Avatar Display Showcase 2: Heads Up Display

We did a new showcase example of the avatar display! It's more complex than the last one, but it shows some new features you might be interested in.

This time it's mainly about how you interact with the interface; how to chat and how to launch other actions. You might notice that there are some differences in the way we are doing it to weblin and/or rocketon.

Have fun playing with the showcase.

New Features demonstrated above:
  • 3D Avatars (MD2, Collada will follow)
  • Vector Avatars (the teddy-bears)
  • Scaling Control (lower left right corner)
  • Chat Console (we call it doormat)
  • Chat Bubbles (with different text sizes, depending on text length)
  • Folding Radial Menu (it's draggable)
  • Avatar animation (jump & wave implemented)

The trickiest part might be the new radial menu. Our version is based on the atom interface. If you follow the link, you can read about the advantages a radial menu has.

As always: This is not the final interface and it may be buggy. We are trying to publish every single bit of development to let you be part of the process. So give us your feedback because it matters...

Open Virtual World Forum

There is now a forum at http://forum.openvirtualworld.com/

The forum is for general discussion, proposals, and comments. The is also a developer section where you can ask (and answer) questions about module programming, the API, cross platform portability, translation, protocols and all the other dev topics.

The forum is linked here on the page in the top right menu.

Roadmap Update

The roadmap has been updated. Dates have been shifted because we want to make some parts a bit easier for testers. We decided to provide a Jabber account. Originally we planned an "early release" which needed much more user skills. We will now run a Jabber server for you, so that the client simply starts after installation and you do not have to get an external Jabber account on your own. So we have to set up at least a bit of a server infrastructure, which includes setting up the web development earlier. That also drives us into vacation time and "costs" 10 more days.

The chat release will be very "raw", i.e. it has no avatars, just a chat window. But we want to release early and often to get your feedback. Not only from users, but also from developers.

Of course, we won't leave you without avatars. The display showcases show what we plan. They are also already test beds for front-end implementation while the back-end was not ready. There will be avatars (soon) and items on web pages (a bit later).

Note: the roadmap is linked in the link list in the top right corner of this page.

Jumping right into the Code

For the start I created a simple HTML-based test user interface. It shows the avatar scene on a web page without any fancy stuff, just the data. Using the test interface, I can check what exactly happens between client core and display.

(This is not the final display. There are other showcases for the final display with all the animation, transparency and eye candy.)

The client has a 2 tier architecture. There is the back-end, which has all the data structures and does the protocol processing. And there is the front-end, which does all the display, animations and user interaction.

The image shows 3 columns. The left column has controls where I can enter/leave web pages by entering their URLs. It also has an input area to request data from the back-end. The center column is a very simple display of the avatar scene. It shows 3 avatars: The same avatars which are shown by weblin (in the lower part of the image). They are compatible! I can chat and move, and even put my avatar to sleep. Everything is still very raw. The right column shows the communication between back-end and front-end.

All this is written in HTML. I could write it in C++ or Java, but it would take much longer. The first real display will be in Flash. This shows the flexibility of our 2 tier architecture. Anyone can write a display module like I did in a few days. Maybe someone contributes a specialized displays for power-chatters once we publish the API.

The Team Grows: Heiner Wolf Joins in

http://createordie.de/cod/news/Open-Virtual-World-Avatare-unterwegs-im-Web-051038.htmlThe Open Virtual Worlds Project is happy to announce a new team member: former weblin founder, CTO and Chief Scientist, Dr. Heiner Wolf.

Heiner is the inventor and evangelist of Layered Virtual Worlds. Since 1996 he works on his vision to populate the web with avatars. He wants to make the web a social place where people meet, chat and play casual online games.

Heiner developed the first avatars on the web in a European research project. In 2005, very early in the age of web avatars, he wrote the Webmobs Manifesto. When the Web 2.0 came up, he founded Zweitgeist, the company behind weblin. Heiner developed the weblin client and portal software. Under his guidance as CTO, the weblin team created an incredibly stable and scalable system with millions of users. The Open Virtual World Project welcomes the former weblin brain.

Heiner is always on, even on a one day holiday trip. When roaming the web his avatar is called "Tassadar" or "Planta Velocia". Heiner likes reading science fiction literature and real science articles. He loves watching Stargate, Star Trek, Star Wars and everything that has a SciFi skin. Of course, EVE-Online is his favourite online game.

Update: recent press links (hi spider)

My Weblin Post Mortem

You might not know, but I worked for/on/at weblin from 2007 until early 2009. I invested some energy, brains and creative output in that "little chat tool" that attracted about 3 million users.

In my opinion (writing as the former weblin lead ui & game designer) the reasons for it's "failure" are neither its clumsiness, it's far too simple interactive elements, nor it's lack of monetary prosperity. The real reason is a quite simple one: confidence.

We were up & running. We had enough users to experiment with virtual goods and advertising to find the right way and the right balance to make it work for this target group between MMORPG players and socializers. We were working on serious game design. We were working on 3D technology and better interfaces for a layered virtual world that hasn't been explored before. We were learning.
We were on schedule.

But at one point the confidence in our success was gone. Parts of the management lost it and so the investors lost it, too. And if your investors loose confidence in you and you need them, you're out.

So farewell weblin. We will try to pick up the pieces and do what has to be done.

OVW Meeting IV

I am happy to announce that the 4th open virtual world meeting will take place this very thursday. Come join us.

  • Schedule
  • License
  • OpenID & registration
  • Weblin & stuff

Place: Haus 73, Schulterblatt, Hamburg, Germany
Date: 13.08.2009, 19:00


Like most of you, we got the news, that weblin is about to go down. This is sad news for us. Weblin is a great system which once had millions of users and it has a very good and strong community.

Actually, we are weblin users and have been for a long time. We like the concept of meeting people on web pages. So, we decided to create an open source version. We are planning to use the same open protocol to make our client compatible with Weblin. All users of different clients should be able to chat and connect. The user should have the choice of clients and competition will make clients better for the benefit of the all users.

Now it appears, that weblin drops the ball.
We will pick it up.

We are sad, that users of our client will not be able to meet weblin users. Anyhow, people will meet and chat and play on web pages. The time will come when there will be other clients in the biggest of all virtual worlds: the Web.

State of the Avatar

We are a bit behind schedule.

Not much, but we want to make things very good and solid. We are an open source project and we create an open architecture where other developers will be able to contribute plug-ins and features. The architecture we create now will be around for a while to come. If issues come up, then we solve them thoroughly even if it is more work, than just what's necessary to continue.

Next week we will hold an open meeting to discuss the schedule. The meeting date and location will be announced here soon. Anyone is invited.