuServe. Thinking otherwise would be like thinking 15 years ago that the (2D) Web will be proprietary, owned and run by a single company like Microsoft!)’ --M.N.K. Boulos - April 2007

‘Second Life®, Twinity, etc. are for the emerging Web 3D today like Compuserve and modem BBSes were for the (early) World Wide Web more than 15 years ago…’ --M.N.K. Boulos - October 2008

October 2011--The 3D Web is one step closer: Based on Unity3D, Jibe allows users to publish multiuser virtual worlds directly on the Web (to run in standard Web browsers) or on a mobile device - see also: Kataspace (plugin-free, HTML5 virtual worlds), Cloud Party (WebGL), Virtual World Framework (WebGL) and ProtonMedia ProtoSphere mobile (iPad) 3D virtual worlds

January 2016--The year of VR and AR: "There is huge investment from the biggest players whether it is Facebook with Oculus, Microsoft with HoloLens, Sony, Google" Virtual worlds reborn: Can Second Life's second life democratise VR? "Near photorealistic simulations, unthinkable eight years ago, have become the norm" Augmented and virtual reality are on the way but still face hurdles (not insurmountable)

Key presentations

Papers, conference proceedings, presentations, and research groups/centres

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Top educational locations in Second Life

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News items

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Wikipedia articles

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Second Life GIS

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Second Life "alternatives"

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News and blog feeds, mailing lists, and pre-formulated Web queries

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A tale of two graphics cards in Second Life
‘A tale of two graphics cards in Second Life’ - Left: low-end Intel GMA 900 card (64 MB shared graphics memory); right: high-end NVIDIA Go 7 series card (with 256 MB dedicated graphics memory). Note, for example, the lack of anti-aliasing, bump mapping and ripple water/sunlight reflection in the low-end card rendering of the scene. In-world speed and smoothness of movements are also affected, but this cannot be shown in a screenshot.

And the WindLight version of Second Life requires an even more powerful graphics card to cope with the ‘Ultra’ quality graphics settings (in Second Life’s ‘Preferences’), with all ‘Atmospheric Shaders’ and ‘Water Reflections’ enabled!

Dynamic shadows
Dynamic shadows in Second Life (click above snapshot for YouTube video).

Twinity can be rendered out-of the-box in S3D if the user is running NVIDIA 3D Vision (Discover/anaglyph or full with shutter glasses
Because it supports fullscreen (non-windowed) DirectX mode, Twinity can be rendered out-of-the-box in S3D (stereoscopic 3D), if the user is running NVIDIA 3D Vision (Discover/anaglyph or full with shutter glasses). This snapshot is the Discover/anaglyph version (requires suitable red/cyan glasses for proper S3D depth viewing). It is also noteworthy that Twinity uses COLLADA (COLLAborative Design Activity - an interchange file format and standard for interactive 3-D applications) as its 3-D model and animation format, enabling 3-D content developers to easily re-use COLLADA models created in popular 3-D modelling tools such as Google SketchUp.

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