perjantai 6. marraskuuta 2009

0.0.2 preview release of next-generation realXtend software

Sorry for all the blogspamming, I know it's only been a bit over a year since I last wrote to this blog. After becoming the project manager for the realXtend team I didn't have as much time for blogging as I used to, which resulted in the long period of silence. There have been some changes in the organization as well and no more meeting logs to report, because the development teams in different companies are now seeing each other more in the real world. From now on this blog should be getting more lively (not referring to the Google product) and interesting, when our developers start to write about their work and achievements.

So what has happened since September 2008? The most important change was the decision to start building a next-generation realXtend platform in early 2009. The world server is still based on OpenSimulator, but now we have the ModreX project, which makes it a lot easier for us to integrate with OpenSim. The authentication and content delivery services are all new and we also have a built-from-scratch viewer known as Naali (Arctic Fox in Finnish). You can find a lot more information about Naali and Taiga (the next-generation realXtend servers) on their respective wiki sites, in this post I will cover some of the highlights of the latest release.It is important to note that Naali and Taiga are still in very early stages of development as the version number 0.0.2 suggests. The first end-user release of the next-generation platform is scheduled for early 2010. All the code is of course always available through our website, this release is meant for those of you who don't want to build the code daily, but are interested in our work. START SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE We would also like to give you all a chance to relatively easily see for yourselves what we have done and get interested enough to join the realXtend platform development. END SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE When you notice functionality missing or something lacking in the new release, keep in mind that the shiny new realXtend platform is built to be modifiable and modular so that YOU can participate. A good place to get started is our general or the more developer-oriented mailing list.

So, what can you expect from the 0.0.2 version released today? Let's take a look.

This rather innocent shot of Mikko showing off with his dual-monitor system becomes frightening when you realize that the round little island looks a lot like my head rising out of the ocean. You can see some of the inventory and editing windows in this screen.

Here you can see some of the interesting properties of the new technology. A couple of the users are logged in using the traditional realXtend avatar service, others have OpenSimulator authentication and one of them uses the new OpenID-based method. One of the most important features for us is the ability to easily move between worlds without dependencies to central authorities and OpenID seems to fit the bill quite nicely.

This picture shows the guys packaging Naali 0.0.2 downloads. We expect to get a lot of traffic, but there should be enough Naalis for everyone.

Here's Stompy the Robot, an important part of any packaging / delivery operation found in many post offices worldwide.

This is Jonne showing off the functionalities of the current user interface. Note the Jabber-based communication window that allows you to send messages to other Jabber users and the world chat functionality in the lower left corner. In the background, Stompy and his friend Crunchy are making sure that your packages arrive safely and usually take less space than when they were sent. Naali uses the OGRE rendering engine to deliver the goods.

I hope the little teaser got you interested enough to check out our wiki. There's a lot of good information there and when you come up with more questions, you can join us on the mailing lists. START LIE Don't worry, we won't try to get you to contribute to our little project and together make the virtual world a bit better place. END LIE

I would like to thank all the developers for the amazing job so far. The goals we had at the beginning of 2009 were pretty ambitious, but you have delivered time after time and I look forward to the final push towards the first end-user release set for beginning of 2010.