Wonderland Wednesday jME Briefing

March 30, 2010

After two successful developer-focused sessions, the group has decided to settle on a regular meeting time on Wednesdays due to the much larger turnout on that day. We are thrilled to announce that the entire jMonkeyEngine core team has agreed to attend this week’s session to give us a briefing:

JMonkeyEngine (jME) Briefing

3:15 PT / 6:15 ET, Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Leader: jME core team
Location: Community Server
irc://irc.freenode.net #wonderland

For those who may not know, jME is the graphics sub-system that Wonderland uses. It is a modern 3D game engine written entirely in Java. jME provides core graphics APIs, including graphics primitive and shader support. The Wonderland graphics system is based on these core APIs, with some extensions from MTGame to support multi-threading.

Diagram showing Wonderland architecture and APIs

Wonderland APIs - the diagram shows where jMonkeyEngine fits into the Wonderland client architecture.

Please put Wonderland Wednesdays on your calendar and plan to join us for one or more of these developer-oriented technical sessions. One of the main goals of these sessions is to help bring more developers up-to-speed on Wonderland development in an informal, highly-interactive environment. If you have ideas for future sessions, or even better, would like to volunteer to run one of these sessions, please add your ideas to the Wonderland Wednesdays Wiki and make a note if you’re willing to lead the session.


Sample Module Walkthough

March 22, 2010
Yesterday’s impromptu developer session turned out to be a lively and informative session led by Open Wonderland architect Jonathan Kaplan.
Screenshot from March 21st Open Wonderland developer meeting

Open Wonderland developer session on "Using Wonderland with NetBeans"

I captured the session on video, which I will post shortly, but I wanted to give as much advanced noticed as possible about the next developer session:

Sample Module Walk-though

3:15 PT / 6:15 ET, Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Leader: Ryan Babiuch (aka Jagwire)
Location: Community Server
irc://irc.freenode.net #wonderland

In this informal technical session, Ryan will lead the group on a walk-through of the sample module code. You might want to browse through the code ahead of time to bring questions with you to the session.

Please make sure your Wonderland and audio setup is working before joining this session and also please join the IRC chat so we can get in touch with everyone in case of technical problems. The link above takes you to a web IRC client, but you may prefer to use a program such as Pidgen (all platforms) or Colloquy (Mac).


Impromptu Open Wonderland Developer Meeting

March 20, 2010

If you follow the Open Wonderland Forum, you know that Morris Ford has been organizing bi-weekly community meetings. These meetings mainly focus on how community members can help move the project forward. In today’s meeting, one of the suggestions was to begin to hold regular in-world developer-focused sessions. Everyone was so excited about the idea, that they wanted to get started right away. So if you’re a developer and interested in the topic, please feel free to join in tomorrow:

Using Wonderland with NetBeans

11am PT / 2pm ET,  Sunday March 21, 2010
Prerequisite: Download and install NetBeans and check out Wonderland trunk
Location: Community Server
irc://irc.frenode.net #wonderland

NetBeans running in a Wonderland world

NetBeans running in a Wonderland world

If you plan to join the session, please make sure you have a working headset and test your audio ahead of time. In addition, please join the IRC chat channel in case there are any issues connecting. While the session will be quite informal, the goal is to focus on the topic, so please troubleshoot any connection and audio problems ahead of time.

Ryan Babiuch, aka “jagwire” on the Wonderland forum, has agreed to organize future sessions. The ideas we came up with so far include:

  • A code review of an area of the code that needs work
  • Wonderland debugging strategies
  • As a group, select a bug and work through the issue

What other topics would you be interested in hearing about? Please post all ideas on the forum. If there are developer sessions you are willing to lead, please volunteer to do that as well.


Announcing Open Wonderland – Update Your Bookmarks!

March 11, 2010

Thanks to a huge effort by many, many people in the Wonderland community, I am extremely pleased to announce the birth of Open Wonderland – a fork of the Project Wonderland code. Along with the new open source project, we have launched a non-profit, called the Open Wonderland Foundation, to act as the governing body for the open source project.  Here is the press release that explains the transition. The new pages to bookmark are at the end of the post.

Open Wonderland Foundation Launch

St. Paul, Minnesota, March 10, 2010 – Today Ken Miller, the CEO of Virtual Learning Labs, announced the formation of the Open Wonderland Foundation and the creation of the Open Wonderland virtual world platform. The Open Wonderland platform is a “fork” of the Project Wonderland toolkit originally developed by Sun Microsystems Laboratories. Miller, who will serve as the Foundation’s first President and Chairman of the Board, explains that the non-profit Open Wonderland Foundation will provide direction and governance for Open Wonderland (http://OpenWonderland.org), a free and open source platform for creating 3D virtual worlds for education, business, and government applications.

Miller also announced that Nicole Yankelovich has accepted the position of Executive Director of the Open Wonderland Foundation. Yankelovich, who initiated and ran the Wonderland project during her tenure at Sun, will oversee the transition of the project. “While leadership of the Wonderland project is now in the hands of the Foundation and the open source community,” she explains, “many important aspects of the project will remain unchanged. Many of the original Wonderland core team members will continue to contribute to the open source project and the new leadership is more committed than ever to advancing both immersive education and business collaboration.”

Miller says he is pleased that Aaron Walsh, Grid Institute Director and head of the Immersive Education Initiative (http://ImmersiveEducation.org), has assured him that Wonderland will continue to be an official Immersive Education Initiative virtual world platform. “Both the platform and the content are open,” explains Walsh, “which is vital for education in both the short and long term.”

Others who have indicated they will continue to support Wonderland include Darwin Dimensions, the creators of Evolver (http://evolver.com), a compelling web site for creating avatars, including ones that can be used in Wonderland worlds. AmphiSocial (http://amphisocial.com), a provider of next-generation 3D collaboration and training environments, is also moving ahead with plans to use Wonderland as one of the platforms underlying their new product.

Unlike other open source projects that fork, there is no acrimony involved in this instance. On the contrary, the same people who were passionate about Project Wonderland, both from Sun and in the broader open source community, are taking the initiative to advance the technology under the Open Wonderland umbrella.

Among the Sun team members transitioning support to the new Open Wonderland project is Wonderland architect Jonathan Kaplan. “Now that we have the new open source project established on Google Code, we’re actively preparing for the next software release,” he reports. “This will be an incremental release that includes some important updates.” Since leaving Sun, other members of the team have been working on new modules to contribute to the Wonderland Module Warehouse – a clearinghouse for both free and commercial Wonderland extensions.

In addition to the former Sun employees, a group of dedicated Wonderland open source community members from around the world have pledged to support the new Foundation by donating their time to maintain web sites, create 3D artwork, teach tutorials, provide publicity, and help out in variety of other ways.

On the leadership side, Miller has put together a board of directors made up of an elite group of educators in the forefront of applying advanced technology, such as 3D virtual worlds, to teaching and learning. For example, Professor John Belcher from MIT makes extensive use of technology for 3D visualization in his Electricity and Magnetism courses. In addition, he was involved in starting the MIT OpenCouseware initiative to publish almost all MIT course material on the web. “One of the best things about Wonderland,” says Professor Belcher, “is that it is designed for collaboration. I was able to run our LabView application unmodified in a Wonderland world and allow groups of students to interact with it while viewing and discussing a dynamic 3D visualization. Thanks to the existence of the Foundation, I am moving ahead with confidence on my next project to bring our entire TealSIM physics simulation environment into Wonderland.”

Michael Gardner, another Open Wonderland Foundation board member from the University of Essex, was one of the first adopters of Wonderland. He and his colleagues created MIRTLE, a mixed reality solution which uses Wonderland to augment live lectures for remote students with high-quality voice, shared applications, and video. MIRTLE is now being actively used by two departments at Essex. “Based on the success of MIRTLE,” Gardner explains, “we are using EU funding to launch a new Wonderland-based project called +Spaces (Positive Spaces: Policy Simulation in Virtual Spaces). The establishment of the Open Wonderland Foundation gives us assurance that the Wonderland platform will continue to evolve in a way that will enable the success of this new initiative.”

Andy Zbinden, the Technology and Development Leader for the ShangAI Lectures at the University of Zurich and also on the board states that “We chose Wonderland because it is fully open source, thus giving us complete control in adding logging facilities and other extensions. Additionally, it gives an excellent feeling of immersion due to its stereo sound. We are gearing up to run another iteration of the Wonderland-based ShangAI Lectures course in the Fall.”

Board member Warren Sheaffer, Chairman of the Computer Science Department at Saint Paul College – recently voted the top 2-year college in the country in student degree program satisfaction, manages the Virtual Northstar project. The aim of this project is to develop, deploy, and use virtual worlds based on the Wonderland platform for applications in distance education and learning in virtual environments. “I have been working hard to help get the Foundation going,” he says, “because we see Wonderland as an important technology for the future of education as well as for the future of communication.”

The Open Wonderland Foundation will be supported by grants, private contributions, and non-profit and corporate donations. To try Open Wonderland, join the open source community, or provide financial support to the Foundation in carrying out its mission of continuing to evolve the Open Wonderland platform, please visit http://OpenWonderland.org.

All Wonderland activity going forward will take place on the Open Wonderland sites. Please update your bookmarks:

Open Wonderland Project Website
http://OpenWonderland.org

Open Wonderland open source site
http://code.google.com/p/openwonderland/

Open Wonderland developer forum
http://groups.google.com/group/openwonderland

Open Wonderland Facebook page
http://www.facebook.com/openwonderland

Open Wonderland Twitter feed
http://twitter.com/openwonderland

Wonderblog
http://blogs.openwonderland.org

We look forward to your active participation in the Open Wonderland community!

Nicole Yankelovich
Executive Director
Open Wonderland Foundation


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