Michael J. Zyda
Dept. of Comput. Sci., Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA 93943-5100
The initial phase of virtual-world development has focused on novel hardware and ``cool'' graphics demonstrations. The current phase is focusing on the software bed underlying ``real'' applications. The focus of this talk will be on the software required to support large scale, networked, multiparty virtual environments. Topics to be discussed include (1) navigation (virtual camera view-point control and its coupling to real-time, hidden-surface elimination); (2) interaction (software for constructing a dialogue from the inputs read from our devices and for applying that dialogue to display changes); (3) communication (software for passing changes in the world model to other players on the network, and software for allowing the entry of previously undescribed players into the system); (4) autonomy (software for playing autonomous agents in our virtual world against interactive players); and (5) scripting (software for recording, playing back, and multitracking previous play against live or autonomous players, with autonomy provided for departures from the recorded script). All of this software is needed to provide a fully detailed, fully interactive, seamless virtual environment.