NASA has published a report from the workshop on virtual worlds and immersive environments held in 2008 at Ames Research Center. The report, created by workshop organizers and participants, summarizes the presentations and discussions at the workshop, which was attended by a diverse group of people from the research, commercial, education, and gaming sectors. Key themes include remote exploration, global participation paradigms, and the narrowing boundaries between physical and virtual experience. For training simulations and outreach purposes, NASA continues to use virtual worlds. Check out the STS-125 Hubble servicing spacewalk simulation and stay tuned for more interactive virtual worlds about future moon missions. I don’t have a current update on where NASA is with it’s RFP for a MMOG platform but will be keeping my eye out for the latest on that.
Archive for the ‘Game Engines’
NASA has had a long time interest in the application of virtual worlds technologies for space exploration research and mission planning. Over the past ten years, there have been many wonderful simulations and 3D virtual worlds which have been created by NASA and NASA partners and made publicly accessible via the Internet.
Recently, the NASA Learning Technologies Project office submitted an RFI for the creation of a Massively Multiplayer Online Learning Game (MMOG). This has stimulated a lot of interest in the commercial and education worlds. It will be interesting to watch this MMOG exploration and development process and see what kind of game engine and content platform NASA will get behind. However it works out, it may prove that a viable and scalable virtual world / game engine platform will emerge –one that the museums and educators can benefit from.
In late January 2008, a group of scientists at NASA Ames Research Center, along with 3D simulation industry visionaries, organized a weekend workshop called Virtual Worlds and Immersive Environments. Paul Doherty and I participated and I was invited to give a presentation about the Exploratorium’s recent work in Second Life. It was a really interesting workshop. There were great presentations by NASA, innovative technology companies, game content developers, educators, and researchers. The major themes of the workshop and discussions were “We all get to go,” “Remote Exploration,” and “Become the data.” We saw several new 3D game engines, got a good update on the state of open source platforms and applications, and saw Will Wright demo the latest developments for Spore, the much anticipated MMOG about the evolution of species.
One of the take-away points of the event was for the virtual worlds community to develop greater awareness of and partnerships with NASA CoLAB, a NASA program which supports online and offline communities collaborating with NASA. NASA CoLAB has a great presence in Second Life.
Presentations from the workshop are in the process of being archived on the NASA Virtual Worlds Workshop Wiki site that NASA Ames has developed.