Phillip Rosedale’s Next Generation Virtual World
When Phillip Rosedale became less involved with his own creation Second Life, many saw it as confirmation that the experiment of avatar driven platforms had failed. However what was not known until recently is that while Rosedale seemed to be pulling away from his brainchild SL, he was far from abandoning the concept that created it. Enter High Fidelity.
High Fidelity is Rosedale’s latest project and claims it will be a a lot of things SL currently isn’t. Now some may find building a whole new platform, versus just upgrading the existing one, strange. Yet, reminiscent of Simon Cowell leaving his creation American Idol to start The X Factor, we see that upgrades apparently would not be enough to accomplish what Rosedale can do when he starts over fresh.
According to DEViCe reporter Robin Burks:
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.
Robin goes on to say the following:
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.
From Robin’s comments one could see why starting over from a clean slate may be necessary to initiate such new concepts and procedures because if there is one thing that Second Life residents tend to embrace very slowly its change.
Now what’s also noteworthy about High Fidelity is what Singularity Hub writer Jason Dorrier reported:
The closest existing analogous systems (called distributed computing networks) rival the most powerful supercomputers on the planet. However, because of a virtual world’s special requirements, Rosedale told us their system will be a “wholly new kind of thing.” When complete, High Fidelity’s network will scale with the virtual world’s popularity and ever faster constituent devices (mobile, laptop, or desktop). Second Life runs on 40,000 servers. Imagine a world that runs on a million, ten million, or even a billion machines.
According to Rosedale, what we see in CGI movies today (think Avatar or Star Trek) will be possible in a virtual world six years from now. But High Fidelity won’t build all the visuals themselves. Rather, they’ll set up the construct, open the door, hit play, and see what emerges.
It seems pretty clear that even with the success Second Life has had that Rosedale is going for a much bigger mainstream audience that will take High Fidelity where SL so far has yet to go. With funding from Linden Lab, Google Ventures, Kapor Capital and True Ventures so far, this project is a serious undertaking that plans on taking us where virtuality has yet to go.
Armed with the branding tag line: “If it doesn’t hurt to think about it, we’re not going to try it.” you get the impression that pushing the boundaries of our current virtual experience is what High Fidelity is all about. Let’s hope that not only lives up to its own hype but that it also motivates the powers that be in Second Life to make our present virtual experience even better. I know that I for one look forward to all the Wizards of virtual Oz have to throw at us.