Multiverse & Sketchup : Doom of Second Life?

I have always had difficulty in building what I wanted to build in Second Life. Not only do I find it difficult to manipulate primitives etc, but I have to be online to do it. Some of us still live in rural areas to which the telecoms and cable companies are not interested in providing broadband service (I lurk outside the closest library with wireless to get my broadband). Anyway, various reports are emerging of a collaboration between Multiverse and Google, allowing models created in Sketchup AND terrain from Google Earth (!) to be imported into any online world hosted by multiverse. Couple that with Multiverse’s ability to allow the user to move from world to world, and I think we might just have a challenger to Second Life on our hands. ‘Doom’ might be too strong a word, but hey, makes for a great headline.

From an archaeological point of view, creating 3d representations of a site using Sketchup, and then moving that with the terrain into an online world, with the associated annotations etc could really be revolutionary – what immediately springs to mind is that this would make a far better way of publishing a site than a traditional monograph. Internet Archaeology (the journal) has been trying for just that kind of thing for a while. Maybe IA should host a world in Multiverse…?

From C-Net News:

“Get ready for online games set in your favorite Google Earth locations.

Virtual-worlds platform developer Multiverse Network is set to announce a partnership Tuesday that will allow anyone to create a new online interactive 3D environment with just about any model from Google’s online repository of 3D models, its 3D Warehouse, as well as terrain from Google Earth.

The idea is simple: Multiverse’s technology–which gives game developers tools to design custom virtual worlds–will let those designers pick and choose from most of the millions of 3D models created using Google’s 3D software tool SketchUp, and to import pieces of terrain, as defined by entering specific longitude and latitude data, from Google Earth.

If you want to build a virtual world centered on, say, downtown San Francisco, you could use the new technology to create the area itself and populate it with the digital versions of real-world buildings that have been created and uploaded to the 3D Warehouse.

Virtual world images “The goal is to grab things from the 3D Warehouse when looking at things in Google Earth and then make an instant multiverse world,” said Multiverse co-founder Corey Bridges. “What we’ve done is provide a more streamlined interface for using (Google’s technology) as a virtual-world production tool.”

Until now, incorporating this kind of information from Google has mostly been the province of fantasy. For some time, Multiverse has made it possible to upload some SketchUp models into a virtual world created using its platform. But the technology the company plans to announce Tuesday, informally called “Architectural Wonders,” brings the concept to much more well-rounded fruition, and answers what some people have been crying out for as obvious and necessary technology integration. MORE

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