Imagine putting on an Oculus Rift and not just playing a game, but also interacting with an all-encompassing environment. Imagine stepping into an avatar and being able to fully explore a virtual world complete with its own sights, textures, tastes and experiences. Second Life creator Philip Rosedale wants to make these imaginings into a reality. He has quietly created the High Fidelity project to explore the next iteration of virtual worlds.
Let’s face it, Rosedale’s Second Life never took off the way he hoped. Sure, it created a $6 billion virtual economy and boasted over a million users, but it never reached the success of other online communities, including MMORPG World of Warcraft. Rosedale hopes to take what he learned with Second Life and recreate it, as a fully realized virtual world.
High Fidelity is starting with more intuitive interfaces, using body tracking technology that can take our real world movements and body language and put them into a virtual environment. His first experiment involved taking the gyro from an Oculus Rift headset and connecting it to a simple pair of glasses to simulate head movement. High Fidelity is also looking at other devices, though, created by companies like Leap Motion.
Rosedale believes that virtual worlds also need better virtual economies. He has an idea that could prove groundbreaking: he wants to set up a system where users exchange their computers’ unused processing power for virtual money (for example, when a user is asleep). That could lend itself to the creation of many fine details in the world that High Fidelity wants to create. Presently, Second Life uses 40,000 servers. But with this new idea, a virtual world could have millions of servers dedicated to it, allowing for image rendering like we’ve never seen before. Rosedale believes that the technology is almost there to create these complex worlds.
In Second Life, people do things that they do in the real world: they shop, they hang out, they dance, they attend events, they fall in love, they have sex. Rosedale wants to create a more realistic virtual world that realizes these parts of real life even better. Who needs real life when you can have a virtual one, right?
Via Singularity Hub