Second Work

One of the things I'm increasingly interested in is the role of gaming technology in the office. As Sun, with its OpenWork program and increasingly global workforce, gets more and more distributed, we need integrated core services such as secure identity and presence, audio conferencing, multi-party chat, etc etc etc. Today's massive, multi-player online games are as close as we have to examples of systems that integrate all of these things in a coherent way. Unfortunately they're almost always closed systems, and lack some of the basic features that an enterprise would require (yes, I need to be able to have an internal meeting without worrying about pig grenades). We're working on two separate threads of this right now. The first is Project Darkstar, our Java-based infrastructure for multi-player on-line games. We've been getting tons of attention since our announcements and demos at GDC, and there's more to come at JavaOne. The second is a SunLabs project called MPK20. The name is a play on the building naming scheme in Menlo Park, where our campus currently goes up to MPK18. MPK20 is the next building, but it will only exist in virtual space, so that we can finally get some reasonably sized auditoriums, window offices for everyone, etc. Lots of cool work going on with this - check out the demos at JavaOne for MPK20 as well. We're not sure where this is going yet, but the more time we spend on it, the more we're convinced that there's something there. If you're interested in this space from a research or product perspective, give us a shout - there's tons to work on. Also, we've got some developer positions open - check out this, this and this. Game on!
Comments:

MPK20 looks real cool. I could see an immediate use for it, since several of my team members are in Colorado, and a couple of us are in CA. Think of the travel and productivity savings for Sun and less frustration for all of us if we could just use this type of environment for meetings. How do we actually get started using it?

Posted by Brandon on April 13, 2007 at 06:53 AM EDT #

@Brandon Not available yet for us to use as it's still in development. The next iteration of this will be shown at JavaOne and is even more impressive than what we showed at GDC. Check out my interview with Sun Labs Director, Karl Haberl at GDC where we demonstrate MPK20. Really cool! http://www.java.com/en/levelup/gdcday1.jsp -Chris

Posted by Chris Melissinos on April 19, 2007 at 02:27 AM EDT #

Periodically, I wrestle with gaming as a responsible use of technology. There's a certain tension between building products right (and there are many such products in our portfolio which are for example very power efficient), and building the right products. How do you reconcile positioning Sun as socially and environmentally responsible with the development of technology which is considered a waste of ergs by more than a few? There has to be a better answer than "We'll build the most energy efficient multi-user online gaming systems", or "There are potential derivatives in virtual workforce collaboration tools". If we're going to work on collaboration tools, let's do so. Let's leave gaming to Nintendo and Sony and suggest to our gamers that they should go outside and get some sun - of the solar variety, that is ;-)

Posted by Bob Wood on April 30, 2007 at 10:07 AM EDT #

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