Over on Gamasutra there’s a sponsored blog post from Microsoft, the post is from Amanda Lange, Technical Evangelist, Microsoft : Sponsored: How to simulate a tiny universe in Azure.
Microsoft Azure is open to all kinds of open source code projects, so I thought it might be neat to try running my own OpenSim on an Azure server.
OpenSim is a bit like Second Life, but open source. Anyone can create their own shard worlds to manipulate however they wish. It allows for a very private virtual world for use in role play gaming, education, or just to build out your own environment however you like and play with some 3D construction tools.
This sounds interesting and the blog post gives very detailed instructions on how to deploy OpenSim to Microsoft Azure. I’m not going to detail the instructions here, if you’re interested read the linked post near the start of this post, but it’s not a plug and play process, you will need to use the likes of Visual Studio. However these days Visual Studio comes in decent form for free in many cases.
Now if you’re wondering what Microsoft Azure is, here’s some of the blurb :
Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, a growing collection of integrated services – analytics, computing, database, mobile, networking, storage and web – for moving faster, achieving more and saving money.
Now if you’re still unsure, you can read more here : http://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/overview/what-is-azure/
This is cloud computing, it’s moving applications away from the traditional desktop and running them in the cloud. There are options for virtual machines and such like. This has potential for other virtual world services and apps, High Fidelity springs to mind if someone can work out how to deploy that. Running Second Life might be feasible too. However what consumers really want to know is how much will it all cost, and that’s not really clear at all.
The pricing page informs us that we can run apps from £0.00 and have a virtual machine from £7.95 per month. “From” always gives me the heebie jeebies and using the pricing calculator does not help me much, there are questions about bandwidth and such like and until you’ve deployed and used an app, you don’t really know how much bandwidth you’re likely to need.
As consumers, we really like to have a good idea of the costs. In the case of Microsoft Azure, there is a free trial available, so for those really interested, this may help.
These sort of services are likely to grow in the future and many of us would love to use them, but we really need to know what we’re getting into financially, and all too often, it’s not as clear as we’d like.
Amanda Lange also has a blog of her own, you can read more here : http://secondtruth.com/