This looks very promising – A World For Us Unity3d meeting rooms

Henri just commented on my previous blog post about Unity3d and Opensim. It would appear we have an interesting to player in the game now.
A World For Us have produced a web based virtual world meeting application using, amongst other things, Unity3d for as the engine. I had a very quick look and got a good initial guy feel. Partly this is because I know and appreciate what Unity can do. Whilst there will be lots of questions (to be answered in depth later) about whitboards, web sharing, physics and dynamic interaction etc, this just worked. Voice worked, chat worked, I did some avatar customization (no green hair though 🙁 ) I sat in a chair, I zoomed into a presentation and moved through it. Most of all it ran on my Mac! A key point about Unity is that it does not care quite so much as many of the windows based plugin’s.

Picture from A World For Us
A world for us

8 thoughts on “This looks very promising – A World For Us Unity3d meeting rooms

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  2. Sure, it looks interesting.. but it appears to be /commercial/.

  3. I had a close look at assemb’live and chatted to Henri there before Christmas. I’ve got screen shots and video captures for a review of that and also VenuGen and Web.Alive – just need time to put it together! One thing that they have as a design ethos though with Assemb’Live – they believe 2D content has no place in a 3D environment. So although Unity3D is helping provide nice avatars and envronments, at heart it is a 3D Voice Chat client. They don’t have a full screen option, and they expect that if you have shared 2D content you’d build a web page and embed that content on the page along with a widget for the assemb’live meeting. There IS a content display panel in the 3D office, but the rendering of webpages and office docs on it is not great.
    We had great fun with it though – creating a meeting space on one of our own content pages was easy, and we had our regular meet up in SL, then jumped to assemblive whilst still in SL (keeping SL voice on!) then when everyone seemed happy in assemb’live we switched voice on in assemeb’live and mentally ‘jumped’ over there 🙂

  4. Thats great Neil. I look forward to seeing what you think in full.
    The thing with unity3d is that it can do lots of different types of web rendering, agreed its not of shared office style documents natively. However because it is a browser plugin and it is also truly cross platform it will always have a tougher time and get more bloated if it tries to support native OS formats. Many of the more document intensive VW’s like venuegen, web.alive and protosphere tend to rely on windows api’s.
    What I think will be exciting is that we know unity3d has a very good Iphone version so technically the 3d parts could be run on a handheld.
    Much of the squeezing of 2d content into the virtual world shared view gives an added complexity of context. If you have a shared browser view of say facebook each user’s embedded client will render the view for them which for each person will be different. When it is separated out on the page IMHO it becomes clearer to most people that is their view of the web not anothers. When it pops on a screen in world people will say “what you can see my facebook” which of course no-one can.
    I love the transition story from SL to Assemb’live 🙂 The mentally jumped over point is an important one. usually when people jump around webpages from site to site they do have a mental model of what they are doing but it is less of a leap than moving from a rich environment containing other people to another one.

  5. Ah the complex issues of shared browsers… actually what you say doesn’t have to be true – surely the point in having a ‘browser on the wall’ in a 3D environment is that it should be truly shared? So you and I should see the same thing as much as is possible. This is tricky if the browser is client side, but less so if it is a server-side shared app the way that Wonderland and Qwaq (I still prefer that name 🙂 do it afaik. Also the way a site is designed can help. For our collaboration site we’re creating it specifically so that everyone can have the same view on the authenticated content using a scrollable, clickable version of HTML-on-a-prim in SL.

  6. I agree that what happens with shared browsing does not have to be the case. It is merely that its a level of complexity that is not instantly obvious when platforms inject shared browsing. Having web pages that are not personalized or user centred helps a great deal for shared browsing, but knowing whether or not you have a server side created view or a client side created view of a web resource in a shared space needs some sort of indicator or visual feedback to help those people who do not yet appreciate the problem.
    Another way is to screen share the controlling persons web browser, but that of course opens things up to revealing private information accidentally.
    It is a challenge as the web was really a one to many and now we are making it a many to many

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