The word on the street is that some of the High Fidelity team will be heading to Hollywood in a few days for the Oculus Connect event. I would imagine that some of the Linden Lab team may be heading there too. However before that happens, the High Fidelity blog has been been having A Look at Alpha Projects in Hifi. The picture in the blog post is particularly impressive, especially when enlarged.
Dan Hope, who I believe is a new member of the High Fidelity team, highlights the work of three Alpha testers, Judas, AI Austin and Ctrlaltdavid. This is virtual space, so people have virtual space names.
Judas has been working on models created in Blender. High Fidelity currently supports the FBX format, rather than the Dae format that Second Life supports. However as both have their roots in Blender, the basic workflows are going to be somewhat similar. High Fidelity is in the Alpha stage and this is highlighted in the blog post as Judas explains how a recent update has allowed him to import avatars from High Fidelity into Blender without destroying the rig to animate them. However Judas also hits the mark about the nature of virtual worlds in terms of being social platforms. I’ve said many times that Second Life is where it’s at in terms of virtual worlds because Second Life has the people. Any new virtual world has to have that social aspect and Judas acknowledges this in a quote on the blog post :
High Fidelity is about people. A grin, a smile, a hand gesture, a wave — not some pre-recorded gesture — breathe personality into lifeless avatars. [We’re creating] an environment that normal people want to gather in, not because of polycount, latency, or server technology, but because their friends are there. Every game has amazing graphics; HiFi should have amazing people.
Meanwhile in another part of the vast virtual space that High Fidelity engulfs, AI Austin is building I-Rooms: A Virtual Space For Intellectual Collaboration. Again we have a social usage exemplified here as well as the all important collaboration angle that virtual worlds offer so very well. I-Rooms are defined as :
We have developed the I-Room virtual environment—the “I” stands variously for intelligent, information, in- teractive, integrated, and instrumented—a shared persistent space, founded on process methodologies and offering intelligent sys- tems support for interaction and collabo- ration between users, systems, and agents.
AI Austin is also testing the boundaries of what is possible with mesh models in High Fidelity. This includes a Supercar with 575,000 vertices and 200,000. I can see people in parts of the virtual world sphere frowning furiously at this right now. AI Austin also has an International space station mesh that was provided by NASA. As it stands, space is a concept that High Fidelity captures very well. There are a lot of stars in High Fidelity.