Project Wonderland v0.5 Preview1 Debut

So much has been happening around 0.5 since the Preview1 release on September 14th, that I haven’t had a chance to do any writing. It’s time to start catching up! Today, I’ll tell you about two virtual world conferences a number of people on the Sun Labs team attended and show you one of the new 0.5 demo videos that we’ve been working on.

Engage Expo – 3D TLC Track

Jonathan, Mike, and I attended the 3D Training, Learning and Collaboration (TLC) track at the Engage Expo conference in San Jose on September 23-24. Eric and Sam Driver from ThinkBalm talked about their most recent report on the barriers to entry for virtual worlds in business. I’m sure it will come as no surprise that computer hardware and firewalls were two of the biggest problems.  There weren’t too many people demo’ing at the conference, but we did hear from a number of companies that have been doing real virtual world projects. My favorite project was the virtual chocolate factory created by FXPal. Visitors can take tours of the virtual factory and workers can monitor the factory remotely. They also had a mobile interface for controlling some of the factory systems.

On Thursday, I participated on a panel called "Integrate or Evaporate: Plugging 3D into the Enterprise Infrastructure." I prepared the video above for this session. The video shows how a business might use Wonderland to create a world from "found art," primarily from the Google 3D Warehouse, and existing marketing collateral in the form of web pages, images, and PDF documents. Users can create ad hoc worlds by dragging and dropping existing art into the virtual world without requiring an artist to create custom content. Our import mechanism makes it possible for artists to create high-quality artwork which can be deployed just as easily. In the world shown in the video, we can give presentations, interact informally with customers in front of a whiteboard, and run live training sessions in-world using a web-based tool.

FountainBlue Virtual World Event

The following day, the same crew, plus Paul, attended the FountainBlue Virtual World event, which Mike hosted on Sun’s Santa Clara campus. FountainBlue is an organization that runs events for entrepreneurs, investors, and other innovators. I was asked to demo Wonderland v0.5 during lunch. This marked our very first live demo of the Preview1 release! Jordan and Miriam participated remotely from the east coast. I’m happy to report that the demo went flawlessly. We used the Orientation World, the only artist-created default world that comes with the Wonderland release.

Orientation World

The demo focused on application sharing, audio features, brainstorming, and world creation using drag and drop. I also demo’d object-level security, but since it’s difficult to show with only a single computer, I used a video clip. I’ll include that video in my next post.

CNBC Interview

The second live demo of Preview1 happened only hours after the first one. Miriam and I were interviewed by a CNBC reporter in the same Wonderland world we demo’d earlier in the day. The most stressful part of that demo was that the reporter asked us to do the screen capture for them! Fortunately, all went well. I’ll certainly post a link to the story if and when it appears.


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