The Virtual Building Company


Enterprise Applications for Virtual Worlds

Photo: 'No Love' (2010) by Bryn O . Shanghai Expo

Photo: 'No Love' (2010) by Bryn O . Shanghai Expo

Currently there are thousands of online virtual worlds most with their own bespoke programming and browser. Most of these worlds also have defined rules and objectives and where the user has little choice in determining the environment or outcome. While there is much variety let us loosely cetegorise these virtual worlds as games

Distinguish these games from an entirely different type of virtual world which we might call author created worlds. In these worlds the owner/authorr can build however they wish. Starting from the blank slate of an empty island the outcome or purpose can be anything from an exhibition gallery, an educational tour, a shopping mal or a role play environment. These islands of imaginative content are in turn connected with other islands, inhabited by other people and authors and in agregate become a archipelago of virtual worlds.

The Metaverse

Increasingly these archipelagos of virtual worlds, or more accurately their servers are being connected to other worlds on other servers giving rise to what is described as the metaverse. The future is one where we will commute in the metaverse from one island world to another in the same way that we currently point our browsers to particular web sites on the internet.

We understand why we would wish to visit a particular web site, but why would we want to visit a virtual world ? Broadly for social, educational and enterprise reasons. The current vogue for social applications like Facebook and Google+ demonstrate with their circles of friends the advantages of a virtual meeting place. Already the savvy kids are meeting up in quite a different way, they associate in real time with their real friends in one of the many three dimensional virtual worlds to discuss their plans for the evening.

When the www began it's exponential growth educationalist were at the forerfont of awareness. Today librarians are conspicuous in seeing the future developments for their collections, language teachers have discovered truly innovative means of reaching out to people..... And this would be to ignore the fundamental opportunities for building, art, animimation and machinima (video of animation).

Enterprise uses by high profile companies are commonly the organising of virtual meetings for global personnel and while computer simulation has been a mainstay of both NASA and modern military training the most rapidly expanding applications are in medical training.

We have become familiar with accesing text information from a computer, what the future offers is that we shall also access experience. Of course it is different from a real life contact in the same way that a telephone conversation to a friend or parent is different from making the two hundred mile round trip, but better than not having made the call at all. We should not see the opportunities which virtual worlds present as an either / or situation - would we really prefer a world without telephones?