Monday Dec 29, 2008

More VNC Lite

I showed you VNC lite accessing Neverwinter Nights the other day. I finally got project wonderland working on one of my PCs, so here's a picture of VNC Lite accessing my project wonderland instance

project wonderland via vnc lite

and here's one of me accessing Second Life

secondlife via vnc lite

I should point out that MochaSoft, VNC Lite's authors don't recommend these use cases. :)

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Friday Mar 14, 2008

MMORPG, making them massive

During the meeting, we considered the opportunities around Project Darkstar. This is a shardless gaming platform operating environment, written in Java, and inspired by Sun's extensive experience in building mission critical enterprise computing platforms.

MMORPGs seem to be even more popular in some of the far-eastern countries than in the west and its possible that by offering a programming platform Sun can create new conversations with game authors. Make no mistake, Darkstar is a game author's offering. One of the more interesting derivations of Darkstar is project wonderland, built on top of 'Looking Glass' an experimental three dimensional desktop, which has led to the creation of a business/collaboration orientated networked virtual world. This allows us to offer lessons from mission critical computing and its efficiency and predictability requirements, not to mention an understanding of the difference between a game world and business collaboration. It should be noted that networked virtual worlds are seen by both the EU Commission and Gartner as important computing platforms of the future.

The Darkstar code has been published under the GPL v2.0 and talking and thinking about the implications for developers with my colleagues led to my considering Bioware's experimentation with post royalty licenses. This interests me because together with the second life license which explicitly ensures that authors own their intellectual property, they both illustrate that the lawyers (or license designers) can ensure that licenses explicitly target both collaborative and and monetisation behaviour and reinforce the business models of the original license authors. The GPL uses sharing as a gatekeeper condition, while as noted above Second Life license protects author's intellectual property, hence encouraging the development of virtual property within the "world". The Bioware Aurora license ensures that purchaser's of the bioware games get the free right to use all community content. Bioware's Aurora license with which they licensed Neverwinter Nights and its kicker modules ensured that any user created content had to be distributed under the Aurora license. This ensured a no-commerce clause, for the binaries, and the requirement to run the modifications using a licensed version of the runtime. This both protected Bioware's license income and meant that external authors created additional demand for the original game, tools and runtime. N.B. These are not distributed separately.

There is a growing economic theory about the "optimum welfare price" of software and/or information, which I have promised Dominc Kay that I will write up. Copyright and monopoly ownership are legal distortions that inhibit this price occurring in a market. It is however generally the case that most inventors/authors intellectual property rights are fully asserted and freedom only licensed. However, the economic theory is for another day.

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Thursday Jun 01, 2006

The Technology behind Virtual Worlds

I popped in to see Jeff Kesselman (who blogs here...) & Seth Proctor (blogs {occassionally here...) at their Project Darkstar demo. There's no question but that Project Darkstar demos always make an impact. Project Darkstar is a java based server platfrom designed for writing massively scalable games. We're seeking to offer our unique technology platform for applications developers a proposition to games authors and hosts. You can see their sites; a project dashboard or a Sun Labs spotlight article or their project page at java.net.. I didn't and havn't spent the time getting to know the project, the queues are usually so long, but as Telco's move from "triple play" to "quad-play", it'd be good to learn more.

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