In this blog post, Christian O’Connell, a student at the University of Essex in the UK, provides a brief overview of a new module: the Wonderland Webcaster.
The uses of virtual worlds can sometimes extend beyond the need for individual interaction; users can benefit from presentations and events without actually requiring an in-world presence.
The Webcaster module integrates RTMP – Adobe’s media streaming protocol – with Open Wonderland. Based on the Xuggler libraries, the Webcaster relays in-world video footage from a camera cell to a Red5 media server; from where it can viewed anywhere with a suitable Flash or RTMP capable client.
The advantage of this functionality is the capability to bring the experience of seeing a Wonderland virtual world to a much wider audience without adding additional load to the Darkstar server; as well as making content more accessible to those who might otherwise shy away from using virtual world platforms.
A demo of the module in action can be seen below. On the left is a regular web browser using a Flash plugin, displaying a web-page that resolves to an address on the wonderland web server. On the right is a user controlling the Webcaster cell (which appears in world much like a webcam.)
The Webcaster incorporates a modular design making it highly extensible, and can be easily adapted to include such features as recording streams and RTP. Currently available in the unstable modules directory, the webcaster requires an install of the Red5 server and the Xuggler core update. The current version does not include audio, this is still under development, so expect to see additional features in time.
- Follow the instructions for adding video support to Wonderland, this will create a new binary that can be started in the usual way, i.e.
java -jar dist/Wonderland.jar my.run.properties.
- Deploy the webcaster module to the Wonderland server.
- Start a Wonderland client using webstart
- Insert a webcaster object, and open its HUD control panel and click the ‘Start Capture’ button
- Direct your browser to http://<wonderland-webserver>/webcaster/webcaster/ and connect to the server <wonderland-webserver> using the stream ‘wonderland’ (without the quotes–this should be the same stream name that you see in the HUD control panel for the webcaster). Click the start button.
You should see the video from the webcaster object rendered in the browser.