Current projects, and movies vs interactive machinima

Check out the movies of U.Minnesota’s neato language lab. They’re leveraging Croquet’s open architecture to produce custom behavior, and the unique core model to make everything efficiently recordable. The third movie blows me away. (But watch ’em all.)

Greenbush Labs (edu software) has a couple of movies showing what you can do right out of the box. Some of the stuff they guy tries isn’t working quite right, but it’s still cool as snot. Must be the tunes.

No movies yet of the Krestianstvo installations being shown at the top Russian art museums. Nikolay has also combined Croquet and the Sophie/FutureOfTheBook projects – not quite as in this wonderful movie by Daniel Lanovaz, but heading that way, I suppose.

I love that all these folks are working independently. (I haven’t had anything to with these cool projects.)

The idea of movies about Croquet does bug me (as opposed to movies in Croquet which is easy to do given an existing movie). We need movies now and I’m very glad that folks are making them. But I wish we were at the point of “eating our own dog food” on this. I’d like to just link to a Web page which will yield an interactive scene (after installing any needed software) in which there are automations of the 3D scenes. Simultaneous visitors should be able to discuss and interact with the machinima, alter and improve it, leave notes for the next guy, and so forth in a multi-bandwidth 3D Wiki sort of way. Most of the pieces are there, but they’re not all on one place yet. (The commercial Forums product comes close, from Qwaq where I work.)

There’s a conference this October in which the creator of the CSI TV franchise is going to talk about virtual versions of the show. (Qwaq’s Greg Nuyens will be speaking, too.) A (very talented) undergraduate actually built the very same thing in our UW lab a year and a half ago. Alas, it was feared that the target educational audience didn’t have good enough graphics cards, so they made and distributed a lame movie of it instead. I think all the money went into the narration, and the result takes a bigger pipe without being interactive, collaborative, or generally engaging and evocative. I think the technology is getting pretty close to ready, and this CSI producer seems to think an audience is getting close to being ready.

About Stearns

Howard Stearns works at High Fidelity, Inc., creating the metaverse. Mr. Stearns has a quarter century experience in systems engineering, applications consulting, and management of advanced software technologies. He was the technical lead of University of Wisconsin's Croquet project, an ambitious project convened by computing pioneer Alan Kay to transform collaboration through 3D graphics and real-time, persistent shared spaces. The CAD integration products Mr. Stearns created for expert system pioneer ICAD set the market standard through IPO and acquisition by Oracle. The embedded systems he wrote helped transform the industrial diamond market. In the early 2000s, Mr. Stearns was named Technology Strategist for Curl, the only startup founded by WWW pioneer Tim Berners-Lee. An expert on programming languages and operating systems, Mr. Stearns created the Eclipse commercial Common Lisp programming implementation. Mr. Stearns has two degrees from M.I.T., and has directed family businesses in early childhood education and publishing.

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