Monday, May 21, 2007

Second Life to get better graphics?

Linden Lab just acquired WindwardMark Interactive, a company that creates realistic looking weather and environments. Does this mean Second Life would get a long overdue graphic overhaul? I think so. This is definitely an interesting development and shows the company has finally pulled itself into profit making.

Windward Mark has two products that would fall under LL. The first of which is Nimble, a highly advanced physics based realtime visualization of photo-realistic clouds.

The realism given here is amazing, and hopefully LL would integrate these into SL asap. The second product (called WindLight ), is a highly advanced lighting system using OpenGL and DirectX.

The realism in both these products leads to very interesting speculations about future advances to Second Life. Not to mention, with this acquisition, LL has also bought into their house a number of highly experienced 3D developers. Windwardmark is based in Boston and would be moving into LL's new Boston office (A recruiting party is going to be held on may 30, 2007 ). LL also plans on integrating these into their Open Source philosophy.

Following the acquisition of this technology, Linden Lab will integrate Windward Mark's WindLight® into the Second Life Viewer and will open source the code under a General Public License agreement. The Viewer (available here) featuring WindLight® will be immediately available for PCs, with a Mac version to follow.

“This is a great example of the benefits of an open-source model,” said Cory Ondrejka, CTO of Linden Lab. “Our core development team is tightly focused on improving the Second Life experience in terms of stability and scalability, but open sourcing has enabled external developers to integrate additional enhancements that are also hugely valuable; WindLight® is one of these. We're excited to bring this technology to Second Life and pleased to have such a talented team of developers join Linden Lab.”

Windwardmark is popular for having made the game called Alliance, which is not included in the acquisition by LL.

Video of WindLight
Video of Nimble

More News Stories on this

SL blog entry on this by Ms. Torley Linden.. wow it's so awesome I'm spasming...

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