It’s always exciting to hear about people around the world using Wonderland, but I was particularly excited to learn about the Wonderland competition recently completed in Thailand. The image here is from a world created by one of the teams in the competition called "Blue Phoenix."
In today’s guest blog, I have the pleasure of introducing Professor Putchong Uthayopas from the Department of Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, at Kasetsart University, Thailand. Putchong is not only interested in using virtual worlds to help get students excited about Computer Science, but he also has a vision for how virtual worlds can be used to better engage distance education students in a range of subjects including Math and Physics.
Aside from his interest in virtual worlds, Putchong’s main research focus is on cluster, grid, and cloud computing. He received a national invention award from the National Research Council of Thailand for his cluster and HPC work in 2000. And, like quite a few of you I’m sure, he is a big fan of sci-fi, especially Star Trek.
In the following guest blog, Professor Putchong Uthayopas from Kasetsart University, Thailand describes the recently completed Wonderland Challenge 2009 competition.
Want your students to build their own virtual world? Your wish can now come true.
To stimulate the interest and imagination of young computer scientists in Thailand about 3D virtual worlds, we at Kasetsart University worked with Sun Microsystems to organize a competition called Wonderland Challenge 2009. We choose Project Wonderland because it allows anyone to easily learn how to build a simple world and make it quickly come to life on-line. We have about 30 teams registered for the competition. To help them, we held a 2-day workshop on how to build your own world in Wonderland. It was a successful and fun workshop. Many teams were able to create their own working virtual world in only one night!
After a few weeks of development, 11 teams returned with imaginative and beautiful worlds. We really appreciate the time and effort they spent. The worlds they built ranged from a small zoo, to a virtual museum, to a train house, and a miniature world. The winning team, "Hyperion," actually created a 3-story space station for children to get a glimpse of life in space.
Without technology like Wonderland, it would have been very difficult to set up a competition like this one. We are looking forward to a new, more powerful version of Wonderland, especially the feature that allows us to link many worlds together. I personally am very impressed. I never imagined that I could easily build a whole new world of my own imagining. But yes, I can, and so can you.
See some of the worlds our students created in the Wonderland Challenge 2009 competition here: