Our development of the Shengri La Spirit region, the 41,000+ object OpenSim region created in Spring 2008, was a study of how to create a compelling user experience for future work environments. Our design application for the apparel industry rests on the OpenSim platform, and so the maturity of that platform is critical for our business. We believe the evolution of large-scale grids will bring that maturity and it is the compelling, rich content that will help grow these grids. There have been many efforts in increasing the performance of the OpenSim platform, but it is the user experience of compelling content that must perform well for mass adoption to take hold.
Compelling content will drive the growth of virtual worlds grids; performance is essential to sustain that growth. But the compelling content must be there first for the platform to host the business models to follow, including ours.
The large-scale grids that will ultimately succeed will be the beautiful ones that everyone wants to see where the user experience is consistently good. We are therefore very pleased to announce that as part of our continuing research in this area, we have recently signed an agreement with Intel Labs for a new research collaboration whose focus is compelling content as a target to optimize the performance of the OpenSim platform for an enhanced user experience.
This collaboration is currently scheduled to run for a year, during which time FRI will provide increasingly complex, highly detailed, large scale (beautiful) designs which will be showcased in Science Sim with hosting and hardware provided by Intel Corporation.
We think it is important to have active human agency providing feedback to the technologists about the quality of the user experience. As fashion designers from the apparel industry, we think function should also be delivered with flair, and dare we say it, fashionably. With that in mind, we have begun developing the new Shengri La regions on Science Sim: Shengri La Chamomile, Shengri La Sage, Shengri La Thyme, and Shengri La Rosemary.
These initial four regions each have a different theme that flow into one another. Shengri La Chamomile, for example, hosts the 125,000 prim Saltwater House build. The Saltwater House offers sweeping verandas for meeting space, as well as a hidden treasure of an interactive butterfly exhibit. The included scrapbook video offers early views into this highly detailed, complex build. Shengri La Sage is a coastal region with boats and aquatic life. Explore the waters to locate its hidden treasures. Shengri La Thyme is in development, but it too has a unique focus. Shengri La Rosemary is currently hosting our student interns, which are exploring the OpenSim platform and prototyping virtual showrooms for their current internships with FRI. These regions will continue to change and evolve as we push the outer limits of the OpenSim platform and its capabilities.
We would like to thank Intel Labs and our principle investigator, Mic Bowman, for providing us with this opportunity to continue our work in this area. We look forward to the coming year with great excitement, and we would like to invite our readership to visit us in the Science Sim grid created by Intel in collaboration with Supercomputing ’09.
We offer this scrapbook video for your viewing pleasure.