Project Looking Glass, whats next....
Over the last couple of years, as we have been building Project Looking Glass, we have had a number of discussions about adding collaboration services to the framework. More recently we have been in intense discussion with some other groups within Sun that have some key technologies (more of that later) and we think it's time to start exploring this space. What we propose is the development of a new SceneManager for Project Looking Glass which is completely focused around collaboration with others. We have created a new subproject of lg3d called Project Wonderland to host this work.
The overarching goal of Project Wonderland is to provide a broad suite of collaboration utilities embedded in the heart of lg3d which users can use to get real work done and which the enable rich communication dynamics which are so often lost with remote/distributed teams. We are still in the early planning stages of the project and would like to invite anyone who is interested to join the project (http://lg3d-wonderland.dev.java.net) and help enhance lg3d to support remote collaboration.
Here are some of the ideas we've thought of so far....
1) Shared 3D Workspace - Expand the 3d environment in lg3d so your desktop exists within a broader 3D environment. The idea is that you have your desktop, but if you step back and look around you can see other users desktops/applications (obviously with security options so you can keep some apps private). There needs to be a careful balance here. We don't envisage users wandering around a world looking for their files etc. Instead, we anticipate using the 3D space to interact with friends/colleagues. We can also use the space to provide some context on subject etc. For example it would be great to have an lg3d room, with our documentation (in web browsers) on the wall and persistent white boards where we can gather to discuss and design/debug lg3d.
2) Shared Applications (X11 and Java to start with) - Extend the lg3d work that allows X11 and Java apps to be displayed in the 3D world. We plan to enhance this service so that an application can be viewed and controlled by a group of users.
3) Spacialized audio & audio input - Expose a
spacialized audio framework that can be used for things like voice chat.
We have joined forces with two other teams at Sun, which is how we can tackle a project of this scope, and hope to achieve results in a reasonable time. Firstly there is Project Darkstar (http://projectdarkstar.com ) which provides a scalable persistent backend and network layer. Project Darkstar is targeted at virtual world type applications and massively multiplayer online (MMO) games, and is particularly appropriate for the kinds of multi-user collaborative applications envisaged for Project Wonderland. Secondly we are working closely with the Collaborative Environments team from Sun Labs (http://research.sun.com/projects/dashboard.php?id=85 ) who have years of experience in collaboration technologies and will be contributing both that expertise as well as certain software components to the project. Further details regarding the specific contributions from these projects will be forthcoming.
If you would like to help enhance Project Looking Glass to provide a rich, distributed, immersive and collaborative environment, please join the lg3d-wonderland project (http://lg3d-wonderland.dev.java.net ) and share your ideas and comments on this forum/email alias.